Love Letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn

henry-VIII-sig

From these love letters we should be able to determine whether Henry VIII was infatuated with the idea Anne Boleyn, or if he was actually head over heels in love with her.

Something to keep in mind is the fact that Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey had broken up Anne and Henry Percy – they had decided to marry and when they asked permission of Wolsey he had to inform them that they could not wed. Why? Henry VIII’s feelings towards Anne – he was already interested in her and wanted her for himself.

Both Percy and Anne were upset and angry over the decision, but what could they do? Not long after their betrothal was declined Henry Percy married Mary Talbot. Any hopes of the two love-birds reuniting dwindled. I often wonder how long Anne pined after Henry Percy once the King started to pursue her.

For more on the young love read – Henry Percy: The Man Who Loved Anne Boleyn

While reading these letters please keep this in mind. Anne probably had strong feelings against the King at the beginning because she still loved Henry Percy. As we know, one cannot turn off the faucet of love overnight.

Enjoy!

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #1(Written sometime after May 1527, after Anne had retreated back to Hever)

In turning over in mymind the contents ofyour last letters, I haveput myself into greatagony, not knowing how to interpretthem, whether to my disadvantage,as you show in some places, or to myadvantage, as I understand them insome others, beseeching you earnestlyto let me know expressly your wholemind as to the love between us two.

It is absolutely necessary for me toobtain this answer, having been forabove a whole year stricken with thedart of love, and not yet sure whetherI shall fail of finding a place in yourheart and affection, which last pointhas prevented me for some time pastfrom calling you my mistress; because, if you only love me with anordinary love, that name is not suitable for you, because it denotes a singular love, which is far from common. But if you please to do the officeof a true loyal mistress and friend, andto give up yourself body and heart tome, who will be, and have been, yourmost loyal servant, (if your rigourdoes not forbid me) I promise youthat not only the name shall be givenyou, but also that I will take youfor my only mistress, casting off allothers besides you out of my thoughtsand affections, and serve you only. Ibeseech you to give an entire answerto this my rude letter, that I mayknow on what and how far I maydepend. And if it does not pleaseyou to answer me in writing, appointsome place where I may have it byword of mouth, and I will go thitherwith all my heart. No more, for fearof tiring you. Written by the handof him who would willingly remainyours, H. R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #2

Though it is not fitting for agentleman to take his lady inthe place of a servant, yet, complyingwith your desire, I willingly grant ityou, if thereby you can find yourselfless uncomfortable in the place chosenby yourself, than you have been inthat which I gave you, thanking youcordially that you are pleased still tohave some remembrance of me.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #3

Although, my mistress, you have not been pleased to remember your promise when I was last with you, to let me hear news of you and have an answer to my last, I think it the part of a true servant to inquire after his mistress’s health and send you this, desiring to hear of your prosperity. I also send by the bearer a buck killed by me late last night, hoping when you eat of it you will think of the hunter. Written by the hand of your servant, who often wishes you in the place of your brother.

anne-boleyn

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #4

My Mistress and Friend,my heart and I surrender ourselves into your hands, beseechingyou to hold us commended to yourfavour, and that by absence your affection to us may not be lessened:for it were a great pity to increaseour pain, of which absence producesenough and more than I could everhave thought could be felt, reminding us of a point in astronomy whichis this: the longer the days are, themore distant is the sun, and nevertheless the hotter; so is it with ourlove, for by absence we are kept adistance from one another, and yetit retains its fervour, at least on myside; I hope the like on yours, assuring you that on my part the painof absence is already too great forme; and when I think of the increaseof that which I am forced to suffer,it would be almost intolerable, butfor the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affection for me: and toremind you of this sometimes, andseeing that I cannot be personallypresent with you, I now send you thenearest thing I can to that, namely,my picture set in a bracelet, with thewhole of the device, which you already know, wishing myself in theirplace, if it should please you. This isfrom the hand of your loyal servantand friend,

H.R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #5 (July 1527)

Replica of Ship from "The Tudors"
Replica of Ship from “The Tudors” – this gift was considered the point where Anne decided to commit to Henry.

