The Vatican has reportedly denied the BBC permission to film a letter written by Henry VIII to his sweetheart because it refers to his kissing Bolyn’s ‘pritty duckys’.
Apparently, the Vatican thought the letter was far too risqué for viewers of an upcoming BBC’s programme, Six Wives with Lucy Worsley.
However, Vatican authorities did allow the BBC to film other letters in which the Tudor king does not talk dirty.
The “naughty” letter was written by the king while in the throes of love, declaring that he was:
Wishing my self (specially an evening) in my sweetheart’s armes whose pritty duckys I trust shortly to kysse.
Duckys, Worsley explained, is known to have been a slang reference to breasts.
The broadcaster and chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces said she had experienced a “sizzle” of excitement at being granted permission to use the other letters, saying it was “so fantastic” to be able to show audiences evidence of Henry’s passion.
Some of the letters will appear in episode one of the history documentary that is blended with drama.
While the script is based on accurate historical documents, the programme-makers said they hoped to entice a new audience into understanding the period and give an alternate viewpoint from the queens’ perspectives.
While Catherine of Aragon is shown as a dignified, powerful Queen in her own right, Anne Boleyn will be shown as a fierce intellectual who miscalculated, and Katherine Howard will be portrayed as the victim of child abuse.
A question that immediately sprang to my mind was: “why the hell is the Vatican holding these letters?”
The Anne Boleyn Files quotes by Dr Linda Saether as saying:
How these very personal letters ended up in Rome, hidden, for centuries, in the Vatican archives will never be known. One can only assume that they were stolen by supporters of Katherine of Aragon, the Queen that Henry VIII sought to divorce despite their Catholic marriage vows.
According to Henry, his union with Katherine was sinful and unlawful in the eyes of God, incestuous in fact, due to Katherine’s prior marriage to Henry’s brother Arthur. His grounds for divorce was that this sin had cursed their union resulting in their inability to produce a male heir for the sake of England.
Although the Queen swore her brief marriage to Henry’s brother was never consummated and the Pope had granted dispensation for their union, Henry didn’t budge. It was widely known that making Lady Anne Boleyn his wife and Queen had become Henry’s obsession. An obsession that eventually led England away from the grips of Rome and towards a religious reformation with Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the English Church.
Perhaps the Pope himself read these letters meant for Henry’s darling Anne and realised just how obsessed Henry had become. And then quietly had them buried in the archives.