On the 26th August 1533, Anne Boleyn took to her chamber (also known as going into confinement). She had known she was pregnant since February and ‘took to her chamber’ fewer than two weeks before Elizabeth was born.
Most women ‘took to their chamber’ four to six weeks before their due date. This would have suggested to the court that she anticipated giving birth at the end of September, implying she believed in a conception date around Christmas. Claire Ridgway says that Elizabeth may have been premature or Anne may have miscalculated her dates. Eric Ives however suggests that the secret marriage on 25th January was because Anne suddenly realised that she was pregnant. Though it is more likely that it was because the couple were sleeping together and risking pregnancy. The only evidence we have of Anne realising she was pregnant was in a February conversation with Thomas Wyatt.
Anne took to her chamber at Greenwich Palace. She attended a special mass at the Chapel Royal and then processed with her ladies to the Queen’s great chamber. The group then would have enjoyed wine and spices before Anne’s lord chamberlain prayed for her. He would have prayed that God would given the Queen a safe delivery. Afterwards, Anne and her ladies retired to her chamber.
Anne’s chamber would be warm and dark, it would be fastened up against fresh air as it was thought to be harmful and candles were lit. It was thought that the chamber would protect the baby from evil spirits as it came into the world.
The Anne Boleyn Collection II, Claire Ridgway, 2013, p125-126
The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives, 2005, p184
Anne Boleyn, Paul Friedmann, 2010, p87
In Bed with the Tudors: The Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I, Amy Licence, 2013, p143
Pregnant Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer) in The Tudors.