Recently I’ve been rather bemused by some of the comments I’ve seen on Facebook pages and groups regarding Anne Boleyn and those who are interested in her. When news got around that Amberley were publishing a biography on Anne Boleyn by Lacey Baldwin Smith people were complaining about it being “yet another book on Anne Boleyn” and commenting that there were far more interesting historical people to read and write about. Someone even went to the extent of starting a Facebook page “For Those Not Writing About Anne Boleyn” and posting:

“Give it a few years, and there’ll be a super-highway, possibly another Spaghetti Junction, built on pulped Anne Boleyn novels. Another way for her fanpoodles to over-state her importance?”

I found it quite funny and am not at all offended by it (each to their own!), but I do think it’s all rather bizarre. I am fascinated by Anne Boleyn and I research and write about her on a daily basis. If that makes me an Anne Boleyn “fan poodle” then so be it, I’m in good company when the likes of the late Professor Eric Ives wrote of her being the third woman in his life after his wife and daughter. Surely people have the right to be interested in whoever or whatever they like and shouldn’t be made to feel shallow or bad about it. It would be a boring world if we were all interested in the same thing and I really don’t want my interests to be ‘policed’ by someone else. I don’t want to be labelled a “fan poodle” just because my interest is of no interest to someone else.

I write about Anne Boleyn and Tudor history because I want to write about what I’m passionate about. I’ve studied various periods of history, I’ve studied world religions and various other topics but I choose to write about Anne and the Tudors because they’re my passion. Every day, and I mean every day, I receive emails from people who are just as fascinated by Anne Boleyn and publishers like Amberley realise that there is this enduring fascination with Anne and they are simply feeding this demand. People are hungry for information on Anne, Henry VIII and his six wives, and that’s just the way it is. If you don’t like Anne Boleyn then the Anne Boleyn books and websites aren’t aimed at you and you can just ignore them. Nobody is forcing you to buy a book. I’m not into fly fishing but it doesn’t mean that I can’t respect those who discuss it on forums and buy every book and magazine that there is about the subject. Fly fishing is obviously their passion, it just doesn’t float my boat, as they say.

As far as over-stating Anne Boleyn’s importance is concerned, well, she didn’t save the world but she was an important person. As Eric Ives wrote, “Anne Boleyn was so much more important than the circumstances of her execution”, and his whole biography is about her importance and the impact she made. He explains:

“Under her encouragement, royal policy took directions which continue to shape the English constitution today. Anne was also an active and effective politician… Equally significant was Anne’s personal religious commitment. It laid the foundation blocks of Protestant England and set the scene for the monumental changes that produced the religious settlement of her daughter, Elizabeth I.”

And I completely agree. You only have to look at the names of the men Anne helped to promote in the Church to see how she shaped the Reformation in England. Edward Fox, Hugh Latimer, William Barlow, Nicholas Shaxton, Edward Crome, Thomas Garrett, William Betts and Matthew Parker (Elizabeth I’s future Archbishop of Canterbury) are just some of the men who gained ecclesiastical positions due to Anne’s help and patronage, and they were all reformers. Anne was a passionate evangelical and she took action on her faith and beliefs. William Latimer recorded that Anne told her chaplains “I have carefully chosen you to be the lanterns and light of my court” and that they should teach her household “above all things to embrace the wholesome doctrine and infallible knowledge of Christ’s gospel.” Historian Maria Dowling comments that “Anne showed concern throughout her career for the production and dissemination of the bible in English. In private, she encouraged her household servants to read and discuss the scriptures.” I don’t believe that she was the Protestant martyr John Foxe made her out to be and I don’t believe that she single-handedly started the English Reformation, but she played a role and that should be recognised.

Anne was important and influential in so many ways, for example in her patronage and promotion of Renaissance art, and we could write a whole book about it, as Ives has. Although I agree that we should be careful not overstate her importance, we should also not understate it. Ives concludes in his preface to “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” that Anne “was the most influential and important queen consort this country has ever had” and I, for one, agree with him. You might not, but then we can’t all agree, can we?

I’m looking forward to reading more books on Anne Boleyn, are you?

My name is Claire Ridgway and I like Anne Boleyn.


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122 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn Again”
  1. I cannot understand why people get so annoyed when books are published about Anne Boleyn. If your not interested, then fair enough, don’t read. What harm are they doing? I also read a lot about the late Diana, Princess of Wales and have well over 800 books on her. I’m not hurting anyone. Keep writing, Claire. I appreciate the emails I get and I’m sure many others do too!

    1. Thanks, Laura. My grandmother had a huge collection on the royal family – books, souvenirs etc. – and I don’t think my grandfather could understand her fascination but he didn’t lose respect for her because of it. It’s so sad that people are being attacked for being interested in a woman who definitely was interesting.

  2. Hello my little fan-poodle!!
    That site did make me smile. Anne Boleyn is clearly important enough to the creator of the site to take the time and effort to set it up in the first place, even if it is to dismiss her. The effort gone into establishing the site makes a bit of a mockery of the supposed purpose to it. A bit of an own goal in my opinion.
    Everyone has their favourite character from history. Mine are Anne and George Boleyn, with, I think, good reason. No one is going to tell me what to like and dislike or who to admire and who not to admire.
    Long live people who care enough about the Boleyns to continue dismissing the myths which surround them i.e. the myths which people who are apparently uninterested in them continue to propagate!

    1. I thought I might start calling myself Fifi – what do you think?
      It made me laugh too and I think Anne would get a kick out of it. I assumed that it was a joke at first but the posts and comments are a bit nasty. I felt the need to comment on it because it’s happening so much on FB at the moment and it’s Anne “fans” in particular being attacked. You only have to mention Anne in passing on some pages to be belittled. It’s odd.
      I’m happy to read, talk about and write about Anne for the foreseeable future, I can’t imagine of getting bored of the Boleyns.

