Current Events · Kick-Ass Women

Kick-Ass Women: Anne Boleyn

March 1st marked the beginning of Women’s History Month, so I wanted to take this month to introduce some kick-ass women of history.

I’m starting this series out with a woman who not only got a king to divorce his wife but also got him to create a new religion and change the face of England and Europe for centuries that followed.

That’s right, it’s Anne Boleyn.

You know in job interviews when you’re asked, “If you could have dinner with any five people, dead or alive, who would they be?” My answer to that question almost always includes Anne Boleyn, which is an answer no one expects to hear. She is someone I would like to have known simply because of her role in changing the face of England.

The story of Anne Boleyn is a famous one. After her refusal to be King Henry VIII’s mistress, the king was obsessed with obtaining her affection (and bed) somehow. She would only give in if marriage was on the table. Given that he was already married to the Catholic Catherine of Aragon, this obviously was not an option. So, Henry petitioned the Catholic Church for an annulment on the grounds that Queen Catherine wasn’t a virgin at the time of their marriage (she was married to his older brother briefly until he was killed in battle). This battle lasted for six years, and Anne and Henry were “courting” while the debate raged on. Ultimately, they ended up getting married in secret under a new Church of England, a Protestant Church (it’s rumored than Anne and her family were secret Protestants), which basically caused England to break ties with the Roman Catholic Church.

The king was later excommunicated, and Anne had a lavish coronation ceremony, establishing her place as Queen of England, and she was hated by the country. Many people were loyal to Queen Catherine and did not take Anne’s new status well.

Ultimately, after failing to give the king a male heir that he desperately wanted, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed on falsified accusations of incest, adultery, and conspiracy against the king. Her only living heir, Elizabeth I, went on to become one of England’s most revered and successful monarchs.

In my humble opinion, Anne Boleyn is pretty incredible. She toppled a religious institution by using her feminine wiles and birthed one of the most powerful female rulers in history, and that makes her pretty kick-ass.

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