Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History Episode 2 – Rundown

Posted By on February 28, 2014

HenryAndAnne Lovers I made notes from last night’s programme for those of you who were unable to watch it. Apologies if I’ve missed anything out but I have no way of pausing it so had to scribble rather quickly!

The programme opened by taking the viewer back to 31st May 1533. Suzannah Lipscomb explained that Henry was the King of England, Catherine of Aragon had been banished from court and Anne was in the royal apartments of the Tower of London preparing for her coronation procession. This was the climax of a love affair which had seen the King divorce his wife. As Anne left the Tower, thousands of spectators cheered. Suzannah explained that Henry had gambled the country’s future and had set England on a collision course with the rest of Europe to be with Anne, yet three years later Anne would be back in the Tower as a prisoner. She was Queen for only a thousand days.

After that introduction, we were then taken back to 7th September 1533 and the birth of Elizabeth. Her birth was a disappointment because she was not the promised son. We were reminded that Henry had abandoned Catherine of Aragon because of her failure to give him a son, a failure that Henry had seen as “a stain on his image”, and “image was everything”. Suzannah showed viewers the cartoon of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein which gives us an insight into how the King wanted to be seen. He was depicted as being taller than he was in real life and the triangle made by his broad shoulders and tapered waist, and the other triangle made by his feet being wide apart, focuses our gaze on his huge codpiece. This image is all about masculinity and virility, that’s the message. Suzannah explained that there are so many copies of this image because courtiers had copies made to show that they were on board with this message.

The future of England rested on Henry and Anne providing the country with an heir. Suzannah talked about Anne’s coronation song, “The White Falcon”, which emphasised Anne’s fertility and her duty. In March 1534, there were rumours that Anne was pregnant but there are no records of Anne suffering a miscarriage or experiencing a stillbirth. Suzannah pondered whether this was a phantom pregnancy caused by the pressure and stress that Anne was under.

We were then taken forward in time to April 1535. Suzannah explained that new laws had been passed to reduce papal authority in England – the Acts of Supremacy and Succession in 1534. Henry needed loyal subjects and he was prepared to be brutal to make them loyal. The Acts required his subjects to swear an oath and those who refused were seen as traitors and punished as such. Suzannah visited the London Charterhouse which had been a monastery of Carthusian monks in Henry’s reign, headed by Prior John Houghton. These monks refused to swear and ten of them were brutally executed. There is a very graphic account of their executions, which Suzannah read. Henry was blamed for these executions and it was imperative that he and Anne have a son to justify his brutal actions.

Suzannah then visited Thornbury Castle to remind us that Anne and Henry were, at this time, still very much in love. They spent ten days at Thornbury in the summer of 1535, and Suzannah stayed in the room they stayed in. The couple was described as “merry” more times than the word was used to describe Henry and any of his other wives, and it was a relationship of “sunshine and storms” – arguments followed by passionate making up.

All seemed well as 1535 came to an end and 1536 was full of hope because Anne was pregnant and Henry was the supreme head of the Church. On 7th January 1536, Catherine of Aragon died, and this was good news for Henry because Catherine had still been seen as his wife and Queen by Rome and the Empire. He celebrated her death. Suzannah visited Catherine’s tomb at Peterborough Cathedral and spoke of how Catherine was the true victim of the story, having been married to Henry for over 20 years and her only crime being her failure to provide him with a son. Her grave was decorated with cards, flowers and pomegranates, so she is still remembered today. Henry and Anne treated her with contempt.

