Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Meet Cute of Henry and Anne

In the midst a very terrible cold I missed the anniversary of the Chateau Vert production. On March 1, 1522 Anne appeared in a court masque in which she portrayed the feminine virtue Perseverance  and Henry was cast as Ardent (oh the historical irony) It was Anne's first recorded appearance at Henry's court and recorded by the Tudor chronicler Edward Hall, he wrote:

On shrouetewesdaie [Shrove Tuesday] at night, the said Cardinall to the  to the Kyng and ambassadors made another supper and after the supper their came into a great chamber hanged with Arras, and there was a cothe of estate, and many braunches, and on every braunch xxxii torchettes of waxe, and in the nether ende of thesame chamber was a castle, in which was a principall Tower, in which was a Cresset burning: and two other lesse Towers stode on every side, warded and embattailed, and on every tower was a banner.... Hall continues describing the scene and goes on to say "...this castle was kept with ladies of straunge names, the first Beautie, the second Honor, the thirs Perseueraunce, the fourth Kyndne, the fifth Constance, the sixth Bountie, the seueenth Mercie and eigt Pitie: these eight ladies had Millian gounes of white satting, euery Lady had her name embraudered with golde, on their heddes calles....Vnder nethe the basse fortresse of the castle were other eight ladies who names were, Dangier, Disdain, Gelousie, Vykydenes [unkindness] Scorne, Malebouche [sharp tongued] Straungenes, these ladies tired like to women of Inde.
Then entered eight Lordes in clothe of golde capes and all, and great mantel clokes of blewe sattin, thse lords were names Amorous, Noblenes, Youth, Attendance, Loyalties, Pleasure, Gentlenes, and Libertie, the kyng was chief of this compainie, this compainie was led by one all in crimosin sattin with burning flames of gold, called Ardent.
Hall continues describing a play fight where the men rescue the desirable womanly virtues from their wicked detainers. While there is no evidence that this is when Henry's relationship with Anne began, it is certainly their first interaction. Most historians, myself included, would agree that it was more likely that Henry was pursuing Mary Boleyn at this point and would alter his affections to Anne in 1526/7.** The scene was altered slightly and brought to life on The Tudors in 2005. Check out the video here!
*The Chronicle of Edward Hall
**The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, by Eric Ives


  1. Did you notice that The Tudors had him as honesty? I wonder what the point was behind changing it.

    1. I actually had never noticed that! Thanks for pointing it out. I'm sure it was a play on Henry's delusions about being an honest person.