Anne Boleyn facts – 5 fascinating things you didn’t know about Henry VIII’s second wife

ANNE Boleyn remains the most famous of Henry VIII’s six wives with a life encompassed by affairs, arrests and incest.

The life and love of the former Queen are set to be further explored in a lavish two-part documentary but here are some little-known facts about Anne Boleyn…

Anne Boleyn became the first Queen of England to be publically executed

1. She was accused of committing adultery with her brother

On 2 May 1536, about half a year after her miscarriage, Anne Boleyn was arrested on charges of treason, incest and adultery with four men.

One of those was her own brother, Lord George Rochford. Adultery on part of the Queen was considered treason and she was sentenced to death.

Anne also unwittingly caused the arrest and subsequent death of Sir Francis Weston, after she revealed under interrogation that he had once professed his love for her.

The other charge of treason was labelled as Anne plotting to murder Henry so that she could marry Sir Henry Norris yet modern historians believe the claims were fabricated.

Anne (portrayed here by Claire Foy) has no official date of birth

2. Henry had an affair with her sister and mother

Despite seemingly falsely accusing Anne of having an affair with her brother, it seems Henry was hiding an equally torrid affair from his second wife.

In 1519, Anne’s sister Mary was appointed the queen consort to Henry’s first wife Catherine of Aragon, where the two soon became caught up in a highly public affair.

After Henry began to madly pursue Anne, the second Boleyn daughter learned from her sister’s mistakes and refused to have a sexual relationship with the King unless he married her.

Contemporary rumours also suggested that Anne’s mother Elizabeth Howard also shared the King’s bed, which caused rumours Anne was Henry’s own daughter.

Anne’s historical links to witchcraft earned her a spot on the wall of Hogwarts
Warner Bros.

3. Her portrait is hung at Hogwarts

Anne Boleyn was often accused of being a witch by Henry, who claimed she used witchcraft to seduce him into marrying her.

As such, it seems the producers of Harry Potter decided to use that information to provide an easter egg for fans by hanging a portrait of Anne in Hogwarts.

Anne’s portrait can just be seen in a shot of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as Harry, Ron, and Hermoine climb the Grand Staircase, near the second-floor landing.

Interestingly, that is not the monarchy’s only claim to the wizarding world, as eagle-eyed fans also spotted a portrait of Anne’s father-in-law, Henry VII, in the Great Hall.

Anne retreated to her family home at Hever Castle to battle the deadly sweating sickness

4. She almost died of sweating sickness

The sweating sickness, believed to be a type of influenza, plagued Tudor England and was feared for the speed in which it killed the young and otherwise healthy.

Henry was terrified of the disease and fled when one of Anne’s ladies succumbed to the sweat before he ordered Anne back home to Kent.

It turned out both Anne and her father became ill at Hever Castle, the Boleyn family home, and they were treated by Henry’s ‘second-best’ doctor.

Fortunately for Anne, she was one of the lucky survivors but her brother-in-law, Sir William Carey, and Thomas Cromwell’s wife and daughters, lost their lives/

5. Anne’s year of birth is unknown

While the simple fact of Anne’s date of birth may seem inconsequential, historians actually have contradictory views on whether she was born in 1501 or 1507.

Most historians believe Anne was born in 1501, which would make her around 35 years of age at the time of her execution and thus middle-aged in Tudor terms.

However, should Anne have been 28 at the time of her death, then she still would have been in her childbearing years and it contradicts Henry’s claim that she ‘failed’ to produce a son.

Last year, The Sun revealed Thornbury Castle, the sit of Anne’s beheading, is currently available to rent out rooms for £219 a night.


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