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Julia Fox and John Guy on Their New Biography of Anne Boleyn

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 227

Hunting the Falcon book coverEven after appearing in a Shakespeare play, historical romance novels, a Broadway musical, and prestige TV dramas, there’s still more to learn about Anne Boleyn.

A new biography by the team of husband-and-wife historians John Guy and Julia Fox takes a scholarly look at the evidence surrounding Anne’s rise and fall. They freshly examine well-known accounts, and also take in passing references in neglected sources. In particular, they focus on Anne’s years of training in the courts of Europe, which shaped her into the formidable woman whom Henry VIII came to regard as an intellectual equal. It also prepared her for the ruthless politics of the English court, where Anne’s ambition and cunning won her some powerful enemies. Fox and Guy are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

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John Guy and Julia Fox.

John Guy is a fellow at Cambridge University and a Tudor historian who has appeared on many TV and radio documentaries about the period. He’s written biographies of Henry VIII, Thomas More, and Queen Elizabeth I. His biography of Mary Queen of Scots was adapted into a film in 2018. Julia Fox has written biographies of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne’s sister, Jane Boleyn. Hunting the Falcon: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the Marriage That Shook Europe is out now from Harper.

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 16, 2024. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

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MICHAEL WITMORE:  She’s one of England’s most famous queens—and her tragic fall has captured imaginations for centuries. But a new biography proves that there’s still more to learn about Anne Boleyn.

From the Folger Shakespeare Library, this is Shakespeare Unlimited. I’m Michael Witmore, the Folger Director.

The story of Anne Boleyn has provided material for generations of writers. Shakespeare featured her in his history play about Henry VIII. Recently, Anne has starred in historical romance novels, a Broadway musical, and prestige TV dramas.

A new biography by the team of husband-and-wife historians John Guy and Julia Fox takes a scholarly look at all the evidence surrounding Anne’s rise and fall. They freshly examine well-known accounts, and also take in passing references in neglected sources.

They focus in particular on Anne’s years of training in the courts of Europe. That training shaped her into the formidable woman whom Henry VIII came to regard as an intellectual equal. It also prepared her for the ruthless politics of the English court, where Anne’s ambition and cunning won her some powerful enemies.

John Guy is a fellow at Cambridge University and a Tudor historian who has appeared on many TV and radio documentaries about the period. He’s written biographies of Henry VIII, Thomas More, and Queen Elizabeth I. His biography of Mary Queen of Scots was adapted into a film in 2018. Julia Fox previously wrote biographies of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne’s sister, Jane Boleyn.

Here’s John Guy and Julia Fox, in conversation with Barbara Bogaev.


BARBARA BOGAEV: You’ve both written books about other members of this family. What’s the idea? That you’d always eventually get around to a biography of Anne Boleyn?

JULIA FOX: Yes and no. When I did Jane Boleyn a few years ago, I was very, very interested in Anne and thought, “Maybe.” What I had never thought at the time was that I’d actually do it with John.

BOGAEV: I’m almost afraid to ask why.

FOX: Well, we’ve never actually done a book officially together. Unofficially, everything that we’ve written has been collaborative in the sense that we run it by each other. We bounce ideas off each other. We criticize each other. Sometimes in the middle of the night, we’ll wake up and talk about things, you know, with one of the books.

But I hadn’t actually thought. “No, let’s do one together.” Then, suddenly—

JOHN GUY: It just happened. I mean, yeah, for me it was always a challenge at the back of the mind. One to be, perhaps, left for a few years until the right moment came.

Henry’s a challenge. Usually… certainly, if I go into a project, it’s because I’ve seen that there are sources that have never been used on a major topic. That was so for Mary, Queen of Scots, in particular.

It’s true for this book because nobody had before really mined out the French archives. Even though Anne was so much connected with France in pretty much the whole of her life, the whole of her story. Nobody had really researched her, if you like, pre—her backstory in France. In fact, people thought it could never be done.

Over the years, it’s just become so apparent—certainly to me, I don’t know what Julia thinks about this—that character is formed in childhood and adolescence. You just can’t miss out those years.

BOGAEV: Well, this is great because I want to start in France. But before I do, because you piqued my interest, it’s interesting to me that you’re writing about a marriage in this book. You guys are married. Do you think that the fact that you were married and you were writing about a marriage that that gave you different directions or insights?

