Anne Boleyn NPGRecently I’ve written lots of articles on Tudor events, Henry VIII and his wives, and various Tudor personalities, but as this site is called The Anne Boleyn Files I thought it was time to get back to Anne Boleyn. Obviously, I’ve written lots on Anne before, both on here and in my books, but it’s always good to revisit her story so that we can discuss and debate the various questions, blanks, myths and facts, and also to help those who are new to Anne’s story and who want to know more about her.

I posed the question “Which aspects of her life would you like to know more about?” on The Anne Boleyn Files Facebook page and the answers included Anne’s early life, her education, her family, her background, her style/fashion, her personality, her time in France, whether there was any truth in the allegations made against her, her relationship with her siblings, her relationship with Henry, her role in the Reformation, her fall, her musical and literary interests, her daily life, her 1536 miscarriage, her time as queen, her love life (Henry Percy, Thomas Wyatt, James Butler…), her relationship with Elizabeth, her appearance and whether she had six fingers, her patronage of the arts, Anne’s circle/faction at court, places connected with her, objects/artefacts related to her, her staff, her faith, Anne and witchcraft… If there’s something you want to add to this list then please leave a comment below.

I do hope you’ll enjoy the series on Anne, I intend to do a post a week for this series, and I’ll still be covering “on this day in history” events too.

We’ve had lots of new visitors recently so a big welcome to all of you and a big thank you to those of you who have been visiting The AB Files for years. I’m Claire Ridgway, a full-time history researcher and author, and I’ve been running this site since February 2009. I have written four Tudor history books, co-authored a biography of George Boleyn and helped with the translation of a 19th century French book on George Boleyn and Henry Howard. Please do get involved in this site by commenting, joining the forum, browsing the archives and resources etc. I hope you enjoy your time here.

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18 thoughts on “New Series of Anne Boleyn Posts”
  1. Claire, I have developed a relatively new interest in Tudor history, and I found your website just a few weeks ago while looking for Anne Boleyn information. Your site has now become part of my daily routine as I look for the “this day in history” posts. Great web site with lots of good information and links!

    Following up on your list of Anne Boleyn topics, I would be interested in reading more about her early life, education, her time at the French court, and other aspects of her life before she arrived at the English court. I am also interested in her religious development and role in the Reformation. Thanks!

  2. I love this site. I thought I knew practically everything about AB but have learned so much more. I enjoy reading what particularly happened on this particular date re Anne (ie Elizabeth born, Anne visiting different places etc) That particularly has brought her to life for me plus clothing etc. I dip in and out constantly
    Well done

  3. Anne Boleyn Witch Whore Seductive Adultress Heroine Reformer Innocent Victim. Will the real Anne Boleyn step forward?

    Have you read the book by Lacy Baldwin Smith In Bed With Anne Boleyn? What did you think of it? Made my toes curl and horrified the rest of me. Know it is fiction but also total nonsense. I would have expected better from this great historian. Does he actually think she was guilty. His bio and analysis of her fall in his recent none fiction book on her was excellent so the promotion of adultery to get an heir in the novel came as a shock. Thought I was reading Philippa Gregory. The book is very adult in describing sexual acts so anyone under 15 caution. I think Anne yet again the victim of imagination and misinformation. There is not an author’s note to set the clear invention straight. Fiction is one thing…promotion of falsehood something else.

    1. No, I missed that one! Is it new out? He died in September so perhaps he was still working on it and didn’t get chance to write an author’s note, or perhaps I’m just giving him the benefit of the doubt. It sounds rather like The Other Boleyn Girl, what a shame.

      1. Hello Claire…Not sure exact release date as pre ordered some time ago, but it is quite new as it was sent to me while away last week. Sad did not hear he had died as he is a great author. The book also has a lot of good bits and is still well written, just a shame the story has Anne taking a lover and the marmalade story. Thanks for responding.



        1. Sorry I haven’t been on here much recently, I’ve been on holiday. Yes, I was sad to hear the news too as he was a wonderful historian, I loved his book on Catherine Howard. I’m not sure I can cope with reading that book!

  4. i have always wondered about her relationship wiith her mother and sister and thomas wyatt and her relationship with elizabeth which i am sure tore at her when she was condemned. also her feelings with henry in reading it seems she did love him but what a woman to hold him off for 6 years amazing only sad she didnt get to see elizabeth become the monarch henry dreamed of

  5. I love everything you post! But if you wanted to do more Anne-centric posts, that would be great, too.

    For a suggestion I was always fascinated in her relationship with Cromwell. When he first rose in power, they were allies (I think), and then the relationship went totally the other way. It seems like she was doing well on her own, and in charge of her own future, until two events happened – her miscarriage, and Cromwell’s rapidly growing influence on Henry VIII. If Crowmell had been an ally at that point, I think she could have withstood the miscarriage and earned her way back to Henry’s good graces and gotten pregnant again. She had no trouble getting pregnant.

