Although we know that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn officially tied the knot at a secret wedding ceremony on the 25th January 1533, the Tudor chronicler, Edward Hall, records that the couple actually got married on Thursday 14th November 1532, St Erkenwald’s Day:-
“The kyng, after his returne [from Calais] maried priuily[privily] the lady Anne Bulleyn on sainet Erkenwaldes daie, whiche mariage was kept so secrete, that very fewe knewe it, til she was greate with child, at Easter after.”1
Eric Ives, in his book, “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, points out that St Erkenwald’s Day was the day after Anne and Henry returned to England after their successful visit to France.
Nicholas Sander, the Catholic recusant who wrote of Anne Boleyn during the reign of her daughter, Elizabeth I, also recorded the marriage date as the 14th November and Protestants latched onto this date, rather than the January date, because it meant that Elizabeth, who was born on the 7th September 1533, was conceived within wedlock. It may be that the couple got married in January 1533 but that they made some kind of formal commitment on St Erkenwald’s Day, so much so that Anne Boleyn finally allowed Henry to consummate their relationship and Elizabeth was conceived.
Happy St Erkenwald’s Day and perhaps also a Happy Wedding Anniversary to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.
Notes and Sources
- Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p794