A Love Letter From Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
In debating with myself the contents of your letters I have been put to a great agony; not knowing how to understand them, whether to my disadvantage as shown in some places, or to my advantage as in others. I beseech you now with all my heart definitely to let me know your whole mind as to the love between us; for necessity compels me to plague you for a reply, having been for more than a year now struck by the dart of love, and being uncertain either of failure or of finding a place in your heart and affection, which point has certainly kept me for some time from naming you my mistress, since if you only love me with an ordinary love the name is not appropriate to you, seeing that it stands for an uncommon position very remote from the ordinary; but if it pleases you to do the duty of a true, loyal mistress and friend, and to give yourself body and heart to me, who have been, and will be, your very loyal servant (if your rigour does not forbid me), I promise you that not only the name will be due to you, but also to take you as my sole mistress, casting off all others than yourself out of mind and affection, and to serve you only; begging you to make me a complete reply to this my rude letter as to how far and in what I can trust; and if it does not please you to reply in writing, to let me know of some place where I can have it by word of mouth, the which place I will seek out with all my heart. No more for fear of wearying you. Written by the hand of him who would willingly remain your
King Henry VIII (1491 - 1547) of England was a man of many talents. It was he who first created England's navy, that would later prove to be the foundation of the British Empire. His most clearly remembered actions, however, were his religious, political and marital exploits.
Henry's quest for a male heir to the throne, combined with his growing boredom with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, led to his break with the Catholic Church and the many weddings that followed. Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn and married her in 1533. She was believed to be pregnant with his child at the time. In 1534, Henry passed the Act of Supremacy, severing all ties with the church in Rome and founding the Church of England, with himself as the absolute authority. Anne bore Henry a daughter, Elizabeth I. By 1536, Henry had already become bored with his new bride and had her tried for treason, adultery and incest. It is widely believed that the evidence was dubious at best. After Anne's execution, Henry married Jane Seymour that same year.
Henry went on to marry a total of six times: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and finally Catherine Parr. Catherine of Aragon, at her deathbed, proclaimed her continued love for Henry, and her forgiveness for his actions. "For my part I do pardon you all, yea, I do wish and devoutly pray God that He will also pardon you." Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to haunt the Tower of London even today
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