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.