To continue my Anne Boleyn thread, I’m going to pose to my readers a question that at first blush may seem too obvious: did one of the most famous queens ever set her sights too high?
To my naïve mind, no.
By all accounts, from an early age on Anne was a nimble learner, picked up languages easily, and developed keen interests in the finer aspects of life: literature, art, music, philosophy, games, and fashion, often in royal households in continental Europe where her father served as a diplomat.
Anne’s family was ambitious in its marriage plans for her. Many would say opportunistic. But Anne herself was skillful in her own right in pursuing a good deal. She sure made good old Henry wait quite a few years so she could become queen.
Back then, queendom meant a whole lot more than today. Even as queen consort (as opposed to a queen regnant), Anne wielded a great deal of influence in matters of state.
Too bad it didn’t last too long.
But this goes back to the title of my post today. Perhaps some readers might wonder if I am pondering if Anne were too ambitious for herself. What I would want to know, though, is if Anne gave up her life so that her only surviving child, Elizabeth, could some day be queen regnant — a ruler beholden to no one.
It was a bit of a long shot.
Although Elizabeth was heir presumptive when she was born, she still had an older sister, Mary, who was born to Henry’s first wife. By the time their mothers died, Elizabeth and Mary were both declared illegitimate in a country where their half-brother, even though he was born after them, automatically had better rights to the throne. Elizabeth sure had to be patient. Surely Anne Boleyn, for all her intelligence, must have realized a whole lot of unknown would face her daughter who was not even three years old when Anne went to the scaffold.
I go back and forth. Having lost everything she had gained, Anne, even if Henry had sent her to a nunnery — and that’s a big if! — would have lived in some degree of disgrace. She may well have tried to find an advantageous marriage for her daughter to a nobleman or perhaps a minor prince, but Elizabeth likely would never have become queen.
So did Anne go for broke for her daughter’s sake? I want to say yes, but I’m asking my readers to weigh in. I look forward to your responses!