Surely history, and even today the world is filled with many women of substance in all walks of life. However my woman of substance stems from my fascination with English History, specially the Tudor Period in England. Deep down I am convinced that I was a witness to those times in history when Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More, the cunning Cardinal Wolsey et all, lived on this planet. There are many great women that lived through recorded history, and live even today. However for me, Anne Boleyn stands atop the list of all women from any era that have impressed, and in many ways influence me even today. If I were to pick just a few things about her it would be her passion for right versus wrong, her conviction and her nerves of steel. Anne Boleyn's cockyness to stand up to King Henry VIII and all that was wrong. Her prophetic and actual gutsy last words to Henry before she was sentences to be beheaded "my Elizabeth shall be queen and the greatest monarch England shall ever know."
Even her historically recorded final words to the people of England minutes before her execution, "Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die. O Death, rock me asleep, Bring me to quiet rest, Let pass my weary guiltless ghost out of my careful breast," followed by the light hearted comment to her executioner to do his job without fear, and to cutoff her head with one swift stroke showed the metal she was constructed with.
My love, respect, fascination and admiratation for Anne was further cemented by the 1969 movie "Anne of a Thousand Days" Sure parts of it bordered fiction, yet the movie captured the true essence of "Anne Boleyn the person." The cherry on top of everything was that Genevieve Bujold who portrayed Anne Boleyn in the movie was so authentic, and exactly like the picture of Anne Boleyn in my mind, that the whole movie experience was inspiring yet eerie.
I love women with moral strength. Were I a woman, Anne Boleyn is who I would have liked to be. I raise a toast to Anne Boleyn and celebrate all the women the world over on this 8th of March. The world just would not be the same without women
portrait of Anne Boleyn by an unknown artist, late 16th century
Anne Boleyn is one of the most famous queens in English history, though she ruled for just three years. The daughter of an ambitious knight and niece of the duke of Norfolk, Anne spent her adolescence in France. When she returned to England, her wit and style were her greatest charms. She had a circle of admirers and became secretly engaged to Henry Percy. She also entered the service of Katharine of Aragon. But she soon caught the eye of Henry VIII. He ordered Percy from court and tried to make Anne his mistress. She refused. Her sister, Mary, had been the king's mistress and gained little from it but scandal. Her hopes with Percy dashed, Anne demanded that the king marry her. She waited nearly seven years for Henry to obtain an annulment. It finally took an irrevocable breach with the Holy See before they wed in 1533. But she was unable to give Henry the son he desperately needed and their marriage ended tragically for Anne. She was executed on patently false charges of witchcraft, incest and adultery on 19 May 1536. Her daughter, Elizabeth, would become England's greatest queen.
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