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"Meanwhile, there is scandalous news. King Henry has asked Anne Boleyn to be his wife! How can he? Obviously he thinks he can dissolve his marriage to Catherine, but that is hardly the point. His determination to marry Anne astounds everyone. He has had mistresses before many of them—we are all used to that—but to take this girl as a wife seems extraordinary. She is no more than a court servant, like the rest of us."
Elinor Valjean[2]

Anne Boleyn and Me: The Diary of Elinor Valjean is the twenty-sixth book in the My Story series. The book is a sequel to Alison Prince's My Tudor Queen and was followed by Henry VIII's Wives in 2011. It was first published February 2004. The book was reissued twice with different cover art in March 2010 and October 2014. It was also included in the compilation book, Tudor Stories for Girls.

The book follows Eva De Puebla's daughter Elinor Valjean over an eleven-year period. She witnesses the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn as her lady-in-waiting.

Book description[]

"15th February 1526
When the King came riding in on his big, black horse, a murmur went up, because his tunic was stitched with the words, DECLARE I DARE NOT. All the ladies were giggling behind their hands, and I asked Mama what it meant. Her face had turned quite pink and she said, "Never mind," so I asked Rosanna later. She told me the words meant the King has a new love, but he dares not say her name. But everyone knows her name, of course. It is Anne Boleyn.
"

"It's 1525. Elinor is lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine. Anne Boleyn is also one of the Queen's ladies until she attracts the eye of King Henry. Elinor watches and listens, and writes down all she see in her journal—a witness to Henry's desire for a son that tore his family and his kingdom apart..."

""What a way to treat her!" my mother fumed.
"And after all she has done for him! The man is insane!"

It is 1527, and Ellie's parents serve at the court of King Henry VIII and his wife, Catherine. Ellie will serve them too, when she is old enough. But when the King declares his love for Anne Boleyn over Catherine, everything changes. How will Ellie cope when she's ordered to serve Anne instead of Catherine? And will Anne ever have the son that Henry longs for?
"

Plot[]

Elinor Valjean starts her diary at eleven years old and initially writes sporadically. She lives at the court of King Henry VIII with her parents Eva and Michel. Her mother serves as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, while her father is Henry's favorite court jester. Elinor secretly harbors a wish to be a court jester like her father. On her thirteenth birthday in 1527, Elinor is appointed to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. She enjoys her new role now that she is being treated more like an adult. Meanwhile, the court is overrun with talk of the King's involvement with Anne Boleyn, his wife's lady-in-waiting. He soon pleads with Catherine to "release him," which she has no intention of doing.

The King seeks permission from the Pope to annul his marriage. Catherine remains vehemently opposed to a divorce or annulment. A representative is sent from Rome to conduct a trial which goes on long and ends with no decision reached. Meanwhile, the sweating sickness comes to London and much of court flees. Elinor is devastated when she hears of her father's death. Furthermore, she is ordered to become a lady-in-waiting to Anne, separating her from her mother and older sister Rosanna. Elinor makes no friends, but soon meets a blacksmith by the name of Tom Freeman. He joins court and they gradually fall in love. The following year, she and Tom marry with the King's permission.

Tired of waiting for the Pope, Henry separates from the Catholic Church and declares himself of the Church of England with the help of his adviser, Thomas Cranmer. He abandons his wife Catherine, whom he then shuffles from one bad home to another. Meanwhile, Elinor experiences the birth of her first child, Michael. She continues to work for Anne, though there is no love lost between the two. The following winter, Anne shows the first signs of pregnancy. She and Henry quietly marry in a private ceremony to legitimize the pregnancy. Anne is crowned Queen but the common people reject her, cutting the ceremony short. Anne gives birth that September to Elizabeth, not the hoped-for boy.

Elinor has a her second child, Maria, in 1534, while Anne goes through several fruitless pregnancies. Henry's eyes begin to wander to yet another lady-in-waiting, named Jane Seymour. At the beginning of 1536, Catherine passes away and Eva comes to live with Elinor. Henry now only has one wife to be rid of in order to marry Jane. His adviser Thomas Cromwell invents accusations of Anne committing adultery. She is found guilty of the "trumped-up" charges and executed by beheading. Despite never liking Anne, Elinor and her mother are both disturbed by the show trial and execution. Elinor talks with Tom and they decide to leave court to live a peaceful life in the countryside with their family.

Historical Note[]

Anne Boleyn was born around 1501. Her mother had royal connections but her father was an "undistinguished" tradesman. Around 1524, she began to serve as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon. Catherine had been married to Henry VIII since 1509 and they had one child, Mary I. Desiring a son, Henry eventually set his sights on marrying Anne. He sought an annulment from his marriage, but the Pope refused to give a judgment on the matter. Impatient, Henry separated from Catherine and went on to establish himself as the head of the Church of England. Anne was crowned Queen and gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth I, in 1533. None of Anne's other babies survived.

By Catherine's death in 1536, Henry's and Anne's relationship had deteriorated. She was arrested for allegedly "having illicit relationships with several other men." Anne swore that she was innocent, but was executed on 19 May 1536. Henry subsequently married four more times before dying in 1547. He was succeeded by his son Edward VI and then Mary. After her death in 1558, Anne's daughter Elizabeth ruled England for forty-five years. She never married, therefore ending the Tudor dynasty. The section includes a timeline on events related to Anne and Henry as well as eight pictures of the time period.

Characters[]

Main article: List of Anne Boleyn and Me characters

Author[]

Main article: Alison Prince

Alison Prince was a British children's author best known for writing the children's television series, Trumpton in 1967. She wrote over fifty books for children. Prince authored three books in the My Story series about the Tudor era, including My Tudor Queen and Henry VIII's Wives.

Shared continuity[]

Anne Boleyn and Me was preceded by My Tudor Queen in July 2001. My Tudor Queen follows Elinor's mother Eva De Puebla and the ascent of Catherine of Aragon. Anne Boleyn and Me was followed by Henry VIII's Wives in 2011. The book was the only original book in the My Story spin-off, My Royal Story. It is told from the point-of-view of Beatrice Townhill, a friend and later surrogate daughter of Eva and Elinor. Beatrice meets Henry's last four wives while learning about his first two from her new friends.

Editions[]

Notes[]

  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail of a 1559 painting by Sofonisba Anguissola. There is debate on whether the painting is a self-portrait or a portrait of her sister Lucia. The background is an image of Hampton Court Quad provided by the Bridgman Art Library.[7][8][9]
  • The cover of the second edition was illustrated by Richard Jones, possibly to resemble Anne Boleyn more than Elinor. He also illustrated the cover of Tudor Stories for Girls.

References[]

See also[]


My Story
Original

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3rd relaunch

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Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

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What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote!


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