Suzannah explained that it was Henry’s desire to maintain honour that destroyed his marriage. Honour was linked to masculinity and it was vital that the King excelled over all others. We were taken to 24th January 1536, the day of Henry’s jousting accident. He suffered a major blow to the head when he fell from his horse and was reported to be unconscious for two hours. Suzannah talked to Dr Suzy Lishman, from the Royal College of Pathologists, who said that the frontal lobe of Henry’s brain could have been damaged by the blow to his head and that it is the frontal lobe which controls our behaviour and personality. It is what makes us who we are. Damage to the frontal lobe can exacerbate personality traits that we already have, and can even completely change us. Suzannah is of the opinion that Henry became more brutal and cruel after this jousting accident, and Dr Lishman also talked about how Henry’s leg ulcer, which was also opened up by the fall, was treated with hot irons, which would have been very painful.

On 29th January 1536, Anne miscarried a baby boy and she blamed the miscarriage on the shock of the news of the King’s fall. Suzannah talked about how the success of Anne and Henry’s marriage depended on Anne having a son. She quoted one ambassador as saying that Anne had miscarried her saviour and that she had sealed her fate, and Henry as saying “’I see God will not give me male children”. He saw Anne’s miscarriage as a sign that his second marriage didn’t have God’s backing either.

We were then taken to 1st April 1536. Suzannah spoke of how rumours were circulating that Henry had lost interest in Anne and that he was seeing another woman. Suzannah mentioned how Chapuys had never disguised his hatred of Anne, referring to her as “the concubine”, and he reported that Anne was in disgrace with Henry and that Henry was interested in another woman: Jane Seymour. Henry had written a letter to Jane and sent it to her with a purse of sovereigns. She explained how this letter was probably a summons to his bedroom. Jane didn’t open the letter, she sent it back to the King with the purse. Chapuys reported that Jane told the messenger to tell Henry that “she was a gentlewoman of good and honorable parents, without reproach, and that she had no greater riches in the world than her honor, which she would not injure for a thousand deaths, and that if he wished to make her some present in money she begged it might be when God enabled her to make some honorable match.” Suzannah commented that Jane was playing hard to get.

Suzannah believes that Henry had no intention of marrying Jane at this point and that there was no evidence that he had fallen out of love with Anne. He was still trying to get Charles V to recognise Anne as Queen. However, according to Suzannah, there were scandalous rumours going around that Anne was having sexual relations with other men, although it is unknown who was responsible for these rumours. Suzannah pondered whether it was this careless talk that cost lives in 1536, whether it was court gossip that brought Anne down. She feels that it is “extremely doubtful” that Anne did commit adultery, and she spoke to Patrick Jephson, who was Princess Diana’s private secretary, to get his insight. He spoke of how people have tried to paint Diana as a loose cannon with many lovers, yet she was, in fact, a dutiful princess. Suzannah commented on how one way to bring down a powerful woman is to paint her as a sexual predator. Scandal is used to bring down such a woman and when there is no scandal then it can be created.

Suzannah is of the opinion that Henry believed that Anne was guilty. According to one account, Henry was shocked at the news and his colour changed. He ordered an investigation. Suzannah then spoke of Henry Norris, who was Henry’s Groom of the Stool and one of his closest and trusted friends. Anne had had a recent conversation with Norris in which she had accused him of looking for “dead men’s shoes”, i.e. wanting to marry her after her husband’s death. It was treason to speak of the King’s death and Norris’s panicked response to her shows that he realised that she had committed a “faux pas”.

We were then taken to 1st May 1536 and Suzannah explained just how swift and sudden Anne’s downfall was. At the May Day tournament at Greenwich, Henry received unwelcome news, news that Smeaton had confessed to sleeping with the Queen. Suzannah believes that Henry believed this and that he valued his honour over his love for Anne. He left Greenwich abruptly, taking Norris with him and whatever Norris told him on that journey led to the King believing Norris was guilty. Henry never saw Anne again after that tournament, so Anne had no opportunity to protest her innocence.

