When was Anne Boleyn Born?

Posted By on April 13, 2010

Anne Boleyn, the Nidd Hall portrait - An "old" looking Anne

Anne Boleyn is such a puzzle isn’t she? And that’s what fascinates us, the fact that she is an enigma, a puzzle to solve, a code to break. But, isn’t it frustrating when we can’t even be sure when she was born?!

The two dates put forward by historians are 1501 and 1507, with most historians believing the 1501 date, making Anne around 35 years of age when she was executed. But, Gareth Russell, on his blog “Confessions of a Ci-Devant”, has put together a very good argument for giving Anne a summer 1507 birthdate, making her 28 at her death. See “The Age of Anne Boleyn” for Gareth’s excellent article on this issue.

1501 or 1507 – Does it matter anyway?

“What’s the difference between Anne being 35 or 28 at her death?”, you may ask. Well, I can’t put it any better than Gareth so I will quote him and you will see that it really does matter:-

“If she was 28, as one of her stepdaughter’s ladies-in-waiting claimed, then the reasons behind her execution become infinitely more sinister – at 28, Anne Boleyn was still undeniably in her childbearing years. Yes, she would have been at the tail-end of them by Tudor standards, but she would have had at least four or five more years before she was considered infertile, and so the idea that it was just her “failure” to produce a son which led to her death in 1536 suddenly becomes a good deal less convincing and the idea that it was her husband who orchestrated her monstrously unfair death becomes infinitely more likely.

However, if she was 35, then she was already practically middle-aged by Tudor standards and it becomes far more likely that the entire reason for her destruction was politics pure and simple, with Anne – and to some extent, perhaps, maybe even her husband – being victims of a savagely brilliant process of character assassination, lies, manufactured hysteria and ruthless palace coup organised by the King’s chief adviser, Thomas Cromwell.” (Gareth Russell, “The Age of Anne Boleyn” at “Confessions of a Ci-Devant”)

A Solid Case for 1507

Much as I have always believed that Eric Ives, and other historians were right in picking 1501 as Anne Boleyn’s date of birth, due to her going abroad in 1513, I am swayed by Gareth Russell’s argument because he presents such compelling evidence and concludes his article:-

“Examining all the evidence impartially it is impossible, I think, to accept that Anne Boleyn was born as early as 1500 or 1501. Any piece of evidence that has been put forward to support the idea that she was born at the turn-of-the-century can be refuted, once common sense is applied to the problem… Independently of one another and with absolute certainty, Jane Dormer and William Camden both stated that Anne Boleyn had been born in 1507 and to my mind there is no evidence whatsoever that has yet come to light which contradicts them.”

Have a read of Gareth’s article and let me know what you think and also comment on Gareth’s blog, I’m sure he’d be interested to know your thoughts on this.


46 thoughts on “When was Anne Boleyn Born?”

  1. HannahL says:

    After reading this article and Gareth’s, I think a later birth date is quite possible. He had good points, particularly the one about childbearing and Anne’s apparent youth and “aptness for the procreation of children.”

    1. Kameron latham says:

      Well you have to think jane seymour could have been 27 when her and Henry married and if anne was 28 at her execution that means jane was a year younger then anne and if anne was. Nearing the end of childbearing years jane would have too so henry and jane would have only been able to have one baby

  2. Jen says:

    I personally am in favor of the theory that Anne was born in 1507. Considering how obsessed Henry VIII was with having a male heir, I find it hard to believe that he would have chanced marrying a woman old enough that she might very well be at the end of her child-bearing years. He would have made sure to marry a woman young enough that she still had a number of fertile years left.

    1. hannahl says:

      i agree

    2. Bea says:

      I agree. Also thinking about Elizabeth’s birth, Henry was confident that more children would follow. If Anne was born in 1501 she would have been 32 when Elizabeth was born, which by Tudor standards would put her well out of her childbearing years. However if Anne was born in 1507 she would have only been 26, making it entirely possible for her and Henry to have three or four more children before Anne reached her thirties.

  3. Louise says:

    I think the overriding evidence is Anne’s letter written in 1514, which Warnicke says is untidy and immaturely written but is acutally extremely tidy and well written. I cannot see that it was written by a seven year old, however intelligent.

    There is also Thomas Boleyn’s letter to consider, which was written to Cromwell following the murders of Anne and George. He said that upon his marriage (c 1498-99) his wife gave him a child every year. That seems to indicate that all five Boleyn children, including the two who died, were born between 1500 and 1504. If Mary was born in 1500, George in 1504 and Anne in 1507 then Thomas’s letter makes no sense.

  4. Claire says:

    I keep to-ing and fro-ing! I have always been convinced by 1501 but Gareth does make some excellent points. The letter was very well written and it would be hard to see a 7 year old writing that but I’m not sure I can compare my kids with Anne, when Elizabeth I was translating Le Miroir at 11! You make sense too, Louise, hmmm….1507….1501…

  5. Gareth Russell says:

    Thanks so much for the link, Claire, and this feedback. I wanted to say that on the subject of the letter’s handwriting, we need to bear in mind that Anne wasn’t writing with a pencil, nor was she writing in the unrestricted clothing of a modern youth. She was in dresses that would have radically limited her arms’ scope for movements – moreover, as Claire points out, a young Elizabeth’s handwriting is immaculate in comparison to a modern youth’s (it’s also a good deal neater than her mother’s 1514 letter.)

