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Royals of Norah Lofts > Group read of The Concubine

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Aug 04, 2015 07:07PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments I though we could put up the topic a bit in advance of Aug 8th .

In a post elsewhere Cassie said she often regards a well written fictionalised account of real historical person as it if were non-fiction, and I think that is a really interesting point , and so relevant to this book. Norah Lofts version has long since been overtaken by new research but I for one don't care at all and still think of her Anne Boleyn as the 'real' Anne Boleyn !

So, a couple of preliminary questions that might be useful.

1. Given that we and half the world know the ending , do we need to be concerned about spoilers do you think?
2. The book is in 49 chapters, not nice neat parts unfortunately , so maybe we do it in , say half dozen or so chapters at a time, divided where seems most logical ?

message 2: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (tater11) | 1 comments Looking forward to hearing what NL will do with this. I have debated reading it because I've read so many book about this before, but this is just the nudge I need!

message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy | 23 comments Just pulled my copy from my Norah Lofts shelf. I haven't read this for a long time - in fact, I bought my paperback copy in 1972, so it's a little raggedy now. Looking forward to the discussion.

message 4: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Hi Lofties! So great to feel and catch your enthusiasm! Barbara, for myself, I'm not concerned with spoilers, and I think we've averaged half a dozen chapters a week in previous discussions. Thanks for leading us.

message 5: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments I bumped up the thread for easy access. No spoilers is OK with me since we're going to discuss about six chapters a week; everyone should be able to stay current.

message 6: by Sylvia (last edited Aug 08, 2015 03:12PM) (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments I would like to make my first comment regarding Anne Boleyn and her possible marriage to Henry Percy, prevented by Cardinal Woolsey. On pg. 4 he is referred to, "not entirely in jest, as 'The King of Europe' though jesting words often hold unpalatable truths." He tried to convince Henry that Anne was unworthy of a Percy. Odd that she would later be worthy of a King, but at this time she is only 16 and new at court. I wondered if that phrasing was referenced, or one of NL's gems.

message 7: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments The more things change the more they stay the same.....the political intrigue, the arranged marriages for expediency and collaboration, the gossip, the trading of favors to advance one's agenda, the behind the scenes power struggles, the two-facedness for personal gain, the using of people with no regard for the evil involved....looking at the political climate today..NL could have set her story in 2015.!!!!!Is it ever thus?

message 8: by Barbara (last edited Aug 09, 2015 07:49PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Sallie wrote: "The more things change the more they stay the same.....the political intrigue, the arranged marriages for expediency and collaboration, the gossip, the trading of favors to advance one's agenda, th..."

Indeed - and also the co-opting of religion for political ends! I think Emma Arnett is particularly interesting in this aspect. When NL describes Emmas's final disbelief in the tenets of Catholicism , she says that she was ready , a mind open for conversion and that she like thousand of others in England were questioning the gap between their understanding of the of the poverty and humility of Christianity's founder and the huge and extravagant wealth and power of the Church particularly the Cardinals etc of the day.

Beautifully setting the scene for the great event that are to come.......

message 9: by Sylvia (last edited Aug 10, 2015 11:11AM) (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments ...and the poverty vs. wealth in some churches is still a deep question. When Emma describes the two "breeds" of people she respects, the wealthy and powerful of courage and strength, such as the queens Catherine and Isabella, and likewise the poor, peasant stock, she remembers her own family. When their farm was taken from them to become a sheep run, her mother, who was known in the surrounding counties for her butter, had to take work picking wool, and died within a year of lung disease. About a century earlier, Kate Reed (The Town House) was forced to take the same job, and had to watch her 2 little boys as she worked in a wool shed. At first Emma placed Anne B. in her disrespected "middle" breed.

message 10: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments From the "high" to the "lowly" I saw the overriding trait of each and every one of these characters is...ambition. cardinals, king, Anne, her father, Cromwell, court jesters and musicians, even Emma moving up to ladies maid. The jockeying and manipulating to move up one rung on that social ladder....

message 11: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments There was a great deal of pride -even though mired in poverty it was still a badge of honor to be known for her butter.

message 12: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments I love the way that NL feeds us the history of the time, showing it from the ordinary person's viewpoint. We learn so much about what happened then--it was a very important time for religion in history. This book, which I first read at 16, triggered my interest in English history.

