Throughout history, people have wondered how and why Anne held out for so many years before surrendering to Henry. It must have been a challenge, as Henry was King of England, and a very persuasive suitor. Other women had succumbed to his charm and physical attraction. What made Anne behave so differently?
There are several possible explanations. One involves Anne's love for Henry Percy, a young man she met right around the time King Henry noticed her. Henry Percy was the son of the powerful Duke of Northumberland. Young Percy returned Anne's affections, and the two planned to marry, provided they could obtain their parents' permission. Henry Percy was a member of Cardinal Wolsey's staff, and saw Anne as often as possible when they were both at Court.
When Cardinal Wolsey found out about Anne and Henry Percy's plans, he refused to let them marry. Lord Northumberland, Percy's father, also forbade the match, claiming that he had planned to marry his son to the daughter of another high-ranking family. Both Cardinal Wolsey and Lord Northumberland felt that the Boleyns were not prestigious enough to be joined to the Percy family in marriage. It is not certain whether King Henry was behind this, or whether Cardinal Wolsey acted on his own. In any event, the marriage request was denied.
Anne Boleyn and Henry Percy were devastated when they heard the news. Percy was called back home and forced to marry the woman chosen by his family. Anne became bitter and angry, possibly for all her life, that she was denied her true love in marriage. It is not unlikely that she resented King Henry for his role in this, and held it against him for many years.