Anne Boleyn In London
by Lissa Chapman
There are many books, movies and TV shows now about Anne Boleyn or King Henry VIII. So, we all have some knowledge of their lives to a certain degree. But lets face it, the reason why we seem to keep looking into it is because it’s an epic soap opera. I think when we examine Anne Boleyn we see her in the lens of those who wrote history and in this case it’s colored in rumors; It’s hard to decide what it true and what is not. Anne Boleynn in London is not just a bunch of historical, catty courtiers or religious leaders achieving political agendas using heresy or rumors. Every aspect of Tudor life is examined including rumors, therefore giving a better context to place some of what was reported about Anne.
This book has detailed workings of everyday life in the Tudor era Anne’s early life, her family and where she came from and many of the influential people that she interacted with. This also includes the ordinary citizen not just royalty and the upper-crust of society. Great pains are made to describe the people in their cultural context. For instance, The riots of Evil May Day and the inter-woven superstructure of the church and government are laid out so the reader might fully understand the mind-set of individuals at the time. This helps us to understand perhaps the reasoning of King Henry and his distrust of the city of London.
There is a dizzying amount of information in here, but the author is able to thread it in a way that is mesmerizing. The impact of sumptuary laws and how they impact everyday society is covered and seems to be a big theme. Certain people can only wear certain colors and certain pieces of clothing. Everything you wore and did was a reflection of where you stood in society. This is even more imperative in court life, which is covered here: The Inner workings of court and the daily life of Courtiers. This also includes the king and queen and some of the rituals that they were to have been prescribed. For instance, the maternity rituals for the queen are almost bizarre. The queen was basically in solitary confinement or away from men prior to and after birth. The later because she needed to “purify” herself after the ordeal of childbirth.
This is one of those books that you savor. I did not want it to end simply because I felt I was in Tudor England. This is what I really want from a history book, which is a very tall order. Lissa Chapman creates a visual sensation from the very first page that plops you down like a child for story time mode. I loved this! I look forward to seeing what else she publishes.
Romantic victim? Ruthless other woman? Innocent pawn? Religious reformer? Fool, flirt and adulteress? Politician? Witch? During her life, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII s ill-fated second queen, was internationally famous or notorious; today, she still attracts passionate adherents and furious detractors. It was in London that most of the drama of Anne Boleyn s life and death was played out most famously, in the Tower of London, the scene of her coronation celebrations, of her trial and execution, and where her body lies buried. Londoners, like everyone else, clearly had strong feelings about her, and in her few years as a public figure Anne Boleyn was influential as a patron of the arts and of French taste, as the center of a religious and intellectual circle, and for her purchasing power, both directly and as a leader of fashion. It was primarily to London, beyond the immediate circle of the court, that her carefully ‘spun’ image as queen was directed during the public celebrations surrounding her coronation. In the centuries since Anne Boleyn s death, her reputation has expanded to give her an almost mythical status in London, inspiring everything from pub names to music hall songs, and novels to merchandise including pin cushions with removable heads. And now there is a thriving online community surrounding her there are over fifty Twitter accounts using some version of her name.This book looks at the evidence both for the effect London and its people had on the course of Anne Boleyn s life and death, and the effects she had, and continues to have, on them.”