It was Jimmy Goldsmith who said that when you marry your mistress you create a job vacancy, but it could just as easily have been Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn’s great folly lay in her inability to adapt to the role of consort when, after a six-year-long struggle and the fracturing of Christendom, she finally married her man. She refused to temper her feisty, flirty spirit, she neglected to look the other way when Henry’s eye wandered and, fatally, she failed to produce a male heir. Had she behaved more like a wife and less like a mistress, Anne Boleyn might not have ended her days as ‘the lady in the Tower’.
Alison Weir’s title is taken from a letter, almost certainly forged, purportedly from Anne to Henry VIII. It is also shared with a Jean Plaidy novel, but unlike the fiction, which covered the rise as well as the fall of Anne Boleyn, Weir’s work of non-fiction concentrates on