King Henry VIII had gone against the pope to divorce his Spanish wife Catherine of Aragon. It was unheard of and he did it via a separation from the catholic church in the form the Church of England. Once Catherine was out of court he swiftly proceeded to marry Anne Boleyn.
Anne was from aristocracy and it was unusual for royalty to marry outside of royalty. Her family attended the king’s court and had his favour. Anne's sister, Mary, had been Henry's mistress and while still married to Catherine he tried woo Anne also. She refused to be his mistress and acknowledged that she could not be his wife due to her lower status and him already being married. This only served to make him more committed to ending his marriage to Catherine so as to free him up to marry Anne.
Initially the marriage went well with Anne producing a healthy baby girl. She was named Elizabeth and was very much her father's daughter with her red hair. Now Henry just needed his male heir, but as the pressure went on, fate seemed to take its inevitable course once again and Anne began to have miscarriages and stillbirths, just like Catherine before her.
In addition to this Henry was already distracted with other ladies at court, in particular Anne's maid Jane Seymour. Just three years after their wedding, Anne gave birth to a stillborn boy and he made the decision to end this marriage. He had her arrested and charged for high treason with charges of adultery, incest and conspiracy. Both friends and family helped to convict her. The trial was swift and her sentence was beheading, yet her final words were gentle towards the king.
I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.
By the following day Henry and Jane Seymour were officially wed.
During her time as queen Anne was never accepted by the people despite her taking the role on with great sincerity and endeavouring to make improvements for the poor. However, she became something of a martyr after her death, particularity once her daughter was acknowledged as one of the greatest and revered queens. She is probably the most famous of Henry's wives to this day, due to the dubious honour of being the first to be beheaded.
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