On 2nd May 1536, early in the morning, Anne was taken from Greenwich to the Tower of London by barge. According to Suzannah, she entered by Traitors Gate. She was accused of a long list of sexual crimes and treason. While Anne was in the Tower, “Henry simply disappeared from public life”. Anne was taken to the royal apartments, the same apartments she had stayed in before her coronation. Suzannah stood on the spot by the White Tower where the apartments and Great Hall had been. Anne was tried in the Great Hall on 15th May 1536 in front of 2000 spectators by a jury of her peers led by her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk. Suzannah then looked at the document detailing the crimes she was charged with, the indictment. It was full of salacious and lurid details, particularly regarding the incest charge: “alluring him with her tongue in the said George’s mouth, and the said George’s tongue in hers. Anne was painted as a sexual predator. Suzannah commented that no man could be expected to keep control of a wife with such a sexual appetite, but Henry stayed away from court, from the humiliation. Anne’s adultery suggested his lack of sexual prowess and dominance. When it came to George’s trial, George was handed a piece of paper and told not to read it out, but he read it out. It was the charge that he and Anne had laughed at the King’s dress sense, his poetry and that they had spoken about the King’s impotence.

Suzannah commented that the outcome of the trial was never in any doubt. After Anne had been sentenced, when she had nothing to lose, she spoke of her innocence. Suzannah explained that although her speech seems quite straightforward, and she is affirming her innocence, Anne does admit to being feisty and not always having been the wife Henry wanted and expected her to be. Anne went on to swear her innocence both before and after receiving Holy Communion.

Suzannah believes that what happened in 1536 was “all a terrible mishap”, that Anne looked guilty even though she wasn’t. Suzannah spoke of how what had “beguiled” Henry about Anne “made her look guilty as sin”.

We were then taken to 16th May 1536 and a shot of Anne looking out of her window. There must have been a typo here as Suzannah explained that Anne may have heard a commotion outside as the men were led out of the Tower and taken to Tower Hill for their executions. The men were actually executed on 17th May, not 16th.

Suzannah then examined a prayer book which she believes that Anne may have had with her in the Tower. Anne wrote in it ““remember me when you do pray, that hope doth lead from day to day – anne Boleyn”.

On 19th May 1536, just before 8am, Anne was led to a scaffold within the walls of the Tower and away from the public. She was beheaded with one stroke of the sword of an expert French swordsman. As Suzannah said this, a falcon was shown flying away and Henry was pictured with Jane Seymour. Suzannah then visited the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower, explaining how Anne’s body was taken there, but, if she was treated like other traitors, that her head may have been boiled and put on a spike for all to see.

The programme then ended by giving us the following facts:

  • 11 days after Anne’s execution Henry married Jane Seymour
  • Jane gave birth to a son, Edward, who died six years into his reign
  • Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, reigned for 45 years

It was an interesting programme and Suzannah’s passion for the topic shone through, and was very infectious. However, there were various points I didn’t agree with:

  1. I believe that Anne would have entered the Tower at her arrest via the Court Gate of the Byward Tower, and that she was taken there in the afternoon of 2nd May, after having appeared in front of a royal commission at Greenwich. Chronicler Charles Wriothesley writes, “And the seconde daie of Maie, Mr. Norris and my Lorde of
    Rochforde were brought to the Towre of London as prisonners; and the same daie, about five of the clocke at night, the Queene Anne Bolleine was brought to the Towre of London by my Lord Chauncelor, the Duke of Norfolke, Mr. Secretarie, and Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower; and when she came to the court gate, entring in, she fell downe on her knees before the said lordes, beseeching God to helpe her as she was not giltie of her accusement.” (p36)
  2. Primary source documents show that the men were executed on 17th May 1536, rather than 16th. I’m sure the writing on screen said the 16th, so it must have been a typo or my eyes going completely screwy!
  3. I have never seen mention of Anne’s head being displayed on a spike and I am of the opinion that her head was wrapped up with her body in a white cloth and taken for burial at the chapel. Charles Wriothesley writes, “her bodye with the head was buried in the Chappell within the Tower of London.” (p42) Also, when remains were exhumed in 1876 from the spot recorded as her burial spot, they found a skull. See Anne Boleyn’s Remains.
  4. I haven’t see any evidence that rumours were circulating around the court about Anne having lovers prior to her arrest.

