Access the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar


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7 thoughts on “Access the Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar”
  1. I don’t believe Mary wasn’t as bright as Anne. A posh education is no indication of how intelligent someone is. Mary had more common sense than Anne, despite her so called superior intellect. Mary didn’t marry the King. Mary ended up with the man she wanted and that’s more of a blessing than a French education.

    1. Anne may have had the higher IQ, she was certainly gifted and had a keen brain she was interested in theology and loved to discuss this topic with scholars and the king himself, she was also musical and could play the virginals other instruments and read and write French, her early letter written to her father at Marguerites court is proof that she was of a high intelligence, but intelligence consists largely of common sense, and sadly Anne had none of that, so yes I agree with Lynn, Mary was the one with common sense, she did not have ideas above her station, Anne grew conceited with the kings adoration and thought, ‘if I play my cards right I can win a crown’, she then promised him sons, something which is completely out of a woman’s hands, mother nature must have been listening at the door and thought ‘il show her’, Anne also made enemies with her spiteful tongue and never learnt how to conform to becoming a queen when she was married to Henry and crowned, she carried on like the demanding mistress forgetting that she was not that woman anymore, she wanted to be queen so much never stopping to think that she may not be suitable for that high office, in the end she did pay for the price of her ambition with a dreadful death, but her very character and the role she played earned her a place in English history, Mary the eldest who is remembered only for her connection with her, was the most fortunate daughter she did die in her bed after all, which at the court of Henry V111 was no mean achievement.

  2. Anne Boleyn was indeed highly educated and intelligent as her interest in theology indicates and she wouldn’t have been at Margaret of Austria’s Court otherwise. A dullard was no use there. She certainly would have been educated with her step children and would have been expected to have a high degree of achievement. Anne wasn’t there all that long but her time made an impression on her.

    After one or two years Anne moved to the household of Queen Claude in France. We aren’t certain if she went first to the household of Mary Tudor as Queen of France as her sister did or straight to that of Claude. Anne’s name doesn’t appear on the list of Mary’s ladies, her sister’s does. She was in the household of Claude and her father was by then Ambassador in France.

    Anne seems to have had a natural talent for certain things, languages, music and stately dancing. Its obvious by her later achievement and ability to debate with theologians and reformers that she understood the classics and the scriptures. She had a genuine interest in books and a natural wit and charm. Anne had a natural flare for fashion and would have been trained in etiquette as would other ladies, but that extra flare for the modern look was also there. She was probably a trend setter. Anne appeared to think in French as well as learn the language as people remarked that she was as a French woman born. We don’t know what her command of Greek and Latin was like because she had translations of books made, but I am guessing it was at least reasonable. Every lady would have had a reasonable level of education because they couldn’t survive at any European or the Tudor Court without it. Even Mary would have been reasonably well grounded in a general education. Anne apparently went beyond that. She apparently stood out as intelligent.

    However, common sense and wisdom seem to have escaped her at some point. Anne was wise enough not to accept Henry’s offer of his bed, but she lost her head and became his wife. She wasn’t trained for Queenship. Anne was raised to make a good match but I don’t think the Boleyns had the King on the match making list. Henry was after all, already married. Anne wanted nothing less than marriage and Henry was obsessed enough to offer her just that. That was a dangerous game and Anne’s common sense didn’t give her warning signs.

    Henry was a completely different man when Anne began to warm to him and attract him in 1526 to the man who ordered her execution ten years later. He was somewhat ruthless but he was also charming and fun and still athletic and energetic. He still took advice. He wasn’t yet a tyrant and he wasn’t yet the ego maniac he was to become. His temper was still contained and he still had some patience. That would change over the next few years, slowly, but by the time of their wedding, the signs were already visible. Anne never marked those warnings and that led tragically to her downfall.

