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Anne (1507-1537) (DNB00)


From Wikisource

ANNE (15071536), the second queen of Henry VIII, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn,
afterwards earl of Wiltshire and Ormond. He was the grandson of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, a
prosperous London merchant, who was lord mayor in 1457, and who purchased the manor of
Blickling in Norfolk from the veteran Sir John Fastolf. Thrift seems to have prepared the way for
the future greatness of the family. Sir Geoffrey married a daughter and coheir of Lord Hoo and
Hastings. His son, Sir William Boleyn of Blickling, married Margaret, daughter and coheir of
Thomas Butler, earl of Ormond; and their son, Sir Thomas, married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas
Howard, earl of Surrey, who, for his services at the battle of Flodden, had his father's dukedom of
Norfolk restored. These were the parents of Anne Boleyn, who, according to Camden
(Introduction to Annals of Eliz.), was born in 1507. She had a brother named George, afterwards
Viscount Rochford, and an elder sister named Mary, some parts of whose personal history appears
to have been confounded with her own. Both sisters spent some of their early years in France, and
it would seem that Anne, then seven years old, must have accompanied her elder sister Mary when
she went thither in the suite of Henry VIII's sister Mary, who was married to Louis XII in 1514.
Mary Boleyn was in England again in 1520 when she married William Carey; while Anne, who
became, as Cavendish observes, one of the French queen's women, remained in France till the
end of 1521 or beginning of the year 1522, when, owing to the hostile intentions of England
towards France, she was called home. She took part in one of the court revels in March 1522; and
it is certain that she soon found more than one admirer besides the king. Sir Thomas Wyatt, the
poet, paid her marked attention, though he was at the time a married man. Little respect was shown
to conjugal ties by Henry VIII's courtiers. The king himself had before this time dishonoured
Anne's sister Mary, whom he married to William Carey; and it is something to say for Anne in the
midst of that exceedingly corrupt court that she did not yield in the same manner. A more
honourable suitor appeared in the person of Lord Henry Percy, heir to the earldom of
Northumberland; but when his attachment became manifest, Wolsey put a stop to it by the king's
direction. He called the young lord before him in his gallery, reproved him for his indiscretion in
entangling himself with a foolish girl in the court, and informed him that the king had been
arranging to marry her to some one else, finally sending for the earl, his father, who threatened to
disinherit him for his presumption.
The king had in truth planned a marriage for her while she was still in France, and it was to this
that Wolsey no doubt alluded, and not to any secret design of Henry to marry her himself; for the
occurrence can be proved by the most conclusive evidence to have taken place as early as 1522,
that is to say, within a year of her return from France. That Cavendish, from whom we derive our
knowledge of the fact, should have interpreted it otherwise, is not wonderful, as he wrote many
years afterwards, and knew nothing of the earlier project. The intended match was with the son of
Sir Piers Butler, Earl of Ormond, and is frequently mentioned in the State Papers of 1520 and 1521
as a convenient project for reconciling two rival families in Ireland. It was, however, dropped not
long after Anne's return from France. In April 1522, which was just after her first appearance at the
English court, her father received two separate grants of lands and offices from the crown, and like
favours continued to be bestowed upon him during the three following years, in the last of which

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