nicholas carew

ajax-daughter-of-telamon  asked:

Did Anne Boleyn not actively seek to become his queen? (not a rhetorical question; genuinely confused)

    No, Anne Boleyn did not seek to be Henry’s queen, not at the beginning, anyway.

    The first year of Henry and Anne’s relationship can be better described as sexual harassment in the workplace than a romance. Anne spent most of 1526 trying to tactfully dodge Henry’s advances. She had told him she would be no man’s mistress, but he didn’t respect that.  

    In February, he made a public declaration of his interest in Anne, hoping the fawning attention of the court would pressure her into giving into his advances. it didn’t work. Anne still would not become his mistress. Henry now spent more time in his wife’s quarters than he had in years, but it was to visit Anne where she couldn’t escape his attentions.

    In May, it got so bad that Anne actually quit her job as a lady in waiting and retreated to Hever, where she refused to answer Henry’s letters and sent back his gifts. Henry’s letters to her at this point are full of pouting complaints that she won’t write back to him.

    Henry still wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and chased after her. He went to stay with a cousin of Anne, Nicholas Carew, whose house was a convenient distance from Hever so he could ride over at his leisure. It wasn’t like Anne could refuse to receive him at the house. She refused wherever she had agency, but in this she did not. No one could refuse the king admittance.

    Anne had to walk a delicate balance. If she had offended the king, it would have put her entire family’s future in danger. She undoubtedly faced pressure from her family and friends - who were benefiting from the king’s attentions to Anne with a stream of offices, appointments, and titles - to keep the king “happy” and not anger him. And so Anne had to remain polite and friendly, smiling while she tried to duck away from his reaching hands.

    Anne wanted what every girl of the era wanted, to make a good marriage. She was intensely religious, something that’s often forgotten in her on-screen portrayals, an evangelical with a reformist zeal. No matter what the king offered her, she would not sleep with any man unless he was her lawfully-wed husband. But she couldn’t find a husband while the king was pursuing her. No man would ask for her hand and risk enraging the king. And the longer the king chased her, the less people believed Anne could still be a virgin. Her reputation was just as ruined as though she’d been the king’s mistress in truth.

    Later writers, seeing how things turned out, have posited that Anne planned the whole thing from the start, “luring” Henry away from his wife with her sexy feminine witchery. They imbue her with supernatural foresight, as if she somehow knew if she ignored him, refused him, and left court, it would drive him mad with lust and he would leave his wife for her. But that’s ridiculous.  Anne could not have possibly hoped Henry would make her his queen when he was chasing her back in 1526.

    In the past, Henry had always gracefully backed away when a lady indicated she wasn’t interested in being perused by him. Henry had a very fragile ego and was pained by being refused. His way was to sniff around and drop hints, and if the lady was cool toward his overtures, he would step back quickly and pretend the whole thing never happened. “Interested in her? Huh! Me? No way. Maybe she was interested in me, but I wasn’t into her!” 

    In Anne’s case, he wasn’t taking the hint. Anne was as blunt as she could be without being outright rude, but he kept coming back, offering her larger gifts, and promoting her family members to higher offices with greater income. Her family must have despaired when Anne left court because it put her prestigious career as a maid of honor in danger, but even that drastic move wasn’t enough to push Henry off his course.

    Thomas Wyatt, who watched the whole thing and may have been in love with Anne himself, wrote a poem about it, Whoso List to Hunt. He portrayed Anne as a deer, fleeing for her very life, with Henry and others in pursuit. But Henry has already put a collar around the deer’s neck, proclaiming the prize as his own, whether she likes it or not. And though Anne seems “tame,” she has a wild longing to be free. But later writers have portrayed it as though it was the deer luring Henry into the hunt.

    While everyone knew by 1526 that Henry wanted to divorce Katharine (he’d stopped sleeping with her years ago and had told several people he thought his marriage to her was invalid), everyone fully expected his next wife would be a princess of the blood, someone who would bring him a huge dowry and an alliance with a foreign power. A king marrying a mere gentlewoman for love? The idea was ridiculous. All the time he was trying to arrange Henry’s annulment, Wolsey was planning the king would marry a French princess. Even he, who probably knew the king better than anyone, didn’t think Henry would really marry Anne.

    In 1527, Henry asked Anne to marry him. Two things are important to note here. First of all, a royal proposal was not a request. A woman did not turn down a proposal of marriage from a king. She just couldn’t. (Ask Kateryn Parr, who was in love with another man when the king proposed.) It’s not like today, when a woman has agency in deciding her marital future. In those days, if a man of appropriate rank and wealth approached for a marriage, the girl’s father would decide if the union was good enough and if it was, the girl was expected to accept. If his rank was much higher than her own, or her father’s, the girl and her father had no little choice in the matter. They could appeal to higher authorities, such as the king or cardinal, and they might put a stop to the match, but the girl’s opinion on the matter was inconsequential. In this case, there was no higher authority to whom Anne could appeal if she didn’t want to marry Henry.

