Earlier this month there was a Tudor Treasures exhibition in Cambridge’s St John’s College. This was a fantastic opportunity to see original Tudor items that otherwise are unavailable for viewing. The main reason I was so excited was the inclusion of Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn.
Unfortunately due to Henry’s purge of all things relating to Anne after her execution, very few sources remain that could enlighten us about her life and her relationship with Henry. However, these love letters survived, kept safe in the Vatican archives whilst her responses were destroyed in England. Despite only Henry’s words surviving, they offer us a glimpse of her early relationship with the king and help us discover whether she was the one who refused to share his bed until she was queen or whether it was Henry who, concerned about the appearance of his morality and legitimacy of his case against Rome in his quest for divorce, refused to risk creating the male heir he so desperately wanted out of wedlock.