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Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History TV Programme

Posted By on February 20, 2014

Henry And AnneThose who have access to UK TV will be able to watch this new two-part series, Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History, presented by historian Suzannah Lipscomb. The first part is on Channel 5 tonight at 8pm and the second and final part will be aired on 27th February. Here’s the blurb:

“Historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb unfolds the extraordinary story of the tumultuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and asks: was it really love that brought them together – and was it love that tore them apart?

Illustrated with sumptuous dramatic reconstructions, drawing on first-hand accounts from the time, and visiting the places where Henry and Anne lived, loved and fought, this series delves into this passionate and volatile relationship – one which would send a queen to her death, divide England from Europe, and trigger centuries of years of discord and conflict.

Suzannah’s journey will take her from Anne’s childhood home at Hever Castle in Kent to the French palace where, some say, she learned the art of love. She will also visit Hampton Court, where Henry built the Great Hall for his new queen, and the Tower of London, where he had her beheaded.

She will argue against many of the established theories and notions about Henry and Anne, telling a very different story of their tragic marriage while attempting to answer many of the questions that are still fiercely debated. Was Henry really as monstrous as he is often portrayed? Was Anne a cunning, deviant woman who used her feminine wiles to manipulate a king? And why was a king prepared to bet the future of his nation on a queen whom he would so rapidly destroy?”

Those who saw the play “Fallen in Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn” will recognise Emma Connell, who played Anne in that play and who plays Anne in this series.

I will be making notes and publishing them here on The Anne Boleyn Files for those of you who can’t watch it.

See www.channel5.com/shows/henry-anne-the-lovers-who-changed-history/articles/about-the-show for more information on the programme.

7 thoughts on “Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History TV Programme”

  1. Miladyblue says:

    Step aside Romeo and Juliet, Henry and Anne were an even MORE extreme example of the Star Crossed Lovers.

  2. Marie says:

    Thank You Claire!

  3. Nan says:

    Will this be shown in the states?

  4. Kelly says:

    I am unable to watch this in the USA 🙁

    1. Gail says:

      I expect it will be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service (USA) in due course. Last week I watched “The Last Days of Anne Boleyn” from their Vermont location. This excellent documentary was originally aired by the BBC in 2013.

  5. BanditQueen says:

    This drama documentary was very well presented; the actors constructing the lives of Anne and Henry were excellent and the story intriguing. Political shocks and background aside; it was a love story like no other; and had Henry not already been married to Queen Katherine one that may have turned out more successful. It may have started out as a bit of fun and chase for the King looking to Anne as the next mistress, but it grew into much more than that and the passion is clear in the dozen or so letters that have survived. Suzanna Lipscome is very sympathetic to the couple and in her retelling of the tale; she is convinced that Henry and Anne were passionately in love and that we cannot take too much from the fact that Anne’s responses do not exist. There was certainly a period that Anne did not respond for some time to Henry and played with his affections, driving him wild in the early days; but that is what young girls do when they catch the eye of a powerful man; they play. They want to see how serious he is and then they give a tantalizing hint that they may be interested in a more serious relationship.

    Anne had good reason to be suspect of Henry’s advances; her sister had been his mistress, he was married and according to Cavendish he had ordered Wolsey to break up her love match with Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland. Anne’s prayer book is at their castle in Northumberland so their must be some truth to her being in love with him.

    But once that period had passed and she began to see that Henry was interested in her long term, she began to see advantages to being his companion, but not his lover. I think that Anne did see Henry as a man that could genuinely love her and at some point gave a hint that she could also be a candidate for his future wife. Time passed and more and more time in each other’s company led to them seeing beyond the mask; to the person behind the crown, behind the fun loving lady in waiting, to the soul and the interlect and had a lot in common. They challenged each other and had a genuine relationship and fell in love. Yes, drama in the past had had Anne less in love with Henry than he was with her, and that may have been true for a time, but I agree, certainly by 1527/28 they were both in love with each other.

    But did that love last all the way up to the time that they got married? Anne and Henry had to wait a long time 7-9 years before they could get married; that is a long time to commit to. Anne even had her doubts as the divorce dragged on as to whether or not she was wasting her time and her youth and I am sure there were plenty of passionate and heated arguments; but they must have had something more concrete than lust to go on; in order to stay together through all of the disappointments that the courts in England and the case in Rome continued to bring. By the end of 1529 both of them must have wondered if they would ever get married. I am surprised that Henry did not lose patience with the suit in Rome a lot earlier and force the issue through as he did in 1532 and 1533. But then he still hoped for a decision in his favour and the situation in England was not as simply as seperating from the Church of Rome one day and setting up the C of E the next; poitical and legal barriers take time to dismantle.

    I loved the visit to the Chateau in France: I have never seen this palace before in any documentary; it was beautiful and huge and seeing the sophistication that the French court had it is no wonder that Anne was a good catch back in England: she must have set the place alight. Her French education sounds as if it prepared her for the future role that she carved out for herself as Henry’s partner and equal. Henry would have been impressed by her education as well as any attraction that she had; by her musical talents and her dancing. He was married to one of the best educated women in Europe. but Anne must have added flare to her sophistication as well.

    I was really touched by the letters that Henry had wrote; intimate and passionate, but also showing the lonliness of the King for a woman that he clearly loves and misses when she is away. Just what went wrong after they were married that turned that love to hate? The next week will look at that, but I think that Anne the mistress and lover was not quite what Henry wanted in a wife; she did not make the transition expected and her unfortunate and sad history of one female child, followed by two miscarriages or a stillbirth, Henry lost patience and saw his marriage as being cursed yet again. Anne had made enemies during her rise and not everyone believed that she was suitable to be Queen. Those who dared not speak out at the time of the wedding waiting in the background and when Anne began to slip from grace, they came in for the kill and used their hate to poison the love that Henry once had for her and allow him to find reasons to end the marriage.

    I believe that Henry still loved Anne for at least the first year or so of their wedding, but then things began to come between them; Anne would not tolerate his continued need to sleep with other women when she was pregnant and saw rivals getting in the way of what they once had. Anne herself began to behave in strange ways and began to feel that people were plotting against her, she felt insecure and periods of anxiety and paranoid feelings made her last out, making enemies and political mistakes that gave both the King and his friends reasons to move against her. Her sad failure to provide the son she is meant to have promised him in 1536, caused by his fall from his horse in the joust was the start of the end, but not the reason she was executed. She made enemies of those who had once supported her like Cromwell; she criticised public policy, she did not act as a wife was expected to and Henry became tired of his once beautiful Queen. There are many other reasons that could be seen as steps on a downward spiral, but something killed Henry’s love; may-be it was never really explained; and once that happened, poor Anne did not stand a chance.

  6. Jillian says:

    The documentary was done well – it didn’t really offer anything new or controversial but Dr. Lipscomb told the story of Henry and Anne very well.

    The use of locations was good – especially the Chateau of Blois, as Bandit Queen said – and the reenactments were not too obtrusive. The actors playing Anne and Henry closely resembled contemporary portraits and descriptions of them. The second part, which covers the period after their marriage and will be shown next week, should be worth watching

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