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.
- 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: The Rise and Fall of A Tudor Family, David Loades – It’s not as detailed as it could be, but it’s a nice easy read and a good introduction to the family.
- George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat, Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway – A detailed biography of Anne’s brother George, which brings him to life as a court poet, royal favourite, keen sportsman, talented diplomat and loyal brother.
- The Boleyn Women, Elizabeth Norton – An interesting look at key women in the different generations of the Boleyn family, including Anne Hoo, Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn and Jane Rochford.
- Two Gentleman Poets at the Court of Henry VIII: George Boleyn and Henry Howard, Edmond Bapst – This is an English translation of Edmond Bapst’s 19th century biography of George Boleyn and his cousin Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. It is a fascinating book on these two men, who were both poets and diplomat, and is fully referenced.
- Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings (also known as Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore), Alison Weir – A detailed biography of Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary.
- Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII’s Favorite Mistress, Josephine Wilkinson – The first biography of Mary Boleyn.
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:-
- Six Wives of Henry VIII, Antonia Fraser
- The Six Wives of Henry VIII, David Loades
- The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Alison Weir
There are also biographies of Henry VIII’s wives if you want to focus on one in particular. I would recommend:-
- Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett
- Katharine of Aragon: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII’s First Unfortunate Wife, Patrick Williamson – This is rather heavy and “academic” so would suit researchers, students, teachers and historians more than the general reader.
- The Eric Ives one on Anne Boleyn (see earlier)
- Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s True Love by Elizabeth Norton
- Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Discarded Bride by Elizabeth Norton
- Catherine Howard by Lacey Baldwin Smith. The Joanna Denny biography is also quite good.
- Katherine the Queen by Linda Porter. Elizabeth Norton’s biography is also very good.
My four favourite books on Henry VIII, in order of preference, are:-
- Henry VIII, David Loades
- Henry VIII, J J Scarisbrick
- Henry: Virtuous Prince, David Starkey
- Henry VIII: The King and His Court, Alison Weir
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:-
- The Queens of England by Agnes Strickland – You can read Volume 1 (published in 1894), which includes Henry VIII’s six wives, online at http://www.archive.org/stream/agnesstricklands01striiala#page/n5/mode/2up
- Star of the Court by Selina Bunbury – This 1844 book can be read at http://www.archive.org/details/starcourtormaid01bunbgoog
26 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn, Six Wives and Henry VIII Book List”
I have many books of anne that i adore, i really don’t understand the logic people have of believing that she was guilty. We can all see the secret plan that herny had for her. God save the queen!
I dont believe she was guilty either but don’t forget all her judges rose or fell on the whim of her husband. He decided she should die because she had failed to give Henry a son and so she had to die.
I believe they still distroy me because of who i m
Hi I don’t think she was guilty either. I find her a lovely Queen. God save the Queen x
I remember watching “Anne of a Thousand Days” as a little girl and as time has gone on, I have become thouroughly mesmerized by the Tudors. The wondorous things we have to thank for due to their existence in the English Monarchy is quite long and far reaching. If it were possible to speak to someone in the past, Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth I would be on the top of my list, but for now reading about them or watching films about their lives will have to do. Keep up the good work:)
Thanks, Lisa! I’d love to meet Anne and Elizabeth too, so many questions to ask them!
I remember watching the film (Anne of a thousand days) too. Some things I did not understand because I was very young. But I was impressed and touched to see how Anne was willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of Elizabeth. That is how I understood why she did not stand up to Henry, anyway.
Thanks for the booklist. I have most of the books listed but now know what to read next. I haven’t read any of David Loades books so will give it a try. Alison Weir is my favourite.
It’s fantastic how much you put in to this site for your fans and those that love the Tudors. You do such a great job Claire. Thanks.
So glad I found this site. Been a fan for years of the Tudors. When I saw it on
TV I was so excited. Wish I could afford all of these books. But, after my stroke I’m not able to spend money on books so I will be at this site to explore daily.
Thanks for having this site available.
Sheila – do try the library. you can reserve books online to your local library. In addition there is a lot of cheaper/free books on Amazon that can be downloaded through your pc / iphone, etc. You don’t necessarily need a kindle – just the app. Hope that helps.
Thank you for your suggestion. As a matter of fact I’ve gone to the Library and checked out books that I’ve seen online. I’ve also gotten some assistance from my daughter. She purhcased a Kindle for me and she gave me a stipend to get 2 books a month.
I’m so excited and am back to reading to my hearts content. Thanks again for replying. Since the Tudors were on TV I can’t get enough of Anne Boleyn and the Tudor Dynasty.
I am so excited to have this site ! I love EVERYTHING Tudor and for some reason I feel a connection to Ann!! I cannot wait to read some of these books!!!!’ Thank you for all you do!! I feel as though I was meant to be in the Tudor dynasty !!!! I will be 28 on the 24th of this month (January) ….. Such am old sole ! Thank you again!!!!