Good point, Sallie, about ambition. So far we've seen it in everyone except poor little Mary Boleyn.

message 13: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Barbara's mention of "Emma's final disbelief in the tenets of Catholicism" reminded me of NL's other stories that involve the same subject, such as "Josiana Greenwood's Tale." It seems to me that she made essentially the same comment about Transubstantiation more than once. But the part about wealth and poverty also reminded me of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales!

message 14: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments Yes, Mary ....(her father was ambitious for her and was disappointed when she "got nothing to show for her dalliance with Henry")but her pride would not let her accept any kind of "payment" from him such as a manor house. Wore tattered old gowns rather than accept material from Anne for a new one. She finally married for love so her bad reputation was 'salvaged'. I think.

message 15: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments I absolutely want to have and to hold NL's version of Mary , and not the contemporary ones , notably Phillippa Gregory .

message 16: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments I agree, Barbara! In fact, I started The Other Boleyn Girl and found it so at odds with my picture of both sisters, not to mention simply silly, that I gave up after the first chapter. However, I did take a peek at the ending, which confirmed my opinion of "silly."

An Anne Boleyn novel that I would recommend is Brief Gaudy Hour, by Margaret Campbell Barnes.

message 17: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments Brief Gaudy Hour is very good; Barnes style is different but she is also a gifted writer. I'm also reading Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which is non-fiction as a kind of reference that is more up-to-date than what was available to Lofts when she wrote The Concubine. It contains a portrait of Henry when he was in his 30's, which was helpful to me in visualizing how he looked at the time of his romance with Anne.

message 18: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments I'm just starting Anne Boleyn by interested in her info on Mary B. and if it coincides with her Concubine portrayal of both women. Have any of you read this book?

message 19: by Barbara (last edited Aug 11, 2015 07:43PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments MaryC wrote: "I agree, Barbara! In fact, I started The Other Boleyn Girl and found it so at odds with my picture of both sisters, not to mention simply silly, that I gave up after the first chapter. However, I..."

I agree entirely Mary.
Yes Sallie , the non-fiction Anne Boleyn does not have significant difference in character etc. It is a great book I think .

To get back to the group read.

I have just noticed a section in the early chapters where Henry is broaching his Great Matter to Wolsey more or less for the first time and he gives Wolsey an impassioned speech about how , wonderful as the match may be for his daughter Mary to be betrothed to the Emperor Charles, he is most unhappy about the way in which England will thus be reduced to a dower , and end up being called The Outer Isles or some such slighting thing when if passes into Charles power.
I think this is a rather a clever foreshadowing of how Elizabeth years later thought exactly like her father on this issue. And why ,of course, she remained unmarried all her life.

Both Henry and his despised girl child ( oh if only he could have seen who she would become ) genuinely and always , put England first

message 20: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Barbara, this thought occurred to me about Elizabeth's refusal to marry and the risks to the independence of the kingdom: In the 100 Years War, English Kings kept claiming the French throne on the basis of a pattern of succession that just didn't apply in France. No French princess who married a King of England could make her son heir to the French throne. However, the other way around-- One of Elizabeth's suitors was the Duc d'Alencon, the youngest (I think) son of Henri II and Catherine de Medici. Suppose she had married him and had a son? Catherine would have considered it a good match for her baby--until, as they did, all of Catherine's older sons died childless, and it became clearer and clearer that the heir to the throne of France was Elizabeth Tudor's son, who was growing up as a thorough Englishman. >:)

message 21: by Barbara (last edited Aug 13, 2015 03:02AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Yes Mary, it is very odd to my mind that England (Henry?) was so opposed to the idea of females acceding to the throne , I mean there was no Salic Law in operation .
NL has Henry saying that the example of Matilda is enough to make it unthinkable . I dunno....

