Love Letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn

Love Letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn


From these love letters we should be able to determine whether Henry VIII was infatuated with the idea Anne Boleyn, or if he was actually head over heels in love with her.

Something to keep in mind is the fact that Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey had broken up Anne and Henry Percy – they had decided to marry and when they asked permission of Wolsey he had to inform them that they could not wed. Why? Henry VIII’s feelings towards Anne – he was already interested in her and wanted her for himself.

Both Percy and Anne were upset and angry over the decision, but what could they do? Not long after their betrothal was declined Henry Percy married Mary Talbot. Any hopes of the two love-birds reuniting dwindled. I often wonder how long Anne pined after Henry Percy once the King started to pursue her.

For more on the young love read – Henry Percy: The Man Who Loved Anne Boleyn

While reading these letters please keep this in mind. Anne probably had strong feelings against the King at the beginning because she still loved Henry Percy. As we know, one cannot turn off the faucet of love overnight.


Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #1�(Written sometime after May 1527, after Anne had retreated back to Hever)

In turning over in my�mind the contents of�your last letters, I have�put myself into great�agony, not knowing how to interpret�them, whether to my disadvantage,�as you show in some places, or to my�advantage, as I understand them in�some others, beseeching you earnestly�to let me know expressly your whole�mind as to the love between us two.

It is absolutely necessary for me to�obtain this answer, having been for�above a whole year stricken with the�dart of love, and not yet sure whether�I shall fail of finding a place in your�heart and affection, which last point�has prevented me for some time past�from calling you my mistress; because, if you only love me with an�ordinary love, that name is not suitable for you, because it denotes a singular love, which is far from common. But if you please to do the office�of a true loyal mistress and friend, and�to give up yourself body and heart to�me, who will be, and have been, your�most loyal servant, (if your rigour�does not forbid me) I promise you�that not only the name shall be given�you, but also that I will take you�for my only mistress, casting off all�others besides you out of my thoughts�and affections, and serve you only. I�beseech you to give an entire answer�to this my rude letter, that I may�know on what and how far I may�depend. And if it does not please�you to answer me in writing, appoint�some place where I may have it by�word of mouth, and I will go thither�with all my heart. No more, for fear�of tiring you. Written by the hand�of him who would willingly remain�yours, H. R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #2

Though it is not fitting for a�gentleman to take his lady in�the place of a servant, yet, complying�with your desire, I willingly grant it�you, if thereby you can find yourself�less uncomfortable in the place chosen�by yourself, than you have been in�that which I gave you, thanking you�cordially that you are pleased still to�have some remembrance of me.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #3

Although, my mistress, you have not been pleased to remember your promise when I was last with you, to let me hear news of you and have an answer to my last, I think it the part of a true servant to inquire after his mistress’s health and send you this, desiring to hear of your prosperity. I also send by the bearer a buck killed by me late last night, hoping when you eat of it you will think of the hunter. Written by the hand of your servant, who often wishes you in the place of your brother.


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #4

My Mistress and Friend,�my heart and I surrender ourselves into your hands, beseeching�you to hold us commended to your�favour, and that by absence your affection to us may not be lessened:�for it were a great pity to increase�our pain, of which absence produces�enough and more than I could ever�have thought could be felt, reminding us of a point in astronomy which�is this: the longer the days are, the�more distant is the sun, and nevertheless the hotter; so is it with our�love, for by absence we are kept a�distance from one another, and yet�it retains its fervour, at least on my�side; I hope the like on yours, assuring you that on my part the pain�of absence is already too great for�me; and when I think of the increase�of that which I am forced to suffer,�it would be almost intolerable, but�for the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affection for me: and to�remind you of this sometimes, and�seeing that I cannot be personally�present with you, I now send you the�nearest thing I can to that, namely,�my picture set in a bracelet, with the�whole of the device, which you already know, wishing myself in their�place, if it should please you. This is�from the hand of your loyal servant�and friend,


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #5 (July 1527)

Replica of Ship from "The Tudors"
Replica of Ship from “The Tudors” – this gift was considered the point where Anne decided to commit to Henry.

