Why Anne Boleyn’s clock brought a tear to my eye (almost!)

Our country is so full of incredible historical sites, you can see why tourists go wild for it. Just where I live I am in walking distance of four stately homes, and another, Hampton Court Palace no less, is just a bus ride away. I am spoilt for choice, even if I were to knock myself out with the history of just one monarch. 

Of course that monarch would have to be Henry Vlll – the biggest, not just in terms of his considerable size, but in terms of the huge amount of film, TV and books that focus on him. Elizabeth l gets quite a lot of attention too, but really, if you judged UK history on what you see in the media, there’s no one that interesting apart from those two Tudors.

Walpole wonder
Talking of the Tudors, it was a Tudor object that most took my attention during my latest visit to a local marvel, Strawberry Hill House. At the moment this stately home, designed by Horace Walpole and celebrated for its gothic-revival architecture, has an exhibition called Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill (on until 24 February 2019). 

Walpole filled this house with a huge, and eclectic, collection of art and antiquities from periods from ancient to 18th century, a collection that he accumulated over a 50-year period. After his death, his prizes were sold off and the treasures dispersed. But now, you have the chance to see most of the amazing paintings and objets d’art back where they belong. And back where they belong, Strawberry Hill House, is a glory to behold in its own right – if you like a bit of gilding, you won’t be disappointed.

Time moves on
And, as I mentioned, my favourite of all the treasures is something with a Tudor heritage. It is a gold clock, lent by our current monarch (well she must be drowning in old clutter at the palace), that was given by Henry Vlll to Anne Boleyn, obviously when he was still rather keen on her. 

What brought a tear to my eye, well would have done if I had a heart, was the motto he had inscribed, Anne Boleyn’s personal motto: ‘The Most Happy’. Oh how poignant, as she obviously was not happy for much longer after she received this token of love. Just shows you have to be careful what you wish for, and especially careful in who you choose to marry.

Modern lessons
I am not sure what particular lesson this offers to creatives, apart from the obvious that what is all the rage today, is likely to be out of fashion tomorrow. And also, if you are stuck for an idea, you can always use Henry Vlll in your campaign, as it’s worked for plenty of other brands before!