    In the course of my research, I did obviously deal with some other points but didn’t want to include them in my blog article in case it got even longer! However, Thomas Boleyn’s quote about the children coming once every year is true, but my research has led me to believe that he and Elizabeth Howard were not married in c. 1498-9, but in 1501. According to evidence in the Howard family archives, Elizabeth did not receive her jointure (the 16th century equivalent of a trust fund) until 1501, thus meaning that this is the most likely date of her marriage. Factoring in that the Boleyns also had two other sons who died young and Thomas Boleyn’s letter only refers to the years prior to his own father’s death in 1505 – a child per year (Mary, Thomas, George, Henry) is quite feasible for 1502, 1503, 1504 and 1505. We also know that the two Boleyn boys – Thomas and Henry – did not die until after 1505, because they are bured in Kent, where Thomas only took up residence post-1505. After 1505, Thomas Boleyn’s evidence no longer applies, because his letter was referring to the fact that he had struggled to make ends meet because of a child every year following his marriage (c. 1501) and his father’s death (1505.) So, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think any of the evidence negates 1507 as Anne’s date of birth – but the debate is lots of fun and, like Ives says, like a great detective mystery.

    1. DiLited says:

      Thank you for this post – I found it very interesting. The matter of Thomas Boleyn having a child each year after his marriage could be considered to be Mary, George, 2 still born sons and the miscarriage if he wasn’t speaking too literally and the well formed letter may simply be the result of the assistance that Anne claimed that Simonette gave her in writing the letter. Can you tell me if George Wyatt mentions in his papers any date of Anne’s birth? I would be interested to know as he obtained his information from one of Anne’s friends Anne Gainsford and I am sure he would have heard Anne’s history through his familial connection to Thomas Wyatt and Margaret Lee. As to the actual date of her birth I tend to lean towards the Feast of St Anne as a likely date even though as you have stated Anne was a quite common name in the family – however this is mainly because it is the only date that we can latch onto given the lack of data. I do wonder though if there is anything in Henry’s accounts that mention any gift bought for her birth day.

      1. DiLited says:

        Btw don’t mean the day of her birth but her birthdays for the 10 years Henry was with her. Also were there any donations made to either the church near Blickling Hall or Hever Castle that may be a sign of grateful parents to God for a safe delivery?

  6. Claire says:

    Thanks, Gareth, for adding more evidence to back up your theory and, yes, it is like a great detective mystery and I’ve always loved those. That’s what I love about this kind of history, we can all come to completely different conclusions from the same evidence! I had read about the Boleyns having two other sons and it’s interesting to see where you put them in birth order and also your thoughts on the Boleyn marriage. Again, all your points make perfect sense and thank you for taking the time to share them here, it’s very much appreciated.

    Thanks for allowing me to link to your wonderful article.

  7. Sheena says:

    The more I read, the more I too feel that there is a really good argument for Anne being born in 1507. Anne, being from nobility would have given a good education, and among her lessons would have been calligraphy. Growing up in Japan, we had to take calligraphy classes, where we had to learn how to make each stroke of the Kanji lettering. Hours and hours were spend making the same chinese characters over and over. Anne probably took calligraphy, and each letter was carefully created- with a quill or some other dip pen no less! Imagine how long it would have taken her! Also, knowing what I do off Anne, she was a very detailed orientated person- a bit of a perfectionist, so I would imagine that she would have spent a long time carefully penning her letter.

    As for why she went to court so early, perhaps Thomas Boleyn sent both of his daughters at the same time- one of those buy one Boleyn’s service and get the other Boleyn girl’s service for free! So perhaps to differentiate her from Mary, (the elder Boleyn girl) Anne became “le petite Boulin.”

    *sigh* They need to hurry up and build that time machine already. =(

  8. lisaannejane says:

    This is one area I do know about – how children learn to print and also learn cursive writing. Some children are definitely more adept than others. I could show you a sample of a first grader’s work that many would think was done by an older child. Fine motor skills develop at different ages. Unless some new evidence shows up, I think Anne’s birthdate could go either way.

  9. lisaannejane says:

    P.S. I don’t think Anne looks old, but she does look a lot like her sister Mary in that picture. I wonder if anyone else sees the connection.

  10. miladyblue says:

    I read somewhere that art historians reexamined the Nidd Hall portrait, and concluded that it was Jane Seymour, because of the much stronger resemblance to Jane from the known and properly authenticated pictures.

    One thing I would like to add, in favor of Gareth’s evidence of the 1507 birthdate, was the line in Margaret of Austria’s letter to Thomas Boleyn, thanking him for sending Anne, whom she found “so pleasant for her young age that I am more beholden to you for sending her, than you are to me.”

    IF Anne were of the standard age to be a lady in waiting, – which was around 12, wasn’t it? – why would Margaret of Austria emphasize that Anne was so pleasant for her young age?

