This morning I was flipping channels to put off laundry and stopped on the movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl“. The movie was adapted from a historical fiction novel written by British author Philippa Gregory, loosely based on the life of 16th century aristocrat Mary Boleyn. Mary was supposedly the older sister of Anne Boleyn (one of the wives of Henry VIII). I say “supposedly” because there is some argument among historians as to which was the older sister but more than naught most believe Mary was the eldest. Ok, so back to the movie and my procrastination… I had previously seen the movie but paused to watch a few minutes of it this morning – actually a great movie. The significance of Anne is that she failed to give Henry a male heir and was ultimately beheaded for it [a quick way to get rid of wives in England and many countries back in the day]. Anne was beheaded at the Tower of London on May 19, 1536 in a private affair but not before her marriage to the King was annulled. The charges against her were incest and adultery to give weight to the beheading.
Back in 1998, I visited London and took a tour of the Tower of London and yes stood next to the very place where Anne (and many others) were beheaded. It was an overcast and cold December day – as I stood there that day next to a spot that marked such brutality I wondered how she composed herself enough to walk out there knowing her fate.
Anne had only been married to Henry for 3 years and in that time, although she failed to produce a living male heir, Anne did produce a female child which Henry gave little care for. Ironically, this particular female child that no one really wanted, including her own father Henry VIII, would grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I of England – she ruled for 44 years and during her reign England flourished on all fronts with great success, stability and great conquests.
I like it when women flourish in strength and determination despite their odds 🙂