Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Anne Boleyn's apology to Princess Mary

Anne Boleyn in the Tower
by Edouard Cibot
Anne Boleyn enjoys much popularity today, almost certainly more than she did while alive. From our modern, enlightened point-of-view, we like to make her out to be a proud, independent woman in a time when women were told to be submissive. The only woman often held up as a better example of 16th century feminism is her daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth I.

Although I do not admire neither Anne nor Elizabeth anywhere near as much as some, I can appreciate that both did make their mark on history. If I see them as a little more self-serving than bold, I hope their fervent fans will forgive me.

Clearly, Anne realized that she had indeed been wrong in her treatment of Henry VIII's eldest daughter, Mary. Anne caused Mary to lose the title of princess that she had held since birth, and Mary refused to recognize Anne as queen. It was a relationship doomed from the start, and neither desired to make any effort toward improving it. Both were known to wish for the death of the other.

However, when Anne's execution was approaching, she decided to apologize to Lady Mary. She had no reason to go out of her way to do so in her last hours, but she called for Lady Kingstone, wife of the Constable of the Tower, and asked her to relay her message of repentance. According to Martin Haile, Anne knelt before Lady Kingstone and requested that she, 'throw herself in like manner at the feet of Lady Mary, and beseech her to forgive the many wrongs which the pride of a thoughtless, unfortunate woman had brought upon her.'

Since she applied for permission to visit Lady Mary after Anne Boleyn's execution, it is believed that Lady Kingstone delivered the message. While Anne may have owed Mary that apology, one can easily argue that both women's problems were much more due to Henry VIII than each other. A bastardized daughter and insecure queen were unlikely to ever make amends before faced with their own mortality.

66 comments:

  1. Interesting...never knew that, and now I look upon her a bit more kindly. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I feel really sorry for both those ladies I dont think Anne was as bad as some portray her, in those days if a king wanted a lady they couldnt say no unless they fled into a convent or appealed to the pope I dont think Queen Elizabeth had much choice she had to harden up

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    1. I think that Anne aimed high and suffered a terrific fall. Was she completely to blame? No, but she knew what she was getting herself into. As for Elizabeth, she did have to be stern. She learned lessons from her sister's reign on that score. However, she could also be cruel. She did not seem able to balance her desire to be respected as queen with kindness.

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  3. Ok so if she apologized to mary.what was marys answer?

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    1. Anne had been executed by the time Mary received the message.

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    2. If I am correct, Mary never forgave Anne and was still angry about it until her dying day.

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    3. That's probably true, though she had a decent relationship with Elizabeth at times.

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    4. Right but forgiveness is for you. I think Mary's inability to,forgive Anne probably caused her a lot of pain. I am,not excusing Anne's part just saying that forgivenesd is for you, not the offender.

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    5. That is a good point. I hope that Mary did. She certainly could be merciful.

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    6. I think Mary's treatment of Elizabeth showed that Mary never forgave Anne. Elizabeth could be cruel but Mary was often as well.

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    7. The story of Anne's begging forgiveness of Mary comes from John Speed's "History of Great Britain," and is ascribed by him to "a relation from a nobleman." The "nobleman" is unnamed; he may have been Sir William Kingston, whose wife is a principal figure in the tale. It was apparently Lady Kingston who informed Princess Mary that Anne had been executed. Shortly thereafter (May 26, 1536), Mary wrote to Thomas Cromwell, asking him to be her advocate with her father, which, she said, she did not dare to do before, "as long as that woman lived, which is now gone (whom I pray Our Lord of His great mercy to forgive)." To that extent, at least, Mary did forgive Anne.

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  4. I would disagree with the statement:"she had no reason to do so..."
    Of course she had a reason. They weren't executing her child along with her, were they? Anne was considering that her own offspring might be given the same treatment that she had meted out to her predecessor's offspring. And hoping that, through this last-gasp contrition, Mary would do what she could to ease the condition of Elizabeth.

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    1. She may have been thinking of Elizabeth, though at that time she had little reason to believe that Mary would ever have power over Elizabeth. She may have simply been preparing her soul for heaven, so you are right. 'No reason to do so,' is not exactly correct. Thank you.

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    2. Maybe Elizabeth should have been killed too? Just sayng

      Katharine of Aragon, the true queen of England! Saint Mary TUdor!

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    3. Anon- I wouldn't go that far.

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  5. I did a book about Anne but I do agree she was horrendous to Mary. I also think Mary is totally innocent in the burning of protestants and I also think Mary did the right thing to abuse Elizabeth

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    1. Hi, Helen. I think it's interesting that people accuse Mary of abusing Elizabeth. She treated her much more generously than Elizabeth treated any of her female relatives once she was queen.

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    3. I wanted to edit my comment but there is no edit button.,may I ask why you dislike Anne and Elizabeth?

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    4. I wouldn't say that I dislike Anne and Elizabeth, rather I dislike the rose-colored glasses that many people currently view them through. They are both glorified beyond anything that is realistic. Elizabeth was a successful female monarch, much moreso than her sister, but she did some terrible things along the way. That side of her tends to be ignored, and I don't like to see history whitewashed.

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    5. That is understandable. I'm concerned though that the current trend is going the other direction-- to whitewash Mary. It seems the current trend is very pro Katharine and Mary and very anti Anne and Elizabeth. So I think it's more Katharine and Mary that have the fervent fans nowadays.

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    6. Katherine definitely has strong defenders. I feel like Anne is the one with the greatest modern following though. I don't even like to go on social media during the month of May! ;-)

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    7. Why not?

      On the subject of followers,,I have been flamed and even given death threats by the Katharine/Mary camp on YouTube. I admire Katharine of Aragon too!