What do we all think of the way in which NL conveys the sweep of history and politics and religious change via her characters in The Concubine ? I think it is masterly.
We have the discussions between Henry and Wolsey , and then Campeggio and Pope Clement and of course the inestimable Emma Arnett and her friends.
Best to all to me, is the way this is portrayed and brought home to the idea of personal-is political via Catherine and Anne. And of course Henry himself

Anne says ( and I believe she actually did say this)
"your wife I cannot be , for you are married already, and your mistress I will not be"
Henry thinks , once she has agreed to marry him when he is free, that getting free , if properly managed may take as much as a year . NL says sombrely 'it was was to drag on for twelve"
Catherine , once she has realised the dreadful facts of Henry' plans says " You have been badly advised my Lord" and NL says "neither of them realised it then, but Catherine , in seven words had expressed her belief and nothing was ever to move her from it"

And there we have it , the King's Secret Matter , to become the King's Great Matter , polarised between two women , both of them, ironically, taking up positions of rectitude .

message 22: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments I wonder whether Henry knew that his grandmother had said something similar to his grandfather: "I may not be good enough to be your wife, but I am too good to be your mistress."

message 23: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments So what are we all thinking so far?
Do we have any sympathy for Henry ? Do we think Anne is doing the right thing , or the expedient thing? How about Catherine . Could she have taken any other path?

message 24: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments Have there ever been three more stubborn people on the planet? Anne not giving up her virginity, Katharine not giving up her maritial/queen status and Henry determined to bully the pope. Each one dug in, implacable but In the end none of them got what they wanted.Do you think, as the years wore on, any of the three had regrets, wished he/she had cried uncle?

message 25: by Debbie (last edited Aug 17, 2015 06:40AM) (new)

Debbie | 46 comments There must have been times when they all wished they had "cried uncle", except maybe Katharine. She was standing on a different principle of the sanctity (and permanence) of marriage, plus protecting her daughter's heritage as Henry's heir. Coming from a kingdom where her mother was the most powerful monarch, she saw no reason why Mary could not inherit if no son was born. Anne was playing a power game, and Henry was first just determined
to get her, and then he probably could not back down without feeling he would look like a fool. Isn't it amazing how compelling this story is after more than 450 years?

message 26: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments That is an excellent point about Katharine's mother being a powerful monarch in her own right. I think protecting Mary's legitimacy was a key factor for Katherine. Without Mary, she might not have been so persistent. But we can't forget the role of the Pope who would not declare that the dispensation was invalid and so the marriage could not be annulled. Katherine was so convinced that if the Pope decided in her favor, Henry would accept it and give Anne the boot (not the most elegant way to put it).

message 27: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments I agree in thinking that Katharine's main reason for digging in her heels was to protect Mary from being declared illegitimate. Then, too, she seems to have loved Henry. Now just wait until we get to discussing NL's book about HER! (What other writer could make the reader feel so sympathetic toward both Katharine and Anne?)

message 28: by Peggy (last edited Aug 19, 2015 01:45PM) (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments I've been thinking about Barbara's question of "sympathy for Henry" and thinking "no way" but as I mentioned previously, I'm also reading Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Last night, the section on Katharine gave details on her numerous pregnancies, a total of six beginning in 1510 and ending in 1518, when she was 33. Henry was 27.

When Henry started pursuing Anne, he was 34 and Katharine was 40, the statement being made that she was beyond the age of childbearing (no pregnancies in seven years). So I came to the conclusion that maybe he did deserve some understanding from the standpoint that if the Tudor dynasty was to continue, a young fertile wife was his only chance.

message 29: by Barbara (last edited Aug 18, 2015 08:33PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments NL does do a wonderful job of engaging our sympathy for Anne and Catherine equally doesn't she? As several have said above, Catherine immense dignity and strength must have in part stemmed from her amazing mother Isabella ( anyone who hasn't read NL's Crown of Aloes is in for a great treat when they do)
For Catherine that terrible tribunal where so much turned on 'evidence' or otherwise of her virginity at the time of marrying Henry must have been utter torture . I love NL"s handling of it and C's spiking of their guns.

