In my personal opinion: Q and A


1) Q Was Catherine of Aragon a virgin when she married King Henry after the death of his brother, Arthur?

A No. Even though she was risking damnation of her soul by lying until her very last confession on this earth. She badly wanted to marry Henry and then, years later, when divorce was first mooted, she had her daughter’s interests to think of. And a mother’s love knows no bounds. Having said that, we are talking about two very young teenagers, fifteen and sixteen so it is possible that full intercourse never took place, even though it was attempted.

2) Q What was it like writing about Anne Boleyn?

A Anne was the one character in my novel I found elusive. I had no problem with any of the others but she had a quality about her as if she was the hind in Thomas Wyatt’s poem. And was still saying five hundred years later, that she’s: ‘wild for to hold, though I may seem tame.

3) Q Did Henry love Anne?

 A I think Henry was a complex, troubled character, a legacy of a difficult childhood where he lost his beloved mother at the age of ten, and as the spare to Arthur, the heir, was not brought up to reign. Of course, he fell desperately, passionately, dangerously in love with Anne, but as far as he was concerned, she let him down. Broke her promise and her side of the bargain to give him a son and heir. After so many years of disappointment with Catherine, he couldn’t go through it again. Also, by the standards of the time, by her last miscarriage in January 1536, Anne was positively middle-aged at 35. Having said that, if she’d carried the baby to term and it had been a boy (or twin boys!), her place next to Henry would have been assured for the rest of her days.

4) Q Did Anne love Henry?

A Their relationship was multi-layered. At the beginning, he definitely pursued her, and let everyone know she was his and his alone. As Thomas Wyatt put it: ‘Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am.’

For a very long time, Anne could do no wrong in Henry’s eyes and he was prepared to wait for her and her precious virginity. But as the years passed, and the divorce dragged on, she knew her fertility was dwindling. Even though she was finally crowned in 1533, it all came too late for her. She gave the King a healthy child but not the prince he needed. She was never allowed to rest and recover her strength and was doomed to miscarry over and over again. I do think if she’d given Henry a son or even two, their relationship would have matured into the very deep love that follows a first heady infatuation.