Saturday, April 2, 2016

Early April - In Which We All Begin To Feel Anxious on Behalf of Anne Boleyn

April is the month before everything went to shit for Anne Boleyn in 1536.
She'd miscarried a son in January;
"She hath miscarried of her Saviour."
Henry VIII was less than a loving husband in response to the news.
"You'll get no more sons from ME." Yes, Anne, that means things are very bad indeed.


He was scathing in his dismissal of her shortly afterwards.
Worse, his eye was wandering in a way Anne Boleyn surely recognized - that same wandering eye brought her to him.

"Henry, are you f*cking kidding me? Really? Jane f*cking Seymour?"
Rather than wearing her humble face
Mea culpa, mea culpa


and winning back the king's affection, she turned spiteful and played games with the men of the court's very innermost circle.
Fiddle-dee-dee! I swear, I don't know which of you courtiers is the handsomest! I was awake all night trying to decide. . .
Her world was imploding at its core.
It was only a matter of time before it collapsed under her black velvet slippers.



And while Anne Boleyn's guard should have been up, it seems she couldn't tell if she were simply jumping at shadows or if it was really as bad as she feared.
No. It's much, much worse.
Turns out it was worse.


The factions at court whom she'd left politically bruised began circling.

They were joined by those whom she'd squelched over religion.
I never forget a thing I've been told, nor an action I've seen.
The Lady Mary, prodded out of the line of succession by Anne Boleyn's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, had her own chance to stir the pot  - and she tacitly invited all courtiers who'd watched while Henry VIII disgraced her mother, a beloved queen, a gentle queen, a queen who'd ridden against freaking Scotland and brought back the head of the Scottish king to line up and take their best shots at Anne Boleyn.
That's Uncle Enemy to you, Anne.


And then there were all those spiteful frenemies who lined up to spew their 'dirt' on her, all the while maintaining a wide-eyed innocence as though their ladylike sensibilities were shocked by the queen's vulgar actions.
"I can hardly bear to repeat what I've seen . . . no, wait, I'll tell you a bunch of shit about her, and I'll make stuff up, too."


It was a month when the rumour mills worked overtime, when the king openly dandled a mistress/queen in waiting on his knee, when the queen made a fatal flirtatious quip to a courtier, telling him if something happened to the king, that same courtier would want to have her, when the king's man Cromwell vacuumed up every and any tidbit of gossip about the queen.


Such a pretty month, too; when the earth throws off winter's last frost and warmed under the sun, gives off the smell of newly-turned soil and delicate green shoots appear almost overnight with the promise of wildflowers and berries.


Anne Boleyn was still able to go through the motions at court in April, 1536 - but with an unsettled feeling that something was not quite right.
 TS Eliot was onto something when he wrote, "April is the cruelest month."