The story of Anne Boleyn goes to the root of all history; what makes an individual or event memorable to later generations? Anne is an exceptional case for her life was a double helix intertwining extraordinary human drama with profound historical crisis. A young lady of no particular importance or talents - she was neither a great beauty nor a captivating charmer - married a man who turned out to be England's most notorious monarch, and then three years later she was publically executed for treason, accused of quadruple adultery and incest. Mistress Boleyn was the crucial catalyst for three of the most important events in modern history: the break with Rome and the English Reformation, the advent of the nation state, and the birth of a daughter whose forty three years on the throne stand as England's most spectacular literary and political success story. Remove Anne and the Reformation as we know it today would not have taken place; remove Anne and Elizabeth I would not have existed at all. Anne Boleyn stands as a monument to the truth that there is nothing consistent in history except the unexpected.
Lacey Baldwin Smith is Professor Emeritus of History at Northwestern University. He has published nine critically acclaimed books including Henry VIII, Catherine Howard (both published by Amberley), Elizabeth Tudor: Portrait of a Queen, and Treason in Tudor England. The recipient of M.A. and PhD degrees from Princeton University, he has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of London and a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives with his wife, Jean, in Illinois and Vermont. They have two daughters.
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