     Secondly, once Anne had accepted, they were legally bound to one another. A betrothal was almost as legally binding as a marriage itself, requiring a dispensation from the pope to dissolve. Once she had accepted, Anne had to put her effort into furthering her marriage. If the king had changed his mind at this point, Anne would have been ruined. Few men would have been willing to take the king’s discarded “mistress,” and even with a papal dispensation freeing her from the engagement, her marital prospects would have been dim.

    In short, there is no evidence whatsoever that Anne had a grand, cunning scheme to make herself queen. It would have been a ridiculous plan, and incredibly reckless. “I’m going to risk inciting the queen’s hatred, the king’s anger (potentially ruining our family), and destroying my reputation around Europe on the off chance that this time Henry won’t back away when I refuse him. Because I’m just so awesome, he won’t be able to quit me, you know.

    Humans have a tendency to look back at events once they’ve occurred and see a master plan behind it all, but there’s simply no evidence of it. Instead, what we see is a young woman harassed in her workplace to the point of quitting her job, but was still unable to shake off her boss’s attentions.

Carew Castle, Wales

The present castle, which replaced an earlier stone keep, is constructed almost entirely from the local Carboniferous limestone, except for some of the Tudor architectural features such as window frames, which are made from imported Cotswold stone. Although originally a Norman stronghold the castle maintains a mixture of architectural styles as modifications were made to the structure over successive centuries.

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eximperial  asked:

Hello! I saw your post about Anne was essentially dealing with harassment at the workplace (I agree), but I also wanted to ask you a question regarding Henry. From everything I read, Henry was a very mild mannered gentle king during the very early years of his reign. Something about his mother raising him on tales of Arthur and Camelot or something like that. I read what changed him into the tyrant history remembers him as, is the jousting accident during one of Anne's pregnancies.


Henry was “mild-mannered” when everything was going his way. When anyone challenged him or denied him what he wanted, he was petulant, childish, and rage-prone. His very first recorded action is a temper tantrum he threw as a child when he learned that his sister, Margaret, now outranked him due to her marriage to the King of Scots. All children throw tantrums, of course, but this was something Henry never grew out of. He did fancy himself as some sort of noble knight, but his behavior was anything but noble

    I’m not a psychologist, but I believe Henry matches at least seven of the diagnostic markers for diagnosing dissocial personality disorder, or as it’s colloquially known, sociopathy.

1) Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.

    – Henry once carried around his bastard son at a banquet and showed him off to ambassadors while Katharine of Aragon was in attendance. After he ennobled the boy (giving him not one, but two dukedoms) Katharine expressed concern at Henry’s short-sightedness, because, you know, royal bastards who can afford to raise an army for a rebellion have done so in the past. Henry retaliated by dismissing some of Katharine’s friends from court.

    –He rubbed his adultery in his wives’ faces. If Chapuys is to be believed, he once told Anne Boleyn she had to shut her eyes as her betters had done. His habit was to flaunt his new love’s favor in his wife’s face, lavishing gifts on her and her family and punishing any of her “enemies.”

    –  When Mary finally broke under Henry’s abuse and gave in, “admitting” her parents’ marriage was invalid, Jane Seymour arranged a reconciliation meeting. Jane told Henry it would have been a shame if he’d listened to others and executed Mary, because he would have lost his kingdom’s chiefest treasure. Henry turned to her and said, “No, that’s Edward,” patting Jane’s pregnant belly. Mary fainted.

     – He sent his wife of twenty years, and his daughter, into exile and refused to allow them to communicate, even when Katharine lay dying. Even given his anger at Katharine refusing to cooperate with the divorce, his utter lack of concern or regard for the woman who had shared his life for two decades is chilling, not to mention his complete indifference to the suffering of his daughter.

    – Henry had no qualms about killing those he had counted as life-long friends. He killed Anne Boleyn, the woman with whom he had been passionately “in love” only a few years before, and spent the time she was in prison ostentatiously celebrating with her replacement. 

     Compare Henry’s behavior after Anne’s arrest to his reaction when Katheryn Howard was accused of having been sexually active before he met her. He at first refused to believe it and demanded an inquiry into the matter. He then screamed and cried when the evidence was presented to him, and demanded a sword to slay her himself. (Mind you, this is before he heard she’d been secretly meeting with Culpepper, so this was all just because she’d been sexually active years before she knew him.)

    Once he learned she had been touched by another, his “love” for her instantly turned into hatred, and he vowed she would suffer more in death than she’d had pleasure in her lover’s arms. 

   He never spoke to her again. His main concern afterward was making sure people felt Katheryn was guilty and he wasn’t just murdering another inconvenient wife. Chapuys reported only a couple of weeks later that Henry was as jolly as ever and was speculating on which woman he’d pick to take as a wife next. He let both wives languish in prison - Katheryn for months - wondering what would become of them, while he partied with the ladies of the court.

2) Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.

