Many people had different contrasting views of Anne Boleyn; on one hand she was viewed as a jezebel or concubine by the Catholics but at the same time she was viewed as a saintly queen by protestant writers. Both these conflicting portraits of Anne Boleyn have a degree of truth but at the same time are inaccurate. Through both of these characters Anne Boleyn’s relationship with Henry VIII caused many effects upon England during his reign such as changing how the church had been set up for thousands of years and the way women were viewed in this time.
Anne spent part of her childhood in the court of the Archduchess Margaret, the daughter of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Mary, Duchess of Burgundy. Anne was around the age of 12-13, as that was the minimum age for a 'fille d'honneur', also know as a bridesmaid or maid of honor . It was from there that she was transferred to the household of Mary, Henry VIII's sister, who was married to Louis XII of France. Anne's sister Mary was already in 'the French Queen's' attendance. However, when Louis died, Mary Boleyn returned to England with Mary Tudor, while Anne remained in France to attend Claude, the new French queen. Anne remained in France for the next 6 or 7 years. During her stay in France she learned to speak French fluently and developed a taste for French clothes, poetry and music. While there in France Anne gained a very unique style and grace that made her very noticeable in the English court. Anne brought to England a new mold for a renaissance woman. She was literate and had received a formal education. Along with this Anne brought her French style that spread through the English court.
In 1521 or early 1522, with war between England and France imminent, Anne returned home. When she first caught Henry VIII's eye is unknown. He was originally attracted to her sister, Mary who came to court before Anne . She was the king's mistress in the early 1520s and, as a mark of favor; her father was elevated to the peerage as viscount Rochford in 1525. Mary herself would leave court with only a dull marriage, and possibly the king's illegitimate son, as her reward. Anne learned much from her sister's example.
Anne's first years at court were spent in service to Henry VIII's first wife, Katharine of Aragon. She became quite popular among the younger men. She was not considered a great beauty; her sister occupied that position in the family, but even Mary was merely deemed 'pretty'. Anne’s focuses were her style, her wit and charm; she was quick-tempered and spirited. Her most remarkable physical attributes were her large dark eyes and long black hair.
It is likely that Henry sought to make Anne his mistress, as he had her sister Mary years before. Maybe drawing on the example of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV (and maternal grandmother to Henry VIII) who was said to have told King Edward that she would only be his wife, not his mistress, Anne denied Henry VIII sexual favors. We don't know who first had the idea of marriage, but eventually it evolved into "Queen or nothing" for Anne. How Anne was able to capture and maintain the king's attention for such a long while, despite great obstacles and the constant presence of malicious gossip cannot be explained. Henry was headstrong and querulous. But for several years, he remained faithful to his feelings for Anne and his desire for a legitimate male heir. He sent many love letters to Anne; his campaign to win her became a dangerous obsession lasting for seven years. My mistress and friend: I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to have them suitors for your good favor, and that your affection for...