Queen Anne Boleyn: Pregnancies And Motherhood; Part II

Queen Anne was happy with her new pregnancy; even when some historians recorded that Anne had only a phantom pregnancy on 1534; there are documents that make valid her pregnancy during that year.  Eustace Chapuys wrote to Charles V on the 28th January 1534 reporting that Anne was pregnant. A letter from George Taylor to Lady Lisle dated the 7th April 1534 says that “The Queen hath a goodly belly, praying our Lord to send us a prince”. In July, Anne’s brother, Lord Rochford, was sent on a diplomatic mission to France to ask for the postponement of a meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I because of Anne’s condition: “being so far gone with child she could not cross the sea with the King”. Chapuys backs this up in a letter dated the 27th of July. The Fact is, that this pregnancy never fulfilled; and the reasons for it remains a mystery.  Eric Ives said that whatever the reasons; stress and pressure were probably the less of the detonators for the Queen’s miscarriage since there were no reasons for it; she had delivered a healthy girl and her relationship with the King at that time was stable.

There are some historians and writers that make several reports about this event and they even add more miscarriages on Anne’s obstetrics records.  Historian G.R. Elton writes that “the dreary tale of miscarriages was resumed” after Anne’s successful first pregnancy, which implies that Anne had a few miscarriages, at least three. Mary Louise Bruce writes that “during the first six months of 1534 she appears to have had one miscarriage after another” which Dewhurst concludes must refer to a maximum of three as “it is scarcely “conceivable” for a woman to have more than three miscarriages within a six-month period”. Hester Chapman writes of a miscarriage in March 1534, a further pregnancy in April and a possible third in July, all of which ended in miscarriages. According to Dewhurst, Chapman goes on to write about the birth of a dead son in the seventh month of pregnancy in January 1536. Still another historian, F. Chamberlin, writes of Anne only having two miscarriages: one in 1534 and another in 1535.

Another theory reveals that probably Queen Anne miscarried after a short period of conception; which means that she probably had less than two months of pregnancy; in that case, the event of a miscarriage would had been hidden from the public eye; considering that the Queen was barely showing signs of pregnancy, then, there was no need to make it public or to create a rush of news about it.

After this event; Queen Anne’s feelings changed; and her marriage too.  The King started to have doubts about his wife’s chances to produce a healthy male heir; and for sure he had images of the past crossing his mind; related with Catherine of Aragon’s constant miscarriages.  King Henry probably began to fear that Anne would show the same scenario.

After Queen Anne’s first lost; King Henry VIII was once again the wild man who was insatiable and needed more women to bed with; Anne was not enough for him anymore.  He was losing his love and devotion for her, since the boy that she promised was not real yet.    This was causing a lot of pressure over Anne’s shoulders and she was getting desperate, volatile, depressed and very insecure of herself.  The quarrels between the royal couple were constant; even when they worked hard to keep appearances, everyone at court noticed that the King and the Queen were not in love as they once were.

But all was not yet lost for Queen Anne; on 1535; she was pregnant again; and all her fears vanished; since she was totally sure that this time, she will give the King the son she promised.  There is a report on a letter from Sir William Kingston to Lord Lisle where he wrote: “Her Grace has as fair a belly as I have ever seen”.  However, this letter is sometimes disputed; some historians relate this letter to her pregnancy in 1534 and to her first.

Even with all her hopes, fate was against the Queen; the stress upon her was to heavy to bear; and to add more agony to her pressure; The King had a joust accident that left him unconscious for hours. The Queen and everyone at court feared for his life.   But also, during and after the event of the King’s jousting accident, there were rumors at court about Lady Jane Seymour, and the King’s deep interest in her.  All this was consuming the Queen’s spirit and emotional health.  And in the day of Catherine of Aragon’s funeral; 29th of January 1536, Queen Anne lost her baby. To her immense distress and the rage of King Henry.

Chapuys reported to Charles V on the 10th February 1536 that Anne Boleyn had miscarried on the day of Catherine of Aragon’s funeral: “On the day of the interment [of Catherine of Aragon] the concubine [Anne] had an abortion which seemed to be a male child whom she had not borne 3 1/2 months”.

 This last miscarriage of the Queen; turn the King’s love in to despise and hate; he was indeed tired of waiting for Anne to produce a male heir; he felt betrayed since she never fulfilled her promise and also believed that he lost too much with her and won nothing.  Those were the moments when in his mind, he started to see Jane Seymour as his only hope to have his most desired prince.

Historians and writers dedicated to know more about the life and downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn; share different theories about why Anne suffered these miscarriages after the deliver of a healthy baby girl.  There are many different kind of theories about why this happened to her; one of the most popular is that Anne Boleyn was Rhesus negative (Rh-) meaning that her body would reject all Rhesus positive babies after the first pregnancy, causing miscarriages. This is a theory put forward by Retha Warnicke to explain Anne’s miscarriages following her first successful pregnancy. This would happen if Henry was Rhesus positive. Another theory blames the Stress:  Anne was under an incredible amount of pressure to “perform” and deliver a son. She had also had quite a difficult pregnancy with Elizabeth.   Also her final miscarriage is thought to have happened shortly after Henry’s jousting accident when he was unconscious for 2 hours and thought to be dead.   This must have been a shock for Anne.

Another stress would have been fears for her position as Henry’s wife and Queen with Henry’s infidelities.  One theory, which has pretty much been debunked now, is that Henry had syphilis and that this venereal disease could then explain his ill health, Catherine’s miscarriages, still births and infant fatalities, and Anne’s miscarriages. However, Henry was not treated with mercury, the standard syphilis treatment of the time and he also did have three healthy legitimate children and at least one illegitimate child.    Another more circumstantial theory is based in the extreme difficulties of Tudor Times :  Anne probably was just a victim of the lack of care during childbirth and the lack of prenatal care.  Women in Tudor Times were forbidden to many things that we know in present times are essential elements for the deliver of a healthy child.  For example; the diet was limited; exercise was considered dangerous, even to take some fresh air was saw as a hazardous element against the mother and the child.  Also, the midwives on Tudor Times failed to understand the necessity of extreme hygiene during the process of childbirth and the management of a baby.

It is rumored that Anne’s last dead baby was deformed; this is on dispute since the report of this falls on the hands of Chapuys and other enemies of the Queen.  In Tudor times, miscarriages as well as deformed babies were related to witchcraft, adultery and sin.  Of course this is not a theory that can support the reasons for Anne’s miscarriages but, for sure this was used to poison the King’s mind against her.

Poisoning was another theory that for a while was related to Anne’s miscarriages; but in time this has been discarded.  If Anne were poisoned during her pregnancy, she would probably have died alongside the baby.  To provoke a miscarriage in  Tudor Times for sure would be a death sentence for the mother and the child, since during those days it was hard to control extreme losses of blood and fluids.

Whatever the causes; Queen Anne had to deal with the pain of losing her babies, and the fear, pressure and agony of thinking that her marriage was close to an end.  Anne Boleyn knew the soul of her husband, and she knew of what he was capable of.   She knew that Henry VIII was a man willing to do anything to get what he wanted, whatever the cost.  From the moment she lost her last baby, Queen Anne Boleyn knew, deep inside her mind and in her heart; that her time as Queen of England… was counted.






www.youtube.com/Eric Ives




Mercy Rivera

Mercy Rivera is a popular short deep introspection fiction and non-fiction history writer composing in both English and Spanish. Mercy is also well known for her beautifully crafted historically themed videos.

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