Experts believe Cromwell had a hand in Anne Boleyn’s demise
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Anne Boleyn was the second of King Henry VIII’s six wives, who was executed by her husband just three years after they married. England’s former Queen could not provide Henry with the son and heir he desired, although she did give birth to Elizabeth I, his eventual successor as Sovereign. Anne was put to death at the Tower of London in 1536 after being found guilty of treason and other crimes, amid allegations she had slept with Henry’s courtiers.
Historians have widely attributed her downfall, at least in part, to Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s wily chief minister.
The King’s principal adviser initially helped Anne marry Henry by using his legal expertise to help him annul his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
However, Anne later angered Cromwell by interfering in court politics, and the two became sworn enemies.
Historian Sandra Vasoli told Express.co.uk: “He wanted her out of the picture.
“I don’t think he necessarily wanted her dead, but he wanted her out of the picture.”
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The expert, who is based in the US, wrote the 2015 book ‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower: A New Assessment’.
One of Anne’s mistakes was to get involved in England’s relations with France and the Holy Roman Empire.
She was also opposed to Cromwell’s plans for how to use the money from the dissolution of the monasteries.
Anne wanted the cash to be used for charitable purposes, rather than to fund the King’s lavish lifestyle.
Ms Vasoli said: “She wanted monies to go to the poor. She was very charitably inclined. She wanted money to go to education.
“She wanted money to go to the poor, and then of course, this is where Cromwell comes into the picture.
“He was not as much a reformist as she was. The two of them, Anne and Cromwell battled for Henry’s ear.
“As time went on, Cromwell realised that Anne was his challenger, and he started to consider her as an enemy.”
As Anne and Cromwell’s feud played out in court, Henry was trying to steer England through a turbulent period.
Ms Vasoli said: “They would battle about her involvement, her presence in the court of politics.
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“There were difficult things going on in the country. There was famine.
“There were the difficulties that any leader encounters with what’s going on in the country and also in other countries.
“So, he had those challenges, which really wore on him.
“Then eventually, Cromwell really started to play a big part in this.”
Like many other historians, Ms Vasoli believes that Cromwell administered the coup de grâce to bring about Anne’s downfall.
She said: “It is pretty well acknowledged that Cromwell devised a plan that would set Henry over the edge.
“My belief is that he positioned it such, that he let Henry know that Anne was having sexual relationships with his younger courtiers.”
‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower: A New Assessment’ was written by Sandra Vasoli and published by MadeGlobal Publishing in 2015. It is available here.
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