Anne Boleyn was the people’s politician with evidence revealing she campaigned for radical anti-poverty laws, the amnesty of refugees and free education for underprivileged youths. Now historian Hayley Nolan, author of the correctional biography Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies reveals Boleyn’s incredible hidden story and how it can inspire young women today to #BeMoreBoleyn and get involved in Parliament.
TAKE THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS JUSTICE
The Tudor monarchs were the equivalent of today’s Prime Minister and as the wife of King Henry VIII, from 1533 -1536, Anne Boleyn used her power to incite positive change. Among her many acts of humanitarianism and activism, she offered amnesty to refugees in danger, fought against the duping of the public with fake Holy relics and campaigned for the people to have the freedom of religious expression. Challenging such contentious issues made Boleyn incredibly unpopular with the traditionalists, yet for the reformist half of the country, Boleyn was the only person in a position of real power using her voice and platform to fight for them. #BeMoreBoleyn
With so many burning issues being brought to our national attention, how do we fight like Boleyn against the injustices we see? Keep marching. Keep lobbying your MP, or better still, step into your own power and learn how to stand for parliament yourself:
• Attend a free workshop: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/attend-an-event/
• Free training programmes: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/education-programmes/
• How to create a petition and lobby it: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/sign-a-petition/
• How to stand for parliament: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/elections/standing/
MORE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT
She may not have been allowed a seat in parliament due to 16th century gender laws, but as queen, Boleyn was already the most powerful politician in the country, second only to the King of England himself. And sources show one of the final government acts she tried to push through parliament with her patronee William Marshall was a radical, national ‘Poor Law’ that would see the public get access to free healthcare and provide the unemployed with jobs; the Tudor equivalent to today’s NHS and Jobcentre Plus! Unfortunately, Boleyn came across almost inevitable opposition from her peers as funding for this scheme would cost the crown heavily – in fact, this would be the very reason her political opponent Thomas Cromwell would concoct false charges against her resulting in her demise, with the ‘Poor Law’ being accredited to him throughout the remainder of history.
In today’s worlds we can’t not stand for what we believe in for fear of being silenced. And even though female representation amongst MPs is at an all time high of 32% it’s still not close to being equal, so let Boleyn’s resilience and innovation inspire young women to get involved in politics and lobby for change in modern Britain.
• Women in Parliament programme: https://www.parliament.uk/about/parliament-and-women/
IT’S TIME TO REPRESENT!
In the months that followed Boleyn’s ‘Poor Law’ defeat, she fearlessly stepped up her campaigns; an alliance she had been pursuing, alongside Scottish envoy Alexander Alesius with the revolutionary German Schmalkaldic League, who themselves were responding to their own people’s call for reform, clashed with opposing politicians. Boleyn also moved to block the closure of the smaller monasteries that were being used as refuges for the destitute, in the Reformation’s 1536 Dissolution Act. But as a strong, powerful woman with the ability to incite positive change and speak for the people where they were struggling to be heard, Anne Boleyn was soon silenced by her enemies.
We’ve come a long way in the modern world, yet women’s voices, as well as those of BAMER, working class, non-binary and LGBTQ+ communities also need to be at the forefront of major decision making platforms today. Britain needs MPs who can truly speak for and be an honest representation of the people, putting forward informed and educated opinions about the policies that affect them.
• Did you know, there are committees in Parliament that are currently seeking the public’s
views on issues that concern you? Check out: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/
• And if you think you’re too young to get involved in Parliament, think again! You can join the Youth Select Committee (ages 15-18) supported by the House of Commons to make a difference as volunteers, campaigners, decision-makers and leaders. www.byc.org.uk
After Boleyn’s death her story was re-written, but there is an abundance of evidence that tells how she lived and died fighting for the people. Let this be inspiration for all of us to use our voices and privilege for good, for we truly can change the world.
• Further reading and full evidence: Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan. Published
worldwide by Little A, 1st December 2019.