What influence did Anne Boleyn have on the Divorce and the Reformation

What influence did Anne Boleyn have on the Divorce and the Reformation?

  1.              I.      Problem statement

History presumes that Anne Boleyn was born between 1501 and 1509 and her connection with King Henry VIII of England altered the course of history[1]. Anne was described as a beautiful woman whom Henry fell in love with. Anne resisted in all situations that Henry tried to seduce her to become his mistress because he was married to Catherine of Aragon. When Pope Clement VII was not able to end the marriage, the rule of Roman Catholic Church in England broke and the Church of England fell under the King’s control. Henry and his counterparts were excommunicated from the church due to this act of annulment. Given that Henry was not accountable to rule that he had made an error in separating from Catherine and Rome, Anne was accused of witchcraft and incest with her brother George, which was treated as treason earning her a death sentence in May, 19 1536[2].

  1.           II.      Views

After her marriage to King Henry, a number of rumors and myths arose that are still being discussed up to the current generations. King Henry asserted that love portions were used on him by Anne which resulted to his obsession and eventual marriage to her. The king also claimed that his association with Anne was out of fear for her ‘venom’. This was a regular allegation associated with witchcraft[3]. Anne’s physical deformity was used by her enemies as a point of reference as they tried to tie her to witchcraft. In addition, they said that she was too tall, had many fingers and a weird growth on her body, which all were assumed traits for witches. Apart from this, Anne is viewed to be dominant in England.

On the topics of morality and royalty, Anne was considered to have the right morals for a royal woman rating her highly on the ability of bringing forth preferable royal offspring[4]. The assumptions were made by the king because of the mere fact that Anne was a virgin before their wedding and it served as to make the couple get closer in their relationship. On the contrary, Anne was considered as immoral by the Roman Catholic because she ended the King’s former marriage with an aim of positioning herself as the next queen. Worse still, the situation brought the rule of the Roman Catholic Church to an end[5]. Anne is said to have created many enemies for Henry especially with the church while on the other hand obtaining numerous supporters on her side- Protestants of Catholic rule in England.

  1.        III.      My views       

Anne Boleyn was only but a victim of political and religious dissensions. From her resistance to the King’s seduction, it is clear that she had self-respect and dignity. She did not consider her powerful royal background as a justification for being the King’s mistress. From the onset of the whole saga, Anne wanted the King to remain in faithful matrimony with Queen Catherine[6]. The divorce decision was solely made and implemented by the King and blame should not have been shifted on Anne. It is also clear that the Pope tried to warn the King but he did not listen. Even though she was not squarely to blame for the divorce decision, it is hard not to classify her as a home wrecker.

Anne did not care nor revere the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope’s jurisdiction. This is seen by the fact that she accepts the King’s marriage proposal in spite of being excommunicated. After her wedding, Anne was famous for protesting against the Catholic Church. The King’s allegations about her witchcraft were baseless because it is evident that his lust was responsible for his contemplation to divorce Catherine and fill her position with Anne. In addition, a person cannot be judged a witch because of her appearance.

  1.        IV.      Working thesis

The story of Anne starts as a fairytale whereby a woman is being chased by a king to an extent that he divorces his wife for her, without knowing that the act will bring many contradictions and historical implications in the future. The grave results were her excommunication from the church and a subsequent death penalty.


































Bernard, G. W. The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007

Edwards, John. Reforming Catholicism in the England of Mary Tudor. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2005.

Haigh, Christopher. The English Reformation revised. New York, NY: Cambridge UR University Press, 1987

Heal, Felicity. Oxford history of the Christian Church. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005

Robinson, Hastings. Original Letters Relative to the English Reformation, 2 Volumes. New York, NY: General Books, 2010

Ryrie, Alec. The Gospel and Henry VIII. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2003

[1]G. W. Bernard, The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007)

[2]Alec Ryrie, The Gospel and Henry VIII (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

[3] Hastings Robinson, Original Letters Relative to the English Reformation, 2 Volumes (New York, NY: General Books, 2010)

[4] Christopher Haigh, The English Reformation revised (New York, NY: Cambridge UR University Press, 1987)

[5] John Edwards, Reforming Catholicism in the England of Mary Tudor(Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2005)

[6] Felicity Heal, Oxford history of the Christian Church (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005)

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