Soul ahhh dumb computer lol
I too am very excited to have found this site after experimenting with another one, through which I heard from a lady in Australia called Wendy J. Dunn who has written a book called ‘Dear heart, how like you this?’ I found a copy in a charity shop and it’s not a bad read. On holiday on a remote Greek island I found a copy of Joanna Denny’s book to add to my collection. Coincidences?
I wonder if anyone has read ‘A Tudor Story – the return of Anne Boleyn’ by Canon W. Pakenham Walsh?
I am going for a few days holiday in Norfolk shortly and shall revisit Blickling church – St Andrews.
Do you have any feedback for the recent books about Henry VIII?
Young Henry – The Rise of Henry VIII by Robert Hutchinson or Henry VIII, the Life of England’s Nero by John Matusiak?
The only books about the Tudors that I have are a collection of “My Royal Story”, by different authors. There is “Anne Boleyn and Me” and “Henry VIII’s Wives”, both by Alison Prince. These are novels, not intending to depict a real scenery. I thought that there would be more accurate facts, like real diaries or other writings by the real people. I realised it’s all fiction based on real facts. I enjoy this collection of books anyway. I dive in into that world. There is the “danger” of believing on wht’s written and make our own ideas based on that, but I always try to keep clear in mind that it has a whole new plot aded to it. Anyways, I think it’s inevitable that anyhting we read or watch will shape our views on people being portrayed.
I am watching The Tudors on show time right now. Your site has been so helpful in finding out what is fact and what has been done for dramatic effect
I remember watching Anne of a Thousand Days as a young girl and being fascinated by her courage and sacrifice. After that I spent my free time learning about the Tudors and taking history related courses in college. I didn’t just want read books. I wanted to touch, smell, see, and feel the presence of her life in places she had been. That passion never died. It just gets stronger and more inquisitive as I get older. It may sound silly, but it is as though Anne is a part of me, she is my passion and my goal! Someday, I too will have a chance to study her life and dedicate my time to visiting places she has been. My fervor for her only grows stronger and it is as if she calls upon us to learn and figure out the puzzle of the so many unanswered questions she has left us to ponder upon. She will forever be my undying passion!
I have devoured any and everything I can get my hands on in regards to the Tudors. One of my favs is Anne of a Thousand Days. Thats saying something as I am only 35. I have found that in the recent years all the tv productions that have begun to take off my daughters intrest has begun to grow in this area of history. I still have yet to get her to read the Bio of Henry Tudor VIII that is by his ” fool “. I have a vast collection of the written works by many authors, can you give me any ideas on what book(s) to suggest to my daughter she is 17. I want to see her intrest grow like so many of us that have found a passion in delving into the past and immersing ourselves in the past to understand and ponder all the unanswered questions we have. The Yorks, Lancasters, Plantagents, Tudors, Stuarts and so many more have been such a wonderful addition in my life and grow more and more so with each piece of their history I gain and want to give my daughter the same joy.
only just joined your society am still reading through the information that you have sent me i am totaly fascinated looking forward to as much information as i can get my main area of interest is in Thomas Cromwell i think i have read nearly all the books on his life and always on the lookout for more information however i have an insatiable appetite for anything to do with the tudor period
Thank You for allowing me to join your website. After browsing your booklist the only authors I dont have are Patrick Williamson and one book by David Loades, I will correct this oversight quickly! I have spent many hours here already and I enjoy it!
i became obsessed with the Tudors when watching PBS 6 wives with Keith Mitchell. I was in about 5th pr 6th grade and didn’t understand it much but loved Anne B. Now I am even more obsessed with the Tudors since all the recent movies. Funny how something I watched so long ago became a huge part of my adult life. I wish PBS would rerun that series and have more monarchy specials on. love those. Not even the BBC has much on the royal family. pity!
I watched the 6 wives series with Keith Mitchell on PBS when I was about 10 or 12 years old. I didn’t understand alot of it, but fell in love with the time period and Anne. Funny how something that I watched so long ago has hugely influenced my life. I wish it would be rerun. Back in those days, PBS showed stuff many times throughout the week. I wish there was a royalty tv channel too. I think it would be very popular. Keith Mitchel was awesome as Henry back then.
After reading articles and watching documentary’s
On anne boleyn I do find and I am sure she was not
Guilty of any wrong doing,I believe that she may not
Have been able to carry boys as some women cannot
Carry girls for genetic reasons and of course in the
1500’s it was classed as being cursed by an evil
Force but it’s only a thought I have had for a
Long time now god bless her always
My first book on Anne Boleyn was The Concubine by Jean Plaidy, I highly recommend it. Plaidy also wrote Murder Most Royal about Anne and Catherine Howard.
I have come to find reading several books and seeing several docs, that most of the accounts (already that I have seen) are documented by those who did not like her. We will never truly know what she was like, but I can’t help but feel terrible for her and Katherine Howard. Anne was a head of her time. In a world where woman were not suppose to have opinions let alone speak of them. Her daughter brought justice to her death. Part of me likes to think Henry regretted killing her. He showed more love for her than any others, in my opinion.