I did enjoy the programme though and liked the way that Suzannah visited key places and shared documents and objects from the time with us.

There are various theories regarding Anne’s downfall and who was responsible and you can read them in my article “The Fall of Anne Boleyn – The Various Theories”. Personally, I believe that Henry VIII knew that Anne was innocent and instructed Cromwell to find a way out of his marriage so that he could move on to Jane and have the hope of a son. What do you think?

The content of this article is obviously based on the programme and Suzannah’s voice-overs and parts to camera.

20 thoughts on “Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History Episode 2 – Rundown”

  1. Linda Joyce says:

    Thanks Claire for such a succinct appraisal of what was a lavish production, but like you I question various accounts of events. I have always been surprised there was no provision of a coffin for Anne – surely this would have been Kingston’s job, as with all the other burials?
    I see the programme will be repeated, and as with the first episode I shall watch it over and over, because you always catch something you missed the first time around.
    No mention of Jane Rochford I noticed, nor the fact that Henry Percy was in ‘court’ at Anne’s trial.
    I feel this could have been expanded into a longer series to include other aspects. As it was, despite Suzannah’s enthusiasm, it seemed a bit superficial.

  2. Esther says:

    Thanks for the summary … this isn’t showing in the US, unfortunately (although I expect it will soon be on youtube). However, like you, I disagree with Suzannah’s theories concerning Anne’s fall and agree that Henry told Cromwell to get rid of her. According to the book “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn”, Henry would have covered up a 1534 miscarriage or stillbirth because (a) he would have had to return to Catherine; (b) he still loved Anne; and (c) it really made him … and his supremacy … look cursed by G-d, but changes in the political situation by 1536, combined with the jousting accident making clear his own mortality, means that he didn’t have to wait. Also, I agree with Schoenfeld who says in his biography of Thomas Cromwell, that the incident with Chapuys in April of 1536 does not mean that Henry was still committed to his marriage; Henry would want to make it clear that Anne’s fall was his doing, not a posthumous “win” for Catherine. I think Cromwell figured that an annulment wouldn’t work — Henry Percy, in 1532, denied a pre-contract; and the other available grounds (Anne’s alleged “sorcery” or Henry’s affair with Mary) would adversely affect the Reformation. Tearing traditional religion to shreds under influence of witchcraft, I would think, means that release from the “spell” means that Henry has to undo the changes. Also since Henry knew of the affair with Mary and that it violated canonical law, that annulment means that the religious changes were made so Henry could enter into a marriage that he knew would be invalid — which also doesn’t look good. Once Cromwell figured out an annulment alone wouldn’t work .. he used “Plan B”

    1. Jillian says:

      One of the oddest things in this episode was that Thomas Cromwell wasn’t mentioned at all! (unless I missed it, but I don’t think I did).

      Like others, I wasn’t really convinced by Dr. Lipscomb’s account of Anne’s fall. It seems more likely that Henry started to look for a way out of the marriage after Anne’s miscarriage in January 1536. He may well have convinced himself that his second marriage was doomed not to produce a living son because it was flawed in the eyes of God, as he believed his first had been, but his previous passion for Anne seems to have cooled and the aspects of her personality which had previously been an attraction, such as her flirtatiousness and her sharp tongue, were starting to grate.

      Criomwell would have been attuned to the King’s changing attitude towards his wife and he had a strong personal motive to bring down the Queen before she did the same to him. Anne’s incautious remarks and behaviour showed him the way to do it.

