231 The Scandal of Christendom Debate


Some of the arguments about Anne Boleyn’s life and career, to help you make you make your choice and vote on the History of England Facebook page. And while you are here why not support the podcast and get extra shedcasts by clicking here and becoming a member?

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How to vote

Here’s what you do to take part…

Until 10th November, hop along to the Facebook Page,  where you’ll find a post on which you can comment. It will have the question below.  You canFacebook page then add a comment, and enter one of three votes into your comment:

  • A: Agree with the Statement
  • B: Disagree with the statement
  • C: Abstain

Everyone who votes will be entered into the prize draw.

The motion 

The History of England agrees with Eric Ives that Anne Boleyn was “a maker of history” and rejects Catherine of Aragon’s insult that she was nothing more than the “Scandal of Christendom”.

To agree you will probably tends to agree with the majority (not necessarily all) of the statements below:

  • Anne did not cynically entrap Henry solely because she wanted power; she and Henry shared had a genuinely loving relationship
  • Anne was an active and effective player in court politics, rather than simply its victim
  • Anne was a genuine leader and principal of change, rather than just a catalyst because of the king’s desire for her; she played an active part in leading, influencing and shaping policies such as the strategy to break with Rome.
  • She promoted evangelical ideas and reform; and that did so from personal conviction and piety – not just because they increased her chances of becoming Queen.
  • Her treatment of Catherine of Aragon and Mary was as much due to the king’s views and the necessities of the situation as to any personal vindictiveness.

The prizes

We have 4 prizes. I know. Amazing. I’ll do some complicated thing where the first out of the hat gets to chose, the second to chose from the remaining 3 and so on. To find out more about he prizes, go to the Prizes page.

A Henry VIII silver Half Groat from Halls Hammered Coins

Henry VIII Half Groat


Claire Ridgway: her book ‘The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown’ or her online course ‘The Life of Anne Boleyn’

Natalie Grueninger,  her book “In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn”, co-authored with Sarah Morris

Fall of Anne BoleynIn the Footsteps









Lucy Churchill’s ‘The Moost Happi’ portrait medallion

Anne Boleyn MedallionIn 1534, Anne was pregnant. In the excited certainty of a male heir, a medallion was designed in celebration; sadly, Anne miscarried and the project was abandoned. Then along came a stone carver, Lucy Churchill, who painstakingly reconstructed the image. This prize is therefore a copy of that original medallion, the most authentic likeness we have. Don’t take my word for it:

  • ‘Lucy Churchill’s reconstruction of The Moost Happi portrait medal is the best image we are ever likely to have of Anne Boleyn.’ (Professor David Starkey)
  • ‘Lucy Churchill’s brilliant achievement has brought us as close to the real Anne Boleyn  as we shall ever be able to get.’ (Professor Eric Ives)
  • ‘Through meticulous research Lucy Churchill has created an authentic replica of the medal of Anne Boleyn, as it would have looked originally.  A must for anyone interested in Anne Boleyn!’ (Alison Weir)

The story of how Lucy researched and reconstructed the medallion, and the other exquisite carvings she has done, as as interesting as the medallion itself. Go and have a look at Lucy Churchill’s website

6 thoughts on “231 The Scandal of Christendom Debate

  1. Sorry no Facebook so I’ll vote here as you suggested. I disagree . I think she was used up and discarded. Any influence she had was not taken very seriously by Henry VIII. IMHO

  2. I was about to ask the same thing-I too, do not have a Facebook account for various, I consider , good reasons, none of them involving weird conspiracy theories. I would like to vote on this (and enter the competition) but, as much as I like your podcast,have listened to it for years, have recommended it to a shed load of people and am a member- I don’t want to vote on it quite enough to override my decision not to join Facebook. So, can I vote by e.mail?
    I agree with the statement (but only just, the continuum between ‘pretty sure’ and ‘really uncertain’ is fluid)
    P.S. I never call or write into programmes, but while I’m here …you do an excellent job of bringing together various strands of history, from different times and different viewpoints to make a very satisfying cohesive whole. Thank you for this, I really enjoy your podcast, I think we can say it is on a par with the magnificent History of Rome, I’m not sure that, for me, there s higher praise.
    But…your opinions on the Clash are appalling, next you will say the Pistols were substance over style, the Ramones were just a pub rock band with neat trainers, and the Beatles were better than the Stones.

    1. Yup, consider yourself voted. Though why I’d accept the vote from someone that continues to believe the Stones are better than the Beetles in the face of all the evidence…well…words fail me. But look, you have great tastes in podcasts at least! Thanks for the kind words – and thanks for recommending me.

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