For a present so beautiful thatnothing could be more so (considering the whole of it), I thank youmost cordially, not only on accountof the fine diamond and the ship inwhich the solitary damsel is tossedabout, but chiefly for the fine interpretation and the too humble submission which your goodness hathused towards me in this case; for Ithink it would be very difficult forme to find an occasion to deserve it,if I were not assisted by your greathumanity and favour, which I havealways sought to seek, and will seekto preserve by all the kindness in mypower, in which my hope has placedits unchangeable intention, whichsays, Aut illic, aut nullibi (Either there or nowhere).

The demonstrations of your affection are such, the beautiful mottoesof the letter so cordially expressed,that they oblige me forever to honour, love, and serve you sincerely, beseeching you to continue in the samefirm and constant purpose, assuringyou that, on my part, I will surpassit rather than make it reciprocal, ifloyalty of heart and a desire to pleaseyou can accomplish this.

I beg, also, if at any time before thisI have in anyway offended you, thatyou would give me the same absolution that you ask, assuring you, that
henceforward my heart shall be dedicated to you alone. I wish my person was so too. God can do it, if Hepleases, to whom I pray every day forthat end, hoping that at length myprayers will be heard. I wish the timemay be short, but I shall think itlong till we see one another.

Written by the hand of that secretary, who in heart, body, and will, is,Your loyal and most assured Servant,

H. aultre A.B. ne cherse R

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #6 (July 1527)

To my Mistress, Becausethe time seems very long sinceI heard concerning your health andyou, the great affection I have foryou has induced me to send you thisbearer, to be better informed of yourhealth and pleasure, and because,since my parting from you, I havebeen told that the opinion in whichI left you is totally changed, and thatyou would not come to court eitherwith your mother, if you could, or inany other manner; which report, iftrue, I cannot sufficiently marvel at,because I am sure that I have sincenever done any thing to offend you,and it seems a very poor return for thegreat love which I bear you to keepme at a distance both from the speechand the person of the woman that Iesteem most in the world: and if youlove me with as much affection as Ihope you do, I am sure that the distance of our two persons would bea little irksome to you, though thisdoes not belong so much to the mistress as to the servant.

Consider well, my mistress, thatabsence from you grieves me sorely,hoping that it is not your will thatit should be so; but if I knew for certain that you voluntarily desired it,I could do no other than mourn myill-fortune, and by degrees abate mygreat folly. And so, for lack of time,I make an end of this rude letter, beseeching you to give credence to thisbearer in all that he will tell youfrom me.

Written by the hand of your entire Servant,

H.R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #7 (February 1528)

Darling, these shall beonly to advertise you that thisbearer and his fellow be dispatchedwith as many things to compass ourmatter, and to bring it to pass as ourwits could imagine or devise; whichbrought to pass, as I trust, by theirdiligence, it shall be shortly, you andI shall have our desired end, whichshould be more to my hearts ease,and more quietness to my mind, thanany other thing in the world ; as, withGods grace, shortly I trust shall beproved, but not so soon as I wouldit were; yet I will ensure you thatthere shall be no time lost that maybe won, and further can not be done;for ultra posse non est esse (One cant do more than is possible). Keep himnot too long with you, but desirehim, for your sake, to make the morespeed; for the sooner we shall haveword from him, the sooner shall ourmatter come to pass. And thus upontrust of your short repair to London,I make an end of my letter, my ownsweet heart.

Written with the hand of himwhich desireth as much to be yoursas you do to have him.

H. R.

 Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #8 (16 June 1528)

There came to me suddenlyin the night the most afflicting news that could have arrived.The first, to hear of the sickness ofmy mistress, whom I esteem morethan all the world, and whose healthI desire as I do my own, so that Iwould gladly bear half your illness tomake you well. The second, from thefear that I have of being still longerharassed by my enemy. Absence,much longer, who has hitherto givenme all possible uneasiness, and as faras I can judge is determined to spiteme more because I pray God to ridme of this troublesome tormentor.The third, because the physician inwhom I have most confidence, is absent at the very time when he mightdo me the greatest pleasure; for Ishould hope, by him and his means,to obtain one of my chief joys onearth that is the care of my mistress yet for want of him I send youmy second, and hope that he willsoon make you well. I shall then lovehim more than ever. I beseech youto be guided by his advice in yourillness. In so doing I hope soon to seeyou again, which will be to me agreater comfort than all the preciousjewels in the world.