      1. We need more people like you to make history a better place to explore.
        Keep up the good (great 🙂 ) work, and do not let them stop you!

  3. I agree – keep writing! I now cannot LIVE without my “On this day in Tudor history” OR any other of your books, and it really makes my day a happy one when an email from The Anne Boleyn Files pops into my inbox

  4. I agree with you Claire 🙂
    I also read about Anne on a daily basis and i always found something new about her .
    My name is Raquel Patrício and I also like Anne Boleyn.

  5. Hear, hear. My name is Lucy Churchill and I too am fascinated by Anne Boleyn.
    I quite like the term ‘fan poodle’. Never heard of it before, and think it is daft but funny.

    Anyone with an engaging passion (whether it be AB or fly fishing) is too engrossed to bother dissing others. Maybe the author of that rant hasn’t found his passion yet? I hope he will, it makes for a much richer life…

  6. Fif? Love it, I think I will chose ‘Purkoy’ as an addditional homage to Anne :>) Ha, that will show the ranter that ‘we just dont care’. There’s a lot to be said for loyal fanpoodles :>)

  7. Well, my dear FiFi, there will always be people in the world who try to make themselves seem superior by knocking someone else- and people who think being vicious will somehow make them feel better about themselves. (I hope that was not too strong a statement to be posted here, LOL! ) You have done a wonderful thing in developing this site and sharing with those of us who do have a great interest in the Boleyns and the Tudors. Please don’t pay attention to those people who have nothing better to do with their time than sit on FB and rip people about their interests.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth, I do love running this site and getting to know others who share my interest. I’m not too bothered by the whole “fan poodle” thing but I can see others being offended and that’s just not right.

  8. For goodness sake if THEY don’t want to read ‘another’ book on Anne Boleyn, and THEY prefer a different notable person from history, thats fine… but the author chooses the subject matter they wish to write about, or is there some governing body now that says, ‘Hey no more books on Anne Boleyn, we have enough!, you will have to write about someone else, whether they interest you or not ‘ I dont think so… If there are not enough books on who THEY prefer, WRITE one.

    Is it Anne’s fault that so many writers find her interesting? are we to be deprived of our chosen reading material because others ‘dont’ want another book about her? The last time I checked we dont live in a Nanny State where authors and readers alike are restricted in subject matter.

    People that make comments such as these are either immature, or trying to be controversial to get themselves noticed. But in reality they come across as ridiculous and laughable, more so when they use child like terminology like ‘Fan Poodle’.
    All I can say (inbetween laughing) is get back to your ‘Comics’ and let the rest of us read what WE choose, and let authors choose what they wish to write about.
    WOOF WOOF. 🙂

    1. I think Anne Boleyn is like marmite, you either love her or hate her, and she seems to produce these very strong feelings in people. I know people are passionate about her because I have the emails to prove it, so why should historians and authors stop researching and writing about her.

      Woof to you too!

  9. Dear Claire,

    In the above post you have quoted me (I made the “Boleyn Novel Highway” comment) out of context (as well as without even affording me the common courtesy of prior notice to my public online pillorying). I also began the page For Those Not Writing Novels About Anne Boleyn. This was a joke between a small group of friends (along with another joke page “For Those Not Descended From Royalty”).

    As I think you’re aware, I spoke in jest. But I did so to highlight what I think is an important point. There are, and there continues to be, a wash of novels that are highly inaccurate, misinformed and hugely romanticised accounts of Anne Boleyn’s life. These novels are often taken at face value, and significantly add to the myths and unthruths about Anne Boleyn – and they’re not all favourable to her.

    My friends and I are quite entitled to our own opinions, and on the whole we’re fed up of being attacked for taking a more moderate view of Anne Boleyn. Yes, she was important; just not that important. I don’t want to get bogged down in that row again. I just want you to know I think this article is quite uncalled for. This is a private joke between friends.

    Hannah Stewart.,

    1. Hi Hannah,
      I don’t believe that I have pilloried you. The FB page I quoted from is in the public domain and I quoted from it and gave its name. The “About” section had no details of who started it so I had no way of knowing it was you anyway. It is not a private group as I found it and have full access to it. I gathered that it was a joke page but it’s just one example of the way that people who are interested in Anne Boleyn are being treated online at the moment.

      I don’t believe that I have ever attacked you and your friends, Hannah, so I don’t know what you’re going on about. You are entitled to have any opinion of Anne that you want but so are others and calling people “fan poodles” could be seen as attacking. I’m fed up with sweeping statements about “Anne fans”, e.g. that we all hate Jane Seymour, it’s getting ridiculous on FB at the moment.

      You are entitled to think that this article is uncalled for but I think that FB page is uncalled for. You have your views and I have mine.

      P.S. This article wasn’t aimed at a particular person or page and as your page is attacking fiction it is clear that I’m not attacking you. I used your quote as an example of what is becoming all too common online.

      1. Actually, Claire, you have totally misunderstood. I don’t “hate” Anne Boleyn, and the page was set up just as a pure and simple joke. So why don’t you mention that? Some of your commentators have attacked me personally (as the creator of the page). You say nothing about their “bitchy remarks”. If you could point me to my bitchy remarks on the page in question then perhaps I could explain the context to you. As it stands, you have taken this all the wrong way. It’s not “out of order”, it’s a joke. It’s one tiny group of people expressing an opinion – unless you think expressing opinions is out of order?

        My comment, like the page in question, was a joke. Not meant to be taken seriously. I mean, come on Claire, there are 14 people who have “liked” that page. Surely that alone is enough to inform you that it’s not meant as a serious movement towards re-evaluating popular opinion on Anne Boleyn?

        For the record, if any new novels about Anne Boleyn are in the offing, and they’re well researched and well thought out – I’d buy it. It’s the ill-thought out, completely erroneous dross that the jokes were aimed at. Not the genre as a whole.