FOX: Yes and no, I think. I think it does in the sense that you realize that with a marriage, it’s the everyday. It’s not just big occasions, you know? You’ve got to be able to get on every day. It really is about everything that sort of happens to you as your life goes on.

I think that’s true, don’t you?

GUY: Yeah, I mean, certainly. One of the things—

FOX: I mean, put it this way, we’re still married. I would throw that in.

GUY: One of the things that very much struck me was to realize that neither of these people had actually really given much thought to what it would be like to live with the other one.

FOX: No, I think that’s what I’m trying to say.

GUY: Particularly Anne.

BOGAEV: This is wonderful because it really makes this very long ago and very storied story real to me. It’s wonderful. Thank you.

But I want to go back to France because it is so fascinating to see how you describe Anne being influenced by her time in France as a maid of honor to Margaret of Austria at the Habsburg court. And also by Queen Claude of France, who was the wife of King Francis I.

So let’s start with Margaret. Anne is not even a teenager yet. She’s 12, going on 13, and she’s exposed to Margaret, this very glamorous and powerful single woman. What did she learn from Margaret about how women can behave at court and exert political influence?

FOX: Ooh, how does one begin with Margaret?

GUY: Well, I mean, Margaret could correct what it was to be, you know, a woman, a single woman, because she was a widowed woman, which of course gave her great status. And [she] was determined never to marry again. She was determined to control her own destiny.

FOX: Yeah, she could see how Margaret could operate on the world stage—well, the European stage. She could see how she would preside over various court functions. She could see how she would receive ambassadors, how she could negotiate. For her father though. Remember she’s not a ruler in her own right. Although Margaret could more than hold her end up in any sort of discussion.

GUY: She ran a tight ship.

FOX: Yes, she did.

GUY: She knew how to discipline the court. They had a very, if you like, detailed etiquette. She took particular interest in her maids of honor.

They were educated to a very high standard. They were taught courtly manners. They were taught how to dress, how to conduct themselves. And they were warned about the dangers of predatory men. You know, that was all part of the package.

BOGAEV: Yeah. A real education in many ways. Then she was exposed to Queen Claude and her court in Paris. What was court like there? What do you think she soaked up? Because it… part of your argument and your—what you demonstrate is that she was just like a sponge during her time abroad.

FOX: It wasn’t just Claude, one has to remember, though. The real power, the female power at court, was actually the king of France Francis I’s mother, Louise of Savoy, and his sister, Marguerite of Angoulême. You’ve got a sort of triumvirate.

BOGAEV: Just so many fascinating, strong women.

GUY: Well, these were really powerful women and they were in and out of each other’s apartments the entire time. I mean, Louise of Savoy, Marguerite of Angoulême, they were hopping in and out of Claude’s apartments. They were basically conversing. They exercised enormous influence. Louise of Savoy, I mean, she got to the level where she would just make treaties. She was regent when Francis was out of the country.

They were also interested in religious innovations and the early French reformers. They traveled all around France. Anne, with them, was able to see an enormous, you know, number of things.

Of course, Anne didn’t need to eavesdrop because wherever Claude was there, the maids of honor were. Anne is just learning and soaking up all this stuff.

Let me give you one example of how you can trace it. It’s absolute influence, which is that, not long after Claude’s coronation, the French court went to Argenteuil, which was where Marguerite of Angoulême’s, sort of, stately home was. There, King Francis made Marguerite of Angoulême Duke of Berry in her own right, as if she were a man. She had the Duchy of Berry in her own right. She had an enormous grant of income from that. Her husband was completely excluded from any of these benefits in the deed of grant.

What’s absolutely striking is that Anne, when Anne is very much on the up and Henry makes her Marquess of Pembroke, is on exactly the same basis. She’s made Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. She’s given an enormous estate. She’s given money, which she holds in her own right, and she can pass on to her heir. She would be entitled to sit in the House of Lords, although there’s no evidence that she ever actually did. What’s more, the guest of honor at the ceremony was the French ambassador.

BOGAEV: So, to put a fine point on it, how did the French court and the Habsburgs shape Anne intellectually? I mean, what beliefs did she return to England with regarding religion and political reform and what a woman could do?

FOX: Well, certainly religion, I think, is very important. Anne is not a Lutheran. She wants religious reform, but not to go down Luther’s path. She wants reform in the Catholic Church. She doesn’t want a new Protestant Church to emerge.

