You can’t change the past – but you can change its interpretation

As a History teacher, I always tried to instill in my students that, although history facts remain the same, it is always possible that new facts can be uncovered that can change the interpretation of past events. Or, just as likely, a historian may look at the facts and put a different interpretation on them.

I came across an example of this today. There are always theories about the marriage and pregnancies of Anne Boelyn and Henry VIII. There always will be. I came across an article with convincing evidence that Mark Smeaton may have been the father of the male child Anne miscarried shortly before she was condemned. In short, the timing was right, Anne admitted that he visited her in her chamber and Mark Smeaton was the only one of those accused of sleeping with Anne to admit it.

Article by Dr Brian Collins supporting Mark Smeaton as the father of the miscarried male foetus

And yet, a commentary by Claire Ridgeway, gives an equally convincing argument against the theory. She takes each of Dr Collin’s suggestions and counteracts them with her own research and evidence.

Claire Ridgeway’s rebuttal of the suggestion that Mark Smeaton was the father of Anne Boelyn’s miscarried baby

Both articles were thoroughly researched and backed with evidence. But in cases such as this, no-one except Anne Boelyn and Mark Smeaton knew the truth. And they both told different stories. So the ‘facts’ are reliant on evidence provided by others -and the interpretation of the same.

Just for the record – I don’t think Anne Boelyn was stupid enough to take the risk of bearing another man’s child ……

Cheers

Kerry

The image above is from a scene in the series The Tudors where Mark Smeaton is teaching Anne to by the violin. Source from The Tudors Wiki: Mark Smeaton

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