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Anne Boleyn 'did commit adultery'

23rd February 2010

Since Anne Boleyn was executed in 1536, the common view has been that Henry VIII invented her infidelities as an excuse to do away with her.

However, a new book by Tudor expert George Bernard, a professor of early modern history at the University of Southampton, claims to have uncovered proof that the king's second wife had numerous affairs, according to the Daily Mail.

In Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions, Professor Bernard cites a 1,000-line French poem written by Lancelot de Carles, secretary to the French ambassador to England, which names three of Boleyn's alleged lovers - musician Mark Smeaton, courtier Henry Norris and her brother George.

The expert pointed out that the poem has not been given due credence as a source because it is a literary work, but he brings to light new evidence, such as contemporary letters, suggesting the accusations could have some basis in truth.

Professor Bernard told the newspaper: 'No historian has questioned the guilt of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife, who was convicted of adultery a few years later. Why should the charges against Anne not be taken equally seriously?'

Another forthcoming book also claims to shed light on a Tudor mystery, with Chris Skidmore's Death and the Virgin exploring whether Elizabeth I's suspected lover Robert Dudley could have murdered his wife so he could marry the queen.

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