For Natalie Grueninger, editor of On the Tudor Trail, the start of her interest in the Tudors, and Anne Boleyn in particular, started with a trip to the Tower of London in 2000. “It was a very cold winter’s morning and I walked the grounds of the Tower,” she says, “absorbing its history and its moods, I stopped on Tower Green to read a plaque that named seven victims that had met their terrible end in a private execution. Among them was the name ‘Queen Anne Boleyn. Second wife of Henry VIII’.”
The Australian was immediately intrigued: “I yearned to discover more and to attempt to understand how and why this woman had met such a violent end. Why had a devoted husband turned on his own wife—his Queen—and ordered her execution? Had she been guilty of the crimes of which she was accused? What part had she played in her own demise and untimely death? Why did her name stand out above all others? I still find this final question particularly difficult to answer.”
Her interest led her to creating On the Tudor Trail, which offers a wealth of information about Anne Boleyn and the Tudor period of England (1485-1603). The site includes articles about the English queen, the historical sites associated with her and many interviews with scholars and writers.
Natalie explains, “Anne Boleyn inspires me because of her complexity and bold personality. She was intelligent, courageous, witty and determined. She was a sixteenth century woman with a voice! Anne Boleyn was magnetic, she could inspire fierce loyalty and, I believe, was the only one of Henry’s wives who managed to control him. Anne was also very loyal, often helping members of her family, her friends or those sympathetic to her cause.
“On the flip side, Anne could be ruthless, calculating and unrelenting. She had a fiery temper and gave into bouts of ‘rashness’. As well as inspiring fierce loyalty, she inspired hatred. This dichotomy coupled with her extraordinary story —her rise to fame from relative obscurity and her dramatic downfall—make her compelling and addictive.”
On the Tudor Trail also has a huge section devoted to historical fiction about the Tudor period, including dozens of reviews and author interviews. Natalie says “I really don’t think you could have scripted a more intriguing period of history – one that begins with a bloody battle and ends with a ‘virgin’ queen. The Tudor period has it all: blood, treachery, love, lust, betrayal, murder, mystery, family, joy, destruction, discovery, learning, loyalty and the list goes on… It is a treasure trove of individual stories for authors to explore and connect with. Although in many ways very different to the world we live in today, it is those raw human emotions – love, lust, jealousy, pride to name but a few – that unite us. Perfect fodder for historical fiction writers!”
Natalie plans to keep updating On the Tudor Trail with more resources and interviews, and add in some guest bloggers too. She is also in the final stages of planning an eight-day tour on England, called ‘History by Day, Spirits by Night’. She will be leading a group of travelers to place such as the Tower of London, Hever Castle and Penshurst Place.
“The focus is on following in the footsteps of Anne Boleyn and visiting locations that Anne once visited but we aim to do more than simply this,” Natalie explains. “We will take participants on a tour of the imagination and bring back to life the castles and palaces as Anne would have known them. Armed with maps and primary sources, we aim to uncover the Tudor fabric lying dormant in many of these wonderful locations. But what makes this tour truly unique is that it combines two areas of interest, Anne Boleyn/Tudor history and a little ghost hunting…”
Those interested in joining the tour should contact Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can find the On the Tudor Trail website at http://onthetudortrail.com/