Anne had no generations of Spanish or any royalty behind her did she poor girl? Only her self-serving father and uncles. I know Lady Bo probably didn't exist in real life and NL did not have access to up-to-date research on her , but I like NL's creation and also her handling of Mary and George .

It occurs to me in this reading which I had not really considered fully before , how much of Catherine and Anne's trials and tribulations revolved around sex and their essential femaleness. Virginity, conception, miscarriage, accusations of incest adultery, witchcraft ............

message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Any comments on the above chaps ?

message 31: by Barbara (last edited Aug 21, 2015 08:30PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments I think another thing The Concubine handles so well is the sense of loneliness that all the major (and some minor, like Norris ) characters share . Even Henry, seemingly all powerful as he is, is subject to devastating failures of confidence ( very short lived I admit ) ,and both Catherine and Anne are touched by terrible lonely fears for the future .

Catherine mostly on behalf of Mary of course , though also, as a devout Catholic, for the state of Henry's soul.
Do we believe, that ,save for Mary's existence she would have retired to a convent ? She might , but she would never have relinquished her title of Queen would she , believing as she did that the was called by God to that position, like it or not . Nor would she ever have repudiated the validity of her marriage .

I find the description of Wolsey's fall very poignant too, " the loneliness of those who fall from high paces, suddenly" And, at least in NL's account, he truly loved Henry too, as a father .

A dangerous thing, to love Henry Tudor . Or Anne Boleyn.

message 32: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Speaking of the revolving of women's lives around their reproductive matters, especially regarding royalty, I seem to recall times in history when the consummation of a royal marriage had to be witnessed. Does anyone know if the practice existed during the time of Katherine's and Henry's brother's marriage?

message 33: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Sylvia, evidently it didn't, because much of the question later hinged on Arthur's comment the next morning. Actually, I'm not sure the very act ever had to be witnessed, at least in Western culture. (I've glanced at Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Tahiti, however.) The next morning's sheets were usually considered evidence enough.

message 34: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments Excellent point about Katharine having Isabella as a role model.

NL's portrayal of Wolsey really made him a sympathetic character to me. The scene where he waits to see Henry and states that he will sit on the mule until the mule drops and then stand until he drops--so poignant. I agree, Barbara, that he loved Henry. How sad that all those years of service had to end that way.

Isn't it odd that statements are made that the powers that be would have been favorable to annul Henry's marriage if he had been willing to marry somebody besides Anne Boleyn--that is, to marry another royal for political reasons. Funny how that issue should be ambiguous.

message 35: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments And this "pecking order" continues 500 years later. The jockying for power, favoritism with the "winner" [in this case, Henry) all for personal gain. Anne the outsider , by circumstance of her non-royal birth, throws a monkey wrench into the situation a d upsets the apple cart. As Peggy notes...marry another acceptable royal and all will be well. Here we are today with Mr. Trump playing the role of spoiler and the other contenders wondering, like Wolsey, where they will fit in the new order of things. Although I think Wolsey had an inkling of his fate but was resigned to it. He understood how the political system worked. None of the principles cared o e whit what the "people/subjects" thought or wanted.

message 36: by Peggy (last edited Aug 22, 2015 11:17AM) (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments Sallie, Wolsey did realize what was going to happen--great point. He knew he would be the scapegoat if things didn't go the way he wanted them to and Lofts makes us believe he knew it would cost him his life. And good comparison to our political situation in the U.S.

Where is everyone in the book? I'm up to the point of Wolsey's arrest.

