Anne and Elizabeth. The title of Tracy Borman’s new book really does sum up these two incredible women; they were the ‘mother and daughter who changed history.’ However, when it comes to how Elizabeth felt about her notorious mother, traditionally all we have received are question marks and supposition. Borman’s research, presented here in dazzling detail, finally brings to light a wealth of evidence and information that shows just how important Anne was to Elizabeth.
An incredible amount of research has gone into this book. Borman has meticulously combed through records and archives to uncover incredible new evidence about Anne’s motherhood, and how Elizabeth viewed and referred to Anne.
The first chapters show Anne’s upbringing and how it shaped the woman, queen, and mother she would become. Then we see the roles Anne and the baby Elizabeth played in the brief period they were in each other’s lives. We then follow Elizabeth as she grows, and how the influence of mother’s memory can be seen in Elizabeth’s choices
The second half of the book is devoted to Elizabeth’s recognition of her mother and her legacy throughout her reign. To me, whilst the first half of the book was very interesting, it was this second half that really drew me in. Although the idea that she never mentioned her mother has long been debunked, the sheer volume and extent to which Elizabeth was surrounded by reminders of her mother did surprise me.
The book follows a loose linear narrative of Anne and then Elizabeth’s lives, with a focus on their relationship; though I expected it to be arranged more thematically, the structure makes it accessible both to those new to Tudor history, and to Tudor aficionados.
I would like to thank Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book. And above all, thank you to Tracy Borman for writing this fascinating book which radically changes our understanding of Anne and Elizabeth.