For a present so beautiful that�nothing could be more so (considering the whole of it), I thank you�most cordially, not only on account�of the fine diamond and the ship in�which the solitary damsel is tossed�about, but chiefly for the fine interpretation and the too humble submission which your goodness hath�used towards me in this case; for I�think it would be very difficult for�me to find an occasion to deserve it,�if I were not assisted by your great�humanity and favour, which I have�always sought to seek, and will seek�to preserve by all the kindness in my�power, in which my hope has placed�its unchangeable intention, which�says, Aut illic, aut nullibi (Either there or nowhere).

The demonstrations of your affection are such, the beautiful mottoes�of the letter so cordially expressed,�that they oblige me forever to honour, love, and serve you sincerely, beseeching you to continue in the same�firm and constant purpose, assuring�you that, on my part, I will surpass�it rather than make it reciprocal, if�loyalty of heart and a desire to please�you can accomplish this.

I beg, also, if at any time before this�I have in anyway offended you, that�you would give me the same absolution that you ask, assuring you, that
henceforward my heart shall be dedicated to you alone. I wish my person was so too. God can do it, if He�pleases, to whom I pray every day for�that end, hoping that at length my�prayers will be heard. I wish the time�may be short, but I shall think it�long till we see one another.

Written by the hand of that secretary, who in heart, body, and will, is,�Your loyal and most assured Servant,

H. aultre A.B. ne cherse R

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #6 (July 1527)

To my Mistress, Because�the time seems very long since�I heard concerning your health and�you, the great affection I have for�you has induced me to send you this�bearer, to be better informed of your�health and pleasure, and because,�since my parting from you, I have�been told that the opinion in which�I left you is totally changed, and that�you would not come to court either�with your mother, if you could, or in�any other manner; which report, if�true, I cannot sufficiently marvel at,�because I am sure that I have since�never done any thing to offend you,�and it seems a very poor return for the�great love which I bear you to keep�me at a distance both from the speech�and the person of the woman that I�esteem most in the world: and if you�love me with as much affection as I�hope you do, I am sure that the distance of our two persons would be�a little irksome to you, though this�does not belong so much to the mistress as to the servant.

Consider well, my mistress, that�absence from you grieves me sorely,�hoping that it is not your will that�it should be so; but if I knew for certain that you voluntarily desired it,�I could do no other than mourn my�ill-fortune, and by degrees abate my�great folly. And so, for lack of time,�I make an end of this rude letter, beseeching you to give credence to this�bearer in all that he will tell you�from me.

Written by the hand of your entire Servant,


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #7 (February 1528)

Darling, these shall be�only to advertise you that this�bearer and his fellow be dispatched�with as many things to compass our�matter, and to bring it to pass as our�wits could imagine or devise; which�brought to pass, as I trust, by their�diligence, it shall be shortly, you and�I shall have our desired end, which�should be more to my heart�s ease,�and more quietness to my mind, than�any other thing in the world ; as, with�God�s grace, shortly I trust shall be�proved, but not so soon as I would�it were; yet I will ensure you that�there shall be no time lost that may�be won, and further can not be done;�for ultra posse non est esse (One can�t do more than is possible). Keep him�not too long with you, but desire�him, for your sake, to make the more�speed; for the sooner we shall have�word from him, the sooner shall our�matter come to pass. And thus upon�trust of your short repair to London,�I make an end of my letter, my own�sweet heart.

Written with the hand of him�which desireth as much to be yoursas you do to have him.

H. R.

 Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #8 (16 June 1528)

There came to me suddenly�in the night the most afflicting news that could have arrived.�The first, to hear of the sickness of�my mistress, whom I esteem more�than all the world, and whose health�I desire as I do my own, so that I�would gladly bear half your illness to�make you well. The second, from the�fear that I have of being still longer�harassed by my enemy. Absence,�much longer, who has hitherto given�me all possible uneasiness, and as far�as I can judge is determined to spite�me more because I pray God to rid�me of this troublesome tormentor.�The third, because the physician in�whom I have most confidence, is absent at the very time when he might�do me the greatest pleasure; for I�should hope, by him and his means,�to obtain one of my chief joys on�earth � that is the care of my mistress � yet for want of him I send you�my second, and hope that he will�soon make you well. I shall then love�him more than ever. I beseech you�to be guided by his advice in your�illness. In so doing I hope soon to see�you again, which will be to me a�greater comfort than all the precious�jewels in the world.

