The following love letter, written from Henry to Anne Boleyn in May, 1528, may serve to introduce the period of his life when his dispute with the pope about the grant of a divorce transformed the king from an opponent of all forms of the Reformation to an influential advocate of many changes in the earlier organization of the English church.
I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to recommend us to your favor, and not to let absence lessen your affection to us. For it were great pity to increase our pain, which absence alone does sufficiently, and more than I could ever have thought; bringing to my mind a point of astronomy, which is, that the farther the Moors are from us, the farther too is the sun, and yet his heat is the more scorching: so it is with our love; we are at a distance from one another, and yet it keeps its fervency, at least on my side. I hope the like on your part, assuring you that the uneasiness of absence is already too severe for me; and when I think of the continuance of that which I must of necessity suffer, it would seem intolerable to me, were it not for the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affection for me; and now, to put you 337 sometimes in mind of it, and seeing I cannot be present in person with you, I send you the nearest thing to that possible, that is, my picture set in bracelets, with the whole device, which you know already, wishing myself in their place, when it shall please you.
This from the hand of
Your servant and friend,