Did Anne Boleyn Cheat on Her Husband? Judge for Yourself

  April 30, 2009 at 9:33 am by

Anne Boleyn

The National Archives has digitized and created an online exhibition of parchments from the reign of Henry VIII. A collection of “top secret” documents, part of the “Bag of Secrets”, tells the story of the beginning of Anne Boleyn’s trial in 1536. Anne had been accused, with her brother George Boleyn, of high treason and incest. Among the allegations against the Boleyns was that they had French kissed each other, and that Anne enticed George to sleep with her by giving him presents and jewels. Historians do not think that the allegations were true because there is evidence that Anne was not at the locations at the times of the alleged incidents. It seems that Henry concocted the evidence against her.

It is not altogether clear why Henry decided to dump Anne. John Guy, Tudor historian, says “One of the main mysteries of Anne Boleyn is why Henry decided to get rid of her at that time. One obvious answer might be that his eye had alighted on Jane Seymour by then. “Anne first had a daughter (Elizabeth I) and then had miscarriages and it was said that there was a male foetus – this fits in psychologically with Henry, that Henry believed that his marriage was doomed. But why would he bring down the whole of Anne’s party and her brother as well? I think the answer is that Anne had crossed Henry by then.”

The collection of documents, seen on-line for the first time, also includes a court document relating to the divorce from Catherine of Aragon and a letter dealing with Henry’s desire to end his marriage with Anne of Cleves, because of their disappointing sex life. There is also a section of the the display about the Valor Ecclesiasticus, a special valuation of church lands before the dissolution of the monasteries.

See more information about the exhibition at the National Archives Henry VIII website. Also see this article at The Daily Telegraph.

Filed under Historical Royals, The United Kingdom
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6 Responses to Did Anne Boleyn Cheat on Her Husband? Judge for Yourself

  1. I don’t think that it was Henry VIII who decided to get rid of Anne, more Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell had argued with Anne Boleyn and realised that if he didn’t get rid of her she could well cost him his life, just like Thomas More. Cromwell told the Imperial ambassador, Chapuys, of his plans to conspire against Anne and he also had the support of the Catholic faction who knew that Jane Seymour was a Catholic sympathiser.

    Cromwell trumped up charges against Anne and I think that these were easy for Henry to believe or pretend that he believed for the following reasons:-
    – Anne had let him down by not giving him a son
    – Anne had called his marriage to Catherine cursed or wrong in the eyes of God because Catherine did not produce a son, so Henry thought that his marriage to Anne was also wrong as she had not produced a son and he had previously taken her sister, Mary, as a mistress.
    – He was now interested in Jane Seymour
    – His love for Anne was “past its sell by date” in that he felt he had given up so much for her and was probably beginning to resent her, particularly as she could be blamed for Thomas More’s execution and his break with Rome.

    Those are just my opinions of course!

    I think it’s great that these documents are now online, perfect for us Tudor History fans!

  2. Eleanor says:

    I don’t think Anne cheated on Henry. No matter how angry he made her, she knew that if she cheated on him, that would be the end of her and she was far too ambitious to purposefully let the throne slip away from her like that. It’s well known that the evidence for her adultery and incest was shoddy, at best. Henry might not have wanted her dead, he just wanted her out the way so he could marry Jane Seymour, who was pregnant at the time and he wanted a legitmate heir.
    I always felt sorry for Anne; no matter how spiteful or manipulative she might have been, no one deserves so bloody a death for something they may or may not have done. Rest in peace, Anne Boleyn.

  3. luvprue1 says:


    Did Anne cheat on Henry VIII? Maybe, or maybe not. However I think we should reexamine the definition of cheating for that ERA. In a time period where merely predicting the king’s death was consider treason, what would constitute an affair? I notice that the out of the six wives that Henry VIII had, he sent two to the scaffold for cheating. Yet the two that he sent did one thing that the other 4 queens did not. They did not flirt nor participate in “courtly love”. Queen Katherine , nor Queen Anne of Cleve behave in that manner,neither did Jane Seymour,nor katherine Parr. Historian G.W Bernard (re: Anne Boleyn: fatal attraction) believe that Anne might have been guilty of at least one of the charges. After reading his book, I no longer think she was totally innocent .

  4. Isabella says:

    Whatever she may have done or not she certainly well not just her but anyone should have got their head chopped off. That is horrible. I clearly blame Henry the VIII for writing a beautiful song about Anne Boylen then realising what kind of person she really was? He should of known more about her first. Anyway Henry the VIII it may not be what everyone thinks but i think he is selfish mean and cruel obviously he does not know that because he doesnt know how it feels he just sits there telling orders and telling other people what to do. Horrible man. Thank god i was not alive then. I mean think of what a nightmare it could’ve been.

  5. Ellie Cook says:

    Anne boleyn did not have any other boyfriends but henryv111 he just wanted to get rid of her because she didnt give him a boy and he allready fell in love with jane seymour and he could of just gave her a divorce but thomas Cromwell said that would be too sudden and unwise so cromwell thought about chopping her head off and that wanst fair so anne boleyn could of actually lived longer if hed just accepted that she had a girl and gave her a divorce so there
    That all I have to say about agreeble anne and huge horrid henry. And horrid Cromwell. The end.

  6. jane says:

    She may have cheated Henry because she had a relationship with Francis I.

    I have been fond of books about her for long time.

    The latest one I have read is sold on Amazon. The ebook is entitled “Anne Boleyn’s Secret Love at the Court of Francis I”. It is translated from French into English by Alice Warwick from a book written in the XIXth century.

    In a few letters written by Anne Boleyn to her convent friend Anne Savage, you will learn about her life as a maid of honour at the court of Francis I. The portrait of young Anne Boleyn is passionate and romantic. I hope you will enjoy the reading.


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