Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery

Anne Boleyn the second of Henry VIII's wives was executed for committing adultery with multiple lovers including her brother. The allegations have normally been considered to have been fabricated simply as a way to get her out of the way as she was failing in the same way her predecessor Catherine of Aragon had in providing sons. However historian George Bernard is now claiming that the accusations could have been true, so what do you think?

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery
Yes because...

Age difference

Henry(42 yrs old when marrying Anne) was at least 9 years older than Anne(age estimates range from 24 to 33 yrs of age,when married), although this is not unusual in marriage at the time, or indeed since, this does make such charges more likely. Anne would have likely tired of Henry and wanted someone younger and closer to her age and as Queen she would have had no difficulty finding sutors to tempt her.

No because...

He liked killing wives that's all. She did not produce a son; he wanted a male heir. He wasn't happy; he was having an affair with another woman; he didn't feel like getting another divorce(public uprising/revolt.The public blamed Anne for the separation of the English Church with that of Rome. Catholics do not permit divorce) so he stamped her with false accusations.

Henry wasn't nearly the nicest/most-loyal of men. And if Anne was such a flirt she would not insist on marriage before sex earlier and would have settled for just an affair with the king; as a mistress.

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery
Yes because...

George Bernard's evidence is a poem and he also claims that Anne could not have said no to the king

the poem is very explicit in detailing Anne's behavior.
From french kissing; to giving herself to many men so she may able to bore the king a son.-[[]]

He wanted a legitimate male heir. His first wife was unable to produce any children. He was according to George Bernard looking for a wife to become his queen and produce a son(a legal legitimate heir to the throne)

No because...

The poem is not a new discovery, nor evidence, a written accusation is just as void as a verbal one.

Bernard's claim that Henry would not take her as a mistress because he didn't want illegitimate children is also strange/laughable given how the king had taken her sister Mary as a mistress earlier.

Bernard is just out for publicity for saying something starkly opposed to what all other historians of the subject say on it.

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery
No because...

The charges were created by one political faction to remove another from power.

Many members of Henry VIII’s court harbored resentment for Anne. Catholics blamed her for the break with Rome and their subsequent excommunication. Jane Seymour was known to have sympathies for Henry’s Catholic daughter Mary and believed Jane would help Mary restore relations with her father and restore her to the succession. Anne was influencing Henry towards Protestantism (it must be remembered that Henry was not a protestant, he still followed the Catholic religion with the exception of believing in the authority of the pope over monarchs) by offering him books that were written by ‘heretics’ such as the ‘Supplication of the Beggars’ and the ‘Obedience of the Christian Man’, which challenged church authority. This caused many Catholics to fear and resent her.

Anne had also upset Cromwell, Henry’s chancellor after a disagreement about where funding from the dissolved monasteries should go. Anne wished for it to be used to fund education and Cromwell disagreed. Anne threatened him; reportedly by saying that he believed he was above her, and that she could make him a head shorter. Before this Cromwell had been an ally of the Boleyn faction. After Catherine of Aragon's death he aimed to restore relations with the Spanish, Anne was pro-France and would get in the way of this. His support was key as a powerful political ally with the ear of the king.

Yes because...

There were people who had wished to remove Anne for years, surely this would have been easier before Catherine Aragon had died as they could have relied on assistance from the Spanish.

Anne was a notorious flirt and is said to have surrounded herself with men when in her chambers. It is not therefore completely unbelievable that she may have taken one of these men as her lovers. Conversations were recorded that she had with some of the men who were accused of being her lovers. She is reported to have accused Henry Norris of seeking to fill dead dead men's shoes, implying that should Henry die he would like to take her as his own wife. This was a dangerous thing for a queen to say. She was also very close to her brother and this made his wife Jane extremely jealous.

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery
No because...

The Affair was invented by Henry as a result of his desire to marry Jane Seymour, after Anne had failed to give him a son

Anne had recently miscarried a son. This was her third miscarriage in a row. The only child she bore Henry was Elizabeth, another girl, which did not stabilize the succession and therefore provided Henry with what he wished for.

Henry had already begun to fall for Jane Seymour, one of Anne’s ladies in waiting and will have believed that she might be able to give him the son he so desired. Anne was getting older and 3 miscarriages in a row proved that she was no longer able to carry a child to full term.

Was/is being a cuckold half as bad as being a wife-killer & iconoclast. No , there was considerable objection.opposition to him introducing divorce to England and fighting with the Pope just to marry a younger woman, who would not give herself otherwise. And Anne didn't give birth to a son. While Henry started liking Jane Seymour. (Fighting with the pope again to introduce polygamy was out of the question) So he got Anne killed just as he got Cathryn Howard executed later.

He just couldn't take one woman for more than a year.
He had to for Catherine of Aragon because of her exceptionally noble roots but he just couldn't with the five others...

Yes because...

To be betrayed by his wife would have been humiliating for Henry. It would tarnish his reputation and render him a cuckold. Why would he make up something so damaging?

Henry was said to have wept when the news was broken to him and was distraught by rumours that Anne had slept with 100 men. Adultery was a messy charge to be levied against her and did not carry the death penalty at the time. Henry changed this by making it treason as it could damage the royal bloodline. A charge like witchcraft would have been much more concrete. Many men already believed Anne was a witch due to rumours of her having a large mole on her neck and a sixth finger on her left hand.

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery
No because...

It would have been impossible

Queens were watched night and day. The entrances to their chambers were guarded, meaning that anyone who came into her bedroom would have been seen and most probably reported to the king. The Queen would also share her bed with one of her ladies in waiting, again meaning that bringing a man into her room to sleep with her would require at least one willing accomplice.

Also if one looks at the sources about Anne's charges many of her encounters would have been impossible. Anne was not even in the places she was said to be at when the affairs occurred.

Jane Boleyn was the woman who accused Anne of incest in terms of sleeping with George. The charges against Cathryn Howard(married at not more than 19 to a 49 yr old king) were proven after stringent investigation on the matter.

The charges against Anne were made by political enemies who presented self-contradictory evidence. There was no investigation.

Yes because...

It would not have been entirely impossible for Anne to find a willing accomplice. Some of her ladies waiting were her relations and could be trusted to keep the secret. She had trusted Madge Shelton before, to become the king's mistress, when she feared that he would take one during her pregnancy.

Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, had been able to arrange secret meetings with her lover with the help of Jane Boleyn, the wife of Anne's brother George. Jane would help to conceal the affair and would even arrange when the two lovers were to meet up. It is possible that Anne could have found someone, especially a close friend or relative, to do the same.

Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery

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