See https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/9582/to-the-king-from-the-lady-in-the-tower-a-letter-from-anne-boleyn/ for a full explanation of this, but here are the main reasons:
Here are the anomalies which make us doubt that it was really written by the Queen:-
- The Heading – This is said to have been added by Thomas Cromwell on receiving it but wouldn’t Cromwell have written “from Anne Boleyn” or “from the Queen”. “The Lady in the Tower” seems a slightly romanticised title for Cromwell!
- The Signature – Why sign it “Anne Bullen” instead of “Anne Boleyn”, “Queen Anne Boleyn” or “Anne the Queen”? That does not make sense. It also looks very different to her usual signature, see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/resources/anne-boleyn-words/writing-of-anne-boleyn/ although this could be because it is a copy made by Cromwell.
- The style – Although we have to take into account that the Queen is imprisoned and in fear of her life, the style does not seem consistent with her other surviving letters.
- The tone and content – Queen Anne Boleyn is accusing the King of slandering her so that he can enjoy his “desired happiness” and accuses him of sinning. Would the Queen be so reckless at such a time?
- The handwriting – If you look at the real letter (see British Library image) the handwriting is very different to Anne Boleyn’s other letters (click here to see letter written by young Anne Boleyn and Book of Hours Inscription, also see letter from Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey at the British Library). Again the story goes that the letter was a copy made by Cromwell so this may not be relevant.
- The words “for the ground of my preferment being on no surer Foundation than your Grace’s Fancy” – As our good friend Gareth Russell points out, “as early as 1530, the Venetian ambassador to London was reporting that Anne believed passionately that God had chosen her to be queen of England instead of Katherine, just as in Biblical times He had chosen Esther to replace Queen Vashti.” These words go against what Anne Boleyn believed about her position.