Written by that secretary, who is,�and for ever will be, your loyal and most assui�ed Servant,

H. (A B) R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #9 (20 June 1528)

The uneasiness my doubts about�your health gave me, disturbed�and alarmed me exceedingly, and I�should not have had any quiet without hearing certain tidings. But now,�since you have as yet felt nothing, I�hope, and am assured that it will spare�you, as I hope it is doing with us. For�when we were at Walton, two ushers, two valets de chambres and your�brother, master-treasurer, fell ill, but�are now quite well ; and since we have�returned to our house at Hunsdon,�we have been perfectly well, and have�not, at present, one sick person, God�be praised; and I think, if you would�retire from Surrey, as we did, you�would escape all danger. There is�another thing that may comfort you,�which is, that, in truth in this distemper few or no women have been�taken ill, and what is more, no person of our court, and few elsewhere,�have died of it. For which reason I�beg you, my entirely beloved, not to�frighten yourself nor be too uneasy at�our absence; for wherever I am, I am�yours, and yet we must sometimes�submit to our misfortunes, for whoever will struggle against fate is generally but so much the farther from�gaining his end: wherefore comfort�yourself, and take courage and avoid�the pestilence as much as you can,�for I hope shortly to make you sing,�la renvoy�. No more at present, from�lack of time, but that I wish you in�my arms, that I might a little dispel�your unreasonable thoughts.

Written by the hand of him who�is and alway will be yours,


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letters #10 (22 June 1528)

*Note – During this time:

  • June � Anne contracted the Sweating Sickness while at Hever Castle. Henry VIII sent his personal physician, William Butts, to care for Anne at Hever.
  • Mary Boleyn�s husband, William Carey died of the Sweating Sickness

The cause of my writing at this�time, good sweetheart, is only�to understand of your good health�and prosperity; whereof to know I�would be as glad as in manner mine�own, praying God that (an it be His�pleasure) to send us shortly together,�for I promise you I long for it. How�be it, I trust it shall not be long to;�and seeing my darling is absent, I can�do no less than to send her some flesh,�representing my name, which is hart�flesh for Henry, prognosticating that�hereafter, God willing, you may enjoy some of mine, which He pleased,�I would were now.

As touching your sister�s matter, I�have caused Walter Welze to write�to my lord my mind therein, whereby�I trust that Eve shall not have power�to deceive Adam; for surely, whatsoever is said, it cannot so stand with his�honour but that he must needs take�her, his natural daughter, now in her
extreme necessity.

No more to you at this time, mine�own darling, but that with a wish I�would we were together an evening.

With the hand of yours,


Anne_BoleynHenry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #11 (July 1528)

Since your last letters, mine own�darling, Walter Welshe, Master�Browne, Thos. Care, Grion of Brearton, and John Coke, the apothecary,�be fallen of the sweat in this house,�and, thanked be God, all well recovered, so that as yet the plague is not�fully ceased here, but I trust shortly�it shall. By the mercy of God, the rest�of us yet be well, and I trust shall�pass it, either not to have it, or, at the�least, as easily as the rest have done.�As touching the matter of Wilton,�my lord cardinal hath had the nuns�before him, and examined them, Mr.�Bell being present ; which hath certified me that, for a truth, she had confessed herself (which we would have�had abbess) to have had two children�by two sundry priests; and, further,�since hath been kept by a servant of�the Lord Broke that was, and that not�long ago. Wherefore I would not, for�all the gold in the world, clog your�conscience nor mine to make her ruler�of a house which is of so ungodly demeanour; nor, I trust, you would not�that neither for brother nor sister, I�should so destain mine honour or conscience. And, as touching the prioress, or Dame Eleanor�s eldest sister,�though there is not any evident case�proved against them, and that the�prioress is so old that for many years�she could not be as she was named;�yet notwithstanding, to do you pleasure, have done that neither of them�shall have it, but that some other�good and well-disposed woman shall�have it, whereby the house shall be�the better reformed (whereof I ensure you it had much need), and God�much the better served.