    The two of them seemed like the ones who knew how to manipulate Henry the best. They each could read him, predict his reactions, knew his moods and emotions better than anyone. Cromwell pounced on Henry’s disappointment after the miscarriage to get rid of Anne and pointed him toward Jane (if we are to believe Hilary Mantel’s theory).

    Or I could be totally wrong! That’s why I love this site. But I would love to read about Anne and her relationship with Cromwell, how it changed, and how it possibly doomed her.

  6. I’ve always wanted to know what would have happened if anne had had a son? Would she really have been safe or would an enemy faction found another way to rid themselves of her, perhaps this is a little too speculative as opposed to real history but sometimes I think alternative events are worth exploring if only to understand the personalities involved a little better. I would also like to know exactly what made her style of dress so french compared to the English court style it can’t just be the French hood headress also I read somewhere that she favoured wearing red is there any basis for this? Still any discussion on this fascination of a personage is good. I’ve been a lurker on this site for a while now and love it having studied history at uni level I’m so happy to see such a well researched site bringing information such as Catherine of Aragon and anne boleyns early lives, to those who may not otherwise have access to this information. Very much appreciated and well done!

  7. I always wanted to know what would have happened if she had given Henry a son, too. Of course we can only speculate, but it would still be interesting to know what others are thinking. Again something that we might not be able to answer for certain, but I always wondered whether Anne knew that Henry framed her, or if she thought Henry truly believed the accusations? She was clever and probably knew him best, so I think the former is more likely.

    Another thing is her relationship with Henry towards the end, before she was arrested. For obvious reasons, people think that it deteriorated fast and that they did not have much love for one another – maybe especially on Henry’s side – but I think I read somewhere, maybe even on here, I’m not sure, that they actually did not seem unhappy or distant when receiving someone. I’d like to know more about that.

  8. I’d like to know more about the contemporary and near contemporary sources … it seems to me that they are all biased, one way or the other. I’d also like to know more background concerning her religious development … to what extent were her beliefs consistent with the Protestant faith (considering she lived before the word was invented) and to what extent would she still count as Catholic?

  9. I wish we could know more about Anne as a woman. Not as Henry’s wife, not the Queen. I wish a journal written by her, would show up one of these days! To know what she was thinking, as things happened in her life. What kind of friendships she had, personal, not Court related. If she really wanted to follow the road to Henry & his court, or if she had desires to choose another path. If she was really in love with Thomas Wyatt. Her true feelings about her siblings, parents, and uncle. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during her life, to see how she handled things, away from the eyes of the court!

    1. Yes I agree to know her innermost thoughts would be fascinating, I’d also like to know what her favourite dishes were and other trivial things, it’s the little things that make a person come alive.

  10. Weren’t you up early Melissa! Hi Claire, reading your article on Anne Boleyn’s Ladies-in-Waiting was really useful and many thanks for it.

    I’d love for you to look at the similarities in the downfalls of Anne and Catherine Howard, which appear to stem from comments to brothers by women who were these queens’ companions in the past. Anne’s fall has Lady Wingfield’s ‘letter from the grave’ (as you put it) and Lady Worcester’s comments to her brother, Sir Anthony Brown. Catherine’s old companion Mary Lascelles, seems to have confided in her brother, John Lascelles, about Catherine’s ‘light behaviour’ Betrayed by friends? Or rather, be sure your sins will find you out! What do you think about ..especially Anne’s …relationships with women?

  11. I found it interesting that recent dramas give special mention of Anne in relation to her faith and personal interest in the reformation. Anne was also sensitive to promote reform positively to the benefit of ordinary people. When as Queen she visited religious houses encouraging reform she did so in relation to their lifestyle and did not encourage the closure of these houses. Anne was not in favour of the money being used to give land to the nobles. I am interested in which houses she visited and how they received her.

    1. In popular culture Anne gets blamed for the death of Thomas More….Tudors….Anne of The Thousand Days and so on. There is a powerful tradition and story that Henry blamed her over a game of cards. I have wondered what sources support the story and to what extent if any did Anne Boleyn have to do with the death of Thomas More. Did she persuade Henry to kill him when the King hesitated or is it complete poppycock? What is the truth?

      1. I read many years ago a biography of Anne by Norah Lofts and she said the news of Thomas Mores execution was brought to Henry as he played at cards with Anne, he apparently said, ‘Thou art the cause of this mans death’ which the author says explains a lot about the relations between them, but she didn’t explain the source, In Jean Plaidys ‘Murder Most Royal ‘ she has the scene taking place and Miss Plaidy did do a lot of research, I have the volumes by Paul Friedmann s biography of Anne so I will see if he states the source in there, we will never know if Anne was trying to get Henry to kill More or indeed Fisher as behind closed doors you just don’t know what went on, she may have felt sympathy for them.

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