I’m often asked which books I recommend on Anne Boleyn, the Six Wives and Henry VIII, so I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a book list of ones that I use on a weekly, if not daily, basis – including my own! You can click on the links to order them from Amazon.com if you wish, and they are also available from the other Amazon sites and other bookstores.

Anne Boleyn

  • The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives – This is my favourite and it is a constant fixture on my desk.
  • The Anne Boleyn Papers (previously published as Anne Boleyn: In Her Own Words & the Words of Those Who Knew Her), Elizabeth Norton – A collection of primary source material relating to Anne Boleyn, including the work of George Wyatt, Cavendish, George Constantine, Chapuys, Lancelot de Carles and stacks of letters, including the love letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. An excellent resource!
  • The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, Retha Warnicke – I might not always agree with Warnicke but it is a very detailed book on Anne Boleyn and is well worth a read.
  • The Lady in the Tower, Alison Weir – A detailed account of the fall of Anne Boleyn.
  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, Claire Ridgway – A day-by-day account of the fall of Anne Boleyn in May 1536, based on primary sources.
  • The Anne Boleyn Collection II, Claire Ridgway – A collection of articles on Anne Boleyn and the Boleyn family. It includes full references.
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen, Susan Bordo – “Part biography, part cultural history”. The first half focuses on Anne Boleyn’s life, and subsequent downfall, the second part “Recipes of Anne Boleyn” looks at representations of Anne in literature, and Part III “An Anne for All Seasons” examines the Anne of the big screen and TV, the “Viral Anne” of websites and blogs, and how Anne is seen by today’s young women.
  • In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger – It is “the visitor’s companion to the palaces, castles and houses associated with Henry VIII’s infamous wife”.

I also own and use the ones by G W Bernard, Joanna Denny, Paul Friedmann, Norah Lofts and Marie-Louise Bruce occasionally. See Anne Boleyn Biographies.

The Boleyns

Six Wives Books

If you only want to buy one book on Henry VIII’s six wives then you cannot go wrong with David Starkey’s Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII and the series on DVD is also very good. That is my very favourite but I also use:-

There are also biographies of Henry VIII’s wives if you want to focus on one in particular. I would recommend:-

Henry VIII

My four favourite books on Henry VIII, in order of preference, are:-

The one by Lacey Baldwin Smith is also very good and Blood Will Tell: A Medical Explanation for the Tyranny of Henry VIII by Kyra Cornelius Kramer is an interesting read.

Older Books on Anne Boleyn and the Six Wives

Older books I often use are:-