        1. Where have I said that you “hate” Anne Boleyn? Why would I mention that the page was set up as a joke when it wasn’t clear that it was. I assumed that that was the intention behind it, as I have said in my comments here and on FB, but the posts on the page don’t seem to be in the spirit of fun. The one I quoted came across as bitchy. As for taking it the wrong way, I think you’ve blown this out of proportion by taking it as a personal attack. I mention that page as an example but I also talk about comments regarding Amberley and Lacey Baldwin Smith, I’m talking about many different pages, groups, forums where as soon as anyone mentions Anne Boleyn they get attacked or labelled. That’s what I’m talking about.

    2. Hannah,
      I don’t see Claire’s article as an attack on you or that page so I think you’re overreacting. I agree with Claire that FB has become very uncomfortable recently for those who like Anne Boleyn. I can’t remember what page it was on, might have been Tudor Tutor, but things got very nasty when Anne came up. Sometimes you feel like you have to apologise if you mention Anne. It is assumed that you hate Jane Seymour, Henry VIII, Cromwell and Katherine of Aragon if you are interested in Anne and I’m sick and tired of it all. I’ve left so many groups and pages because I can’t be bothered with it, it’s petty and immature.

      1. I so don’t want this to turn into a “get at Hannah” thread. I apologise to Hannah if she felt that this article was aimed at her or her page, it wasn’t, it was about many different pages, groups and forums. As I said earlier, Hannah’s joke page was just a symptom of this ridiculing of those who are interested in Anne. Hannah may not see Anne as important but others do see her as important and they are entitled to because there are reasons for them believing that. We are all entitled to our opinions but I don’t feel that it’s right to ridicule those who hold different opinions to your own.

  10. Claire, you’ll be interested to know that when I first spoke to publishers about my own book–that was over six years ago–some of them said THEN that “the market for Anne Boleyn books is glutted”!!! One said “Anne Boleyn’s day is over”. The fact is that the Tudors are of perennial interest (much like the U.S. Civil War.) And for those who agree, please do check out my own forthcoming book, to be published in April and available for pre-order now on amazon and all major outlets:

    1. Hello Dr. Bordo! Did you ever get the comment I left on your blog? It was about the publication date for the novel “My Friend Anne,” and I thought it would be useful information for you.

  11. I love to read about Anne Boleyn. I have been interested in her ever since I was a little girl. I am now 66 years old and still can’t get enough reading about her. This was decades before I even knew about Mary Boleyn and , related to her through her children on the Carey side. It is a communist that tries to rid the world of books they don’t care for. How would they like it if all books on subjects that they liked to read about were suddenly stopped being written. That is the joy of reading. There is so many subjects to read about , that no one should try to stop others from reading what they like. If they live in America and want to try to stop books on Anne Boleyn , then they are living in the wrong country. There are plenty of other countries that bans certain books. But they better beware, their favorite topic of books may also be banned.

  12. I’ll never get tired of reading about Anne! Everyone has their interests and if some people don’t want to read about Anne Boleyn, they should just ignore the books and pages of her. No need to bash or make fun of Anne Boleyn supporters.

  13. Ridiculous… too many books on ‘on particular’ subject??? Oh, please… Seriously, take a look at the number of books on just one battle or subject of the U.S. Civil War or Diana, Princess of Wales. If it is not a subject of interenst to you, that is fine but please do not speak for me! I can NEVER get enough on the the Tudors nor Anne Boleyn in particular – who to me is a fasinating individual. Please, all you authors you devote your time and energy to Anne Boleyn – carry on!

  14. Grumble those who grumble would! There are enough topics out there for those who are not intrigued by the Tudors or fascinated by the layer by layer reveal of Anne Boleyn’s world that your site has provided through the years.. For all the novels written, I suggest the fussy folk take note of “novel” vs “historical documents.” and read something else. Le temps vendra, let those who meddle in her cause judge the best, her memory will live on in spite of haters.

  15. Hi Claire! I have been following your site since I got fascinated by Anne Boleyn and History about 5 years ago. I have read each of your writings but never dared to comment because I am Spanish and despite I am studying a degree on English Studies, I am not really confident about my English level. I have to deal everyday with people who not only reject Anne Boleyn but also slander her. Even my mother thinks I am crazy because my room is full of books and things about Anne Boleyn! I have recently bought Ive’s biography and I am waiting for some other books as I want to do my dissertation (not sure if the final project in a university degree is named so in English) on Anne Boleyn’s representation in literature. The amount of writing about this fabulous woman who is so far from us in time and also in culture, as in my case, is increasing day by day and the reason is pretty clear: people want to know about her!
    Instead of attack and look down on all that authors and investigators who are enough keen on Anne Boleyn’s figure to start the arduous task of compiling information and writing, that people should wonder why writers do so, and what is more important, why readers ask for more. How can an English woman who died 476 years ago still inspire and fascinate people from all ages and nationalities? What makes her so interesting? Culture and interest are declining in our society so, what’s the matter in spreading knowledge around the world?
    If they don’t want to know about Anne Boleyn just don’t buy the books. As here in Spain we would say: “Quién se pica, ajos come”.
    Hope my English is clear. Congratulations for your web and thanks for doing this great job!. “Boleynians” like me are really grateful!

    1. Esther, never worry about your English ability, you write, and obviously speak it to a high standard, it would put some of us Brits to shame 🙂
      I quite agree with you that it is amazing that after centuries this Woman still inspires research, authors, curiosity, even hatred.

      What ever the standard of literature that is written about her, in fact or fiction, there’s one thing for sure, I doubt that anyone who comments on any on-line site from face book, twitter etc, even this one, will ever create the same inspiration or interestest that will continue through time as Anne has done. A large percentage of us will be long forgotten, she never will.

  16. Boy she is awfully defensive. If it was a joke between friends then why was it not a private page . She is giving even more attention to the subject .
    I don’t understand what difference is between people loving cars , sports and us loving Ann Boleyn . I can’t get enough info on her..
    Thank for this great website ..