    Another thing with Anne was her own temper, her own sharp tongue. A sharp wit is all well and good in play, when things are going well, not when the air is tense with fear and conspiracy. Anne picked up the art of play, the art of flirting. This was a way of acting at Court, which allowed people to interact with their superiors and vice versa. It was highly stylised, with rules, etc. The problem was Anne sometimes forgot what those rules were and didn’t reign herself in. She said and did things during her marriage to Henry which a Tudor wife should not have said. A bit of common sense might have stopped her doing so. She argued with Henry in public. Even today we might say someone having a public row where making a holy show of themselves. Privacy was a premium but the Tudors designed their palaces for privacy for the King and Queen. Anne was warned to bite her tongue a, few times. Henry wanted one thing after they got married, a son. Give him that and then you can complain about his mistress or his daughter or Katharine as much as you want. Unfortunately, Anne couldn’t do that. Henry may have had problems in that area although there is no evidence of it. Anne merely boasted this to her sister in law. We don’t know if it was true or not. Its not until three years later that the first evidence of impotency is noted. Anne had no control over either the sex of her children or the success of her pregnancy but that didn’t stop Henry from blaming her, as indeed society did. Nor do we know for certain why Anne and Katharine had only one living child each and that child a female. There are several theories but its impossible to diagnose someone after 500 years.

    What Anne could control, however, was her tongue. Anne was a very influential mistress. That was unusual but then Anne was in a very unusual circumstance. Anne and Henry planned to be married. Both were determined to have their way in this and Anne was far more than a royal mistress. She was his future bride. Henry relied upon her as a woman with reformed ideas as she could guide him as to what he might do to be free from Rome. Anne certainly influenced Henry in the new appointments he made but she didn’t make those appointments. She may have suggested a list of names of her reformed contacts. Anne could certainly suggest men like Thomas Cranmer might be able to succeed where Cardinal Wolsey had failed. However, much of her political influences had to take a back seat as Henry’s wife. This didn’t mean she was totally submissive but she didn’t always recognise that once he had made up his mind, there was no point trying to change it or to rule him. Henry was King and Anne didn’t make the transition from mistress to wife very well.

    Anne also crossed the line with her courtly love and wasn’t always discreet. She played a dangerous game at times and unfortunately this allowed her enemies to find something to use against her. She went further and fell out with Cromwell. If you are in a less than secure position, you don’t threaten your husband’s chief minister. Anne could have made her suggestions without going that far. A person with common sense should know that was dangerous. Unfortunately, at this stage, 2 years into a very rocky marriage, Anne had completely lost all sense of political discernment that she may have had to begin with. She was making threats against Mary, Katharine, the King’s minister, his various mistresses, not discreetly but in public. Her family where pleading with Anne to calm down and be more circumspect. They were worried about the consequences of her words and actions. They had good reasons to be worried as well. Henry was becoming more and more ruthless. Power had gone to his head. He had imprisoned and then executed members of the clergy. It was illegal to execute a priest. Henry had executed his friend and mentor, Thomas More and the holy and elderly, Bishop John Fisher. He had seen monks and nuns executed because he was now Supreme Head of the Church in England. These men and women where even better educated than Anne or Henry and saw right through his new laws. Anne may have influenced Henry on the way to deal with the monasteries but not with how to use the money or what to do if a religious house refused him. She didn’t want them totally closed and abandoned. Henry just saw £ signs. Cromwell saw the same thing.

    Anne may not have saved herself at the end of the day but she might have stopped short of even being his wife with a bit more common sense. Mary chided her sister in her one letter, saying she would rather beg her bread with the man she loved than be the greatest Queen in the world. Ouch. Mary was in a dangerous situation but she also begged for help from the person who could help her, Thomas Cromwell. Her letter shows that Mary was no fool, nor was she going to be bullied into submission. Mary may have been one of those people who don’t prize intellectual pursuits. She seems to have just wanted to be content with her husband and family around her. We know so little about these two women, from direct evidence that is, yet we have somehow as lovers of history, passed judgment on both of them.

