Anne Boleyn: Knowing a “Woman’s Place”…is only the beginning

Currently, on my Kindle I am enjoying a historical piece by Allison Weir, The Lady in The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn…It cronicles  Anne Boleyn’s rise to Queendom and her consequent fall to beheadedness as Henry VIII’s 2nd of 6 wives (yes even back in THE DAY!), after being found guilty of adultery & treason, namely plotting to kill the king. In truth it is a bit lengthy and full of old English but I cannot seem to stop laboring through it! A fact which has given me pause for reflection…and lead to me to the recognition that what is fascinating me the most about this true story is how the age-old Madonna-Whore myth is re-enacted yet again to bring down a powerful and thus frightening woman. It’s not a new theme in fact it has played out in most of our lives (as women)…in one way or another…So stay with me for a moment… For all accounts and purposes we can factually assume Anne’s innocence, at least on the count of treason to plot her husband’s murder…but let’s begin at the beginning…King Henry VIII left his first wife Kaherine of Aragon after being “bewitched” by the Lady Anne and then pining after her for years before the Church would grant an annulment to this first marriage. Their “secret” marriage was one not acknowledged by all The Kingdom due to differing (actually warring) poltical and religious factions (if there was a difference between the two at that time). The Lady Anne, Queen Anne…was not well liked in Court. She was outspoken in her marriage, jealous when Henry took consorts, and enjoyed gambling and flirtations with her ladies-in-waiting. Reportedly she was “schooled” in France and was reputed to have a cortesan-like education. She was also strong in her religeous convictions and politically Anne was extrememly influential as to which way her husband’s alliance swayed. In short she was a Rebel, a calculating rebel and she was quickly marked a danger to those in Court who’s veiws didn’t align with her own. Her one “weakness” was an anability to bare male children with the king (a “problem” which history bears out if you recall who her daughter was). So, we have a strong, influential, sexually assured woman…Queen. And a court that is clearly flumoxed at best and enraged at worst over her conduct and ability to weild power over them. Enter the plotting, power-hungry male advisor….and voila! We have a scandal to produce! Very quickly, and I am sure you can fill in the story…The Queen is brought to trial, witnesses are bribed, evidence is fabricated, the King’s widely recognized paranoia is played upon…and we have all the makings of a tragedy…or a soap opera, novella if your prefer…we will call it: “The Lady is a Tramp” or maybe “Black Widow” or perhaps “Off With Her Head! ”…whatever we decide the ending is inevitable…and our tale ends with a necessary victim and a society that is once again soothed by the “justice” of reining-in and finally extinguishing a woman’s power by means of her sexual…proprieties? confidence? expression? No these are far to strong a word how about just… It was Anne Boleyn’s Sexuality that Screwed her in the End…but at least the King(dom) Got Good HEAD! Terribly punny I know…but sadly true…in today’s world womens expressed sexuality and affinity for power continue to engender hate (really fear) in others less concious of their own nature…but we must also remember that our dear Queen Anne got the last laugh as her Daughter Elizabeth I was to be the first powerful woman to ascend the crown of England…how interesting that she did so as a VIRGIN!!!..or so she would have us believe, I wonder…

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