Words fail me (that’s rather unusual!) because as I sit here in my room I’m struggling with how to get across to you the magic of today… I’ll try…

Eric Ives and The Anne Boleyn Experience 2011 Group

Sunshine and showers were forecast for today but the rain held off until a few minutes ago, as I’m on my way to bed, so we were able to fully enjoy our day at Hever Castle. After breakfast, we had a private guided tour of the castle before it opened to the public. Tim and I have done this tour on a few occasions but never have we been shown things like the light switches which William Waldorf Astor hid behind the Tudor style panelling – clever! After the tour, some of us walked up to St Peter’s Church to pay our respects to Thomas Boleyn and the Boleyn child buried there, while others chose to enjoy the gardens and the gift shop.

We met again for a buffet lunch – hard to find room for it after a full English breakfast! – and then had free time to enjoy the castle and gardens before our talk from Anna Spender, the Hever historian. Anna was excellent, she spoke about Anne Boleyn’s links to Hever and primary sources which are evidence of the time she spent here, including the love letters which Henry VIII wrote to her at Hever and reports of her returning to Hever at various points, for example when the Papal legate, Cardinal Campeggio, came to England. What I found really interesting was the evidence that Anne of Cleves had spent time at Hever, contrary to what many people say. We don’t just have the letter she wrote to Mary I, where she refers to her “poor” house at Hever, the German archives also contain letters written by Anne to her brother from Hever regarding her love of the local honey!

After Anna’s talk, we had more free time to soak up the magic of the castle and grounds, and you really cannot get enough of Hever – the rose gardens, the lake, the Italian gardens, the maze, the Anne Boleyn walk, the castle itself… it’s amazing and everyone fell in love with it. We then had the wonderful treat of dining in the main castle dining room and having Professor Eric Ives join us for dinner. Eric was very shocked to learn that we all view him as a bit of a celebrity, but was pleased to know that we all think of him like a film star! Dinner was followed by a talk and slide show from Eric, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. There’s no-one better to talk on Anne and he did her real justice. His love for her, his passion for his subject, shone through and we all went away happy, with our books signed too and photos with the man himself. When I say that many of us were walking on air, I’m not exaggerating.

Well, perhaps, I haven’t struggled for words after all, but I still don’t think I’ve really conveyed the magic of today. We’ve all fallen under Hever’s spell and we all feel much closer to Anne Boleyn, the woman that has brought this group together and formed a bond between us. Incredible!

Related Post

13 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn Experience 2011 Day 2 – Meeting Eric Ives”
  1. It sounds like a magnificent day and I wish I was there with you all! I hope everyone is having fun on what seems to be a most exciting tour and adventure! I have a question though, you mentioned that Thomas Boleyn is buried at St. Peter’s Church, who is the Boleyn child buried near him?

  2. How wonderful to meet Eric Ives! It’s funny that these authors don’t seem to realize just how amazed with them we are, haha. You know who else I’d love to meet? Alison Weir.

    It truly sounds like you had a fantastic day, Claire!

    1. Sounds like you are all having a wonderful time. I would love to be with you. How lovely to have been able to have an informal chat with Eric Ives. A really good historian like Eric is a link to the past, through people like him we are able to feel like we really know Anne and her contemporaries. So in my opinion he is a celebrity.

  3. Absolutly amazing, you truly are blessd to be able to experience that trip! Thanks for sharing your days with us.

    I also am wondering who the Boleyn child is???

    Keep posting Claire, I am enjoying the trip through you!

  4. Sounds wonderful. I hope to go on the Experience some day. Until I can … thank you for posting about it.

  5. I can feel the magic of Hever that you talk about. My sister and I went there July 2009 as part of our 500years since Henry’s coronation long weekend. We went by train and got of at Hever’s quaint little station and walked to the castle, and what a beautiful walk it was, under a mile through leafy lanes and beautiful country side. We both wondered if Anne and her family trod the same ground, and enjoyed making up stories of her maybe meeting Henry there or riding with George. I had been twice before but many years before then, but when the castle came into view, it was like I had been there yesterday, time stands still around Hever, the only difference was the new shop/cafe, which were very nice too. So yes, I can feel that magic even though I am sat at home on a cold dull evening, in the North east Scotand, and it warms me through, and if I turn to my left I can see on my wall a framed print of Hever Castle that I bought from the shop, and imagine I am in there with you….maybe I will be one day. Enjoy the rest of your stay, that goes without saying really.

  6. ve had a tough week and I decided to log on and read about the tour! I though it would ease my mind to read about the Hever experience…and it has. It was a wonderful trip in May and it appears that this one is also going great! I’m sure that everyone is having a great time! Memory

  7. The day sounded lovely. Through your words I can see it all so clearly.
    I would have loved to ask Mr Ives some questions, especially the one that is so very important about Anne’s birth date.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your day with us

  8. Oh, how I wish I could be there! I adore Eric Ives and he IS such a star! I hope you will continue to have him over the years so I can actually meet him someday! Thanks, Claire, for the update.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *