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
- 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
- Article by:
- Emily Mayne
- Gender, sexuality, courtship and marriage, Poetry
Love poetry in the Renaissance often expressed sexual or romantic passion, but it could also serve a variety of political, social and religious ends. Emily Mayne explores the origins and development of Renaissance love poetry and the many forms it took.