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    8. Social media tends to be toxic anyway. I minimize it all 12 months of the year.

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    9. Wow! I can't believe how passionate people can be about that sort of thing. Though I shouldn't be surprised because I have had people quite angry that I don't worship Elizabeth I. (May is when Anne Boleyn was executed, so it seems that the entire month gets dedicated to her memory. A little much for me since I don't even find her to be my favorite among Henry's wives let alone all the other fascinating historical women.)

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    10. I like Anne and Elizabeth but I do agree they overshadow many other historical women. I got tired of them and moved onto the Egyptian queens.

      Who is your favorite of Henry's queens? Most people who dislike Anne and Elizabeth like Jane Seymour.

      I used to have the same anger you are mentioning but I grew up and realized different people like different things.

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    11. None of Henry's wives are top on my list of favorite historical women, but I would say Katherine of Aragon and Katherine Parr are probably the ones I admire most. I have never studies Egyptian queens - sounds interesting!

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    12. Sorry our messages crossed.

      I did a series on Cleopatra that imagines her winning. I do alternate history but it does involve a lot of research. I am just as fascinated by her famous ancestors. Did you know she was the seventh queen to bear the name? Hatshepsut and Nefertiti are also among my favorite historical women.

      As for Anne she definitely could have treated Mary better, I agree. I do like Katharine parr and Katharine of Aragon. With the tragedies of her father's wives though I don't blame,Elizabeth for not marrying, especially after how Philip treated Mary.

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    13. Neither Philip nor Henry gave Elizabeth a glowing example of what a husband should be!

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    14. At least we agree on,something!

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    15. Samantha, are you glad Anne was killed? Since you don't even like to see tributes to her memory, it makes me wonder.

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    16. No, I do not believe Anne deserved to be killed. I don't like the entire month of May being dedicated to some falsely glorified version of her, but I am not glad she was killed.

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  6. I think people assume if you like one you can't like the other. I admire aspects of Katharine, Anne and Elizabeth. I don't admire Mary I but I don't hate her either.

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    1. I think there are qualities to admire each of them for.....some more than others. ;-)

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    2. Samantha i want to apologize for some of the things i said to you in regards to our differences in opinion. If i offended you by defending Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn. I am truly sorry. I would stilk like to be on good terms and i apologize for saying and doing things that offended you, but it is your choice.

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    3. No apology necessary! I appreciate different views and all of your comments. Discussing them is the best way to learn from each other.

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    4. Thanks


      What do you think of Mary II and Anne?

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    5. I've honestly not studied them enough to have an opinion.

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  7. Did Henry ever apologize to Mary?

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  8. Given what Mary lager became Anne's treatment of her is to be applauded. Anne didn't need to apologize as shd did nothing wrong.

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    1. Anne must have been a prophetess to know that Mary preemptively deserved poor treatment as a teenage girl. Way to go, Anne.

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    2. Where is your sympathy for the peiple Mary burnt to,death?

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    3. Not really the topic of this post, but I think it is dishonest to separate what happened during Mary's reign from the horrid executions that took place throughout the Tudor era and throughout Europe in the 16th century. Most monarchs didn't know how to effectively deal with the Reformation, and Mary was not exceptional in this. You might be interested in these posts that deal more specifically with your question.
      https://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/05/what-if-mary-hadnt-burned-heretics.html
      https://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-counter-reformation-of-queen-mary-i.html

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  9. I am glad- no EXUBERANT- that Mary got abused by Anne. She deawrvwd all of it and more.

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    1. Exuberant that a teenage girl was abused? Ok, then. That's one perspective.

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  10. Anne repented. There is no evidence of Elizabeth doing so.

    I can't think of a better example of,someone who gained the world but lost their soul than Elizabeth I. Mary is a better role model.

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  11. Meh this is a woman who burnt a pregnant woman and then ordered thr baby killed too. So Anne's treatment of her is to be applauded.

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    1. I don't think we should ever applaud the bad treatment of any human being, but passions seem to run high when discussing certain historical figures. I am aware of a pregnant woman and her baby being burned during Mary's reign, but I do not believe there is any evidence that this was ordered by Mary or that she even knew about it. May I ask, what is your source?

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    3. No biography of Mary I've read has said that she laughed about the burning of the baby.

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    4. How did she respond to it?

      You know she died with devils coming into her room right?

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    5. I'm not aware of any record of her being informed or how she reacted if she was ever told.

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  12. You do know as a Lutheran Mary would have killed you right? I hope Jesus excluded her when he went to the cross

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    1. Yes, I am aware of Mary's stance on Lutheranism. I try to study history objectively, regardless of my personal beliefs.

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    2. But she didnt punish the person who did it. To me this is a sign of her wicked heart.

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    3. In regards to not punishing the person who did it, I believe you are referring to the burning of the baby. I have not deeply researched this event and am not sure if Mary learned of it or how she reacted if she did.

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  13. Put yourself in the shoes of her victims. You are Tied to a stake. You know in a few minutes you will be an unbearable horrible pain. You try not to think about it as the Catholic priest that you will BBQ in h*** forever for not believing a piece of bread is Jesus. The fire is let it is done as slowly as possible. You scream and pay now tout dare you defend very todor

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    1. Yes, burning was a terrible punishment. I wouldn't say I'm defending this course of action as much as I try to understand the people who did it and the mindset of the era in which it occurred.

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  15. What was wrong with my previous comment?

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    1. Several comments were deleted for profanity and hateful language toward others, but I did not keep record of specific comments.

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  16. Between Elizabeth and Mary, who has a better personality?

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