  3. Anne was really very modern in her outlook, a feminist is how I’d describe her, but like other educated ambitious women in the 16th c was hampered by the constraints placed on their sex, Henry’s sixth queen was also educated and ambitious and tried to lecture the king one day and was sharply reprimanded for it, she became the first queen to have her work published, Margaret of Alencon the sister of the King of France was also highly educated, it must have been so hard for feisty intelligent women in those days whose place in society was merely that of a chattel of first her father, then her husband, everything she owned belonged to them she had no rights and her husband could beat her if he so wished, infidelity was expected of a husband and she was expected no views on anything as she was the lowly sex, however as we have seen Sir Thomas Boleyn gave his children an excellent education , so did Sir Thomas More and the Marquis of Dorset gave all his daughters an excellent education to, the Tudors particularly were very intelligent, Henry V111 himself spoke and wrote Latin French and Spanish, his children were all bi lingual to, Elizabeth presented her father with a book wrote in Latin one Christmas and Edward V1 was frighteningly precocious, as was his cousin Lady Jane Grey, Anne was unique in not only was she very educated and stylish and musically gifted to, she also possessed sex appeal and many fell victim to her charms, she also had ambition and a great deal of courage, one contemporary described her as being as brave as a lion, certainly she knew what she wanted and made sure she got it to, she was the only woman in English history to make it from being a kings lover to kings consort, she is unique in that, had she been born in this century or the last, I am sure that intelligence drive and courage she possessed would have earned her a top high flying job maybe in Parliament, such women are high achievers, she would have done brilliant in our times as nothing would have held her back.

  4. I don’t think Anne was a feminist, she wasn’t interested in female equality but she certainly was for taking her sex forward and she wouldn’t be put off. She knew her opinion counted and she was determined to make sure she was heard. Her education prepared Anne for the years of waiting, the many turns in the annulment and what to do next. Anne understood everything. That was unusual, even for an educated woman. The issue was both theological and legal. Legal texts are extremely complex but canon law required a very strong understanding of theology as well as law. Few people would have grasped the issues or the language. Anne might not be the Latin scholar that Thomas More or his daughter where but she knew enough to grasp the fundamental issues and to counter them with her own ideas. Anne was more astute than her erstwhile bridegroom and she realised that Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was not as confident as he should have been during the Blackfriars Court hearing. Anne sensed something was wrong and she had warned Henry all wasn’t well. She was right. Not only had Katharine caused a sensation by appealing to her husband with her famous speech but she had stormed out and refused to return. Then over the next few weeks it became clear that Wolsey wasn’t in control of this hearing, which was an entire farse. Anne had warned Henry that the Cardinal Compeggio was not doing his job honestly. It turned out to be correct. He was under pressure to pretend to run an honest court but in fact he had secret orders not to grant Henry his annulment. When the Court rose for the Summer, it never sat again.

    Anne knew how to manipulate the King as well and that takes the kinda intelligence only a woman has. She said she was going back to Hever and had wasted her life if he didn’t do something about it. She also told Henry on another occasion after she caught him still wearing his wife’s shirts that she couldn’t stay with him as long as there where three people in that marriage. Anne wanted Katharine gone and manipulated him into finally leaving her. Henry didn’t even say goodbye that day in 1531 to the woman he had been married to for 22 years as he rode away with the woman he loved, Anne Boleyn.

    Anne would use her intelligence and understanding to help negotiate new ways through the mess which the annulment continued to draw Henry and her into. Anne may have been the one to bring the work of William Tyndale to Henry’s attention and it was this work which led Henry to realise he wasn’t answerable to the papacy and which paved the way for abandoning Rome and ending his first marriage using English law. Despite her level of education, despite the level of education of other women, they were not deemed capable of ruling. A woman could be as greatly educated as she wished but to what end if she was restricted in her life and what she might achieve in the sixteenth century?

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