    1. I can completely understand it being a joke page but it’s the fact that it’s become the norm on many pages/groups recently to make fun of those interested in Anne Boleyn and it’s got a bit out of hand.

  17. Claire: I’ve been fascinated with Anne Boleyn since 1972, and each year my fascination grows. I have Anne Boleyn dolls, books, cups, novels…when my children want to buy me a gift they look online for something Anne Boleyn. I have a list made so they don’t make any dupicates. When my 15 year old daughter had to write a paper on a real historical person, she chose to write on Anne, since our house is filled with books on her. She argued that Anne was innocent of the charges against her. She got an A on the paper, and her teacher said it was one of the best papers she’d ever read. Several years ago I was having lunch with some friends of mine. Someone asked, “If you could go back in time to meet one person, who would it be?” The first woman said Jesus, and all the rest said the same thing. I was last, and I said Anne Boleyn. Everyone looked at me in horror. When asked why Anne Boleyn, I replied, “She’s the most fascinating woman in the history of the world to me, and I would just like to meet her and see what she was really like.” I was the pariah the rest of the lunch…LOL. Bring on the Anne books and everything Anne! I’ll never get enough.

  18. Thank you Claire – Fifi or Pourquoy – , thank you for your passionate research and for sharing it so generously with us.
    Un forte abbraccio.

  19. I am interested in Aunt Bolyen for the simple reason is that she is my 12th great aunt. I am the 12th great granddaughter of her sister Mary. I am trying to get to know Aunt Ann so as to bring her to life. I have been doing my family tree for over four years and after a while names, birth dates and death dates are just figures.

  20. Personally I think you’re taking this out of context claire, and the comments that some of your readers are leaving are really quite nasty

  21. What annoys me beyond belief is how much haters seems obsessed with the people they hate at a much higher level then the people who loves them, and I’ve notices it in many kinds of “fandoms”, I’ve seen fans able to look the other way and talk about something else, but when people feel annoyed by this or that person then they never seem able to shut the f*ck up about them and they seem to be everywhere someone talks about their subject of hate, it’s unbearable!

    We like Anne Boleyn, why should that be a problem for them? Dang it!

  22. You are absolutely correct. Many people have passions or extreme interests in historical figures, and that is entirely up to them. Those who criticize you for your interest in Anne Boleyn are in my opinion ridiculously selfish. Just because it doesn’t interest them means it shouldn’t interest anyone else ? That’s absurd. Passions of this kind make for good hobbies. Enjoy Anne Boleyn. I certainly do.

  23. Hi Claire,
    I too love Anne Boleyn. She was a strong amazing woman and is definitely worth remembering and writing about. I love reading what you and others have to say about Anne. Since I can’t meet her, reading about her life is the next best thing! I’m so happy that there are other people that share my passion for her and for history. Being interested in people, places, or subjects and wanting to learn helps one to grow. I think it’s special when people are able to find something they are passionate about and keep it close to their hearts.

  24. Recently I heard that the public might be tiring of Queen Elizabeth I books. If that’s true, people will find other books to buy…millions are in print and more pouring off the presses every day. It’s not as if Anne was crowding out other royal worthies. We never get enough of any of them past or present.

    Don’t lose a moment of sleep, Claire.

    Jeane Westin

  25. I can’t seem to read enough about The Tudors. While I utterly respect the horrific consequences of Henry VIII’s reign, the psychology and emotional tumult surrounding their choices fascinate me, and I find myself returning again and again to read in ever greater detail about the lives of those in power during the Tudor period. I thought this was an important article to read for those who do find themselves attracted to this period in history, and I’ve shared it with my facebook page. Thank you.

  26. Thank you for all your wonderful writings about Anne Boleyn. I love them, will never be tired of reading about Anne and any of the Tudors. This era just fascinates me. Keep have many admirers.

  27. I’ve been fascinated by Anne Boleyn for over 30 years! I’m still fascinated and don’t think that will stop. That’s why I wrote AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN. I, too, have been told there is a glut on Tudor books but I do think people who love this time period will continue to enjoy books about it. I, for one, am very grateful to Claire for her hard and excellent work on this site. I’m proud of having a Tudor obsession–there are worse things! By the way, my 10 year old granddaughter dressed up as Anne for Halloween this year!

    1. I don’t think the fascination with the era will ever die, it’s been going for decades.

      My 12 year-old daughter dressed up in her Tudor dress for Halloween this year and looked wonderful.

  28. Oh, My, all I wanted to do was check your most recent article, Claire, and now my Texas dander is up and I’m ready to come out verbally swinging! Why? Because this is jus one more example of my most irritating pet peeve; people stating an opinon and then when someone else responds they claim it was a “Joke between friends.” This excuse is used whenever someone finds they are receiving more negative comments than compliments on what they have written and they have to rationalize it by saying people have misunderstood and they are the ones who stirred the pot and if they had just realized it was a joke then none of the brohaha would have happened. Unfortunately, they do not understand that while they are completely entitled to their opinon, when they express it in a public forum, they will get responses from those who oppose their opinon. That too is part of the freedom of speech.

    LOL – I purposely did not post on FB many of my political opinon during the recent Presidential campaign because my opinon differed greatly from some of my family and close friends and I did not want to get involved in a debate with them about which candidate was the better. Did that mean I kep my mouth shut? No, it just meant I censored myself concerning the forum I chose to express my opinons and in doing so avoided the avalance of responses I know I would have received and I also saved some of my relationships from potentially being damanged. If you joke about a subject, it should be done where others who will not think it funny cannot see it or be prepared to respond to your opposition of the subject. I don’t want to respond to my opposition on my political beliefs so I did not post anything controversial on FB. Get the idea, Hannah?

    We are all entitled to our passions and if mine differs from yours you do not have to be involved in them. Don’t read about them, don’t read my postings about them and don’t speak to me about them. If you are my friend, I won’t hold it against you and I will simply look for common interests we can share.

