To tear a kingdom apart

Today I read Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. This book tells Cromwell’s side of the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Together with him we live the day that lead to her execution.

Not that I’m obsessed.

I’m just curious… Anne Boleyn tore a kingdom apart, she managed to get a queen out forever, to cut the bond between England and Rome, and to be the first queen who was ever executed. That’s quite much for a young woman. Seven years she has been working her way to the top. With her French past (she was a maid of honour there) and her pleasant character she was said to be ‘exotic’, though apparently she also had a bad temper. When she came at court to serve the queen, she quickly got some admirers since she was seen as the most stylish and accomplished woman there. Then she caught the king’s attention, and there we go. For seven years she seems to have refused to become his mistress, she resisted his seduce attempts. That may have been what kept him going for her… I guess she was one of the few women to do that.

Eventually, Anne became a queen, but that success only lasted for three years. May the 19th, 1536 – Anne’s been beheaded. It was probably the lack of male heir she promised to give the king which opened up the path to downfall. We’ll never know for sure what happened and how it happened.

Anne Boleyn - image via Wikipedia

Anne Boleyn – image via Wikipedia

I find it so interesting to read about her. How did she do that? How could she become so important? That’s so intruiging. Some people just seem to have A Thing that makes them irresistible. Much like Cleopatra, who managed to seduce the two most important men of Rome at the time. Accounts say that she wasn’t pretty… But still she was so powerful and attractive.

I guess it’s not so much about looks, but more about a strong desire for power and the ability to charm people. I suspect that such abilites are something you are either born with or not. Of course you can learn how to do small talk, but to be able to get everyone at your feet, that must be something inside you that’s always been there. I think.

To me this is very intruiging. I know I’m not like the two women I mentioned here, but it can no harm to learn from them! (Though they both didn’t die a natural death.)

By the way, in the clips I have found on YouTube from the movie The Other Boleyn Girl, Anne is almost always crying. I cannot imagine a woman who has been fighting for seven years to be queen weeping all the time. While The Tudors Anne had stronger nerves and more dignity. I believe that that is way closer to the truth. You cannot get where she got when you’re emotionally so vulnerable.

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  1. NotAPunkRocker

     /  July 2, 2014

    I really liked The Tudors, though of course it was historical fiction, but may have to check this book out anyway 🙂

    • It was fiction, yes, but it did make history come somewhat closer! 🙂 This book has some weird similarities, but gives a way different image of Jane Seymour. That’s not all of course. I thought it was pretty good!

  2. The Middle Ages were a bitch, yo.

  3. My fascination with Anne Boleyn started with the 1969 movie Anne of a Thousand Days with Genevieve Bujold and Richard Burton. Someday I’ll have to watch it again to see if it has stood the test of time. For me, Genevieve Bujold will always be Anne 🙂

    • I recently found out about that movie, and now I really want to see it! I will try to find a way to track it down 🙂
      She is very fascinating, even after all this time, isn’t she?

      • If history were taught as a series of cause-and-effect stories instead of a litany of names and dates, more people would be enthralled with history and its impact on us today.
        You did an excellent job of summarizing the impact of this cheeky young girl. She’s a good romance/drama/tragedy all rolled into one!

      • It was rpetty much sex, drugs and rock’n’roll at Henry’s coutr, but who still knows that? I agree with you. I also like history more when there’s a focus on someone’s story, more then a focus on what happened to a country, for a example.
        Thank you! She is all that still!

  4. I am like you – I am biased towards the Tudors. (perhaps because of the dresses?) I agree, you must be cut-throat and charming in order to get where she got, not moaning and crying 🙂

    • The dresses, ohh, they are so pretty. So elegant. Always a straight back because you had no choice with the corsets!
      Yeah, I don’t think I’ll watch that movie, that seems so not real. She was a queen, she fought, crying wouldn’t have got here there at all.

  5. Not only is this one of the best books of last year, it’s one of the best books I ever read. Who is better with prose than Mantel? Not many. I’m a big Anglophile so it played into my interest. Are you aware that the first two books of the trilogy are being filmed by the BBC? How awesome is that?!

    • I’ve read about that, yes! I hope that the Belgian broadcasters will give us a chance to watch it as well! Though of course, since watching The Tudors I’m very much convinced of how the people should be, so if they would be played differently, I don’t know if I can handle that 😉

  6. I love this historical tale, it’s just so intriguing!! I have seen The Tudors, some movies about their history and I’ve read all manner of books on this subject, it just never ceases to amaze and interest me. I think we can definitely learn from women like these!@

    • Yay, more fans of these historic tales! History sticks with me way more when I read about one person in particular. Now I know so much about the Tudors era 😉 Even after all this time I think these women can still be something worth learning about!


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