Thursday, October 13, 2016

Deciphering Original Documents

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
While researching my two novels of Anne Boleyn’s tumultuous relationship with her husband, Henry VIII of England, I became enthralled with the idea of viewing the extant documents which they had written or signed with their own hands. How amazing it would be to have a page inscribed by Anne or Henry, almost 500 years ago, right before my own eyes!

I was compellingly drawn to see anything and everything which has been preserved, and set out to do so with determination. My wish was first granted during a visit to the British Library Manuscripts Room, where, after successfully completing admission requirements, I requested to see the Book of Hours in which Anne and Henry wrote inscriptions of love to one another. My heart pounded as I waited, fully expecting to be told that it would be impossible to view this priceless treasure. When I was summoned to the librarians’ window, a small box was handed to me, and in response to my inquiring glance, the archivist nodded and smiled. Sliding out of its protective case was a stunning, leather bound volume. I could not believe my fortune, and held my breath as I returned to my assigned study carol. Once I opened the book, overwhelmed by its brilliant illuminations gracing almost every page, I felt myself transported to 1530 – surrounded by the dark, quiet beauty of a chapel in Greenwich Palace, turning smooth pages of vellum, piously reading the chronology of prayers inscribed within by devoted monks of 15th century Bruges.
This Book of Hours is accompanied by a legend. As the tale goes, it was owned by Anne. At Mass one day Henry took the book from her, and wrote a message to his lady love within: 'Si silon mon affection la sufvenance sera en voz prieres ne seray gers oblie car vostre suis Henry R. a jammays'  ('If you remember my love in your prayers as strongly as I adore you, I shall hardly be forgotten, for I am yours. Henry R. forever'). (Read more.)

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