    Claire, keep on howling as a fanpoodle of Anne’s – I’m right behind you, lapping up every word.

  29. Anne Boyleyn books are my go-to reading. Any new one I see I buy and will read them all. I traveled to London twice with my daughter to visit the Tower of London and just wander around feeling the atmosphere; will probably go again to see Hever. Religion, politics and what I read are my business.

  30. I am not even going to comment on the issue here because I find it distasteful. But re. Gandhi, he was not obliged to make child support payments. India didn’t have that system in the 1940s. There were genuine reasons why he was not that great. Personally, he publicly humiliated his wife, and as the person you are quoting said, wasn’t a great father. Politically, he supported the Partition which led to a bloodbath (and pretty much everything that is wrong with the region today). His policy of non-violence cost India dear. Many Indians died because Gandhi wanted to be non-violent and turn the other cheek. Just saying that there is another side to the situation. Loads of people who like Anne Boleyn out there have no idea about her. Let’s not deny it has somewhat got out of hand. Cheers!

  31. Some people just don’t get it. Anne changed her world and is still being discussed with relevance 500 years later. A woman who had to navigate the shark infested waters of several courts and still kept true to herself is an inspirational story that women can embrace today. She is not only one of a handful of facinating women in history, she is ultimately relatable as a person. If the enjoyment of playing hide & seek with her historically today makes us “fan-poodles” it is certainly a badge worth wearing as we strive to change the world around us. We are in good company. Thanks, Claire for helping to bring all the fan-poodles together.

  32. I have a BA in history and took a class called Tudor-Stewart History. I have always been fascinated with history. Some people need to realize how important Anne contributed in her own right to Tudor history. Every now book about her or involving her is interesting because everyone has a different view on her. I have respect for her and no one can change that.

  33. For most of my life I have been and continue to be fascianted by Anne Boleyn and all the NTudors. Everyone can have an opnion, and individuals, when they list opinions on the public domains i.e. Facebook, can and should expect people to disagree and not take offense. Your article did not mention any name, Hannah mentioned her own. I did not find it either derogatory or nasty, We all have an opinion andwe all have a right to express it nicely as you did.
    Good article Claire, I loveall b your articles and all 3 of your books!

  34. Dearest Fifi,

    My only complaint is that I can’t get enough of your Anne Boleyn emails – have you considered doing a daily post?

  35. That’s just absurd! Nobody is forcing these people to read books about Anne Boleyn! Whatever happened to live and let live? We’d have a much kinder world if people remembered that.

    At least fan poodle is a relatively non-insulting term!

  36. As a huge ‘fan-poodle’ of Anne Boleyn, I must admit there are some awful fiction books written about her, and there are also too many non-fiction books of poor quality about her – Rena Warnicke’s and Josephine Wilkinson’s spring to mind. I will read any non-fiction book on Anne Boleyn, but there are times when I think there’s a ‘cashing in’ element about some of them. I’m interested to read interpretations of Anne’s – and others in relation to her – actions, but as for straight-forward, narrative re-telling of her life, I haven’t read one new fact in years.

  37. I do of course appreciate that there are many new ‘fans’ of Anne appearing daily, who have not read as extensively as me, and have their interest sparked and create a demand for new biographies etc.

  38. I of course love the Tudors AND Anne Boleyn too but I can see where they’re coming from. To be honest Tudor history is so popular that I do fear other periods of history are being marginalised, that we know very little about.
    In British universities for instance (I should know, I’m at one), there is very often no modules on Australian history, for instance, or on South American, or modules dealing with popular nations eg the USA in medieval times, focusing instead on their modern history. By contrast, many universities offer modules on Tudor history, the Nazis/Stalin and the Victorians etc.

    So while I love Tudor history, and early modern and medieval history full stop, I can understand why people might think this.

    1. Conor,
      What I wouldn’t give to switch places with you! I hold a BA in History from a great college here in Texas. Several of my fellow classmates and myself were constantly pestering the Head of the History department to bring in a professor who’s degree(s) was/were not based solely upon U.S. History, and who could offer classes on areas outside of the U.S.
      They finally hired two new professors my senior year, and I truly enjoyed the new class offering. I am extremely passionate about all historical matters, however the Renaissance/Reformation Europe is my favorite, and I read anything I can get my hands on regarding this time period.
      On a different note however, in your post you mentioned that you were interested in the history of the United States during medieval times. The scope of the United States, or the “New World” during the time period that Europe was in the Medieval Time period, consisted of hundreds of different Native American nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes who unfortunately had no written history.

  39. I must stress, the page in question was a JOKE. A JOKE. Not an opinion or an insult. Just a joke. Some of the comments above are a total overreaction to the whole episode. Apart from that, most of the members of the page in question, myself included have read lots of Anne Boleyn and The Tudor period in general. I’m certainly no hater of Anne Boleyn. Some people have made far more insulting or vicious comments here on this thread than any of these so called “bitchy” comments that appear on the joke page in discussion.

    1. As I said earlier, this article was not an attack on that page, which most people, can understand, it was a comment on what is going on in forums, groups and on pages. Hannah hadn’t written about Amberley or Lacey Baldwin Smith so I don’t quite understand why a minority are seeing this whole article as aimed at her. It’s ridiculous.

      1. My post is referring more to the comments that have been made by readers rather than your original blog post Claire.

      2. I don’t think most people do understand that, Claire. Seeing as I’m still coming under intense attack and my joke page has now been shut down by FB. You highlighted by page, and you quoted me directly. You threw the spotlight on me, and now I’m paying the price because you can’t take a joke.

        1. I’m so sorry that you’re coming under attack, Hannah, and I obviously would never have quoted from your page if I had known that you would. I thought I made it clear that I didn’t take your page that seriously when I said “I found it quite funny and am not at all offended by it (each to their own!), but I do think it’s all rather bizarre.” I can’t understand why it would be reported, although I found comments on it in poor taste. I didn’t throw any spotlight on you seeing as I didn’t know it was run by you and I didn’t name you. As I said, the article wasn’t about your page.

