Episode 2 of "Six Wives with Lucy Worsley" focused on Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, although Jane didn't get much attention, and took us from Anne's rise through to Jane's death. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
It's on iplayer for those of you in the UK who missed it and the series starts on PBS in the USA on 22nd January, but I found this on YouTube (courtesy of Allthemed Docs):
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yes, i watched it last nite on youtube. i thought she breezed right through jane seymours reign though.
Yes, me too, and I’m concerned that the last programme has to fit in three wives.
Although I enjoyed the episode, the three wives were really squashed up. There was a lot more to Anne Boleyns fall, foreign fallouts, political games, her vulnerable status after her miscarriage, although I am not certain this was the beginning of the end for sure, a shift away from French support, Cromwell and his domestic ruination of the religious houses, something Anne disagreed with, etc etc. Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, blink and you missed them. To be fair, Lucy Worsley did well in the time allotted her and now there are three squashed into a final episode. The Six Wives of Henry Viii series with Keith Mitchell is the only one to give each wife her own episode, an hour each, plus it had a lot of accuracy. Perhaps Showtime or Atlantic could take over and make a more detailed series. The Tudors may have been more sexual fantasy than history but at least everyone got a decent amount of airtime and attention. I feel sorry for the historians, they have to condense what must be a great deal of intense research into a small slot because the BBC won’t spend our money on a 4 5_or 6 part docudrama rather than 3. 👅🎅👼 🎂 Oh well, moan over. The episode did highlight some interesting things though, like how Jane Seymour was prepared to do her duty as intercessor, help the poor and vulnerable, the persecuted, ordinary people, plus help Mary, even in the face of Henry and his opposition. It also highlighted his great grief at losing Jane, a side we forget about. It showed the turmoil faced by Anne, how sinsister gossip could ruin an innocent person, even a Queen. You could not even joke about the Kings death, it was treason. Now I don’t believe Anne was guilty of anything more than a bit of foolish banter here, but you can see her enemies being prepared to use such nonsense to destroy her. Life was very precarious at court, you could trust no-one.
The first episode seemed quite leisurely and then this one sped up towards the end and Jane didn’t get much attention at all. I do think it’s a shame that they couldn’t stretch it out. If the first one was going to focus on Catherine, who obviously was queen for the longest, then it might have been nice to have four parts: Catherine, Anne and Jane, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr with what happened to her after Henry’s death. It means that there has been a lot of glossing over, I mean how can you handle Anne’s fall without any mention of Cromwell? That seemed weird. And also missing out Henry’s jousting accident, which even if you don’t think had a bearing on Anne’s fall it did have an impact on the King’s life with him having to give up jousting and it was a reminder of hs mortality.
I did shout at the TV at the bit about Jane bringing Henry’s family together. She did not. Mary was only allowed back to court when she completely submitted to her father and that was down to Chapuys persuading her and nothing to do with Jane. Jane ignored Elizabeth.
But, on the whole, I thought it was a good introduction to the queens and it was nice to hear her noting that Anne’s “flirtation” was nothing abnormal, it was expected and was part of the courtly love tradition. Courtiers were supposed to woo and flatter the queen, they were meant to be in love with her and she was meant to respond in kind. It was the trend of the day. I do like Lucy too, her enthusiasm for the subject definitely shines through.
I enjoy any series on Henry’s reign and his wives-even the ones that are historically inaccurate (i.e. Showtime’s series). I’m sure she only hit the highlights due to time constraints, but am surprised at the brevity of the story of Jane’s reign. Let’s face it, if Anne had given him a son, the story wouldn’t be nearly as interesting! To cover all the highlights, you’d have to have a miniseries.