Six Tu­dor Queens, Anne Bo­leyn, A King’s Ob­ses­sion

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - by Ali­son Weir, Ha­chette.

Di­vorced, be­headed, died; di­vorced, be­headed, sur­vived: the wives of Henry VIII. This is the sec­ond of Weir’s “six vol­umes, six years” about the first be­headed – Anne Bo­leyn – but what more is there to say? Plenty. Anne leaves dreary fam­ily seat Hever Cas­tle with fem­i­nist fire in her belly. Her fa­ther has se­cured her a po­si­tion as one of 18 ladies-in-wait­ing at the Nether­lands court of thor­oughly mod­ern Mar­garet of Aus­tria, her li­brary filled with women’s works. Sub­se­quent plac­ing at the Paris court of the King of France’s lib­er­ated sis­ter, Mar­guerite, spurs de­lighted Anne fur­ther. When el­der sis­ter and lady-in-wait­ing Mary is raped by Henry VIII, their fa­ther, Sir Thomas Bo­leyn, re­ceives a pro­mo­tion and ob­serves “it did her no harm”. Anne pales and re­lents when ob­ses­sive Henry pur­sues her, caught as she is in malev­o­lent cross­fire. Yet coura­geous Anne still burns with am­bi­tion. Weir scat­ters a trail of naïve Anne’s early care­less­ness, which leads to ac­cu­sa­tions of adul­tery. It took six years for law to al­low them to marry, three years for the “King’s Ob­ses­sion” to mount the scaf­fold.

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