        2. Hannah,
          I have just published a post apologising to you, I hope you understand that I would never have mentioned the page had I known that there would be this backlash.

    1. Good old Lacey Baldwin Smith – still going strong at 90! His book on Katherine Howard is still the best of the bunch, and he wrote that in 1961, when he was a mere child of 39!

  40. Claire, thanks for your ongoing passionate defense of Anne Boleyn. Interesting how she has become a sort of lightning rod for a lot of underlying feelings people have about those bloodthirsty times and all their lingering effects, and it probably won’t be done any time soon. We still have a lot of fallout from the religious changes which were already occurring on her watch, and in which as a person of substance, potency and conscience, she played her part. Obviously people like to point fingers in a simplistic way, and place blame for trouble, however, all those changes were a lot bigger than one woman’s influence, no matter how well connected politically she was. If she were here now, all of us, her fans, know she would be participating in helping out this poor world in whatever way she could. She was trying to help her world as a spiritual person, as a servant of God, and still would be. Remember, she was also a victim of her times, as only one of an estimated 72,000 people that her dear hubbie executed!

  41. Hello Lady Claire……I agree that if they are not interested, leave us alone who are interested in Queen Anne and the Tudor times. You have done a fabulous job of portraying Anne in an accurate historical context. Keep it coming, my good lady.

  42. As you know Claire, I too am a fan of Anne Boleyn, and have been interested in her life since I was a little girl. I make no apologies for that. That said, I happily joined the page “For Those Not Writing a Book on Anne Boleyn” because I frankly am at saturation point with poorly written biographies and novels about her (I’m yet to read a truly excellent novel about her, to be honest, and and people associated with her, to the point where I almost don’t want to read about her any more. The page was prompted – as a joke between a group of friends – after one of us came across yet another new blog, full of inaccuracies and myths, and guess what? The blogger wanted to write a novel about Anne Boleyn. Then there’s the writer whom we both recall all too well who’s about to publish her Amazing! Revelations! in novel AND biography form. Every second person starting a Tudor facebook page is talking about writing a novel, usually about Anne. We have wish fulfilment novels featuring a modern day OC going back in time and becoming Anne Boleyn!

    Of course, people can write, and publish, and others can read, whatever they like. No quarrel with that. I’m free not to read it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to make comment or jokes about the quantity and quality of material out there, surely. I do find the “cashing in” element that Anerje mentions a bit crass, too.

    In recent years, I’ve noticed an almost fetishistic Anne worship in some quarters (I’ve seen blog posts about her execution with disturbingly sexual overtones, for instance), which has become increasingly strident – exemplified best I think by the writer who shall not be named describing the members of an Anne Boleyn fan page as “haters” and “Boleyn babes” because a fan page didn’t quite fit with her view of herself as Anne’s sole defender! I suspect this in turn might be partly contributing to the backlash against her (people promoting a revisionist view that she wasn’t of importance at all) which I also have noticed, and am extremely uncomfortable with, since it makes it that much harder for people trying to promote an objective, moderate, rational view of her life to be heard. But if I thought the FB page in question was part of that mentality, there is no way in hell I would have joined it.

    I am saddened, upset and disappointed by the comments from some of your readers here. Yes, your article was about more than just that page, but you did highlight it as a specific example – the ONLY specific example of the comments you refer to on FB pages and groups, in fact – and a number of the commenters are latching onto it and talking about “haters”, dismissing people as “jealous” who “can’t pull their fingers out of their butts to write something intelligent” , condescendingly addressing Hannah as “honey” and making it personal with “[Anne’s contribution] was far greater than yours”, overreacting to the existence of the page (one of the commenters talks about it “flaying” authors publicly on FB – nonsense! – and a number of people reported it as abusive! If that’s not an overreaction I don’t know what is) and then hypocritically dismissing Hannah’s own response to the comments here. It makes for really unpleasant reading. All this has reinforced my perception that there is a subset of Anne Boleyn worshippers that lashes out at any perceived criticism of their idol whether founded or not, which disturbs me as much as the promoters of the backlash. It’s very similar to the behaviour of extreme Ricardians. I’m very sorry to see this here.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I can’t see any mention of Hannah as someone who “can’t pull their fingers out of their butts to write something intelligent” but I will go through the comments and deal with that as that is obviously unacceptable and I would have dealt with it if I had read that bit. I apologise if it has been left on here for others to read, perhaps trying to moderate comments on my mobile wasn’t that great an idea!
      I don’t know of anyone who reported Hannah’s page and I would say that it was an overreaction. I can’t say that I liked it or the way it referred to Anne fans but it was not abusive or harmful. I don’t feel that the comments re Anne Boleyn haters are aimed at Hannah or that page, they’re aimed at the subject matter of this post. There are extreme Anne Boleyn haters online who make it very uncomfortable for anyone who mentions Anne Boleyn in a positive light and it’s getting ridiculous. There are extremists on both sides, those who hate Anne and those who believe that she was a saint and martyr, it becomes even more disturbing when they are so fanatical that they attack others.

        1. Just wondering why the same poster felt the need to use the word ‘asshole’ four times as well.

        2. I know, I thought I’d “starred” it but otherwise left it because the commenter wasn’t calling anybody here an a******, they were making the point that comments like that aimed at historical characters like Gandhi are offensive. This has all got rather out of hand.

  43. MarilynR: Is he 90?!?! that’s incredible! and yes but I am hopefully going to write a study of Queen Katherine which will clarify and correct some of his conclusions which I believe are wrong! She was not a ‘juvenile delinquent’ (an 19th century construct)!!!

      1. I have to admit I don’t know if this is Amberley re-publishing an old book, as they did with hiis ‘Tudor Tragedy’ about Katherine, or whether it’s a new book completely. I don’t know of an existing Anne Boleyn book by him. Does anyone know of one?

