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An ordinary girl: what godspouses can learn from Anne Boleyn

(As readers of my Wytch of the North blog know, Queen Anne Boleyn is the most prominent member of a group of spirits I refer to as "The Queens"--since they literally are the spirits of dead queens--whom I have adopted as my Disir, and who have adopted me in turn and are kind enough to favor me with Their advice and support.  I may cover the story of how Anne first came into my life in another post, but for now I would like to share the below thoughts that were inspired by my Work with Her.  Probably this is more or less common knowledge, but for those who may not know, Anne Boleyn was beheaded by her husband, Henry VIII of England, on May 19th 1536, on false charges of adultery and incest.  Thus, I have set aside May 19th each year as Queen Anne's Day, which I observe by processing to our local Owen Memorial Rose Garden here in Eugene, where I leave gifts and offer prayers for her, and then at home I prepare a Tudor-era inspired feast in her honor.  This year, I will also be presenting prayers and poetry submitted as gifts for her by my readers.  Anne's death was a great tragedy, but as I commented recently on my blog, I think it's important to remember how she lived--boldly, with style and aplomb--and not just how she died.)

This week, in my search for Anne Boleyn-themed viewing material that I had not yet seen, I ended up borrowing (from our amazing local library) a BBC production of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl.  (Which is also available on YouTube here.)  Many of you are doubtless familiar with the Hollywood adaptation of this story, featuring Natalie Portman.  (I watched this again recently too, and to my surprise found that the theatrical release doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense if you aren't already familiar with the novel; this must be due to bad editing and too many deleted scenes, as the plotline--which was fine in the book--just does not hang together well.)  I have to admit, although I love Philippa Gregory, especially her books about the queens involved in the Wars of the Roses (aka "the Cousins' War"), I am not a fan of The Other Boleyn Girl.  Gregory does seem to have a distinctly pro-Catholic bias in her novels, and when writing about the Reformation, that bias translates into an anti-Anne bias.  In The Other Boleyn Girl, Mary is the good girl who compromises her purity for the sake of her family's ambition, then ends up falling in love with the king despite herself, only to be foisted from his bed by the heartless Anne, who coldly connives her way to the throne and stops just short of committing incest with her own brother in a last-ditch effort to conceive the male child that would have saved her life.  (Gregory's treatment of Anne's daughter, Elizabeth the great Protestant Queen,  in later books is not terribly flattering either.)  In historical reality, on the other hand, Mary was more of a good-time girl than a "good" girl (the King of France, one of her many conquests prior to Henry, referred to her as his "English mare,") and Anne was very likely a virgin at the time of her marriage, although on the topic of whether or not she actually loved Henry there are as many opinions as there are writers to offer them.  (The Lady herself says that she did, and does, which makes her story all the more tragic.)

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Very interesting! There is also a novel that I quite enjoyed reading, called Threads: the Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn, about her
  • Schreiber
    Schreiber says #
    You might be interested in knowing that there is a radio play, "In the Real World" currently in the works. It centers on a man wh
  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    As you already know, the Tudor time period is basically a time period that is a bit more recent than I'm generally interested in.

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