Did Anne Boleyn crave the crown?

Did Anne Boleyn really refuse to sleep with Henry VIII until he made her his queen? It is widely held that Anne, with whom Henry fell in love in the mid-1520s, was prepared to accept his advances only if he married her, following the annulment of his marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon. George Bernard tests the argument that Anne demanded a crown upon her head…

A portrait of Anne Boleyn. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the June 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Henry VIII’s passion for Anne Boleyn has never been in doubt. In one of his love letters to Anne, Henry lamented her absence, “wishing myself specially an evening in my sweetheart’s arms whose pretty dukkys [breasts] I trust shortly to kiss”, noting that the missive was “written with the hand of him that was, is and shall be yours”. But while his desire isn’t in question, other aspects of the beginnings of their relationship need to be reassessed.

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