Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery, new biography claims





A new biography of Anne Boleyn is set to claim that, far from being framed for adultery, Henry VIII's second queen may not have been innocent of the affairs for which she was sentenced to death.

The widely held view among contemporary historians is that the charges brought against Anne – that she committed adultery with five lovers, including her brother – are too preposterous to be true, and were either trumped up by one political faction to do down another, or invented by Henry as a result of his desire to marry Jane Seymour, after Anne had failed to give him a son. But George Bernard, professor of early modern history at Southampton University and editor of the English Historical Review, believes that the queen could well have been guilty of some of the charges laid against her – or at the very least that her behaviour was such that it was reasonable for Henry to assume she had committed adultery.

Examining a 1545 poem by Lancelot de Carles, who was then serving the French ambassador to Henry's court, Bernard concludes that the poem, entitled "A letter containing the criminal charges laid against Queen Anne Boleyn of England," offers strong evidence that Anne did, in fact, commit adultery. She was accused of "despising her marriage" and "entertaining malice against the king", with her indictment claiming that "by base conversations and kisses, touchings, gifts, and other infamous incitations" she seduced men including the musician Mark Smeaton, chief gentleman of the privy chamber Henry Norris and her brother George, Viscount Rochford, "alluring him with her tongue in his mouth and his in hers". All five men, and Anne, were executed.



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