A lively meeting of the History Society was held last week on St Valentine’s Day, when members of Year 12 considered the first four wives of Henry VIII.
The earlier queens were deemed women of considerable ability, Catherine of Aragon as capable of acting as regent, and Anne Boleyn as able to hold her own for many years in Henry’s court. However, the later wives elicited great sympathy too, perhaps over-praised for their needlework skills, but placed in very difficult situations. Jane Seymour in the end won the popular vote, having fulfilled her wifely duties admirably, and being united in death with Henry in his tomb in Westminster.
The four pairs of students presenting all quitted themselves well, and with Mr Robinson as compere what could go wrong?
The History Society was addressed on Wednesday 30th January by three students, Flavia Munteanu from Moldova, Andrei Balalau from Romania, and Kateryna Karpenko from the Ukraine. They were invited to talk to their fellow English students about the histories of their respective countries since 1945.
It was not surprising that an hour was barely enough for the powerful message to pour out, in totally fluent English, how these countries had suffered in so many ways under communist regimes, not only physically, but psychologically and spiritually. The suffering on the grand scale of thousands and millions was brought home by references to individual family members’ experiences.
The meeting had been given the title ‘Stalin’s great grandchildren’,: how surprised the old dictator must be after sixty years in his atheist’s grave, at the passion of this younger generation for freedom.