Narratives of Anne Boleyn’s life tend to focus on her relationship with the man who married and subsequently beheaded her, Henry VIII. But there is another figure whose influence on the Tudor queen shouldn’t be underestimated, and that is her father, Thomas Boleyn. A leading light in Henry’s court, Thomas’s actions were instrumental in moulding Anne into the woman who would catch the king’s eye. In this month’s cover feature, on page 26, Lauren Mackay explores the family dynamics behind one of English history’s best-known dramas.
Elsewhere, we are exploring two crises – 70 years apart – that both led to tremendous tensions in the UK. On page 20, Robert Crowcroft shows how Chamberlain’s attempts to placate Hitler at Munich in 1938 nearly brought down his government. Then, on page 32, experts reflect on the 2008 financial crisis, comparing it to previous crashes, and considering how sharp a rupture it has been in 21st- century history.
Of course 2008 is still very recent history and some might consider that it is not yet history at all. There is, however, little agreement about how much distance is required before historians can begin their work and whether different approaches are needed when analysing events still fresh in the memory. These are issues Ian Kershaw has wrestled with in writing a new history of Europe since 1950 and in this month’s essay, on page 59, he relates the challenges he has faced in producing a book that sits entirely within his own lifetime.
I hope you enjoy the issue.