In the first place, this book provides a very close analysis of the year that Lipscomb believes to be the key turning point for Henry's life and reign. I still think that Henry was growing tired of Anne (her promises, her lies, the miscarriages, her personality), the Seymours played a role in her downfall, and Cromwell was fearful of his own downfall so he jumped on board to make sure things happened. There are too many odd coincidences to make me completely believe Lipscomb's theory, although I will agree with a few points.
1536 by Suzannah Lipscomb is a very interesting read, because of the theories explored explaining how the year of 1536 changed Henry VIII. The book has some interesting tidbits that I really enjoyed. The book was well written and structured nicely, so it is easy for even someone not well-versed with Henry's history to read and enjoy.
Lipscomb's book definitely does that - by choosing the year 1536 and arguing that it was pivotal in Henry's life, his annus horribilis.
What Suzannah Lipscomb does so well here, is she looks at one specific year- 1536- the pivotal year in which Henry changed from the Adonis, universally adorned 'virtuous prince' that came to the throne, 27 years earlier in 1509, into the infamous large, bloated, bad tempered tyrant that the general public, even those without much interest in history, know so well of today. Lipscomb looks at the young Henry, from birth to childhood, change from second son to heir-apparent, accession, marriage to Catherine of Aragon- pointing out that the famous cruel streak that we see from 1536 and onwards, was not present at this stage. Lipscomb covers the deaths of More and Fisher, the famous break with Rome, his belief that he was "Supreme Head of the Church" and the rise of Anne Boleyn- pointing out that on the eve of 1536, he was happy and hopeful of an heir. Moving onto the impact Catherine's death in January of 1536, impacted Henry, before moving on to examine the characteristics of masculinity- how the importance of the joust in demonstrating that masculinity- giving a fresh and important understanding in his behaviour, and the effect his jousting accident had on his life and health from now on. Then looks at why Anne fell, pointing out how crucial the answer is, due to how it "rests on our picture of Henry VIII and the effect of this years events". Lipscomb points out the charge of Anne and George "supposedly" laughing at Henry's dress and "accusations" of impotency, had a massive effect on his honour and masculinity, in a time when he was perceived to be "growing old" (45 in those days was seen as old, compared to now), and extreme anxiety over a lack of male heir.
Personally I have always felt that there was so much going on for Henry VIII during the year 1536, from the death of Katherine of Aragon to the fall of Anne Boleyn to the death of Henrys son Henry Fitzroy, and then the Pilgrimage of Grace; that surely all these dramatic events must have played heavily on the aging Tudor King. Henry VIII was a glorious King who the people seemed to greatly love and admire. Next Lipscomb moves on to talk about the huge impact that Anne Boleyns betrayal had upon Henry. Henry was now a man entering old age and still he had no son to be his heir. The events that happened next were a severe blow to Henrys masculinity, pride and sense of power. Yet not only had she betrayed him but she had attacked Henrys sense of masculinity. After this blow to Henrys masculinity, sense of power and honour by Anne Boleyns alleged affairs Henry VIII decided to take some action. No longer does Henry appear to be a man betrayed by his wife, whose masculinity and age is passing him by. There also appears to be a great focus on Henrys codpiece which could be a sign to emphasise his masculinity and virility even though he was an aging man he was still capable of fathering a son and heir. Lipscomb describes how these portraits were used as a tool for Henry to assert his strength, power, virility and rightful place as King of England. The next event that Lipscomb looks at is the Pilgrimage of Grace and she delves into the theology behind Henry VIIIs religious beliefs. Lipscomb looks at these articles and Henrys underlying beliefs regarding religion and the Christian church and how it was not only his rule, but his duty as the King to teach and guide the common people in their daily and religious lives. Lipscomb shows how Henry took this as a personal attack not only upon his religious beliefs but upon his person after all it was his job to love and guide the people and now they were rebelling against him. Lipscomb describes that Henry VIII often did this to avoid the humiliation and disgrace that could come from a public trial as in the case of Anne Boleyn. Lastly Lipscomb sums up all the events throughout 1536 and looks at the changing personality of Henry VIII. She gives countless examples of how these events affected Henry and how his personality changed from a once gracious and loving King to a King who was constantly suspicious, saw betrayal everywhere and was a man without mercy and showed great cruelty to those who he believed had offended or betrayed him. I agree with Lipscomb, from 1536 Henry VIII did become a tyrant and his actions towards the people of England speak louder for this than any words can.
Author Suzannah Lipscomb has focused on this one year in Henrys life.
Suzannah is so eloquent and puts her point across perfectly. She puts forth a very interesting theory about Anne Boleyn's downfall - the one I've been, unwittingly, looking for all this time. Suzannah puts forth that Cromwell and Henry genuinely believed her guilty and rumours were taken as evidence due to their genuine belief she was guilty.