Who could have envied Ursula von der Leyen as she rose today to deliver her State of the Union speech in the European Parliament? The European Project has never seemed so empty or irrelevant. At least two major crises are in full flood, both equally pressing. The first – the most immediate – is the war in Ukraine; the second is the debilitating shortage of oil and gas from Russia that threatens the economy of much of Europe, including Germany.
Holbein’s tiny portrait projects us into a private moment in the life of an ordinary middle-class woman living in the reign of Henry VIII.