Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Anne Boleyn Day



It's amazing how history changes. Not the things that happened, but the way we tell them. Ten years ago, May 19th was a date that historians would note but that might pass unnoticed by others. Thanks to the reach of social media, for anyone interested in royalty, history or a combination of the two, it's now known as Anne Boleyn Day.



May 19th is, of course, the anniversary of her death. Anne was executed at the Tower of London on that date in 1536, just days after being found guilty of treason. In the centuries that followed, debate about her guilt (generally held to be non existent) and why Henry VIII turned so violently on the woman for whom he had changed the known world went on but the date of her death was a number on a calendar. Not now.



In the 2010s, May 19th has become Anne Boleyn Day. Say that phrase and there's a good chance that someone will say the date right back to you without eve thinking. In the fabulous world of blogging and tweeting that accompanies an interest in royal history now, there are all kinds of wonderful countdowns and build ups to the date itself. And they seem to get sadder and more laden with emotion every year, as if this new focus on the moment that Anne's controversial story came to an end has given her a human element perhaps missing from the tellings of her story in previous decades.



There's no doubt that Anne is one of the most talked about Queens of England ever, if not the most debated. Her story is endlessly fascinating and the fact that we still don't understand all of it, particularly the ending, only adds to its intrigue. Of all the consorts in history, she is perhaps the one who most deserves a day with her name for that very reason. And now, five centuries after her rise and fall, she has one in Anne Boleyn Day.

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