GUY: But it’s not just… it isn’t just religion. I mean Anne saw how these powerful women could intervene in politics, how they could shape events.

She also became—she was incredibly cultured. I mean, she could recognize high quality art, high quality manuscripts. When she had the money, after she was made Marquess of Pembroke, and then later as Queen, she was able to commission manuscripts.

She also, of course, did works of charity, poor relief, supporting education, supporting scholars. All of those things.

BOGAEV: After this incredibly influential time that she had abroad, is this what gave her the guts to think she could marry a king? I mean, did she return to England primed to ensnare King Henry?

GUY: No, absolutely not.

FOX: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

GUY: That thought could never have entered her head.

FOX: She came back and she was of a marriageable age. She would have expected a good marriage. Marrying up, yes. Marrying the king, who’s already married, no. That, sort of, it almost evolves, really, doesn’t it?

GUY: Well, there’s quite a bit of evidence that when she came back—and she did get back into court, I mean, ironically in Catherine of Aragon’s household—She ran across Harry Percival, the son of the Duke of Northumberland. There’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest that, you know, they had a thing going, and actually might even have been close to promising to marry each other. But this was stopped.

But it wasn’t stopped because of Henry. At least, we don’t think so. It was stopped because there’s very solid evidence that Cardinal Wolsey, who was then Henry’s chief minister, and Henry had decided that they would actually earmark Anne to marry in Ireland in order to solve a particular Irish problem.

But the thing which really, I think, came to strike us was, you know, Anne came back actually just before Christmas of 1521. It wasn’t until the winter of 1525-26, and really not until ’26, sort of spring, that there was any— even the slightest suggestion that Henry might have any sort of serious interest. In fact, he probably didn’t even notice Anne very much other than the fact that she was the sister of the woman with whom he took up for an affair, Mary Boleyn.

What happens is that suddenly, politics swing away from, if you like, a Habsburg alliance, which you know had been which had been there since the early twenties, to a break with the Habsburgs.

Now, Henry’s looking to France, and suddenly Anne is the epitome of all things French. She becomes incredibly, sort of, if you like, strategic. Because here is a woman who Henry can see—he quite likes the look of—but also somebody who, you know, if you like, politically, culturally, but intrinsically is invested in what will become his enterprise.

He particularly likes—not only is she a trophy wife, she’s an articulate wife who can actually sort of talk the language that he wants to hear about France and, you know, how wonderful it is to have an alliance with France.

BOGAEV: Talk about being in the right place at the right time. But what was her father’s role in this?

I mean, Thomas Boleyn has so often been portrayed in movies and popular culture treatments of this period as a conniving and like Machiavellian social climber. Sometimes an outright pimp of his daughters. Do some myth-busting for us. What does the historical record show about this man?

GUY: If we’re thinking of Thomas Boleyn’s character, I mean, this man is extremely able. Yeah. He is the archetypal courtier.

BOGAEV: He was a seasoned diplomat, wasn’t he?

FOX: Oh yes, he’s clever.

GUY: He was a seasoned diplomat. He was a fluent French speaker. He became a very important ambassador to France, on and off.

BOGAEV: Could you argue that maybe history has shortchanged Boleyn? That he was more than a social climber?

GUY: I think in terms of the stereotype, absolutely it has. I mean, I think he does seem to have been quite mean. He was on the make and looking for every opportunity, like grants of land, annuities, all of those things—The Boleyns were. Because that was, of course, was the way that you got on at the Tudor court.

BOGAEV: Right. And he lived beyond his means, you point out. Let’s do a little bit more looking into the myths.

The biggie is, did Anne Boleyn withhold sex to keep Henry VIII hooked before heading into marriage, or hoping for marriage? And, what evidence do you have of this?

FOX: Well, in a word, yes, she did.

BOGAEV: That begs the question: was she chased or playing a long game? I mean, because I’ve always thought that history’s greatest example of slut-shaming must be Anne Boleyn.

FOX: Oh dear. Poor Anne.

GUY: She wants to be queen. She wants to be queen. She is not going to do this unless she ends up married, and for that Henry needs a divorce.

FOX: He does.

