Part of Anne Boleyn’s mystery is that we have so little evidence directly relating to Anne from which we can draw conclusions about what she was like as a person. Even though she became Queen of England what we don’t know about Anne Boleyn could fill volumes compared to the surprisingly little we do know. One of the major questions that often comes up regarding her was did she really love Henry VIII? Again, we cannot know (even if we had hundreds of surviving letters from her filled with declarations of her affection we probably still wouldn’t know). While a number of Henry’s letters to Anne have survived we are left to extrapolate what Anne’s potential response could be based on his next reply. Only one of Anne’s responses has survived, the contents of which date it to the late August or early September of 1526. Ironically, this is from almost a year before we have any of Henry’s letters which begin in May 1527 from when Anne removed herself from court and went to Hever Castle.
There are some interesting parts to the letter that might give us some insight into Anne’s mind. You can see how she conveys a sense of innocence towards why the king should want to lavish her with gifts, whilst also acknowledging their mutual affection. We also see that it is entirely down to Henry that Anne was accepted into the court of Queen Catherine, something which they both appreciate will advance their relationship.
Sire, 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 favors 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 pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater. The warrant of maid of honor to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me 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, Anne Bulen.