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Anne BOLEYN

English Anne BOLEYN

Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: in 1501 in Blickling Hall, Norfolk Or Hever Castle, Kent
Died: on May 19, 1536 in Tower Of London, London, England


Biography

Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Boleyn was a well respected diplomat with a gift for languages; he was also a favourite of Henry VII of England, who sent him on many diplomatic missions abroad. Anne and her siblings grew up at Hever Castle in Kent. However, the siblings were born in Norfolk at the Boleyn home at Blickling. A lack of parish records from the period has made it impossible to establish Anne's date of birth. Contemporary evidence is contradictory, with several dates having been put forward by various historians. An Italian, writing in 1600, suggested that she had been born in 1499, while Sir Thomas More's son-in-law, William Roper, indicated a much later date of 1512. Her birth was most likely sometime between 1501 and 1507. As with Anne herself, it is uncertain when her two siblings were born, but it seems clear that her sister Mary was older than Anne. Mary's children clearly believed their mother had been the elder sister. Most historians now agree that Mary was born in 1499. Mary's grandson claimed the Ormonde title in 1596 on the basis she was the elder daughter, which Elizabeth I accepted. Their brother George was born around 1504.

The academic debate about Anne's birth date focuses on two key dates: 1501 and 1507. Eric Ives, a British historian and legal expert, advocates the 1501 date, while Retha Warnicke, an American scholar who has also written a biography of Anne, prefers 1507. The key piece of surviving written evidence is a letter Anne wrote sometime in 1514. She wrote it in French to her father, who was still living in England while Anne was completing her education at Mechelen, in the contemporary Netherlands, now Belgium. Ives argues that the style of the letter and its mature handwriting prove that Anne must have been about thirteen at the time of its composition, while Warnicke argues that the numerous misspellings and grammar errors show that the letter was written by a child. In Ives's view this would also be around the minimum age that a girl could be a Maid of Honour, as Anne was to the regent, Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy. This is supported by claims by a chronicler from the late 16th century, who wrote that Anne was twenty when she returned from France. These findings are contested by Warnicke in several books and articles, and the evidence does not conclusively support either date.

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