Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours


King Henry VIII and the court regularly attended Mass in the royal chapel, sometimes more than once a day.

The King often used the time before the consecration to transact business but this manuscript shows him using a book of prayers to send a flirtatious message to Anne Boleyn instead. He wrote in French: 

‘If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever.’ 

Presenting himself as lovesick, he wrote his note on a page depicting the man of sorrows. 

Anne replied with a couplet in English: 

By daily proof you shall me find To be to you both loving and kind

With deliberate enticement, she chose to write her message below a miniature of the Annunciation, the angel telling the Virgin Mary that she would have a son.

To hear a short talk by a British Library curator about Ann Boleyn's Book of Hours click here

Full title:
Book of Hours, Use of Sarum (''Anne Boleyn''s Book of Hours'')
c. 1500
Manuscript / Illuminated manuscript / Manuscript annotation
English / French
Unknown, King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Kings MS 9, f. 231v & f. 66

Full catalogue details

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