GUY: Because she’s been taught… I mean, she’s not even seen with her own sister, who was used by the king. But, I mean, everything that she’s learned from Margaret of Austria and everything that she’s learned in the household of Queen Claude—she knew exactly what these blokes could be like, and, you know, how badly you would end up. So, Anne is determined. I mean, the evidence that she withheld sex is in Henry’s own love letters.

FOX: Absolutely. Once Henry really did fancy Anne like mad, he put pen to paper. And that, for Henry, is almost unheard of. I mean, this is the man who said, “Writing to me is tedious and painful.” And yet he sat down and wrote 17 of the most amazing letters. In them, he bears his soul. He’s almost naked.

But what I wanted to bring them up for at this point is that in the middle of one of these letters, Henry is starting to wonder whether basically he’s wasting his time. He gets slightly more insistent that Anne has got to show him what she really thinks of him. You know, does she love him with just an ordinary love, or is it more?

He’s so insistent. And basically saying, “You know, if you really don’t want to go ahead, I’ll be brokenhearted, but I’m going to get over it. So now you decide.”

GUY: You know, basically, you’re not going to… I mean, I’m longing for you. Yeah. Basically, you know, he wants to penetrate her and she’s not playing at all.

FOX: She’s not going to play because she… until she’s ready and until she’s pretty sure she’s going to get what she wants by them, which will be marriage because she knows, as John was saying, darn well what can happen if she gives way too soon.

BOGAEV: But how can she even believe she would achieve marriage?

GUY: It’s a breathtaking gamble.

FOX: I know.

GUY: And, of course, Henry is… I mean, we can’t—you can’t underestimate just how madly in love with, how obsessed Henry was with Anne.

FOX: He’s obsessed, totally obsessed.

GUY: I mean, he writes in, you know, he sends her a message in a prayer book. “If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you”— and this is actually when they’re in chapel—“I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. always.” I mean, he’s passionately—these love letters are absolutely—

FOX: Oh, they are amazing.

GUY: They’re absolutely passionate.

FOX: At the end of some of them, he actually puts “AB” inside a little heart that he draws.

GUY: As if he’s a sort of lovesick teenager carving her initials on a tree.

FOX: Henry loves Anne. That’s absolutely amazing.

BOGAEV: That’s leading me right to my next question, which is how are we to think about Henry, himself? Because you portray him as this incredibly intelligent.

But, this is a quote, “Overindulged by a doting mother and overprotected by an autocratic father who grew into a narcissist, who saw exercise and control as his birthright. A man who never accepted blame for his own actions and always looked for scapegoats.”

FOX: I’m afraid that’s what we think.

GUY: It’s taken—I mean in my case—it’s taken 40 years to reach this conclusion, you know? Because I’ve done this… I’ve been in this game for quite a while. I mean, I think Julia spent a long time talking about this, didn’t we?

FOX: Oh, ages.

GUY: Because the question is—I mean, there are historians out there, you know, credible, credible, credible, learned historians who’ve been looking, I mean, really, I suppose, for decades, for the moment when Henry turned from a sort of good chap into a bad one. And different moments have been raised.

But we just see that the potential for that ruthlessness was there really from the beginning.

FOX: It’s there from day one.

GUY: And the potential for that narcissism was there, you know, right from the beginning.

FOX: I mean, you can see it way before he meets Anne, even. In 1521, he’s always suspicious about things. And you can see why. But he’s very suspicious of this powerful nobleman, the Duke of Buckingham, who was madly rich and who did have a bit of a claim to the throne, I suppose.

But, when he really becomes suspicious, and there is a case against Buckingham for various reasons, largely nefarious, Henry himself coaches the witnesses against Buckingham and Buckingham, I’m afraid, is chopped rather viciously. Absolutely by a bungling, inexperienced headsman who takes several blows to get his head off. And Buckingham was alive for most of that. So there is this propensity.

BOGAEV: We have a ruthless Henry intent on getting what he wants and besotted with Anne. We have Anne withholding sex and interested in becoming queen and in procuring this divorce. It took five years. What in those years was her role in the divorce?

GUY: I mean, I think the thing which I think is, you know, a sort of absolute backbone of our story is that the way we use this evidence is that we show how, once Anne had agreed to go with Henry and they would work towards getting Henry divorced from Catherine of Aragon, they worked as one. Anne was able to send her own diplomats to Europe. Henry’s diplomats reported to Anne, as well as to Henry, independently. Sometimes, they came back and reported first to Anne and only afterwards to Henry.

