Anne Boleyns fate was sealed after key ally of King Henry VIII wanted revenge

Anne Boleyn conspiracy theory discussed by expert

Henry VIII was the King of England for almost 40 years before his death in 1547.

In that time he married six different women, treating many of them with utter contempt, and even sending a few to the gallows.

Of those wives, one has become more famous than the other, perhaps because of the extraordinary events that marked her short life.

Anne Boleyn made Henry wait seven years before agreeing to marry him, although it would be a fatal decision for he would order her beheading just a few years after they tied the knot.

Records and accounts vary, but some historians have suggested that the King was heavily influenced into making the decision — and perhaps wasn’t even in control of what happened to the Queen.

READ MORE Henry VIII may have been ‘manipulated’ into executing Anne Boleyn

Anne was accused of treason in 1536, just three years into her reign.

By this time, Henry was already courting his next wife, Jane Seymour, yet Anne was accused of having sexual relationships with no less than five royal courtiers, including her brother, George Boleyn (Lord Rochford), and the king’s close friend, Sir Henry Norris.

The official indictments stated that she had not only slept with these men but also conspired to murder her husband.

Henry’s later behaviour led many to conclude that he alone was responsible for her death, but new interpretations have focused attention on one of his closest advisers, Thomas Cromwell.

Anne and Thomas were known not to see eye-to-eye, disagreeing on matters of state and religion.

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In 1536, Henry seriously wounded himself while jousting at Greenwich, and it soon became an injury that instilled in him the desire to secure a male heir to the throne.

Just five days later, Anne suffered a third miscarriage, and this time, the baby would have been a boy.

Speaking during the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, ‘Henry VIII and the King’s Men’, Dr Tracy Borman, a historian, noted: “To Henry, this was God showing his hand. He wasn’t going to favour him and Anne with a son and heir.”

This, Dr Borman said, allowed Cromwell to “spot an opportunity”. The adviser already “blamed Anne for the untimely demise of his mentor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who failed to annul Henry’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Professor Susan Doran, a historian at the University of Oxford, said: “I think he [Cromwell] wanted revenge on Anne for the downfall of his patron and his friend, Cardinal Wolsey.

“In Cromwell’s eyes, Anne was held responsible for his death. In that respect, Henry was manipulated.”

Documents held in the British Library hint at the extent to which Thomas may have orchestrated Anne’s demise. One letter shows “just how much the men around him were pulling the strings”.

Ms Borman said: “So Henry might or might not have instructed Cromwell to get him out of his marriage, I think it’s likely he did.

“But whether he had this in mind, I think, is more debatable. Perhaps Henry was thinking of an annulment.

“But Cromwell was getting rid of Anne rather more permanently than that, setting up a case for adultery with not just one, but five men. That’s why he calls it ‘abominable’ here in this letter.”

Henry ultimately based his decision on the evidence given to him by Thomas, and as Dr Borman noted: “Certainly it suited him to believe it. And therefore, the order for Anne’s execution went through.”

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