As daughter to the German Duke of Cleves, Anne (whose birth name was Anna of the La Marck family) was a prospective bride for King Henry VIII after the death of his third and favorite wife Jane Seymour. Anne and her sister Amalia were both painted by the English court painter Hans Holbein and in 1539, Henry chose Anne as his new queen, but it was not to be a perfect match. From the moment they met, Henry was put off by her, not only because of her lack of an education, but because upon their meeting, she tried to brush off the disguised king, perhaps not knowing who he was. Nevertheless, the two were married in early January 1540 and they would divorce the same year.
Henry used the excuse of her being unattractive (which was far from the truth as many sources of the time praise her looks, especially her long blond hair) for not consummating his marriage, which he mentioned to his top adviser Thomas Cromwell; “I liked her not before, and I like her much worse now.” He complained of her sagging breasts and unpleasant odors from her breath and body, even remarking how he believed she was not a virgin. After several grueling months, an annulment was issued in July and the unhappy couple mutually ended their marriage. Cromwell, whom had arranged the marriage, was arrested soon after for treason and eventually executed at the Tower of London.
Anne, however, thrived after her divorce. She became good friends with Henry and was often referred to as the King’s Sister; the two played cards often and she was a frequent guest at court. Despite not being the oldest of Henry’s six wives, she managed to live the longest, well into the reign of Henry’s eldest daughter Mary I, whose coronation she participated in. On 16 July 1557, she died at the age of forty-two and became the only one of Henry’s wives to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
It takes a lot to keep a blog like this going, and for a long time, I did not have the drive to do that. The fact is that I thought multiple times about deleting ToT for good. I did not think there was a way to keep it going, especially when I did not have the heart to make posts anymore and was getting frustrated trying to find new and exciting things to say.
A lot of crazy things have happened since I’ve been away, some I’m not willing to disclose, but I lost all confidence as a result and just couldn’t write anymore. It felt like work, and that is not what this blog is about. I shouldn’t have to feel chained to my desk trying to write an article or find a video for Documentary Sunday, especially with college courses to take and essays to write. So I took what I thought was going to be a few weeks to recharge, but this ended up being a lot longer – more than a few months.
Recent events let me reevaluate everything, especially in the last couple of weeks. I got my confidence back, and while I may not have all the time in the world to make new posts, I will certainly be back on Thorns again very soon with new content that I find myself actually looking forward to for the first time in awhile. I refuse to throw away three and a half years of work. We’re going to make it to four years in December.
I want to thank everyone who reads this blog for your support over the past few years in the meantime, and reassure everyone that I will be back very soon, probably even this week. I’m very grateful for you standing behind me! Let’s keep the ball rolling!
Over time, it gets difficult to maintain a series like Documentary Sunday and post a new interesting video every week. I usually schedule my posts to automatically update every week, but even that gets hard to do when you can’t find anything to post or when life gets in the way. That being said, I’m going to start posting shorter videos until further notice as summer classes begin at college for me. This is one such.
On Friday, May 19, it was the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution and historian Hayley Nolan, who does the History Review podcast, posted a video where she stayed the night in the late queen’s childhood home at Hever Castle in Kent, about thirty miles away from London. Anne lived here during her early childhood until she was sent to school in the Netherlands and from there traveled to the court of France. When she returned to England as an adult, she stayed here again, brushing off love letters from a smitten Henry VIII, who at the time was still married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Nolan got the opportunity to spend the night at Hever and shared her experience on her website, facebook and twitter. I thought I would share it with you all as well.