  3. Melanie says:

    I enjoyed the programme and the various places Suzannah went to 🙂 I also read somewhere that her head was wrapped up in a cloth and buried with her body. Heads were put on spikes to warn others against making similar crimes and surely considering her execution was private cant see her head being put on spike for all to see!! Also I believe that Henry’s jousting accident really did affect his personality afterwards and this perhaps made him much more paranoid and ruthless. Anne alienated a lot of people and had no allies at the end to help fight her corner. X

  4. Marisa Levy says:

    The program hasn’t been shown in the US yet but I spoke to Suzannah after reading her book about what changed Henry VIII. We discussed how I believed brain trauma from Henry’s fall damaged his frontal lobe which exacerbates impulsive, irrational and volatile behavior.i have seen this first hand with my son. She had mentioned that she spoke to someone suffering from brain trauma who agreed. I’m thrilled that she spoke to a physician about it. I hope the doctor was a neurologist or a neuropsychologist. Not enough importance is placed from that fall but 2 hours being unconscious is severe brain trauma and many neurons had to have died which would of wrecked havoc in Henry’s brain.

    I also believe that it was Cromwell who is responsible for Anne’s downfall as well of many others. Anne made an enemy out of Cromwell over what was done with the funds from the dissolution of the monasteries. They both wanted to be the only one Henry listened to. So this was Anne’s political gamble and she failed because Cromwell struck first. According to Eric Ives and Leanda De Lisle, Henry and Anne were together right before her arrest and devised a way that Chapuys would have to bow to Anne and recognize her as queen. People who observed Anne and Henry commented that they seemed close and jovial. While Anne’s faux pas with Norton was a grave mistake, only Smeaton confessed under torture. It has also been noted that Anne reprimanded Smeaton on using too familiar speech with her. Cromwell may very well have convinced Henry that Anne was guilty and that would have destroyed his feelings for Anne, especially if his virility as a man was in question. Maybe if Henry did not have that fall he would not have so easily believed Cromwell’s lies but we will never know.

    1. Gail says:

      To quote Eric Ives in his Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, “how Smeaton’s confession was obtained is not known”. Historians are divided on whether or not torture was involved.

      1. Esther says:

        Even if Smeaton was not actually tortured, he would have been vulnerable to the threat of torture … simply because he was the lowest-born of all the accused. In his case, it was an act of mercy for him to be beheaded only, instead of being hung, drawn and quartered, as happened to the low-born Frances Dereham (even though Catherine Howard wasn’t married to the king when he was sleeping with her), whereas the higher-born Culpepper was only beheaded (even though his crime was worse because it occurred after Catherine had married the king)

        1. Sonetka says:

          This, exactly. Maybe Smeaton was actually put to torture, maybe he wasn’t, but he would certainly have known that it was a possibility (unlike the other men, who were too high-ranking for torture) and that had to affect him profoundly.

          As for Lipscomb’s hypotheses — well, the more the read, the less I know, as somebody or other once said. I could well believe in a Henry who persuaded himself that she was guilty because he needed her to be, and very few people would contradict him once he had decided that was so. Very odd that Cromwell wasn’t mentioned at all, though! I wonder if Hilary Mantel’s books have made people shyer about making Cromwell look bad (which would be an interesting full circle — for several centuries after Anne’s death, Cromwell got left out of lots of accounts, or at least had his role severely minimized. Since he was in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs right along with Anne, it would have been awkward to include his role in killing her).

  5. Treva Roberts says:

    From what I’ve read and seen be it from movies, documentaries, books, online blogs, or research papers & posts, it appears to me that Henry VIII was easily influenced and swayed in most matters for his entire life even before his head injury. Most everyone that he favored it seems had the same sad end to their life. His tremendous ego was the real culprit here, as I see it.

  6. Tracie Roberts says:

    I didn’t actually like the programme. It was great we saw some of the places associated with Anne and artefacts that survive today.

    However, where has it ever been said Anne’s head was boiled and put on a spike then thrown in the Thames. The King could not in death bare to think of her unduly suffering at great cost and inconvenience and delay he had a French executioner behead her with as much dignity as he could. No where is it written her head was put on a spike. In fact when Queen Victoria has a more befitting resting place made the corpse of Anne Boleyn had a severed skull placed against her spine.

