April 30, 1536

Medieval lute rose by John RollinsCromwell and his colleagues lay all the charges before Henry, and Smeaton is arrested. By the end of the day, the planned trip with Anne to Calais is cancelled.

How to explain Henry’s swift reaction?  Here are the explanations of two respected scholars, Alison Weir and Eric Ives. Which do you find most convincing?

— Alison Weir considers that the charges, in themselves, were “more than enough to arouse fury in any husband, let alone an egotistical monarch” and that from the moment the Council reported the charges to him, he was “convinced that he had nourished a viper in his bosom, and that Anne had betrayed and humiliated him, both as a husband and a king” (118).

–Eric Ives thinks that the King was not yet certain that Anne was guilty. Yes, he was simmering–but not convinced. He had been seen (by Alexander Ales) to have had an argument with Anne the day before, in which he appeared very angry while Anne, with Elizabeth in her arms, appealed to him. Ives speculates that Anne’s anxiety and Henry’s anger were likely due to a very public argument between Anne and Norris the day before, in which she had accused Norris of “look[ing] for dead men’s shoes” (the shoes being Henry’s) and having Anne for himself, and then asked Norris to go to her almoner to swear that the queen “was a good woman.” Everyone at court knew about this, and it was enough, Ives argues, to occasion the cancelation of the Calais trip, but not enough to convince him of Anne’s guilt. “The fatal catalyst,” he writes, “would be Mark Smeaton”–that is, his confession, which wouldn’t occur until the next day (325).

What do you think?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “April 30, 1536

  1. I don’t think Henry ever needed to be “convinced,” or that he believed – even for an instant – that the charges against Anne had merit. He and Cromwell planned Anne’s arrest as a means of getting rid of a wife he had come to despise, not because Anne was actually guilty of anything. I think Cromwell laid his “case” in front of Henry and said Smeaton would confess by morning. Henry patted him on the back, said he’d done a fine job, and made the first public move by canceling the trip.

  2. Neither. Henry planned her downfall w/ Cromwell.

  3. Anne was set up. She was pregnant when she became Queen, and when she had a girl, Henry having a big ego, and also having a child by Anne’s sister, wanted to rid himself of the Boleyns period.He left it to his handlers to find a reason. Anne was smart, and politically savvy, why should she jeopardize her position? The blame is on Henry and it was on his conscience for the rest of his life. Everytime he looked at Elizabeth, named after his mother, he saw Anne. Bottom line: he used Anne and discarded her.Anne, the mother of one of the greatest Queens to have ever lived.

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