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- The Execution Of Anne Boleyn 1536.
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But Professor Bernard changed my mind. He peels away the myths that surround Anne, and does what any good historian is supposed to do — he examines the evidence. And the verdict that he comes up with about Anne is astonishing. She was not a Protestant, but a conventional Catholic; and she was almost certainly guilty of all charges brought against her.
Stripped of the legend created by Foxe, of Book of Martyrs fame, who made her into a Reformation saint, Anne comes over as a far more sympathetic character than heretofore. The excellent Alison Weir has also got a paperback out about the fall of Anne Boleyn, entitled The Lady in the Tower , which takes the opposite view to Professor Bernard. She sees Anne as the innocent victim of a plot engineered by Thomas Cromwell, who was determined to strike first before Anne got rid of him.
This of course sounds plausible but raises questions.
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Could even a powerful minister overthrow a queen, and on trumped up charges too? Henry clearly believed Anne was guilty: would he have believed this if indeed the charges were as obviously fabricated as Weir suggests? Every detail commands our attention. For example, Anne was buried in an old arrow chest — it seems that in the preparations for trial and execution, someone had neglected to arrange for a proper coffin.
As she prepared to die, all the spectators at her execution knelt down, with two exceptions — the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, the latter her own uncle, both of whom hated her with a passion. Anne herself, in her scaffold speech, was all great-heartedness. As Weir points out, she knew the rules. The defeated were meant to be gracious in the way they left the scene. There was a scaffold etiquette to be observed.
The two Dukes did not rise to the occasion in the way Queen Anne did. Weir occasionally draws on the work of Agnes Strickland, the 19th-century historian whose multi-volumed Lives of the Queens of England also available in a recent paperback edition was once the staple of many a Victorian library. An original edition is obtainable for quite a reasonable price. Strickland is a mine of information, the sort of writer you really need by your side if you are taking a slow boat to China.
For those with less time, a good single volume approach to these ladies — but only up to the end of the Middle Ages — is provided by Lisa Hilton and her excellent Queens Consort. This book fills you in on some people you may have heard of but know nothing about — such as Berengaria of Navarre — and some queens you never knew England even had, such as Adeliza of Louvain and Joan of Navarre.
When she lost his favour, her large gaggle of relations were indecently swift to disown her.
No one seems to have felt sorry for her. Yet one thing does survive, and that is the transcripts of her interrogation in the case of Anne Boleyn, all transcripts were destroyed and they make sad reading.
The Tragedy of Anne Boleyn
She became sexually active at a very young age. Of the trial scene and may have missed something, however I have no intention of going back to check. Mary Boleyn never comes up, and George exists mostly to be accused of incest and unjustly executed. It did prompt me to reread Two Gentlemen of Verona though, which is something — who knows, if you pick it up, it may prove to be a gateway to better things.
It is a definite gateway to a headache, though, so beware. This is a fantastic piece; thankyou so much for writing this.
I am about to record a podcast episode on the Shakespeare authorship wackiness, and Mrs. Gallup is very intriguing. Thankyou for your concise and witty synopsis!
Anne Boleyn and the Downfall of her Family
Have just published episode, thanks for your interest. I gave your blog a shout-out and listed you in my shownotes also. Not that I have many listeners, but you never know! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
Anne Boleyn Was One Of The Most Notable, And Tragic, Women In History
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