I mean, in many ways, Anne is shrewder in the workings of European politics as far as the divorce is concerned than Henry. Because she knows that a lot of Henry’s ideas are not necessarily going to yield fruit and it needs something, you know, a bit more with a bit more muscle in it.

Then, to come back to your question, once Cardinal Wolsey, the then chief minister, has failed to actually pull off this divorce, Anne effectively gets rid of him. It takes her almost a year to do it, but she gets rid of him. Then, I mean, he just dies because he’s been totally… he’s not executed, but he dies because he’s just been pulled to pieces and just destroyed.

Then, what happens is that her family, they have their own scholars. The Boleyns are connected to Cape University of Cambridge. They’ve had their own scholars, they’ve supported scholars there. They were in touch with people who understood about canon law and the law of getting marriages annulled. They get hold of Durham House, which was one of the houses that Woolsey had occupied, and they install their scholars there and they come up with a new theory, which is that the King of England is, and always had been, the head of the church within the realm of England, and not the Pope.

The Pope was only the Bishop of Rome, and his authority did not—particularly his jurisdiction over legal things like marriage—did not extend beyond, if you like, the province of Rome. Beyond central Italy.

Henry loved this. It appealed to his psychology, because now not only was he king, he was head of the church and he sat directly under Christ. So, he interpreted the scriptures. He could do what he liked. He could suppress the monasteries if he wanted to and seize all the money. What’s more, he could commission the Archbishop of Canterbury to hear his case for divorce and they would pronounce it and he could enforce that in England.

BOGAEV: It’s fascinating. You really take us there. Anne and Henry get the divorce. They’re married, but they’re only married… Anne is only queen for about three years.

Here you’ve described these role models she had for how to exert influence and rule alongside her husband and a king. What was she able to accomplish in those three years?

FOX: Less, I suppose, than she had hoped. You have to remember that when she was actually crowned as queen, she really believed, and maybe fleetingly Henry believed, that they might share power.

Had Elizabeth been a boy—because of course, when Anne is crowned, she is pregnant. She’s, what… that’s June, so she’s about six, seven months pregnant with Elizabeth. Had Elizabeth been a boy, who knows? But she was a girl.

GUY: I think to see what happens is that once Henry’s… once he’s got her and she’s his wife, that that primeval patriarchal urge to control kicks in. Is he really going to delegate, you know, discretionary foreign policy?

FOX: That’s why I said a fleeting, sort of…

GUY: Is he really going to give this power to his wife?

But even within the limits of power that she’s got as Queen, Anne is doing things with welfare, with religion, she’s interested in monastic reform. And things are happening there. She certainly becomes a champion of poor relief. She appoints chaplains and gets them appointed as positions of public preaching, who are of the reform cause. I mean, there’s a lot happening.

I mean, she really does… I mean, it’s in Elizabeth’s reign, people look back and said, “Without Anne Boleyn, there would have been no Reformation in England.” And that’s pretty much true. Anne does still have an enormous legacy, but it is striking that the moment they are married, well, it’s as if the things that she had been doing before, you know, in the joint enterprise in the divorce, was suddenly verboten.

FOX: Because she’s not actually delivering the goods as far as Henry’s concerned.

BOGAEV: The son. Right. You describe 1536 as this critical turning point. Catherine of Aragon died. Henry suffered this severe jousting accident that set him on this course to become the Henry VIII that we know from the TV portrayals. This huge, very angry tyrant of legend. And Anne miscarried a baby son.

So Katherine’s death meant that Henry could give up this very troubled military alliance with France, right? Is what followed from that, that sealed Anne Boleyn’s fate?

FOX: Not completely.

GUY: It opened the door to an opportunity, but I think one’s almost got to sort of take it in stages, day by day, almost like a countdown. Which, you know, within the limits of the, sort of, length that we had, we tried to do.

Because from that moment, from January in 1536, the door is open to a rapprochement with Charles V. But, actually, what Henry does is opens a bidding war between the Habsburgs and France. He’ll give him most for help. And that bidding war is going on right to the point, up to the night before Anne actually falls. Henry is actually quite undecided from almost all of that time.

What tilts the balance is really sort of two things. The first one is that when Henry got the divorce without papal permission, the Pope threatened to excommunicate him, and in fact declared him excommunica, but didn’t actually publish the sentence yet, and declared him deprived of the kingdom.