Written by that secretary, who is,and for ever will be, your loyal and most assuied Servant,

H. (A B) R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #9 (20 June 1528)

The uneasiness my doubts aboutyour health gave me, disturbedand alarmed me exceedingly, and Ishould not have had any quiet without hearing certain tidings. But now,since you have as yet felt nothing, Ihope, and am assured that it will spareyou, as I hope it is doing with us. Forwhen we were at Walton, two ushers, two valets de chambres and yourbrother, master-treasurer, fell ill, butare now quite well ; and since we havereturned to our house at Hunsdon,we have been perfectly well, and havenot, at present, one sick person, Godbe praised; and I think, if you wouldretire from Surrey, as we did, youwould escape all danger. There isanother thing that may comfort you,which is, that, in truth in this distemper few or no women have beentaken ill, and what is more, no person of our court, and few elsewhere,have died of it. For which reason Ibeg you, my entirely beloved, not tofrighten yourself nor be too uneasy atour absence; for wherever I am, I amyours, and yet we must sometimessubmit to our misfortunes, for whoever will struggle against fate is generally but so much the farther fromgaining his end: wherefore comfortyourself, and take courage and avoidthe pestilence as much as you can,for I hope shortly to make you sing,la renvoy. No more at present, fromlack of time, but that I wish you inmy arms, that I might a little dispelyour unreasonable thoughts.

Written by the hand of him whois and alway will be yours,

H.R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letters #10 (22 June 1528)

*Note – During this time:

  • June Anne contracted the Sweating Sickness while at Hever Castle. Henry VIII sent his personal physician, William Butts, to care for Anne at Hever.
  • Mary Boleyns husband, William Carey died of the Sweating Sickness

The cause of my writing at thistime, good sweetheart, is onlyto understand of your good healthand prosperity; whereof to know Iwould be as glad as in manner mineown, praying God that (an it be Hispleasure) to send us shortly together,for I promise you I long for it. Howbe it, I trust it shall not be long to;and seeing my darling is absent, I cando no less than to send her some flesh,representing my name, which is hartflesh for Henry, prognosticating thathereafter, God willing, you may enjoy some of mine, which He pleased,I would were now.

As touching your sisters matter, Ihave caused Walter Welze to writeto my lord my mind therein, wherebyI trust that Eve shall not have powerto deceive Adam; for surely, whatsoever is said, it cannot so stand with hishonour but that he must needs takeher, his natural daughter, now in her
extreme necessity.

No more to you at this time, mineown darling, but that with a wish Iwould we were together an evening.

With the hand of yours,

H.R.

Anne_BoleynHenry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #11 (July 1528)

Since your last letters, mine owndarling, Walter Welshe, MasterBrowne, Thos. Care, Grion of Brearton, and John Coke, the apothecary,be fallen of the sweat in this house,and, thanked be God, all well recovered, so that as yet the plague is notfully ceased here, but I trust shortlyit shall. By the mercy of God, the restof us yet be well, and I trust shallpass it, either not to have it, or, at theleast, as easily as the rest have done.As touching the matter of Wilton,my lord cardinal hath had the nunsbefore him, and examined them, Mr.Bell being present ; which hath certified me that, for a truth, she had confessed herself (which we would havehad abbess) to have had two childrenby two sundry priests; and, further,since hath been kept by a servant ofthe Lord Broke that was, and that notlong ago. Wherefore I would not, forall the gold in the world, clog yourconscience nor mine to make her rulerof a house which is of so ungodly demeanour; nor, I trust, you would notthat neither for brother nor sister, Ishould so destain mine honour or conscience. And, as touching the prioress, or Dame Eleanors eldest sister,though there is not any evident caseproved against them, and that theprioress is so old that for many yearsshe could not be as she was named;yet notwithstanding, to do you pleasure, have done that neither of themshall have it, but that some othergood and well-disposed woman shallhave it, whereby the house shall bethe better reformed (whereof I ensure you it had much need), and Godmuch the better served.

