Red Rocks Community College
The Influenced and Influential King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII was a very complicated man. He led a life of greatness in many different aspects. He loved to live an elaborate life, sometimes to the extent that he couldn’t afford. Starting from a young boy he excelled in athletics and thoroughly enjoyed them; horseback riding, archery, and jousting. Henry or, as he was sometimes called, Harry also had many influential people in his life throughout his rule in England. Some of the key players were Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. Both of these people used manipulation of Henry to further their own agendas.
King Henry VIII was married at a young age to Catherine of Aragon. She was formerly his brother’s wife. Catherine was from Spain and was a devout Catholic, as was King Henry. She was a good woman and Henry was in love with her. Catherine was older than Henry, and while married produced one daughter for him. They named her Mary. After Mary was born Catherine was unable to produce more children for Henry, due to menopause. Once Henry heard of this he was very upset. Henry longed for a son as heir to his kingdom. This is where Anne Boleyn enters the scene.
Although it is debatable as to if these descriptions are credible, Anne Boleyn was said to have had “seductive eyes which she knew well how to exploit, sometimes holding them in reserve, sometimes sending them on message, carrying the secret witness of the heart” (Anne Boleyn, pg. 19). Another description of Anne is “Madam Anne is not one of the handsomest women in the world; she is of middling stature, swarthy complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised…..her eyes were black and beautiful” (Boleyn, pg. 19). She was also described as more eloquent and graceful than King Henry’s first mistress, Elizabeth Blount. Some other descriptions of Anne were not as kind as these. Above all, King Henry became deeply infatuated with her.
During Anne’s adolescence she was sent away to study. First she served under the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. Margaret loved Anne and thought she was a “bright and pleasant” (Boleyn, pg. 6) young lady. In Margaret’s court Anne was introduced to art; paintings and music. Less than a year later, Anne joined the household of Queen Claude wife of Francis I, King of France. Here she mastered French, learned to play the lute and sing and dance. All of these attributes she acquired might have been the reason for King Henry’s deep want for her.
It is unclear who brought Anne to King Henry’s court. The history about this is unknown. Anne’s father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, was a prominent courtier-administrator at the court and in King Henry’s government. One theory is that Thomas brought Anne to court to ‘catch’ the eye of the King. If Anne could marry the King and produce a male heir, the Boleyn family would be monetarily set for life.
While Anne was a lady for Catherine, the queen of England, King Henry asked her to become his mistress. Time and time again she shot him down. This furthered his obsession with her. He wrote her love letters and showered her with gifts. They wrote each other for a year and within this time Anne fell for Henry. King Henry pled his love to Anne and offered that she be his sole mistress, which was quite unheard of in these days. Although Anne gave into Henry’s advances, she wanted to wait to give him her body. There is much speculation on this subject as well. Many say that Henry would not wait for her and she did fully give in to him. We will never truly know.
There is speculation that Anne wanted Henry to divorce Catherine but there is nothing to determine if this is true. It could have come from Henry because of his deep want for a male heir. Theoretically, if Anne wanted the divorce she would have had to manipulatively influence the King to do so. She could have done...