Concealed in the Vatican for almost five centuries, a love letter from King Henry VIII to his second wife Anne Boleyn is to go on display at the British Library in London.
Probably written in January 1528, it shows a softer side to the infamously bloodthirsty royal as he pursues her. He assures Anne that “henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone,” and apologises profusely for ever suggesting she could be a mere mistress.
The letter – originally written in French – appears to show that she has finally made a “too humble submission” to his advances.
It reads: “The demonstrations of your affection are such, and the beautiful words of your letter are so cordially phrased, that they really oblige me to honour, love, and serve you for ever.” […] “For my part, I will out-do you, if this be possible, rather than reciprocate, in loyalty of heart and my desire to please you.” […] “Beseeching you also that if I have in any way offended you, you will give me the same absolution for which you ask, assuring you that henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone, and wishing greatly that my body was so too.”
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