P.S. I'm loving this discussion.

message 37: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Actually, for one of Henry's friends, Cardinal Wolsey came off pretty well. Consider: not one but two wives, both of whom he had wanted badly enough to end other marriages; a slew of gentlemen in waiting whom someone considered it necessary to implicate to get rid of one of those wives; Thomas More (who some think really wrote the anti-Luther book for which Henry received the title Defender of the Faith); an elderly female cousin; and Thomas Cromwell. At least Wolsey died in his bed!

message 38: by Barbara (last edited Aug 23, 2015 05:09PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments MaryC wrote: "Actually, for one of Henry's friends, Cardinal Wolsey came off pretty well. Consider: not one but two wives, both of whom he had wanted badly enough to end other marriages; a slew of gentlemen in ..."

Very true, Wolsey might have been - and was - abandoned, dropped, cast aside , but as you astutely remark Mary, look at the fate of others who displeased him!
And too, as Sallie implies, Wolsey knew the adage 'put not your faith in Princes ".......

I'm at the point, post Elizabeth's birth, of Anne's beginning the serious slide into the abyss. Even though there can hardly be a literate person in the Western world who doesn't know her fate, I still feel gathering dread when I read The Concubine . And also almost , but not quite, as if maybe things could turn out differently ....

As ever . I amire NL's depiction of character changes, Henry's loss of his endearing quality of boyishness for ever, Anne's loss of iron self control and even Mary Boleyn no longer naïve and trusting but now a rather damaged and sometimes acerbic woman. ( still loveable though , to my mind. And Staffords! )

message 39: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments What about the irony of Harry Percy serving the arrest warrant! Surely this is Anne working behind the scenes but kind of a risky move in my eyes.

message 40: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments Good point, Peg. Wasn't risk and danger a daily worry, a daily fact of life for everyone? Fear of offending someone, especially someone who held power. Even the scullery maid-fear of being sacked and out in the cold. Katherine and Anne fearing Henry's wrath, displeasure, ability to totally control their lives. Even a court jester fearing his presentations might bring a frown. Wolsey wise enough to perceive what's coming, and each and every one in the royal household scrambling and manipulating for all they're worth to maintain an advantageous position.

message 41: by Barbara (last edited Aug 27, 2015 07:22PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Now I never considered that, Peggy, that Anne might have had anything to do with Harry Percy serving the warrant warrant. What would she have been attempting to do/gain, to have it be him do you think? Whatever the reason, his involvement is a bitter irony indeed when you get to the to the scenes of Anne's 'trial '

I agree Sallie, life must have been a knife edge affair if you were a courtier ( or pretty much any court appointed person) in those days. And the character of the monarch in those days was so much more important wasn't it ? I mean nowadays, you might find yourself denied promotion , but no one is going to torture you. Speaking of torture, isn't it interesting , NL's use of the class , the way in which Smeaton, the lowborn, caves under torture and 'confesses' whereas the gentlemen Norris, Weston et al remain proudly silent to the end.

I have now finished and am not sure where to start commenting , I have so much to say but I don't want to get ahead of the discussion . Where are others up to ?

message 42: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments I thought of it as another means of Anne taking revenge against Wolsey and wanting Percy to share in it--payback for when he called Percy before him and told him he couldn't marry "that foolish girl."

I'm almost finished and would be OK with starting to summarize our thoughts.

message 43: by Barbara (last edited Aug 31, 2015 09:56PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Peggy wrote: "I thought of it as another means of Anne taking revenge against Wolsey and wanting Percy to share in it--payback for when he called Percy before him and told him he couldn't marry "that foolish gir..."
Oh Ok, I see, thanks Pegs

Couple of things

1. What does everybody think about the whole business of that Emma suggests to Anne for that there being other ways of getting a child if one's husband is a 'bad breeder" ? I mean I can imagine Emma - against her better nature - suggesting it and Anne even contemplating it, but somehow, I can only see it as a novelist's device rather than it really happening. What do others think? Mary and I and others have discussed in some detail the unlikelihood of her being even remotely guilty of the infidelities she was really was charged with here.

2. Am I right in thinking the scene with Norfolk bursting in on her saying Henry might be dead and seemingly provoking a miscarriage has some basis in fact ?

message 44: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Barbara wrote:"Am I right in thinking the scene with Norfolk bursting in on her saying Henry might be dead and seemingly provoking a miscarriage has some basis in fact?"