        1. I asked Alice at Amberley and she said that as far as she was aware it’s a new work. She said that more details (blurb, press release etc.) would be available nearer March 2013.

    1. He he ,Connor,

      I bet you mean the works of the blessed Agnes Strickland. I shall be adding a short appendix about her contributions in my little volume about Katherine and her life with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. I love her ‘low-born unprincipled creature’ description of Sir Thomas Wriothesley.

  44. I’d like comments to get back on track to why Anne “fans” are fascinated with Anne, why we do feel that she is important and why we enjoy reading about her.

  45. I have been interested in Henry VIII for so long, I don’t know nor remember exactly why, it is just a part of me. I am especially drawn to Anne as I can and do enjoy relating to what her life was like. I guess you could call me an Anne addict.

    I was so happy to find this site, a place where I belong.

    Thank you Claire.

  46. I used to think that I was the only Anne Boleyn devotee out there until I discovered this site. It was so nice to find others of a like mind.I don’t see why anyone should begrudge us our interests.
    It’s not as if we are stopping anyone from writing about other people.

  47. I like Anne, although I wish there were more books published on other Tudor figures. So many histories on Anne, but I wouldn’t mind some more on the other wives, or Holbein. Especially Holbein, even if it was more an art history type book.

  48. I love Anne Boleyn and never get tired of reading about her. I have the Tudors boxed set and watch ot over and over again. It was never the same after Annes death. I am Anne Boleyn on FB and I’m doing my warehouse apartment up as the Tudor Court. Pride of place is my enlarged portrait of Anne…I admire her guts!

  49. fanpoodle???? ROTFLMAO…

    seriously…my love of the Tudor era is indicitive of my love of history in general. Anne intregues because like her sister wives she wasn’t the average woman of her time.

    Anne and her cohorts stand out due to thier indivualities.we know a lot about what they said and what they believed and what they thought. To simply dismiss an era with all the advances in thought, religous and secular just because you don’t want to acknowedge the influence of 1 person is incredible to me. It’s like saying that Napoleon was a just another general who won a few battles and isn’t worth writing about.

    The influences of Anne and Napoleon premeate not only their own era but also the rest of time up until now.To deny thier influence is bad enough but to name-call and mock people who are intereasted in them and their times smacks of Trolling.

  50. I will never forget the time when, as a young child, my grandmother came back from a trip to London with a book about Henry VIII and his wives. I remember her reading about Anne Boleyn and I have been fascinated by her and the Tudors ever since. Whether those ‘haters’ like to admit it or not, Anne Boleyn did make an impact on English history. Just because they aren’t interested gives them no reason to bash people who are. Like you said Claire, no one is forcing them to look at or read anything. It won’t stop me from reading anything about her and the Tudors I can get my hands on! Very good post!

    My name is Trish and I’m obsessed with all things Anne Boleyn!

  51. My name is MaggieR, I am an ardent admirer of Anne Boleyn (since I was 10 years old), and I am proud to be an Anne Boleyn Fanpoodle!!!

    I can’t be offended. Fanpoodle is meant to be insulting, I guess, but I just find it funny.

    I would love to attend a meeting of “Queen Anne’s Fanpoodles.” LOL!!!

    It’s rather odd that they are complaining about “another” book about Anne. For myself, I can remember that, after a lot of books published (and republished) in the 1970’s (after the Masterpiece Theatre production of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, which is what made me fall in love with Anne), there was practically NOTHING on Anne in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and up until “The Tudors”, which started, I think, the current re-interest in Anne (at least in the publishing/media world). For us fanpoodles, the interest never waned. 🙂

    Thanks so much, Claire, for the laugh….and for letting me know that a new book on Anne is coming out. I bought your 2 books on Anne, btw, and really enjoyed them. Kudos!! Looking forward to buying your new book, too.

  52. I do not understand why people have to attack the works of others. I agree with the thought, if you do not wish to read on Anne, do not do so. But, that does not give you the right to attack others who do. For some reason, we seem to be a very large group who love to read and learn about Anne, and the Tudors. For some of us, Anne and the “family” have been a life long subject of interest. I, for one, have little or no interest in subjects such as car repair. Not my cup of tea.
    So, Claire, we turn to you to help us to learn more about Anne. You have done a fantastic job . You seem to have a large fan base to stand beside you.

  53. Thanks for all the comments. I’ve been corresponding with Hannah and I just want to make it clear that Hannah was talking about fiction on her page, and bad fiction at that, she was not criticising the likes of Lacey Baldwin Smith but those who do Anne a disservice by poor research and keeping the usual myths going. Hannah also had not intention of offending anyone by her use of “fan poodle”. The pages, groups and forums where people are jumped on and attacked if they mention Anne Boleyn are the real problem.
    I hope we can put this to rest now.

  54. I will read any amount of DECENT books about Anne Boleyn but Hannah is right, there are far too many badly-written novels out there these days, alongside the good ones. How some of this rubbish gets published I will never know!

  55. I am passionate about Tudor history but like you Claire, I have a particular fascination for Anne Boleyn. Her story is such a romantic and tragic one that I was captivated from the time, aged 11 when I saw Anne of a Thousand Days. Since then I have read dozens of books and articles on her and never tire of reading anything I can get my hands on. I agree with Eric Ives (my favourite biographer of Anne) that she was the most influential queen consort in history and I don’t care what others think; one man’s meat is another man’s poison as they say. Incidentally, my favourite novel is Brief Gaudy Hour, the very first book of Anne I read after seeing the film. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet read it!

