I know I’m biased, but I believe my mother, Anne Boleyn, had the biggest impact on England out of all of my father’s wives. She was, after all, the instigator of the Reformation, one of the biggest changes to religion this country has ever seen.
Father was brought up as a Catholic. In those days, everyone had to be the same religion as the King, so everyone in England was Catholic. And Catherine of Aragon was a strong believer. She prayed for hours every day and everything she did was influenced by her religion.
But unfortunately for her, Catholicism could not give my father the one thing he wanted – a divorce. In those days, Catholics were only allowed to divorce if the Pope agreed. And it took very special circumstances for that to happen.
The Pope refused to allow Father to divorce Catherine. So Father simply changed his religion! He turned Protestant, the religion of my mother and the religion I was brought up in. He made new laws in England which made him the Head of the Church instead of the Pope. That meant he was allowed a divorce and he was free to marry my mother.
But Father did also have other reasons for his change in religion. He needed money. He was almost constantly at war with France and it was expensive. He looked around and realised that monasteries had a lot of wealth. Monasteries are places where monks live. Monks are so devoted to God and the Catholic religion that they shut themselves away in monasteries for their whole lives. They do a lot of good work for the local area, but they were also corrupt. Or so father thought. So he shut them all down. And took their wealth. He earned a lot of money through this.
So my father changed hundreds of years of history. He turned a Catholic country into a Protestant one. Overnight, all people, no matter who they were, had to change their religion too. Quite an upheaval. But don’t think it stopped there! Oh no, that was only the beginning…