King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn
Anne's family also profited from the relationship.
Her father, already Viscount Rochford, was created Earl of Wiltshire. Henry also came to an arrangement with Anne’s Irish cousin and created him Earl of Ormond. At the magnificent banquet to celebrate her father's elevation, Anne took precedence over the Duchesses of Suffolk and Norfolk, seated in the place of honour beside the King which was usually occupied by the Queen. Thanks to Anne's intervention, her widowed sister Mary received an annual pension of £100, and Mary's son, Henry Carey, was educated at a prestigious Cistercian monastery.
The conference at Calais was something of a political triumph, but, although the French government gave implicit support for Henry's re-marriage and Francis I himself held private conference with Anne, the French King maintained alliances with the Pope which he could not explicitly defy. Soon after returning to Dover, Henry and Anne married in a secret ceremony. She soon became pregnant and, as was the custom with royalty, there was a second wedding service, likewise shrouded in secrecy, which took place in London on 25 January 1533. Events now began to move at a quick pace.
Sometime near the end of 1532, Anne finally gave way and by December she was pregnant. To avoid any questions of the legitimacy of the child, Henry was forced into action. Sometime near St. Paul's Day (January 25) 1533, Anne and Henry were secretly married. Although the King's marriage to Catherine was not dissolved, in the King's mind it had never existed in the first place, so he was free to marry whomever he wanted. On May 23, the Archbishop officially proclaimed that the marriage of Henry and Catherine was invalid.
Henry had Thomas Wolsey dismissed from public office and later had the Boleyn family's chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1533, Henry and Anne went through a secret wedding service . She soon became pregnant and there was a second wedding service, which took place in London on 25 January 1533. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Catherine null and void. Five days later, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Anne to be good and valid. Soon after, the pope launched sentences of excommunication against the King and the Archbishop. As a result of Anne's marriage to the King, the Church of England was forced to break with Rome and was brought under the king's control .
It is believed that her elevation to the peerage marked the physical consummation of Anne and Henry's relationship, as well as a secret wedding. The circumstantial evidence is compelling. Anne would give birth to Elizabeth just a year later, in September 1533, and it is very unlikely that she and Henry - after waiting for years to be together - would suddenly have sex and risk an unplanned and, most importantly, illegitimate pregnancy. Secret weddings were hardly uncommon at the Tudor court. If they had a secret ceremony and consummated their relationship, then Anne became pregnant with Elizabeth just a few months later and that made a second, unquestionably legitimate wedding necessary.
The king had his fondest wish within his grasp. Anne was pregnant with his long-awaited son, or so he thought, and this son must be legitimate. He could no longer wait upon the pope. Henry rejected the authority of the Holy See and Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, annulled his marriage to Katharine. Henry and Anne married again in January 1533 in a small ceremony. But though they were now husband and wife, few recognized the fact.