Anne Boleyn may be best known for losing her head, but as Tudor expert Tracy Borman reveals in a book that recasts British history, her greatest legacy lies in the path-breaking reign of her daughter, Elizabeth
Much of the fascination with Britain’s legendary Tudors centers around the dramas surrounding Henry VIII and his six wives and Elizabeth I’s rumored liaisons. Yet the most fascinating relationship in that historic era may well be that between the mother and daughter who, individually and collectively, changed the course of British history.
The future Queen Elizabeth was not yet three when her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded on May 19, 1536, on Henry’s order, incensed that she had not given him a son and tired of her contentious nature. Elizabeth had been raised away from court, rarely even seeing Anne; and after her death, Henry tried in every way to erase Anne’s presence and memory. At that moment in history, few could have predicted that mother and daughter would each leave enduring, and interlocked, legacies. Yet as Tracy Borman reveals in this first-ever joint portrait, both women broke the mold for British queens and for women in general at the time. Anne was instrumental in reforming and reshaping forever Britain’s religious traditions, and her years of wielding power over a male-dominated court provided an inspiring role model for Elizabeth’s glittering, groundbreaking 45-year reign. Indeed, Borman shows how much Elizabeth—most visibly by refusing to ever marry, but in many other more subtle ways that defined her court—was influenced by her mother’s legacy.
In its originality, Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I sheds new light on two of history’s most famous women—the private desires, hopes, and fears that lay behind their dazzling public personas, and the surprising influence each had on the other during and after their lifetimes. In the process, Tracy Borman reframes our understanding of the entire Tudor era.