Notes from ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn’ from the BBC Tudor Season 23.05.2013


Anne Boleyn National Portrait Gallery.
Anne Boleyn National Portrait Gallery.

Framed? By whom? What reason?
Weir “Anne burst upon [the English court] with a certain brilliance.”
Gregory “sexiest girl at court.”
Mantel = too detached and intelligent to stake everything on love – did Anne ever love Henry?
Lipscomb “Anne as a usurper.”
Starkey = “Anne changes all the rules” but Henry is a failure without a son.
Mantel = Henry thinks of annulling his second marriage due to lack of consent.
Gregory – malformed foetus. Adultery, incest or witchcraft – Mantel disagrees, sees above as Catholic propaganda.
Mantel – Jane was Anne’s opposite.
Starkey – Jane was plain “she doesn’t really exist.”
Lipscomb – Henry didn’t want to annul his marriage, he saw Jane as a mistress.
Walker = Anne wasn’t like Katherine and was involved in politics – John Skip sermon “wonderful satirical sermon.”
Mantel – Cromwell was Henry’s first minister “clever as a bucket of snakes.”

Suzannah Lipscomb, historian.
Suzannah Lipscomb, historian.

Starkey “declaration of war” Cromwell vs. Anne to the death.
Weir “power struggle” Anne and Cromwell threatened each other.
Lipscomb = chaplain not necessarily “Anne’s mouthpiece.”
Henry or Cromwell to blame?
April 1536 – Chapuys recognises Anne.
Lipscomb “diplomatic coup.”
Weir = Anne regained influence?
Bernard – as late as 18 April Henry did not intend to be rid of Anne.
Mantel – Cromwell and Chapuys conspire.
Lipscomb = struggle for Henry’s affections?
Rumours spread from Worcester.
Walker = Henry “genuinely staggered” by evidence – “bombshell.”

Alison Weir
Alison Weir

Starkey “best and most convenient liars believe their own lies.”
Walker – law wouldn’t help Anne if Henry didn’t want it to.
Lipscomb = women naturally lustful i.e. “of the devil”, “lack of sexual dominance.”
Starkey = magnitude of charges makes them believable.
Mantel “breath of suspicion” was enough, Cromwell didn’t have a strategy, used fear against them “series of events spiraled out of control.”
Walker “every step [Henry] takes could lead to his own ruin”.
Weir “one of the most shocking and audacious plots in English history.”
Lipscomb – Cromwell acting for Henry.
Starkey = Henry driving force.
Lipscomb “game of courtly love gone wrong.”
Walker = Henry “destroys the people he thinks betrayed him.”
Weir “her courage … is remarkable.”
Bernard “perhaps there might have been something in [the charges]” – “Anne … did sleep with Smeaton and Norris.”

Hilary Mantel wins the Man Booker Prize for the second time!
Hilary Mantel wins the Man Booker Prize for the second time!

Gregory – incest “perfectly plausible”, not brought up as siblings.
Lipscomb = dates “made up to achieve an end” – can be disproven.
Gregory “extraordinary” “very very dramatic.”
Lipscomb = Anne swore on the damnation of her soul “very serious act in this religious day.”
Gregory “she’s the victim of a husband who decides to kill her.”
Mantel “she was not a victim … she played a winning hand. Ultimately she lost.”

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