Henry suddenly hears from his ambassador with Charles. Charles then is about to enter Rome: he’s in Italy, marching up from the south of Italy up towards Rome. This English ambassador, Richard Pate, reports that Charles is now thinking of enforcing the sentence. Which means that Henry’s in great—potentially in great danger.

Of course, the second thing that happens is that there’s been, or what can be made to look like, a scandal in Anne’s privy chamber, as if she’s suddenly taken her eye off the ball and not kept discipline the way she ought to have done. But the rising, sort of, if you like, ambition, this man with this oceanic ambition, a former servant of Wolsey, who’s been biding his time and working his way up in Henry’s council, the fabled Thomas Cromwell, steps in now with a series of innuendos and accusations from spies which he’s placed at court in the privy chamber to suggest that Anne has been unfaithful to Henry.

Not just, you know, once or twice, but multiple times. But, also, with her own brother. Incest is, of course, an absolute taboo for Henry.

BOGAEV: So what evidence is there that Anne was guilty of any of these charges?

FOX: None.

GUY: There’s no evidence. No evidence at all.

FOX: None. Not really.

BOGAEV: There was a quick trial. She is convicted. She’s sentenced to death.

You begin your book with her execution. You describe it as her hoping for a last-minute reprieve. How do you know that, or why do you think that? Did she have reason to hope for it?

FOX: I think two of… there’s a couple of things there. When she’s in the tower, the constable of the tower, Kingston, writes various letters reporting things that she said back to Cromwell.

One of the things she said is that, “I think the king is doing this to me to test me, and all will be well.” In another, she said, “I’ll go to a nunnery, if necessary.” She’s obviously hoping for life.

When she is actually on the scaffold, she seems to keep looking behind her as though she’s expecting a last-minute pardon. Henry did give last-minute pardons.

GUY: He thought it was a bit of fun.

FOX: Oh, I think he enjoyed it. Yes. He enjoyed it. So Anne did have some reason for thinking, “Well, you never know.”

GUY: I think the other thing too, that’s rather special about her, I mean, her execution, or her scaffold performance is, of course, that in her brief scaffold speech, she didn’t actually admit her guilt. And why would she? I mean, she was an independent woman. She was a woman of spirit. She was not going to admit guilt to something that she knew she hadn’t done. That was very contrary to…

FOX: Well, it was against the conventions of scaffold speeches.

GUY: It was against the conventions. I mean, that’s not how it was. You were supposed to admit your guilt and appeal to the king for pardoning you.

FOX: Yes, and say you were supposed to die, et cetera, et cetera.

BOGAEV: She was independent and an iconoclast to the end.

FOX: To the end.

BOGAEV: What do you think it is then, in the end, about Anne Boleyn and her story that has made her such a long-standing figure of fascination?

GUY: The romance of the blitz of the story. An ordinary commoner rising up, you know, first to become a noble woman and then to be the Queen of England.

FOX: Her feistiness.

GUY: Her feistiness, yeah.

FOX: The fact that she could light up a room. That she had a glamour, a chic, but an intelligence. She was special. She really was a woman who knew what she would want to achieve.

GUY: And took it in her own time.

FOX: Yeah, and would fight against convention in that sense.

GUY: She would, yeah.

FOX: But I think what comes across with Anne is the multi-facets. The human side of Anne, the vulnerable side of Anne, the striking outside of Anne. The confident, “I’m going to get there” side of Anne.

I think also, with Henry, really, that you see him at his most vulnerable too. That he is at the mercy of one woman.

BOGAEV: Thank you so much for bringing this story so vibrantly to life. And thank you for this conversation. I appreciate it.

GUY: We’ve enjoyed it.

FOX: We’ve enjoyed it. We really have.

GUY:  Thank you, Barbara.

FOX: Thank you.

WITMORE: That was Julia Fox and John Guy, interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

Their new book, Hunting the Falcon: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and the Marriage That Shook Europe is out now from Harper.

This episode was produced by Matt Frassica. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer, with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Voice Trax West in Studio City, California. Final mixing services provided by Clean Cuts at Three Seas, Inc.

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare Unlimited, please leave us a review on your podcast platform of choice, to help others find the show.

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Thanks for listening. For the Folger Shakespeare Library, I’m Folger Director Michael Witmore.