As touching your abode at Hever,do therein as best shall like you, foryou best know what air doth best withyou; but I would it were come thereto (if it pleased God), that neither ofus need care for that, for I ensure youI think it long. Suche is fallen sickof the sweat, and therefore I send youthis bearer, because I think you longto hear tidings from us, as we do likewise from you.

Written with the hand de votre seul,

H.R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #12 (20 July 1528)

The approach of the time forwhich I have so long waitedrejoices me so much, that it seemsalmost to have come already. However, the entire accomplishment cannot be till the two persons meet,which meeting is more desired byme than anything in this world; forwhat joy can be greater upon earththan to have the company of her whois dearest to me, knowing likewisethat she does the same on her part,the thought of which gives me thegreatest pleasure.

Judge what an effect the presence ofthat person must have on me, whoseabsence has grieved my heart morethan either words or writing can express, and which nothing can cure,but that begging you, my mistress, totell your father from me, that I desire him to hasten the time appointed
by two days, that he may be at courtbefore the old term, or, at farthest, onthe day prefixed; for otherwise I shallthink he will not do the lovers turn,as he said he would, nor answer myexpectation.

No more at present for lack oftime, hoping shortly that by word ofmouth I shall tell you the rest of thesufferings endured by me from yourabsence.

Written by the hand of the secretary, who wishes himself at this moment privately with you, and who is,and always will be.

Your loyal and most assured Servant,

H. no other A B seek R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #13 (21 July 1528)

Darling, I heartily recommend me to you, ascertainingyou that I am not a little perplexedwith such things as your brothershall on my part declare unto you,to whom I pray you give full credence, for it were too long to write.In my last letters I wrote to you thatI trusted shortly to see you, whichis better known at London than withany that is about me, whereof I nota little marvel; but lack of discreethandling must needs be the causethereof. No more to you at this time,but that I trust shortly our meetingsshall not depend upon other menslight handlings, but upon our own.

Written with the hand of him thatlongeth to be yours.

H. R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #14 (August 1528)

Mine own sweetheart,this shall be to advertise youof the great elengeness that I find heresince your departing ; for, I ensure youmethinketh the time longer sinceyour departing now last, than I waswont to do a whole fortnight. I thinkyour kindness and my fervency of lovecauseth it ; for, otherwise, I would nothave thought it possible that for so little a while it should have grievedme. But now that I am coming towards you, methinketh my pains behalf removed ; and also I am right wellcomforted in so much that my bookmaketh substantially for my matter;in looking whereof I have spent abovefour hours this day, which causeth menow to write the shorter letter to youat this time, because of some pain inmy head; wishing myself (especiallyan evening) in my sweethearts arms,whose pretty dukkys (breasts) I trust shortlyto kiss.

Written by the hand of him thatwas, is, and shall be yours by his ownwill,

H.R.

Henry_VIII_(6)_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerHenry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #15 (20 August 1528)

Darling, Though I havescant leisure, yet, remembering my promise, I thought it convenient to certify you briefly in whatcase our affairs stand. As touchinga lodging for you, we have got oneby my lord cardinals means, the likewhereof could not have been foundhereabouts for all causes, as this bearershall more show you. As touching ouraffairs, I assure you there canbe no more done, nor more diligenceused, nor all manner of dangers better both foreseen and provided for, sothat I trust it shall be hereafter to bothour comforts, the specialities whereofwere both too long to be written, andhardly by messenger to be declared.Wherefore, till you repair hither, Ikeep something in store, trusting itshall not be long to; for I have causedmy lord, your father, to make his provisions with speed; and thus for lackof time, darling, I make an end of myletter, written with the hand of himwhich I would were yours.

