Sunday, September 12, 2010

Question from Zoe - Cromwell's motive for plotting Anne's fall

I'm reading the Eric Ives book on Anne Boleyn at the moment and am having a little difficulty understanding some of his conclusions.
It's not a light read (so correct me if I'm wrong!) but as far as I can make out Ives says that Cromwell fabricated the adultery charges as a way to get rid of Anne - I get that. But he did it because he found her a threat due to their difference in opinion about the dissolution of the monasteries. Anne was angered by Cromwell diverting the proceeds to the king -she had understood that the money would go to charitable uses like schools and hospitals. But how did this difference in opinion make her a threat to Cromwell? I don't get it - am I missing something?!


Anonymous said...

He got rid of Anne for mere survival. He knew well she wanted him gone for many reasons. Her misscarriage sent things in motion because the "boleyn" faction was fighting for it's survival.

Gareth Russell said...

Hi Zoe. Ives is a heavy read and his conclusions on Cromwell's role in Anne's downfall are worthy of being taken very seriously. It's worth noting however that several historians disagree with him - R.M. Warnicke in "The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family politics at the court of Henry VIII" (another heavy read!) and Derek Wilson in "A Brief History of Henry VIII," both suggest that Cromwell would never have dared fabricate the charges unless Henry had not specifically ordered it in the first place. G.W. Bernard, who is alone in the academic field in considering Anne potentially guilty, also has a different take on what happened in 1536.

I wrote a blog series on the fall of Anne Boleyn in May, which is factual but written in a way that is hopefully as interesting and dramatic to people reading for the sake of pleasure. I don't know if I'm allowed to quote again from some of the books querying Cromwell's role in Anne's downfall, but I myself agree with much of what Ives wrote - just not all of it. I wrote about it here (