King Henry VIII ruled over England for 36 years during the Tudor period and famously had six different wives.
Henry grew dissatisfied in his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon after she didn’t give birth to a healthy male heir. By the 1520s, the monarch had also fallen madly in love with Anne Boleyn, a young lady-in-waiting to his wife, who had recently returned from France.
He petitioned the Pope for an annulment, arguing his marriage to Catherine was invalid, because she was his brother’s widow.
Rome’s rejections of his requests for an annulment led to the creation of the Church of England, which Henry made himself head of.
He and Anne married in January 1533, and their daughter Elizabeth, the future Queen, was born later that year.
While still married to Catherine, Henry sent Anne a series of love letters, which are now housed in the Vatican Library.
Historian Sandra Vasoli, who has visited the archives, said she was left “surprised” at the sense of romance between the two lovers.
Catherine of Aragon: Henry VIII’s first wife (Image: GETTY)
Ms Vasoli is the author of the 2015 book ‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower: A New Assessment’.
She told Express.co.uk: “You can see them digitised and there are a couple of them that are fairly available on the internet, even though the Vatican Library does protect them.
“But when you see them in person, when you sit right there with them, it’s so uncanny.
“There is just an aura that comes off of them that is very hard to describe.
“I looked through them, I came away from that session knowing that she loved him, that she grew to love him.
Anne Boleyn: Meeting Henry VIII (Image: GETTY)
“And she loved him, I would say, as much as he loved her. And that surprised me.”
The historian also recalled the handwriting of England’s former King.
She said: “One of the really notable things about the early ones is that it is like a schoolboy who is writing.
“The early ones were very, very neat. We know Henry did not like to write. He had scribes, secretaries who wrote for him all the time.
“His handwriting was large, just like him. Large and very bombastic.
“Just what you would expect – scrawling and big and dynamic.
“But the early letters, he must have copied them over a couple of times.”
Ms Vasoli added: “The writing is very small, very neat. There’s only a few scratch-outs. And they all kind of skew to the side.”
Despite the intense passion between England’s former King and Queen, their relationship also ended after she didn’t give birth to a healthy male heir.
Anne Boleyn: Was executed at Tower of London (Image: GETTY)
Henry and Anne’s only child to survive infancy was Elizabeth, who went on to become one of the most successful monarchs in English history.
Anne was executed at the Tower of London in 1536, just three years after she was crowned Queen.
She was found guilty of charges including adultery and conspiracy against the King and was beheaded by a French swordsman.
‘Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower: A New Assessment’ was written by Sandra Vasoli and published by MadeGlobal Publishing in 2015. It is available here.