– Henry’s profligate spending nearly bankrupted his country, squandering one of the greatest fortunes in Europe, inherited from his father, and the massive influx of cash which came from dissolving the monasteries and seizing their wealth.

– He was rude to ambassadors and monarchs alike. He had screaming matches with Ambassador Chapuys in front of the whole court. Let’s just say “regal dignity” wasn’t his strong suit.

– He annulled his marriage to Anna von Kleefes (Anne of Cleves) after only a few months, breaking his alliance with her brother and defying a thousand years of royal marriage customs. (You do not reject a princess sent to your realm in good faith.) England’s credibility and prestige in the eyes of the world was greatly damaged. But Henry didn’t care about that.

– He tried to get ambassadors to agree to send princesses for him to check out and reject if they didn’t meet his standards, something which would cause deep personal embarrassment to the ladies in question, and their home countries. He thought he should be an exception to a thousand years of royal marriage traditions.

– He married commoners for “love” instead of the expected dynastic alliances. This lowered the prestige of his dynasty in the eyes of the world and weakened its hold on the throne.

– He executed a crowned and anointed queen, who was supposed to be above earthly judgement, due to the mystical bond created during the coronation. No queen had ever been executed for treason, even those who rebelled against their husbands.

– He overturned the traditional treason law of qui tacet consentire videtur, “silence implies consent.” This meant if a man did not speak out against a concept, he was not guilty of treason. Henry turned that notion on its ear by decreeing any man who did not swear his oath was guilty of treason.

– He swore he would give amnesty to rebels who turned themselves in, then executed them anyway. He seems to have made a similar offer to Anne Boleyn in exchange for her “confessing” their marriage was not valid, for after Cranmer left the Tower, she was smiling and said she was to be sent to a nunnery. She died on the scaffold only a few days later.

3) Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.

– He killed two of his wives, women with whom he had professed himself passionately in love.

– He exiled his daughter when she refused to accept her parents’ divorce and encouraged her abuse to force her submission. He exiled Elizabeth, too, and her only crime had been to be born to Anne Boleyn.

–He killed friends like Thomas More and Henry Norris without any qualms.

– He executed an elderly woman he once said he loved like his own grandmother, Margaret Pole, because he was pissy over not being able to get at her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole.

– He killed two of his chief ministers because they displeased him, men he had worked with every day for years.

– He executed Nicholas Carew on the flimsiest of pretexts, and according to his family history, it was because Nicholas had given a tart and witty reply to one of the king’s jesting insults, and the king did not take it well.

  The king, who in this kind would give and not take, being no good fellow in tart repartees, was so highly offended thereat, that Sir Nicholas fell from the top of his favour to the bottom of his displeasure, and was bruised ‘to death thereby.

4) Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.

    Henry was physically violent with Will Somers on at least one occasion. He tried to grab a sword and slay a mentally handicapped fool who insulted Anne Boleyn and his daughter at a banquet. He had a famous screaming fit when Chapuys challenged him over his treatment of Katharine of Aragon.

5) Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.

     Henry said, “God and my conscience are perfectly agreed.” And he really meant it.

6) Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

    – After Katheryn Howard was arrested, he cried and blamed his council for his series of “ill-conditioned” wives.

    – When Anna von Kleefes expressed disgust when he tried to kiss her, disguised as a peasant, he decided she was “ugly” and attacked the one who had arranged the union. He tried to get out of marrying her, defying a thousand years of European matrimonial tradition. (Had it really been about heirs, Anna would have been the perfect choice for a wife.)

   – He believed his wives should bear the blame for failing to provide him with an heir, even though Anne Boleyn revealed he was having impotency issues. 

    – In his mind, Katharine and Mary bore the blame for their exile because of their refusal to accept the divorce.

7) Deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

    – Henry repeatedly told Katharine, and his people, that he really, really wanted to stay married to her, but he had to make absolutely sure their marriage was legitimate, all while trying his best to get the pope to agree it wasn’t.he was free to remarry.

    – He lied to his ministers and people, claiming his father had begged him on his death bed to marry Katharine of Aragon.

    – He lied to his sister, promising her she could marry a man of her own choosing when she was widowed after marrying for an alliance with France. He was outraged when Mary forced him to keep his word by presenting him with a fait accompli. 

    – He lied about Anne Boleyn, saying she’d had a hundred lovers. He lied about Katharine of Aragon’s sexual experience.

    He lied to princes, prelates, peasants and popes. He lied to everyone.

    I could be wrong, of course. It’s impossible to concretely diagnose someone who lived five hundred years ago, who never had a psychiatric evaluation, but to me, Henry’s behavior raises very large - and very red - flags.

Mediocrity In Love Rejected
by Thomas Carew (1595-1640)
Read by Nicholas Boulton

Give me more love, or more disdain;
The torrid or the frozen zone
Bring equal ease unto my pain,
The temperate affords me none;
Either extreme, of love or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.

Give me a storm; if it be love,
Like Danae in that golden shower,
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture hopes; and he’s possessed
Of heaven, that’s but from hell released.
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.