Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Mystery of Anne Boleyn's Second Pregnancy

From On the Tudor Trail:
In light of the evidence, it seems likely that Anne went into labour prematurely sometime between 26 June and 2 July, explaining why no records survive of the queen’s confinement. This leaves open the possibility that the loss was so devastating, so damaging, especially considering that Henry was still trying to prove to the world the righteousness of his marriage, that all present were sworn to secrecy and the whole incident erased from history.

Unless one has experienced such heartbreak, it’s difficult to imagine the overwhelming emotional and physical pain that Anne must have felt. The baby would have been well formed and the sex determinable, although, the details were not recorded. The king left Hampton Court in all haste and abandoned his grieving wife. Was the loss of an heir the reason for their extended and uncharacteristic separation? The silence of the royal nursery and the empty silver cradle, perhaps, too much for even a hardened king —and one well-versed in loss— to bear.

This event must have brought memories of Katherine of Aragon’s tragic obstetric history flooding back and sowed a seed of doubt in the king’s mind that would eventually grow to consume him. Anne had promised Henry sons and heirs but had only delivered a daughter and a stillborn baby. In the king’s eyes, she’d failed him; with Henry’s insecurities awakened, there would be no room for further disappointments. (Read more.)

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