As touching your abode at Hever,�do therein as best shall like you, for�you best know what air doth best with�you; but I would it were come thereto (if it pleased God), that neither of�us need care for that, for I ensure you�I think it long. Suche is fallen sick�of the sweat, and therefore I send you�this bearer, because I think you long�to hear tidings from us, as we do likewise from you.

Written with the hand de votre seul,


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #12 (20 July 1528)

The approach of the time for�which I have so long waited�rejoices me so much, that it seems�almost to have come already. However, the entire accomplishment cannot be till the two persons meet,�which meeting is more desired by�me than anything in this world; for�what joy can be greater upon earth�than to have the company of her who�is dearest to me, knowing likewise�that she does the same on her part,�the thought of which gives me the�greatest pleasure.

Judge what an effect the presence of�that person must have on me, whose�absence has grieved my heart more�than either words or writing can express, and which nothing can cure,�but that begging you, my mistress, to�tell your father from me, that I desire him to hasten the time appointed
by two days, that he may be at court�before the old term, or, at farthest, on�the day prefixed; for otherwise I shall�think he will not do the lover�s turn,�as he said he would, nor answer my�expectation.

No more at present for lack of�time, hoping shortly that by word of�mouth I shall tell you the rest of the�sufferings endured by me from your�absence.

Written by the hand of the secretary, who wishes himself at this moment privately with you, and who is,�and always will be.

Your loyal and most assured Servant,

H. no other A B seek R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #13 (21 July 1528)

Darling, I heartily recommend me to you, ascertaining�you that I am not a little perplexed�with such things as your brother�shall on my part declare unto you,�to whom I pray you give full credence, for it were too long to write.�In my last letters I wrote to you that�I trusted shortly to see you, which�is better known at London than with�any that is about me, whereof I not�a little marvel; but lack of discreet�handling must needs be the cause�thereof. No more to you at this time,�but that I trust shortly our meetings�shall not depend upon other men�s�light handlings, but upon our own.

Written with the hand of him that�longeth to be yours.

H. R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #14 (August 1528)

Mine own sweetheart,�this shall be to advertise you�of the great elengeness that I find here�since your departing ; for, I ensure you�methinketh the time longer since�your departing now last, than I was�wont to do a whole fortnight. I think�your kindness and my fervency of love�causeth it ; for, otherwise, I would not�have thought it possible that for so little a while it should have grieved�me. But now that I am coming towards you, methinketh my pains behalf removed ; and also I am right well�comforted in so much that my book�maketh substantially for my matter;�in looking whereof I have spent above�four hours this day, which causeth me�now to write the shorter letter to you�at this time, because of some pain in�my head; wishing myself (especially�an evening) in my sweetheart�s arms,�whose pretty dukkys (breasts) I trust shortly�to kiss.

Written by the hand of him that�was, is, and shall be yours by his own�will,


Henry_VIII_(6)_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerHenry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #15 (20 August 1528)

Darling, Though I have�scant leisure, yet, remembering my promise, I thought it convenient to certify you briefly in what�case our affairs stand. As touching�a lodging for you, we have got one�by my lord cardinal�s means, the like�whereof could not have been found�hereabouts for all causes, as this bearer�shall more show you. As touching our�affairs, I assure you there can�be no more done, nor more diligence�used, nor all manner of dangers better both foreseen and provided for, so�that I trust it shall be hereafter to both�our comforts, the specialities whereof�were both too long to be written, and�hardly by messenger to be declared.�Wherefore, till you repair hither, I�keep something in store, trusting it�shall not be long to; for I have caused�my lord, your father, to make his provisions with speed; and thus for lack�of time, darling, I make an end of my�letter, written with the hand of him�which I would were yours.


Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #16 (16 September 1528)

The reasonable request of your�last letter, with the pleasure also�that I take to know them true, causeth me to send you these news. The�legate which we most desire arrived�at Paris on Sunday or Monday last�past, so that I trust by the next Monday to hear of his arrival at Calais:�and then I trust within a while after�to enjoy that which I have so long�longed for, to God�s pleasure and our�both comforts.

No more to you at this present,�mine own darling, for lack of time,�but that I would you were in mine�arms, or I in yours, for I think it long�since I kissed you.

Written after the killing of a hart,�at eleven of the clock, minding, with�God�s grace, to-morrow, mightily�timely, to kill another, by the hand
which, I trust, shortly shall be yours.

Henry R.

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: Love Letter #17 (Late October 1528)

To inform you what joy it is tome to understand of your conformableness with reason, and of the�suppressing of your inutile and vain�thoughts with the bridle of reason. I�assure you all the good in this world�could not counterpoise for my satisfaction the knowledge and certainty
thereof, wherefore, good sweetheart,�continue the same, not only in this,�but in all your doings hereafter; for�thereby shall come, both to you and�me, the greatest quietness that may�be in this world.

The cause why the bearer stays so�long, is the business I have had to�dress up gear for you; and which I�trust, ere long to cause you occupy�then I trust to occupy yours, which�shall be recompense enough to me�for all my pains and labour.

The unfeigned sickness of this well-�willing legate doth somewhat retard�his access to your person; but I trust�verily, when God shall send him�health, he will with diligence recompense his demur. For I know well�where he hath said (touching the saying and bruit that he is thought imperial) that it shall be well known in�this matter that he is not imperial;�and thus, for lack of time, sweetheart,�farewell.

Written with the hand which fain�would be yours, and so is the heart.


Anne Boleyn Henry VIII History Queens

13 Comments Leave a comment

  1. You are wrong on all counts.

    If Henry VIII had had at least one legitimate son by Catherine of Aragon, no matter how much he had loved Anne Boleyn, he would not have wanted an annulment. She either would have had to become his mistress, which she well may have done if it hadn’t been that he wanted an annulment, or he would have had to forget about her. And if had never met Anne Boleyn, but still had no legitimate son by Catherine of Aragon, he would still have wanted an annulment to get a legitimate son. He would have instead sought the hand of a foreign princess.

    Henry knew that even if he legitimized or attempted to legitimize Henry Fitzroy and then made him his heir, there would always have been a taint on him and that would have weakened his hold on the throne.

    There was no precedent for leaving the throne to a son born illegitimate and then legitimized. In the fourteenth century, John of Gaunt’s illegitimate children by his mistress Katherine Swynford, the Beauforts, were legitimized, but there were crucial differences. None of John of Gaunt’s children were born to inherit the throne. His legitimate son by his first marriage overthrew the existing monarch to become Henry IV. Also, Gaunt’s children by Katherine Swynford were legitimized only on the condition that he marry her, which he did. And even then, their half-brother Henry IV declared that neither they nor their descendants could inherit the throne.

    Although Henry VII’s sole descent from Edward III *was* through the Beauforts, nobody could have foreseen the Wars of the Roses and the day that Henry Tudor would be the only male Lancastrian left. And even then, Henry VII’s hold was shaky at first—he had to defeat several rebellions. And one thing that helped him enormously was marrying Elizabeth of York, who was descended from Edward III with no illegitimately born ancestors.

    Henry VIII knew from The Wars of the Roses what can happen when kings inherit shaky thrones, and he was determined that nobody would be able to question his son’s right to inherit. He never would have left his throne to a son that was born illegitimate.

    The quest for a legitimate son was the driving force behind his break with The Catholic Church, and his love for Anne Boleyn just happened to coincide with that. It’s romantic to think “He did it for her”, and that erroneous information is often stated as fact. but the fact actually is that he didn’t.

    Also, if Anne Boleyn had produced a son, Henry never ever would have killed her. Never. True, he made Elizabeth his heir when he thought that it was likely that he and Anne would still have a son, because to fail to do that at the time would cast doubt on any son they might have in the future. And true, after it became obvious that he was not going to have more than one legitimate son, he reinstated both Mary and Elizabeth in the line of succession, after Edward. I mean, why not at that point? That does not mean that Anne’s failure to produce a son was not the reason she met her demise. It was.