  56. I have been interested in Anne and all things Tudor for over 40+ years. I guess that makes me a fan Mastiff! Keep right on what you are doing, Claire – damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

  57. I think that it is good to see another book out there on Anne, the more the better but there has always been a certain kind of amount of attention wether good, bad, positive or negative said about her. It has always been this way and most probably always will. I am pro-Anne myself although just to let you know. 🙂

  58. What a shame that Hannah’s FB page had to be closed down. I do hope the situation has been resolved. I can totally understand how ‘bad’ biographies and historical fiction can be a frustration when there are so many other historical people out there worthy of bios etc. Sadly, Anne Boleyn, and the other wives, are lucrative ‘cash cows’ for publishing houses etc. and any old bio will do.

  59. I also am fascinated by Anne Boleyn. I never tire of reading about her. I enjoy visiting your site and reading about “all things Tudor” on a regular basis. Thank you Claire for your wonderful website.

  60. Anne Boleyn and her world has held my fascination since I was a small child & still continues to this day. I was overjoyed to have found your site Claire. I visit it everyday and can’t get enough of the wonderful and informative material it yields. The enthusiasm of your articles and books truly makes this little history geek “The Most Happy”.
    My name is Catherine and I love Anne Boleyn.

  61. With the advent of ‘bloggage’ as I call it, people must state their opinions. Seems everyone has something to say about everything now, but I quite agree, I too am fascinated with not only Anne but all of Engllish history. Why it fascinates me I’m not sure, but I have enjoyed so much my many years studying it. I hqave no shame when it comes to learning about Anne so bring it all on! I’m a fast reader.

  62. The perspective of history shifts constantly as attitudes change, as we add to our sum of knowledge. Some people get more fascinating with time and Anne is one of those. The 20th-21st century perspective on her life has revealed someone not only of her time but comprehensible to ours. In other words, we feel thar we ‘get’ Anne Boleyn in a way we don’t always feel about historic figures. (Like her husband, maybe.) That is why her fascination endures. And you have to wonder–are any of these gripers WW 2 geeks? I’m one myself, but really, have you counted the number of books out there on German tanks?

  63. People should be able to like whatever they want without anyone putting their little nose in it! You should be able to like pop music, classical music,ballet, boats, cars, you name it, and yes, even history and historical figures without haters. I have been an Anne -Fan since I was 9 and read a book about her, so I think it’s good that there’s more books about Anne, both fiction and non – fiction so they could perhaps inspire other children in generations to come as it did to me. I mean if you hate Anne books so much why do you keep reading em’? 😉

  64. Here a comment from Belgium, Antwerp. I’m a big fan of Annes life and personality since I was 14 years old en now I’m 52 years. Thus a very long time and although no books about her are translated in dutch, so I have to read them all in english, my adoration increases every day. My husband found your Anne Boleyn Files for me and I’m very excited to consult them daily. Anne has a very special place in my life and that’s never changing. I’m hungry for more and more information about her. So, carry on with your work because it’s very valuable for me !!! greetins from Antwerp, Linda Francis

  65. I love all things Anne too and was delighted when i found this site. So to all those who don’t like her, stop reading about her! She was the most fascinating Queen Henry ever had – intelligent, pro-active and had courage. i wonder sometimes what would have happened if she had had a son – but then we might not have had our wonderful Elizabeth.
    your work is fantastic Claire – please do keep going.

  66. I am a fan of Anne for reasons that were already given, her intelligence, courage, devotion for her daughter, and I like other women in history for the same reasons. I’m not a stupid romantic worshipper, just someone who read books, talked with other fans and found she liked someone. So thanks Claire for this enormous work, and for all the pleasure of readin and discovering facts that you gave to us and will give again 🙂

  67. I feel that yes there are many books about Anne Boleyn to the point where my library has books about her and none of the other wives (which drives me crazy cause Katherine Parr and Katherine of Aragon are my favorites) Its just that there are other people in that time period who did do things some even greater than Anne, and I think that they need to be recognized and not just Anne Boleyn.

  68. I guess Anne shone so bright in life, that everyone either loved her or hated her. And it is still true to this day. Most people don’t get her, but those of us who do are enfatuated, and it is not possible for us annophiles to fall out of love with her like Wolsey, Cromwell, Henry did, cos everything she did is done, and we all love her anyway.
    I do like Anne Boleyn, and I do love history, and she is the epitomy of a great historical figure.
    And look on the brightside, we anne lovers do something intellectually constructive with our time, not sit around posting hate mail on facebook! If anything they are the losers!

  69. Good for you – I find her utterly fascinating and cannot understand why people feel the need to say things like this. If you are not interested in AB, then dont buy the book!!

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  70. I am passionate about history and Tudor history is number one on my list. Ever since I visited London two years ago. Had the time of my life. keep up the great work.

  71. hi claire, my name is fisty from Indonesia. I might also addicted to Anne Boleyn story because the more I get information about her, the more im curious about her, even my love of anne, I wrote on my little biography facebook. it begins by chance I watched the vcd The Other Boleyn Girl as played by natalie portman, my idol artist since childhood. after watched anne story, i felt so impressed and I did not think the film based on the real life story of a figure. but on the beginning of 2012,after I watched on tv about ghost of anne,i realized that anne boleyn is real life figure. since then until now I am obsessed to find all the information about her and all the people living in her time .. and I found this site. to be honest after reading the story about anne,suddenly felt fascinated by her and so surprised there are many people like me out there … that means anne deserves to be loved.
    day after day,i love anne more and saddened by the tragic end of her life, as if I wanted to save her life. every time I imagine and so very curious how she looked like and all her appearance. i often wanted to turn back time and lived at the same time and place with anne so I could see and meet directly anne ..
    anyway i love this site and Anne Boleyn … keep writting a lot about anne boleyn,claire and so the other writers … we always wait your stories about anne

  72. I probably have as many books on September 1, 2001, as I do books on Anne Boleyn, The Tudors, Queen Elizabeth the First, etc., because a certain person, subject, time frame gets in your mind & you cannot get enough of it. I bet I have read almost every book that I have on 9-11 more than once, and I have (at last count) about 13. I have done the same with the books of England in the Tudor period.It is just fascinating reading. I cannot think of a better way to pass the time.

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