The Boleyns of Hever Castle – Claire and Owen talk to Sarah Morris

Last Saturday, Dr Owen Emmerson and I had the great pleasure of spending the day with Sarah Morris of the Tudor Travel Guide (and the Tudor History and Travel Show), and her partner, Chris, at Hever Castle. We had a wonderful time being interviewed about our new book, The Boleyns of Hever Castle, chatting over lunch and talking Tudor, and then visiting the castle together and meeting up with assistant curator Kate McCaffrey. It really was the perfect day.

Sarah has just published the podcast of our interview at

And here are some clips from our interview:

Thank you, Sarah!

The Boleyns of Hever Castle was released on 1st August and you can get it at It’s available as a kindle e-book and in paperback.

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3 thoughts on “The Boleyns of Hever Castle – Claire and Owen talk to Sarah Morris”
  1. Most entertaining, and it is interesting discussing Anne’s true feelings for Henry V111, and if she ever came to love him, if only she had kept a diary or at least one of her letters to Henry V111 had survived, but we have none therefore can only speculate, I agree with Claire that I think the king wore her down, the passionate declarations of love that were evident in his letters to her, his gifts especially the hind which Claire speaks of, any woman’s heart would have softened especially upon reading the note that accompanied it, it was different than showering her with jewels which he did also, he was her devoted servant and really, Anne was trapped, pursued as she was by the most powerful man in the kingdom what could she do but surrender? The king had claimed her for his own, no other man dared offer her marriage, those who derided Anne in her lifetime failed to see that in a sense Anne herself was the hind, cornered in the spotlight of the kings power, enslaved by his love as he was by her, the sixteenth century woman had no voice in her world, for her mere position in life was that of subjugation, Anne knew that and so did Henry V111, Thomas Wyatt graciously declined to woo her when Henry made his feelings known, he knew there was nothing he could do, the only thing Anne as a woman had was her own body – she refused to become the kings mistress, Henry was driven wild with desire by this woman whom must have seemed like an ice maiden to him, I feel personally the offer of marriage tempted her, here was the king in love with her, he had promised to make her official mistress, mistress en traitre as they called it in France, he declared his heart was hers alone, he would have no other woman but her, still she was not interested I think Owen is right she was acting very cannily, she must have thought if she waited long enough, she might hook the big fish herself, she knew he was ardently in love with her, how far would he go? Wether she planned on being queen we do not know, but the king did eventually offer her marriage and that was good enough for Anne, Henry V111’s obsession for Anne Boleyn and her ambition was to divide the nation, and wreck the life of a much loved queen, it was to cause psychological trauma to his daughter and several men lost their lives because of it, it was a great love story yet ended in bloodshed, Anne Boleyn became just another victim of Henry V111, although initially she was the one who wielded the power, that power merely existed on the attraction the king had for her, when it died the enchantment was no more, also she had given him no son, had Anne been content to merely be his mistress she could have died in her bed having lived a fairly fulfilled life, we do not know what age she would have died but around forty five to fifty was the average life span for the Tudor person, some lived longer, but she may have fallen victim to TB or maybe died in childbirth, her sister died fairly young, she may also have had more children because as we know, she was about thirty one when she had Elizabeth, quite old for her day, and she would have been under no stress to deliver a Prince, stress could have been a major part in her inability to carry her children full term, unless as has been discussed before she had an unknown medical condition, but the miscarriages although devastating for her and Henry would not have mattered had she been his mistress and not queen, for a mistress was just for pleasure, I think Anne thought the fates had chosen her for glory she had survived the plague, the king wished to marry her, she must have thought it was gods way of saying she was meant to be queen and be the ancestor of the Tudor dynasty, she had been gifted with intelligence charm and sex appeal, which sadly was to prove her undoing, what could however go wrong she had the world at her feet, and it is nice to think of Henry V111 during one of his visits to Hever Castle proposing to Anne Boleyn, it adds to the romance the feel of this charming fairytale abode, maybe he proposed to her in the long gallery or whilst walking amongst the gardens, if it was in June the first roses would have begun to unfurl, the air would have been sweet in the sun, one can see these two sweethearts excitedly dreaming of and planning the future, a future which would have meant a nursery with sons for Henry V111, and untold riches for Anne, the dreams they both had even though they were to turn sour, does not detract from the bittersweet poignancy, although their relationship died Henry V111 and Anne Boleyns love affair was very real, and Hever Castle stands testament today to that love which ended in tragedy for Anne Boleyn.

  2. Also I feel that over time Anne could have begun to fall in love with the king, he was very very charming as Claire said, he was eloquent being a poet and well used to flowery verse, he was no half wit, he could well have spoken with Anne in French as well as English, he also mastered Latin but there is no evidence Anne could speak that language, I feel at the beginning she was spurred on by the vision of the glittering crown, but maybe given time, his handling of her as if she was a precious rose he was cultivating, must have worn away at her rather brittle edges and in some cases, the pursued does fall in love with the pursuer, from an early age the kings youthful golden looks won him many admirers, he was apart from being very tall outstandingly handsome, he was athletic and also, a good dancer, his merry laugh and easy manner endeared many a person to him, men as well as women fell victim to his charm, if Anne had ever fallen in love with him it was her tragedy that after they were married, he begun to fall out of love with her, but it does happen with many love affairs, the pursued once caught, lose its charm for its pursuer.

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