H.R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #16 (16 September 1528)

The reasonable request of yourlast letter, with the pleasure alsothat I take to know them true, causeth me to send you these news. Thelegate which we most desire arrivedat Paris on Sunday or Monday lastpast, so that I trust by the next Monday to hear of his arrival at Calais:and then I trust within a while afterto enjoy that which I have so longlonged for, to Gods pleasure and ourboth comforts.

No more to you at this present,mine own darling, for lack of time,but that I would you were in minearms, or I in yours, for I think it longsince I kissed you.

Written after the killing of a hart,at eleven of the clock, minding, withGods grace, to-morrow, mightilytimely, to kill another, by the hand
which, I trust, shortly shall be yours.

Henry R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #17 (Late October 1528)

To inform you what joy it is tome to understand of your conformableness with reason, and of thesuppressing of your inutile and vainthoughts with the bridle of reason. Iassure you all the good in this worldcould not counterpoise for my satisfaction the knowledge and certainty
thereof, wherefore, good sweetheart,continue the same, not only in this,but in all your doings hereafter; forthereby shall come, both to you andme, the greatest quietness that maybe in this world.

The cause why the bearer stays solong, is the business I have had todress up gear for you; and which Itrust, ere long to cause you occupythen I trust to occupy yours, whichshall be recompense enough to mefor all my pains and labour.

The unfeigned sickness of this well-willing legate doth somewhat retardhis access to your person; but I trustverily, when God shall send himhealth, he will with diligence recompense his demur. For I know wellwhere he hath said (touching the saying and bruit that he is thought imperial) that it shall be well known inthis matter that he is not imperial;and thus, for lack of time, sweetheart,farewell.

Written with the hand which fainwould be yours, and so is the heart.

H.R.

12 thoughts on “Love Letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn

  1. You are wrong on all counts.

    If Henry VIII had had at least one legitimate son by Catherine of Aragon, no matter how much he had loved Anne Boleyn, he would not have wanted an annulment. She either would have had to become his mistress, which she well may have done if it hadn’t been that he wanted an annulment, or he would have had to forget about her. And if had never met Anne Boleyn, but still had no legitimate son by Catherine of Aragon, he would still have wanted an annulment to get a legitimate son. He would have instead sought the hand of a foreign princess.

    Henry knew that even if he legitimized or attempted to legitimize Henry Fitzroy and then made him his heir, there would always have been a taint on him and that would have weakened his hold on the throne.

    There was no precedent for leaving the throne to a son born illegitimate and then legitimized. In the fourteenth century, John of Gaunt’s illegitimate children by his mistress Katherine Swynford, the Beauforts, were legitimized, but there were crucial differences. None of John of Gaunt’s children were born to inherit the throne. His legitimate son by his first marriage overthrew the existing monarch to become Henry IV. Also, Gaunt’s children by Katherine Swynford were legitimized only on the condition that he marry her, which he did. And even then, their half-brother Henry IV declared that neither they nor their descendants could inherit the throne.

    Although Henry VII’s sole descent from Edward III *was* through the Beauforts, nobody could have foreseen the Wars of the Roses and the day that Henry Tudor would be the only male Lancastrian left. And even then, Henry VII’s hold was shaky at first—he had to defeat several rebellions. And one thing that helped him enormously was marrying Elizabeth of York, who was descended from Edward III with no illegitimately born ancestors.

    Henry VIII knew from The Wars of the Roses what can happen when kings inherit shaky thrones, and he was determined that nobody would be able to question his son’s right to inherit. He never would have left his throne to a son that was born illegitimate.

    The quest for a legitimate son was the driving force behind his break with The Catholic Church, and his love for Anne Boleyn just happened to coincide with that. It’s romantic to think “He did it for her”, and that erroneous information is often stated as fact. but the fact actually is that he didn’t.

    Also, if Anne Boleyn had produced a son, Henry never ever would have killed her. Never. True, he made Elizabeth his heir when he thought that it was likely that he and Anne would still have a son, because to fail to do that at the time would cast doubt on any son they might have in the future. And true, after it became obvious that he was not going to have more than one legitimate son, he reinstated both Mary and Elizabeth in the line of succession, after Edward. I mean, why not at that point? That does not mean that Anne’s failure to produce a son was not the reason she met her demise. It was.

