So, I'm still obsessed with Tudor history--the tangled web of international politics, personal whim, and family dysfunction. And, coupled with my celebrity addiction, has opened my eyes to the emotional resonance of one of the more remarkable political acts of Henry VIII. To wit: the divorce of his first wife to marry Anne Boleyn.
Now, as a woman who was raised Protestant, I approach this question with the bias of historical fact: it's a good thing he did marry Anne Boleyn, or we'd never have had Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare and all that. So, personally, I see the necessity of his actions, and so I'm rooting for the divorce to happen.
But, had I lived in England at the time, without the benefit of knowing what happened, how would I have felt about this monumental action? Fortunately, contemporary celebrity culture gives us that answer, which I will now share with you.
Once upon a time there lived a handsome prince--called the most handsome prince in Christendom.
And he took for his wife a kind and good woman, who was loved by the people, and prosperity ruled the land.
But as time passed, the prince became aware that he needed a child, and his wife, as good and kind and beloved as she was, was not going to give him that child. The prince was saddened and perplexed about what to do.
Then, his eye fell on a woman in his court and he became fascinated. She was an accomplished woman, with dark, exotic looks and an exciting reputation. There were stories about her that smacked of witchcraft, but that did not deter him.
As the prince fell into this woman's spell, he set aside his good and kind and beloved wife, divorcing her to marry his new love. And the people were saddened, for they loved the old Queen, and were uncertain about the new one.
But then, it was revealed that the prince and his new wife were to have a child, and the people rejoiced for his happiness--if still a little sad for the old queen, and hoping that she would find herself another man to marry and be happy too. Or maybe just be religious instead.
And the king and queen had their child, and it was a girl, and she was universally declared to be the most beautiful child ever born.
So--how do you feel about the Tudors now?