    I just felt the programme lacked any depth. It seems that it tried to sensationalise everything to try and make it seem as if this was the true story never before told. We know everything there is to know about Anne. We can speculate but at the end of the day we need to rationalise and not embroider history.

  7. Christine says:

    I thought it wasn’t a very good documentary at all and those of you who live in America certainly didn’t miss anything, there was no mention of Cromwell Mary boleyn or jane Rochford, and Cromwell was the one who was instrumental in bringing about Anne’s fall, it wasn’t a patch on the last days of anne boleyn the bbc2 documentary that was shown the previous year, in that one there was views put forward by leading historians, this one didn’t even show any of the famous pictures of anne, I’d looked forward to it but was very disappointed really.

  8. Charlene says:

    Oh, dear, not another phantom pregnancy.

    I wish historians realized how vanishingly ultra-rare phantom pregnancy is – if it even actually exists. Some believe it to be a catch-all category for any pregnancy condition not understood yet, coloured by the Freudian “all women’s problems are in their tiny inferior neurotic minds” mindset that was prevalent in the mid-20th century. Molar pregnancy is a hundred times more common than the most generous estimate of phantom pregnancy; simple miscarriage hundreds of times more common. So frustrating that they won’t let up on it.

    1. Mindy Newell says:

      Hi, Charlene,

      Agreed re: the phantom pregnancy.

      As a registered nurse (though I don’t work in OB), I can vouch that the “phantom pregnancy” phenomena is very rare, and is connected to severe neuroses or psychoses.

      It is said that Mary Tudor suffered two phantom pregnancies–there is a condition in which the fetus dies in utero and calcifies–eventually the body will absorb the calcified uterus and the women’s body returns to “normal.” (However, considering Mary’s neuroses, I wouldn’t discount the first as a true “pp.) The second pregnancy, however, was I believe was either an ovarian cancer or a GI tract cancer which caused ascites, possible liver or pancreatic cancer–this would explain her swollen stomach and increasingly sallow, i.e., jaundiced, skin.

  9. Vermillion says:

    It wasn’t a bad programme for Channel 5, which isn’t a channel that does much ‘heavyweight’ TV, and Suzannah Lipscomb was quite a good presenter (although there was a few too many ‘re-enactment’ scenes – I realise why they are used but they get quite wearing after a while, particularly when ‘Henry’ looks 20 years younger and a lot thinner than he would have been in 1536). There were a few points where I disagreed quite strongly with Lipscomb’s narrative though.

    I just don’t buy the 1534 phantom pregnancy theory. Anne was indeed under pressure to produce an heir, but not to the extent at this stage that she might be driven into a state of fear over not getting pregnant. Up to this point, she’d conceived fairly quickly once and given birth to a healthy child – I’d imagine there was nothing to stop her from thinking that she could do so again, unless Henry’s performance really was erratic at this point as some have posited. Conversely, the lack of information about the end of the pregnancy might well be down to a desire not to highlight a failed pregnancy when politically that might have weakened the status of the marriage in the eyes of those who Henry was trying to win over or coerce into supporting it. The fact that Mary I seems to have suffered from a phantom pregnancy has led too many historians to imagine that it was more common a condition at the time than I suspect it was. If Mary hadn’t had one, I doubt anyone would be suggested that Anne might have.

