Blood, Sex & Royalty depicts the story of Anne Boleyn and her rise to the position of Queen of England as historians discuss her impact on the history of England. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
In 1536, Anne Boleyn talks to a man in the Tower of London about her story. She begins in 1916 when she visited Amboise in France. Anne was fascinated by the french culture and how vibrant the place was.
While Anne was more focused on studying and being an independent thinker, her older sister Mary was more focused on the more simple desires of a woman back then which was to court a man, the higher his position the better.
Mary was a mistress to King Francis, the erstwhile king of France. Anne was closer to his sister Marguerite de Navarre who introduced Anne to revolutionary ideas regarding religion and feminism.
In 1520, the Field of Cloth and Gold is held, a festival which also serves as a political summit between France and England. This is where Anne first encounters King Henry VIII. Her father, Thomas Boleyn is one of the men in charge of organising the festival.
She catches his eye, but it’s not for another 2 years that they see each other again as she becomes a lady of the court in England. At this point, Mary is Henry’s mistress while he’s married to Catherine of Aragon.
Anne has her eyes on Henry Percy, a member of a high-ranking family in England. Due to his much higher status and the fact that Henry has already been promised to someone else, Anne and he are not meant to be and she’s sent back to Hever Castle to live with her family.
So Anne spends a few years away from court, familiarising herself with heretic ideas about religion such as accepting that a bible can be written in English, which was illegal at the time.
When her father is granted the title of viscount, Anne returns to court as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine and this is where her courtship with King Henry truly begins.
Anne is distant at first because of how Henry cast her sister aside once he was done with her. She also is very aware of her self-worth and does not wish to be just another mistress to the king despite his many pleas.
Even though she’s in love with him, Anne stays away from the court until King Henry agrees to give her the recognition she believes she deserves.
Anne is invited back to the court with Henry insisting that he’s working on getting his marriage to Catherine annulled. However, following the failure of Cardinal Wolsey to convince the Pope to accept the annulment, Henry and Anne take a different approach.
Henry cuts off from the Catholic Church and sets up the church of England with him as the head. This gives him more authority over his reign and allows him to pursue a marriage to Anne without consequence.
Another reason that Henry wants to marry Anne is so that she can give him a male heir and Anne promises him that she can provide him with a son.
After getting the support of King Francis, Anne and Henry have a secret marriage in 1532 and soon after she is coronated as the Queen after the archbishop of Canterbury declares Henry’s marriage to Catherine null and void.
Anne also learns that she is pregnant at the time and things are rosy for a while. However, Anne gives birth to a girl and that spells the beginning of the end of her story.
Blood, Sex & Royalty ending explained in detail:
What happens to Anne’s second child?
Anne becomes pregnant with Henry’s second child soon after the birth of their first. Henry is in better spirits and gifts Anne a dog to keep her company.
Anne wants to provide a son for her husband but she also wants to help the kingdom which has not been doing so well lately. The King has Thomas Cromwell as his right-hand man to advise him on governance but Anne gets involved as well.
She brings up the fact that the monasteries in England hoard great wealth which could be used in much better ways. Henry eventually shuts down the monasteries and absorbs all of their wealth.
Anne loses her second child due to complications and Henry is once again disappointed. He closes himself off toward Anne.
What happens in 1536?
Anne is once again pregnant after getting back in Henry’s good graces. She had gone through a tough few years in the court as Henry was drawn to her lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour, and her dog was found dead after it jumped out of a window.
Anne is certain that there is someone out to kill her and she does her best to seduce Henry and secure her position as the Queen by giving him a son.
Far into her pregnancy, Henry has an accident while jousting which is said to have damaged his brain. Not long after, Anne catches Henry with Jane and through the stress of it all, loses her child once again.
Who is Anne talking to?
Sometime after, Anne is arrested under ridiculous charges and imprisoned in the Tower of London. She is accused of infidelity and incest which are completely false claims.
During her imprisonment, she bares her heart out to William Kingston who is the constable of the tower. Anne believes that Kingston is an ally and a source of comfort in this difficult time but in truth, he was a spy for the King.
His job was to spy on Anne and find out everything he can from her so that they can use the information against her during the trial.
What is Anne’s fate?
Anne is ultimately found guilty of the charges and sentenced to death. This was all orchestrated by the men and women of the court who did not agree with Anne’s headstrong nature and controversial opinions.
Before her execution, she is visited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer who was also her former chaplain. He promises her a way to survive by insisting that she agree to have her marriage to Henry annulled.
The promise turned out to be a lie and Anne is beheaded soon after. While she didn’t achieve the influential reign she aspired to have, her sacrifice is in a way vindicated because her daughter, Elizabeth I would rule over England soon after Henry and sat on the throne for 44 years.