In this two-part series for CHANNEL FIVE, historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb unfolds the extraordinary story of the tumultuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and asks: was it really love that brought them together? And was it love that tore them apart?
The first episode aired on Thursday 20 February 2014 at 8pm and it concluded a week later.
Although – or perhaps because – this is a much-studied period of history, Henry and Anne’s relationship is a fiercely debated subject. Historians are divided about why and when the couple formed and, above all, why their relationship fell apart so spectacularly and with such fatal consequences.
For this series, Suzannah travelled in the footsteps of the couple – from Hever Castle in Kent to Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire, from the Château Royal de Blois to Hampton Court Palace. Above all, she looked carefully at the surviving manuscripts and sources, the most touching of which are Henry’s love letters to Anne, and two Books of Hours owned by Anne herself. These give an amazing insight into a 500-year-old relationship.
She presented her view of Henry and Anne, as a partnership based on mutual respect and attraction, and driven apart by the most terrible of misunderstandings, and has written more about their relationship for BBC History Magazine.
The programme was chosen as a Pick of the Day or TV Highlight on 15-16 February 2014 by: Radio Times, The Sunday Telegraph (Seven), The Observer (The New Review), The Mail on Sunday (Event), The Sunday Times (Culture), The Guardian (The Guide), The Times (Saturday Review), Daily Express (Saturday Magazine), The Sun (TV Magazine), The Daily Telegraph (Review), and The Daily Mail (Weekend).
Written and Presented by Suzannah Lipscomb
Directed by Chris Mitchell
Executive Producer Bill Locke
Made by Lion TV
Henry VIII was played by Jack Hawkins. Anne Boleyn was played by Emma Connell.