    Lipscomb’s theory as to the reason for Anne’s fall seemed too narrowly focused on one line of thought. If Henry’s pursuit of Jane Seymour wasn’t serious at this time, why did he marry her within a fortnight of Anne’s execution and have her lined up as the wife-in-waiting following Anne’s arrest? It’s possible that Henry ‘believed’ Anne to be guilty, but if so, it was because it suited him to do so. The contrast between the cases of Anne (where he seems to throw her to the wolves almost immediately after the ‘discovery’ of her adultery) and Katherine Howard (where initially he refused to believe it because he didn’t want it to be true and where it was investigated with a genuine air of inquiry, at least initially) makes clear to me that Henry didn’t genuinely believe in Anne’s guilt. To me it seems likely that Anne’s fall was the result of a number of factors all coming together at around the same time to produce a bit of a perfect storm for Anne, although the extent to which each factor contributed is what we can’t tell. The indiscreet conversation with Norris was surely a part of this, but I think if Henry had not wanted Anne to be guilty, he would have approached the matter entirely differently.

    And as for the idea of Anne’s head being put on a spike – where on earth did that come from? Next she’ll be claiming that Margaret Pole’s and Katherine Howard’s heads were treated likewise!

  10. Sandi Vasoli says:

    I am in the US and therefore did not see the documentary, though I am familiar with Dr Lipscomb’s theories about Anne’ s downfall. I am, as always, impressed by the level of detailed knowledge held by those interested in Anne’s life, as detailed in these replies.

    I have a few comments:
    I could not agree more with those who have questioned the ridiculous proposals regarding Anne’s and Mary I’s suggested phantom pregnancies. To my understanding, such phenomena are incredibly rare, and it is more often a case of the individual hiding the truth – that there is no pregnancy at all. On the other hand, Anne’s slightly more advanced age in terms of childbearing, the dubious medical practices of the day, and the very real possibility that Henry possessed a negative blood factor such as Kell or RH, make it perfectly likely that Anne simply had a tragic miscarriage. This did not even need to be brought about by shock – e.g. the news of Henry’s fall in the joust.

    Secondly, it appears that Henry was a man who well knew how to ‘compartmentalize’ – by that I mean, if something wasn’t going well, or was not going his way, he was great at distracting himself with something else thereby forgetting the ugly reality he wanted to avoid. I firmly believe that this trait had its effect in his turning his back on Anne and distracting himself with Jane. We will never know how much remorse he actually had at signing Anne’s death warrant. There was no doubt that he loved her intensely, so it seems likely that he thought of her after her demise.

    Finally, I believe, like Dr Lipscomb, that Henry suffered great trauma from a 2 hour period of unconsciousness, and what was clearly a very serious concussion. I feel that this constituted a key factor in his viewing Anne differently.

    Thanks Claire, as always, for posting such a thorough review of the programme. ! Especially for those of us who have yet to see it across the pond!!

  11. Annefan says:

    Hi Claire

    No – it wasn’t your eyes, I was shouting at the TV when the caption 16 May came up as the date for the men’s executions.

    Overall, I did like seeing the places and the artifacts but, as with episode one, the whole thing was over-simplified. I think Suzannah Lipscombe may be onto something in terms of Henry’s head injury and I did feel sorry for him when they described the treatment he received for his leg – it can’t possibly have helped him or those around him. I also think there was something about the ‘dead man’s shoes’ comment that clearly worried Norris and Anne after the words were out of her mouth. But…no mention of Cromwell?

  12. Caro says:

    I agree with previous comments about the programme.

    Lovely seeing all the places and artefacts but the head on a spike was ridiculous. I am sure if that had happened it would have been written somewhere. People with no knowledge of the subject would quite easily believe that as factual especially from an historian

    I liked that Suzannah was so enthusiastic and obviously thrilled to be handling the books etc, but i felt she got a bit carried away with it all .

    No mention of Lady Rochford or Percy etc

    Definitely lacked depth, but always a pleasure to see a programme about Anne Boleyn

    I love this site

  13. Felicity says:

    Does anyone know where I can access this program from Australia? It’s been a while now and it’s still not on youtube or similar. Thanks x

  14. Drina says:

    What if Henry didn’t executed actually Anne ?

  15. Drina says:

    I like very much what you’ve written…What if Henry didn’t executed actually Anne ?

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