Everybody knows about Henry VIII and his merciless conquest of women unfortunate enough to become his wife. Kids are taught from a young age the rhyme ‘Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived’. For most, it’s the only thing they remember about history from primary school.
The most interesting wife he had was Anne Boleyn, and she was the first of his ladies to lose her head. Over the years she was blessed by delightful nicknames such as ‘concubine', 'whore' and 'charlatan', amongst other things (Personal favourite is ‘The Scandal of Christendom’). In essence, she was slut-shamed by people who didn’t like her. Thankfully, civilisation has evolved since those times.
But how did this hatred lead to her death and what went wrong for the woman that had originally turned Henry VIII into a lovesick puppy? Let's attempt to set the scene before her gruesome death: Henry had formed his own church so that he could marry Anne; after marriage they had a baby girl but no boy; Henry got bored of her and found a new lover. All while this went on, Anne ticked off a lot of people, and she was conveniently found guilty of adultery and lost her head.
Though that scene setting was an insult to Tudor history, it provides all necessary information for you to enjoy this article…
10. Affair With Brother
most disturbing fact about Anne’s demise is her alleged affair with her
brother, George Boleyn. As mentioned at the start, Anne was often referred to as
a "whore" but her brother was also called out for his licentious nature. There were
several rumours about George at court, largely about his cheating on his wife
and possibilities that he was a homosexual.
The siblings had a close relationship, and Anne would often invite George to come visit her in her chambers. She is accused of having relations with her brother in said meetings. It is said that they each grew jealous of each-other's relationships and thus had an affair. These stories were easy to believe after the reputation that each had generated over the years at court.
It is even suggested that George may have been the father of the baby that Anne lost shortly before dying. He did have an unusually close relationship with his sister and it isn’t too wild to suggest that this affair did happen. However, my favourite part of their relationship is when they are accused of gathering together and laughing at the poems that Henry had written. I find it hilarious to think that this got the king so angry that he wanted to have them executed because he was definitely that insane.