  2. Totally infatuated for over 8 years before things turned really nasty between them and NO HE DID NOT DIVORCE FOR A SON BUT FOR HER , he could legitimied his bastard son Henry Fitzroy with the pope blessing and Anne was 32 when she finally married him !!! He could have got any 14 year old for sons. This false rumour and defamation towards Henry VIII continues to be popular.
    Let it be clear.
    Although Henry VIII craved for a male heir as the whole kingdom did ( few believed a female could rule, they remembered Mathilda ) and Anne Boleyn had promised him one, Henry DID NOT get rid of Anne for failing to produce a male heir .
    In Truth, once Anne Boleyn had given birth to Princess Elisabeth, Henry made the princess his legitimate heir to the throne and validated his marriage to Anne calling her his beloved queen and the union as perfect and valid for ever !
    On 23 March, 1534, Parliament passed the Act of Succession, vesting the succession of the English Crown in the children of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. This act, effectively, set Princess Elizabeth first in line for the throne,
    This is the act of parliament ‘
    �that the lawful matrimony had and solemnized between your highness and your most dear and entirely beloved wife Queen Anne, shall be established, and taken for undoubtful, true, sincere, and perfect ever hereafter, according to the just judgment of the 1534.� To not forget that he will later on reinstate Mary to the succession after she will have signed the agreement to the illegitimacy of the marriage between her mother Catherine of Aragon and Henry and he will reinstate Elisabeth too to the succession after coming to terms with the fact that she was his child and her accepting his marriage to her mother Anne Boleyn void on the grounds of her affinity with Mary Boleyn, her sister, also known carnally by the king. All in all, Henry would have much preferred male heirs but it was not his reason to kill or even leave Anne nor did he refuse to have female heirs, he placed both Mary and Elisabeth as heirs.

  3. He wanted his way with everything. She thrilled him for a while but was ready to move on when desire for a son was not met. Not love, just a thrill.

  4. I think he enjoyed the thrill of the chase. Henry was a hunter, she presented a challenge. He obtained her(Annr Bolyn), she couldn’t produce a.male child, to be King. Off with her head, on to the next hunt and capture.

  5. The letters start out more in the chase of her the pursuit of getting a woman who is reluctant to be with him. She was a challenge. The first 9 letters are more about Henry’s wants and desires.

    Once Anne became ill with the sweating sickness there is a change in the tone of the letters. Letters 13, 14 and 15 is where he calls her by sweet names it becomes more about the two of them.

    As we ultimately see once a woman, his woman, did not produce a male heir she was cast aside or in Anne’s case beheaded.

    He would stop at nothing to see if he could have a son. He divorced Kathryn of Aragon, broke with the Catholic church and killed his closest friends who did not see Anne as queen. Nor he as the head of the Church of England.

    Did Henry love her deeply spiritually? In my opinion no.

    Overall the pursuit, the illicit courtship ending with marriage, breaking with the church, divorcing Kathryn, it is still about one thing. A male heir and a fertile woman who could produce a son.

    • he was no more in love when he did that , he hated her then….. Reminder that he courted her 7 years before she became queen.

    • 9 years since he pursued her for 7 years before she became queen, I don t know anyone who has been infatuated that long ������…

  6. How wonderful and truly special to be able to share his feelings for Ann Boleyn.
    He truly was in love and spent what seemed to be a very long time apart before they were in each others company.

    Thank you for sharing these miraculous letters between the King and his love Ann Boleyn.

    Annette G

  7. I think Henry was in love with being in love. The person on the other end did not really matter. Kind of creepy that he associates the exhilaration of hunting and killing animals with thoughts of his mistress of the day. He was just an adrenaline junkie from the sound of it.

    • I agree with you and Anne was a very clever woman! She knew if she kept him at arms length it would be better for her. He was in love with love and remembering this was the 16th century, men were most virile hunting and fighting. So it goes hand in hand with him wanting her. Another conquest.

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