1533 – Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England

Born somewhere between 1501 and 1507, Anne Boleyn was a notorious beauty, and attracted the eye of the English King, Henry VIII, very soon after coming to court in London in 1522. She did not lack for other suitors, but so far as can be determined she refused all of them, accepting the king’s suit only when he proposed marriage (and even then, consumation seems to have been delayed until after the wedding).

Unfortunately, Henry was already married to Catherine of Aragon. But Catherine had provided him with no heir to his crown, and Henry had already considered having the marriage annulled prior to meeting Anne. As his courtship of Anne progressed, the matter became more urgent. But the Pope refused to grant an annulment, and so Henry was trapped.

His solution to this conundrum was to break – albeit by slow increments – from the Church of Rome and appoint himself the head of the new Church of England. (The things a guy’ll do to get laid…) As the supreme religious authority in his kingdom, Henry granted himself his annulment, and married Anne, making her his Queen. During her time as Queen, Anne gave birth to one girl child, Elizabeth (who would later be Queen in her own right), and miscarried three times.

Less than three years after her coronation, Anne would become an inconvenience to Henry (as Catherine had before her), and would eventually be executed on what are widely believed to be trumped-up charges.

Referenced in:

Anne Boleyn ‘The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended’ — Rick Wakeman

1961 – “Stranger in a Strange Land” is published

One of the most famous science fiction novels of all time, Robert Anson Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” remains a cult favourite even today. In the 1960’s, it took a while to find a mainstream audience. Despite winning a Hugo (for Best Novel) in 1962, it was not until 1967 that the book became one of the texts most associated with the burgeoning hippie movement. The plot of the book basically concerns a messiah figure who comes to Earth from Mars and founds what he calls ‘the Church of All Worlds.’ It’s an open question whether the book’s emphasis on free love made it attractive to hippies, or whether the book introduced that idea.

Approximately 60,000 words were cut from the book when it was first published, presumably because they were considered too shocking at the time, and it was not until thirty years later (and three years after Heinlein’s death) in 1991 that the full version, some 220,000 words in length, was published. Neither version has ever been out of print.

Referenced in:

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel