If I could meet any person, living or dead, it would be Anne Boleyn. I have been fascinated with her since I was about ten years old. We all know how her tragedy ends. Today is the anniversary of Anne’s execution, and I would like to write about one, specific trait I find so fascinating about her.
“What His Majesty is denied, he go half-mad to obtain. What he gets freely, he despises.” – Thomas Boleyn (Anne’s father), Anne of the Thousand Days
While the above quote if fiction, from my favorite movie of all time, its sentiment rings true in the way Anne conducted her courtship with the king. Her sister, Mary, was definitely Henry VIII’s mistress, and her mother may have been, too. In fact, Mary had a reputation for loose morals, established in the French court as a girl. When Mary became pregnant, potentially with the king’s illegitimate child, she was discarded and of “no further use.”
Anne saw the foolishness in her sister’s ways. She was not going to let her family live off “prostituting” herself to the king. Back in this time women didn’t have a lot of control over their lives; Anne was going to be forced to court the king. If she was going to do so, she might as well get something out of it. So, for seven years, she led Great Harry on a chase until she had her prize – Queen of England. She refused his gifts. She did not submit to his sexual advances. She embarrassed and confused the King of England, who believe his power was absolute and his will divine. While I believe Anne ultimately grew to love Henry, if she had not been made queen, she would have bailed before sacrificing her virtue.
It is ironic that Anne was called “the great whore” as she was hardly thus. She clung to her honor when other women would have easily given it away.
For me, Anne was definitely a role model in the way I conducted myself with the opposite sex as a teenager and young woman. You can be vivacious while still keeping an air of mystery. While I don’t believe you should play love games, I also believe it is important to protect your honor. As the saying goes, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Don’t sell yourself cheaply. Don’t sell yourself at all.