I think I've read about that incident in some historical accounts, and Margaret Campbell Barnes definitely used it in Brief Gaudy Hour.

BTW, is it even clear how many miscarriages Anne had? Was there more than one? If there was just one, was it far enough along that the baby's/fetus's sex could be determined? Elizabeth Jenkins says in Elizabeth the Great (I think quoting an earlier history) that Anne had "miscarried of her Saviour."

message 45: by Peggy (last edited Sep 02, 2015 04:55AM) (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments Mary, according to Alison Weir's book, Anne had four pregnancies. I think perhaps two miscarriages were males. Here's a link to a article by NPR that has quite a bit of background on the marriage:

Barbara, I also don't think Anne would take the risk of getting pregnant by another man. I think the idea of charging her with adultery with so many men was a means of horrifying the people and gaining sympathy for the King. Norfolk was a terrible person; who could act that way towards his own niece.

I think the scene where Lady Bo pressures Anne's father to speak up for his son and daughter is an essential part of this story.

The most bizarre touch to me at the end was for the court to annul Anne's marriage. If it was annulled and she wasn't married to the King, how could they charge her with treason for committing adultery. It proves it was all trumped up to get rid of her.

message 46: by Barbara (last edited Sep 01, 2015 11:42PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments Peggy said" If it was annulled and she wasn't married to the King, how could they charge her with treason for committing adultery. It proves it was all trumped up to get rid of her"

I know, I know! NL has Cromwell (?) warning Henry just in time - and as I have I have been reading elsewhere , nothing could be a clearer indication that the law of the land then was not about justice at all, but about the will of the Sovereign.

So what do we think about her end? NL seems to have stuck closely all through to what was actually known about Anne and her life , and particularly her end and the courage - even gratitude - with which she went to her death. And she still managed to get one over Henry, saying "a gentler and more merciful Prince there never was" which nicely fulfilled the decree that no person may criticise their Sovereign or sentence on the block, but which nobody could possibly believe she meant .
Clever, brave, doomed Anne .

message 47: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 315 comments It seems, when she realized the end was inevitable, she dredged up the same resolve that helped her keep Henry at bay for all those years and was determined to go out with dignity. And the help of Emma's potion! Slightly off the subject....there was another Queen Anne 1702-1714. She had something like 13 pregnancies and no child survived. The town historian said when he sees a situation like this he always wondered if there was a blood AB negative (that's not it but something like that) incompatibility (?). Today's medical knowledge can counteract this. Wonder if Henry was the culprit.

message 48: by MaryC (last edited Sep 02, 2015 08:47PM) (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 707 comments Sallie, I think you're thinking of Rh negative. As I understand it from my college Human Biology course (55 years ago!), when the father is Rh positive and the mother Rh negative, during her first pregnancy she can build up antibodies to Rh positive blood, so that subsequent pregnancies are liable to have complications. But didn't Henry and Katherine have some children who died before they had Mary? He became King in 1509 and married Katherine soon after, but Mary was born in 1516, I think. Still, it's a possibility to consider!

message 49: by Barbara (last edited Sep 02, 2015 11:37PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2214 comments I think it very possible Henry was, as Emma called him, a 'bad breeder'. And there has been discussion about causes such as it being untreated syphilis, or diabetes. There is a tantalising first page of an article here too

Yes, I agree Sallie , at the end she was as strong to die as she had been in her resolve not to become a mere mistress. And , after all, she was the mother off arguably the greatest Sovereign England has ever had.
Vale Anne Boleyn!

Are we at the end of our discussion do you think everyone ? Any final comments ?

message 50: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 924 comments I don't think the problem with Henry was physical so much as emotional. From what I've been reading, Henry cheated on both Katharine and Anne, especially when they were pregnant. That had to put enormous stress on them, especially someone as high strung as Anne. We know how bad stress is for pregnant women and the babies. This doesn't rule out physical causes, such as RH negative but it was a point I wanted to make.

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