Replays of the Anne Boleyn, the Woman behind the Myths

Dec16,2021 #Anne Boleyn myths #myths

Thank you to all those who turned up live to my three livestreams on Anne Boleyn, the Woman behind the Myths, I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to you and answering your questions.

Here are the replays of my three talks for those of you who missed them:

You can find out all about my big conference, Anne Boleyn, the Woman who changed England – 8 historians, 7 days of talks and live chats, and much more – and buy tickets by going to or clicking on the image below. Gift certificates are available.

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3 thoughts on “Replays of the Anne Boleyn, the Woman behind the Myths”
  1. Fantastic video Claire a proper analysis of Anne’s physical appearance, like you I also prefer the Hever castle rose portrait, it really is a lovely picture although her hands are poorly drafted, the colours are beautiful and I believe her colouring is as near to her actual likeness as possible, she must have had a warm olive complexion which is often referred to as sallow, which sounds unattractive and when ill, such people often look rather yellowish, I can imagine when she was suffering from the sweat her complexion must have looked thus, her bone structure was really quite striking with her high cheekbones and of course we hear of her ‘wonderful eyes’, these eyes are evident in the NPG portrait than any other as they are long almond shaped and heavy lidded, they were a warm deep brown with dark lashes and her hair was dark brown, it probably looked black in the evening with just the flickering candles and such people can wear vibrant colours very well, in portraits of her daughter we can also see Anne’s features evident, in the long face with the high cheekbones the large opaque eyes and of course, her long slender fingers, Anne was also noted for being very elegant of perfect proportions, and if we are to believe that the skeleton assumed to be of her by the Victorian’s is correct, then the description of her ties in with the contemporary reports which we have of her physical appearance, perfect well turned feet, tapering fingers low orbital ridge intelligent forehead, deep eyes sockets, little square chin and tiny neck, Anne herself laughed about ‘ her little neck’, and her chin is softly square in the Hever portrait, both Alison Weir and the late Norah Lofts however dispute these findings, Weir thinks the skeleton found by Dr. Mout could be those of Catherine Howard’s who herself was very petite yet she was also described as being very little, and Anne was of medium height middling was the word used, between five foot and five foot three was the conclusion of Mout’s finding, Anne must have stood about five foot three which was medium sized in Tudor times, therefore I too believe that the bones belong to Queen Anne Boleyn, and more tellingly, she was found exactly where she was said to have been buried, Catherine Howard’s however have never been found, neither have Jane Greys – another doomed queen, but these two were only very young when they lost their lives, and limestone in the earth is thought to have disintegrated their remains, which would have been softer and more pliable, where as the other souls executed were all much older, Anne is now believed to have been around thirty five when she died, Jane Rochford about the same age, Lady Salisbury, whose remains were recorded as those belonging to a female of advanced age, was about sixty seven when she was beheaded, the two Seymour brothers and so on, I heard about the Lumley portrait and just pray with all my heart one day it will turn up, maybe on The Antiques Roadshow, how wonderful to actually see a contemporary portrait of her and imagine how much it would be worth, some old houses do have auctions and some lucky person may have it sitting in their attic without realising what a treasure he/ she has, and what outfit will she be wearing, will she have on her favoured French hood or the English gable hood, will she be wearing her pearls with the famous B pendant, I recall years ago one elderly couple had in their possession a famous lost painting by the Victorian artist Richard Dadd, it was an incredible find and a fight was on to keep it from being sold overseas, it however stayed in this country and is now housed in a reputable art gallery, I dismiss completely Dr. Slanders vicious slandering of Anne’s appearance, and what a great nickname that is, it is weird when he runs her down yet at the end says she was handsome to look at with a pretty mouth, did he not realise he was contradicting himself? He magnified her tiny imperfections ten fold, none of us are perfect and Anne’s little nail suddenly became a sixth figure, her warm complexion became sallow, she probably had some little moles on her body because brunettes do, more than fair skinned women, and yet he said she wore a high necked gown to hide its ugliness, yet in her all portraits her neck and chest are bare, and as Claire explains, her enemy Chapyus never mentioned any physical imperfections, in fact he never run down her appearance at all, even her baby daughter he called a pretty child, of course babies soften the hardest of hearts, and it appears even he must have warmed towards the concubines little sprog with her mass of red curls large dark eyes and dimpled cheeks, Chapyus really was a wonderful source of information, and although he called her coronation a meagre affair, it really was a most spectacular display of pomp as that is something we Brits do very well, true there were surly faces no doffing of hats and no cheering or clapping, but it was very colourful with mythical displays children singing and other fabulous pageantry, her river procession that had taken place a few days before, was also wonderful and so , who was an ardent friend and supporter of the discarded queen and her daughter, would not have wished to admire it and praise it wholeheartedly, regarding the questions also, was she liked did people believe she was guilty at all ? At the time the charges against her were too ridiculous to be anything other than made up, and people are not stupid, the king himself was acting out of character and his hasty engagement and wedding to her former lady in waiting, only served to bolster the belief that the queen had been murdered just so the king could marry and begat a male heir, and yes she was well liked she had a close circle of friends, she had a close friendship with Margaret or Mary Wyatt and she was friends with Lady Worcester, who sadly gave Cromwell the ammunition he needed to bring the queen down with her foolish chatter, she had in her service her cousin Madge Shelton daughter of her uncle and she must have been on good terms with her sister in law, the much maligned Lady Jane Rochford, she had a large family with her Boleyn and Howard relations, her physical appearance like her character has often been much disputed and even now we can ask ourselves, do we know the true Anne?, yet I believe we are much much closer to discovering her now thanks to Claire and the work she does on this wonderful website.

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Christine, I really enjoyed putting these livestreams together and sharing my research.
      I completely disagree with Alison Weir as I don’t see any reason to doubt the Victorian team. They were meticulous in using the Tower records of burials, and, as I said, found female remains where they expected to find them, and then the two dukes where they expected to find them. Sadly, they didn’t have the technology or knowledge we have today to help with the examinations of the remains.
      Thank you again for your kind words.

      1. Hi Claire, iv just come across your reply to my comment, yes I dont believe Weir is correct when she thinks Anne’s bones belong to another female, as you said the Victorian team were very meticulous in their studies yet, as Norah Lofts remarked she also believed that the bones could be those of Catherine Howard’s, who was described as a ‘very little girl, but Anne was not described thus, as we discussed she was of average height, it could also be Anne was a bit taller than five foot three, what I find is such a tragedy is that the bones were buried along with the other victims sealed up and thus Anne is lost to us yet again, now I know that was the right thing to do, these souls died violently and at last they have their names recorded on their final resting place, but in doing so we can never have Anne’s skull for examination to see what she actually looked liked, like they did with other famous people, Richard 111 for example, sadly we can still only study her portraits and ponder….

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