Saturday, 20 October 2012

Anne Boleyn's pregnancies: stress or sorrow?

Claire Ridgway, whose new book On This Day in Tudor History is out next month (very excited), gives her take on the debate about Anne Boleyn's pregnancies. What happened in 1534 and 1536 when Queen Anne allegedly miscarried? Were the pregnancies all that they seemed or was one the result of hysterical stress. 

You can read Claire's excellent article on them by clicking here.


  1. Gareth what do you personally think happened in 1534 and 1536?

  2. I have no firm set views on them. In my research on Catherine Howard, I did allude to Anne's 1534 miscarriage and I stated then that "all indicators point to it having been a genuine pregnancy that prematurely ended due to an early natural abortion." However, Claire does raise some very valid arguments in support of Bernard's view that it may have been an hysterical pregnancy, similar to Katherine of Aragon's in 1510 or Mary Tudor's in 1555. In terms of the 1536 one, I disagree with Professor Warnicke's view that the miscarried baby bore clear signs of significant physical deformities, but I do agree that it was important in Anne's subsequent career.

  3. I believe that one has to take into account that back then pregnant women were kept in a room with tapestries on the walls and even fresh air was considered dangerous. No wonder so many pregnancies did not reach full term, for Anne and countless other women of the time!


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