  2. Totally infatuated for over 8 years before things turned really nasty between them and NO HE DID NOT DIVORCE FOR A SON BUT FOR HER , he could legitimied his bastard son Henry Fitzroy with the pope blessing and Anne was 32 when she finally married him !!! He could have got any 14 year old for sons. This false rumour and defamation towards Henry VIII continues to be popular.
    Let it be clear.
    Although Henry VIII craved for a male heir as the whole kingdom did ( few believed a female could rule, they remembered Mathilda ) and Anne Boleyn had promised him one, Henry DID NOT get rid of Anne for failing to produce a male heir .
    In Truth, once Anne Boleyn had given birth to Princess Elisabeth, Henry made the princess his legitimate heir to the throne and validated his marriage to Anne calling her his beloved queen and the union as perfect and valid for ever !
    On 23 March, 1534, Parliament passed the Act of Succession, vesting the succession of the English Crown in the children of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. This act, effectively, set Princess Elizabeth first in line for the throne,
    This is the act of parliament ‘
    that the lawful matrimony had and solemnized between your highness and your most dear and entirely beloved wife Queen Anne, shall be established, and taken for undoubtful, true, sincere, and perfect ever hereafter, according to the just judgment of the 1534. To not forget that he will later on reinstate Mary to the succession after she will have signed the agreement to the illegitimacy of the marriage between her mother Catherine of Aragon and Henry and he will reinstate Elisabeth too to the succession after coming to terms with the fact that she was his child and her accepting his marriage to her mother Anne Boleyn void on the grounds of her affinity with Mary Boleyn, her sister, also known carnally by the king. All in all, Henry would have much preferred male heirs but it was not his reason to kill or even leave Anne nor did he refuse to have female heirs, he placed both Mary and Elisabeth as heirs.

  3. He wanted his way with everything. She thrilled him for a while but was ready to move on when desire for a son was not met. Not love, just a thrill.

  4. I think he enjoyed the thrill of the chase. Henry was a hunter, she presented a challenge. He obtained her(Annr Bolyn), she couldn’t produce a.male child, to be King. Off with her head, on to the next hunt and capture.

  5. The letters start out more in the chase of her the pursuit of getting a woman who is reluctant to be with him. She was a challenge. The first 9 letters are more about Henry’s wants and desires.

    Once Anne became ill with the sweating sickness there is a change in the tone of the letters. Letters 13, 14 and 15 is where he calls her by sweet names it becomes more about the two of them.

    As we ultimately see once a woman, his woman, did not produce a male heir she was cast aside or in Anne’s case beheaded.

    He would stop at nothing to see if he could have a son. He divorced Kathryn of Aragon, broke with the Catholic church and killed his closest friends who did not see Anne as queen. Nor he as the head of the Church of England.

    Did Henry love her deeply spiritually? In my opinion no.

    Overall the pursuit, the illicit courtship ending with marriage, breaking with the church, divorcing Kathryn, it is still about one thing. A male heir and a fertile woman who could produce a son.

  6. If you are truly in love, you don’t have someone beheaded even if you think they cheated on you with your brother…..

    1. he was no more in love when he did that , he hated her then….. Reminder that he courted her 7 years before she became queen.

    1. 9 years since he pursued her for 7 years before she became queen, I don t know anyone who has been infatuated that long …

  7. How wonderful and truly special to be able to share his feelings for Ann Boleyn.
    He truly was in love and spent what seemed to be a very long time apart before they were in each others company.

    Thank you for sharing these miraculous letters between the King and his love Ann Boleyn.

    Annette G
    Canada.

  8. I think Henry was in love with being in love. The person on the other end did not really matter. Kind of creepy that he associates the exhilaration of hunting and killing animals with thoughts of his mistress of the day. He was just an adrenaline junkie from the sound of it.

    1. I agree with you and Anne was a very clever woman! She knew if she kept him at arms length it would be better for her. He was in love with love and remembering this was the 16th century, men were most virile hunting and fighting. So it goes hand in hand with him wanting her. Another conquest.

Please Login to Comment.