This letter from Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII is a re-translation and was placed under the year 1519, however per the author of the Letters: Royal Illustrious Ladies of Great Britain, Volume II, they state it was probably not written until several years later – they dated it as 1527. To put things into perspective, it was the 4th of March 1522 that Anne played Perseverance in “The Château Vert” at York Place, her first recorded appearance at court. So it would seem out of timeline for this letter to have been written in 1519.
As far as I can tell there is no hard evidence (primary source) to point towards a date that Anne became a maid-of-honour to Queen Katherine, however, this letter leads me to believe that she was most recently appointed to the position so that the king could see her as he wished without suspicion. I’ve referred to The Anne Boleyn Files (my go-to for all things Anne) for a date of Anne becoming maid-of-honor. The owner of the site, Claire Ridgway states in a timeline that Anne was appointed in 1522. That would be the same year that she played Perseverance, which would make sense.
If 1527 is indeed correct it is also the year that Anne accepted Henry’s marriage proposal by sending him the ship jewel, as well as the same year that Henry requested an annulment from the Pope. However, I keep going back to her last paragraph in this letter and wonder if it wasn’t written closer to 1522.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on this letter and what your thoughts are on the timeline.
It belongs only to the august mind of a great king, to whom Nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex, to repay by favours so extraordinary an artless and short conversation with a girl. Inexhaustible as is the treasury of your majesty’s bounties, I pray you to consider that it cannot be sufficient to your generosity; for if you recompense so slight a conversation by gifts so great what will you be able to do for those who are ready to consecrate their entire obedience to your desires? How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy that I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with please make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever infinitely greater.
The warrant of maid of honour to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me the means of seeing you oftener, and of assuring you by my own lips (which I shall do on the first opportunity) that I am,
Your majesty’s very obliged and very obedient servant, without any reserve.
Letters: Royal and Illustrious Ladies of Great Britain Vol. II, by Mary Anne Everett Wood – Cheifly from the originals in the State Paper Office, The Tower of London, The British Museum and other State Archives [Translated by: Leli, Vita Di Elisabetha, Vol. II. P. 50]
Anne Boleyn – Chronology by Claire Ridgway