It’s common knowledge that Anne Boleyn wore a yellow dress in celebration of Queen Katherine’s (Katherine of Aragon) death. But did she? Did she really?
Let’s take a look at the facts.
The queen did pass away on January 7th, 1536, while in residence at Kimbolton Castle. It’s believed that Queen Katherine’s heart was black, as a result of it being broken by Henry. We’ll go into this at another time.
Henry, the ass that he was, was terrified that he would go too far and land himself in a war he couldn’t win. This war would have been against the Holy Roman Emperor, France, Spain, and England. Katherine’s nephew, as you know, was the Holy Roman Emperor, who was powerful enough to gather his forces and rain down on Henry like a Georgia thunderstorm. With Katherine’s death, Henry was now free of any threat. Henry may not have been celebrating Katherine’s death per se, but he sure was celebrating the fact that he now had an advantage over France.
Henry was also so elated because he believed that now his future son with Anne would be the uncontested heir to the throne, that he threw a great celebration. It’s said that Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, reported to King Charles V that the king wore head-to-toe yellow with a white feather bobbing in his bonnet as he paraded Princess Elizabeth through Mass with much fanfare. Chapuys went on to describe the whole event.
What makes Eustace’s account of the event a bit suspect is his feeling for Anne Boleyn. He held her with cold hard hatred. He referred to her as the Whore, The Concubine, as well as other colorful names. Yet his account to King Charles only mentioned Anne Boleyn in the last, added as an afterthought. If Anne had been there and worn yellow, there would have been paragraphs of vitriol directed right at her. So, when looking at “eye witness” accounts and other historical documents, it’s quite possible that Anne wasn’t even in London at the time.
Knowing Anne Boleyn and the highly religious person that she was, it’s highly unlikely that she would have celebrated another queen’s death.
At any rate, I do not believe that Anne was happy with Katherine’s death. I believe her feelings were more akin to relief.
Henry sure was happy though.
-Jane, The Lady Rochford