Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

I have quite a full bookshelf, not just books but odds and ends, trinkets and globes.  So I was rifling through it looking for something new to read, and found this treasure.  I don't know why I owned it but hadn't read it.  So of course, loving Anne Boleyn and the Tudors as I do, I devoured it pretty quickly.  It seems even when I think I know her story pretty well, and the people in her life at that time, each author has a little different perspective.  The author, Robin Maxwell, pictured her father as quite unloving and ambitious, whereas if you have seen the movie The Other Boleyn Girl he is shown to be tender towards Anne.  Her mother seems to be shown usually as not involved or particularly motherly, which this author stuck with.  Her relationship with her brother George by most if not all, is that they were close.  Mary her sister is described as flirtatious but dull.  She ends up choosing love with a farmer, defying her family and incurring their displeasure to end her days in the country.  It seems although not ambitious or wily as her sister Anne, that Mary made the safer choice.  Anne will always be so interesting because I will never know for sure what she was like. 

I won't go over her entire story and life as I'm sure in other books I have, but will contemplate all I've read about her and what I think.  I think she was flirtatious but knew when to back off and maintain decency, which was a past time she learned at the French court.  I think she caught the eye of the King, a prize bigger than any with more at stake.  Once he was infatuated with her, it seems to me she had no choice to say no or back off.  He had been in a marriage for decades with Katherine of Aragon, with only one living child, a girl.  He was probably tired of his wife and unhappy that he had no male children.  Anne was not said to be beautiful, as she was dark and not light, and had very enchanting eyes.  I'm sure this unfamiliar look combined with her intellect and wit, drew the King to her.  I do think Anne was ambitious, haughty and even rude to those inferior to her.  But I don't think she deserved her fate.  I believe once they were finally wed, after the separation of England from the Pope and Rome and everything he had done to wed Anne, that the sheen on their relationship had already faded.  How could anyone attempt to please a King alone when their sole occupation was to bear children?  Of course King Henry's eyes roved and found other women to entertain him.

One big event was when Anne gave birth to Elizabeth, a girl.  After everything that had transpired, the long years of waiting and all the trials they endured- it was not a boy.  I believe then King Henry became angry and lashed out at Anne.  Of course we know today it isn't a woman's fault but in that time they blamed the woman for the sex of the baby.  Anne was not raised to be a queen, and she did not have the bearing or temperament for one.  I think she became shrill (which was often a word authors used to describe her), she became frantic and emotional.  I am sure she knew just how careful she had to be to give the King a boy heir, while seeing her husband of such a short time already being unfaithful.  I can see why she acted as she did, but it did not help her cause.  It just pushed the King further away from her.  Possibly from stress and an unknown disease or sickness, Anne was not able to bear anymore children.  The downfall for Anne began when she had a girl, and quickly sped up with her temper tantrums to the King. 

I feel pity for her of course for being accused with adultery and even incest, for being married to a man that did not stay faithful or loving towards her for long.  She lost all her friends and supporters, abandoned by her family, leaving her poor daughter to be beheaded for her crimes.  To know her husband was killing her, after everything he had done to marry her, is unbelievable.  This is why I believe so many are drawn to that time period and Anne.  To try and think what she thought, did what she did.  She was no saint- after all, she did supplant the Queen and had Mary bastardized.  So she was no innocent, but certainly not an adulterer as accused.  I do find much satisfaction in the fact that Elizabeth later ruled for over 40 years, and hers was a Golden Age.  I do hope Anne was able to find satisfaction and peace in her daughter's reign.  Just because I find Anne and The Tudors fascinating does not mean I turn a blind eye to their faults.  I don't think Anne was a very nice person, but I find her intriguing.  There is a quote I saw on pinterest I just love and will close with.

No comments:

Post a Comment