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King Henry VIII and his Six Wives
Anne Boleyn
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Anne Boleyn
(1507?- 1536)
Second Wife of Henry VIII, Beheaded

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Anne Boleyn birth and early childhood are little known about.  Some historians estimate her birth to be around 1500 or 1501, but others as late as 1507 or 1509.  Anne spent most of her early life in the households of royalty, attending to them, and being part of the household staff.  Anne was in France for 6 or 7 years attending to the French Queen, Claude.
 
Anne finally returned to England around 1521, where she was entered into the service of Queen Catherine.  While in England, Anne had various relationships and romances with different men.  She soon, however, caught the attention of King Henry himself.  Anne's own sister, Mary Boleyn, had once been one of Henry's mistresses, so Anne easily became aquainted with him.  Henry wished for Anne to become his mistress as her sister had been, but Anne, wished only to become queen and Henry's wife, refused to sleep with him.  Anne's refusal only made Henry's passion and want for Anne greater, and he even went far enough to pursue an annulment from his current wife, Catherine of Aragon.
 
But the annulment was going very slowly.  Anne feared that Henry would not divorce Catherine, and she would not become Queen.  Henry bestowed on her the title of Marquess of Pembroke in 1532, but this was not enough for her, and she longed for the title of Queen.  Near the end of 1532, she finally gave way and slept with Henry, and became pregnant in December.  Not wanting another bastard child, Henry quickly rejected the power of the Pope, made himself the head of the Church of England, divorced Catherine, and secretly married Anne in 1533.
 
Anne gave birth to Princess Elizabeth on September 7, 1533.  The birth of a girl was a disappointment to both Henry and Anne.  In 1534, Anne miscarried a child, and another one in 1535.
 
Anne's temper, impatientence, selfishness, flirtatious manner, and more caused her to have many enemies at the English court, many of them began trying to plan her downfall.  Besides, by now the King had begun to fancy Jane Seymour, one of Anne's ladies-in-waiting.  Thomas Cromwell persuaded the King to sign a document for an investigation of treason against Anne.
 
Queen Anne was arrested on charges of adultery with her musician Mark Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, and her own brother, George Boleyn.  She was also accused to plotting to muder the king.  Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Sir Thomas Wyatt were also arrested and charged with adultery with the Queen.  All men, except Sir Thomas Wyatt, who was released, were proven guilty and hung at Tyburn.
 
The Queen was proven guilty and was ordered by the King to be beheaded.  Shortly before being beheaded, her marriage to the King was declared invalid, making her daughter Elizabeth a bastard, just like the King's first daughter, Mary. 
 
On May 19, 1536, Anne delivered this speech at the Tower Green shortly before being beheaded:
 
"Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. 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. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus 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."
 
Anne's body and head were buried together in an unmarked grave in a chapel that adjoined the Tower Green.  Her body was later exhumed and identified, and is now marked.
 
View Anne Boleyn's Picture Gallery: Anne Boleyn
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