    Considering Anne’s accomplishments as an adult, I think it’s possible she was a child prodigy, especially considering the endorsement of someone as savvy as Margaret of Austria.

    1. Daniela says:

      She wears that headdress that Jane wore, alright, Anne was more into the french, than the gabled hood, I read she wore when she went to the scaffold nevertheless. The necklacelookspretty Jane-ish But does that brooch in the picture show the initials “AB”?

      In the “The lady in the tower” book it shows this picture aswell as Anne, alledgedly in 1536, when she was imprisoned in the Tower. Even this seems a mysteryif it is her or not.

      I wonder if they will ever find out the DOB… That would be so cool. IN the above named book they reported of one of the miscarriages and how old the unborn baby must have been, given even a conception date (17th october). I find that incredible already 475 years latern we know a date like that despite it being so long ago and that her enemies tried to blacken out her nameand trying to destroy anything to do with her. It is a great detective gameto gather info. And the fact that we know a lot already is just amazing!

  11. Eliza says:

    I am totally confused!! The letter is great evidence, but we can’t be sure… I would also like to know what sign was Anne.. It would be cool to know her exact date of birth!

    1. Daniela says:

      Well it was said on her execution she was only short of her birthday. So it must have been towards the end of May or early June. It was said that she was born in early summer, so if thatis true, she might have beena Gemini. Why don’t we check online for attributes they connect with Geminis and compare them with Anne…?!

      Not sure whether it is true, that some attributes can be put to certain zodiac signs,but I am an Aquarius and the attributes of being creative and doing things different than mainstream…well yeah…I recognize me in that… (-:

  12. Claire, it’s been a real pleasure to talk about Anne’s d.o.b. here and to hear people’s feedback. I’m particularly interested in Sheena and Lisa-Anne-Jane’s comments about child calligraphy and fine motor skills.

    Once again, thank you so much for posting a link to “The Age of Anne Boleyn” and discussing it on this fantastic site!


  13. Claire says:

    Hi Gareth,
    It is great to have discussions like this – there are also people discussing it on our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/theanneboleynfiles. Lisaannejane is a teacher and I do agree with her, having been a teacher myself, some children can do the most beautiful hadnwriting at a young age, and I think that we do have to take into account that those were very different times with very different education, so Anne may well have been younger than historians think. There are definitely some good reasons to think that Anne might have been born in 1507 so thank you for your thoughts and the way that you have backed them up with evidence.

  14. ProudtobeCatholic says:

    Gareth gives convincing evidence for the 1507 birthdate, but I’m not totally convinced yet. If Anne was really born in 1507, then she would’ve been in her teens when Henry persued her. I have a hard time picturing her being a teenager at that time. I always saw her as being a mature woman. Then again, she may have been mature for her age. People often tell me that I’m mature for my age.

    1. Kylie says:

      This is really late but actually 19 wasn’t young x) If he began to pursue her in 1526 she’d be 19.~~

  15. Christina says:

    Hmmmm… this is intersting. I had always thought that the case for 1501 was as watertight as such things are possible to me, but this has given me food for thought. A few points:

    – My opinion is very far from expert, but for what it’s worth I do find it hard to see that the 1513 letter could have been written by a 7year old, however intelligent, and however much more quickly Tudor children matured.

    – As regards Ann’s age and its relation to child bearing, let’s not forget that the King fell in love with her around 1527, and very much hoped and expected to marry her within months. He certainly never expected to have to wait until 1533 – if he had, perhaps he would have thought differently about the marriage? But by 1533 he had become obsessed with Ann – maybe not so much with Ann herself as with the ‘conquest’ of her.

    Even if we take a 1501 birth date, Ann would have been about 27 in 1528 – certainly not young by Tudor standards, but not old either, with several child bearing years ahead of her. Jane Seymour was about this age when Henry married her, and one of the reasons he chose her was because she came from a family where the women produced plenty of male children!

    – I agree that it would be unusual for an upper-class Tudor woman to be unmarried by her mid-twenties, but could this not in part be explained by the failure of her previous bethrothals?

    – I think too much can perhaps be read into comments about Ann’s ‘youth’ but at the same time I think the remarks by near contemporaries that she was born in 1507 make for compelling evidence.

    So, all in all I probably would still go for a 1501 birthdate, but Gareth’s research has definitely made me question that, and certainly I would be open to having my ideas corrected. I think a convincing argument can be made for either date, which I would not have though prior to reading Gareth’s reserach.

  16. Sheena says:

    I don’t think that it would be too unlikely for Henry to persue a teenaged Anne, he did after all, marry a teenaged Katherine Howard, and married Katherine of Aragon when she (and he) were both in their teens. Charles Brandon even married Catherine Willoughby at aged 15 and had their first child when she was 16 (he was 50) Marrying someone in their teens was not unheard of.

    Jane Seymour has been said to be born between anywhere from 1503 to 1509, so in 1536, she was perhaps as young as 23 or as old as 27 when they married, which is still young in comparrisson to Anne’s age of 35 at death, if you believe the 1501 birthdate. (It is believed that Jane was 28-29 when she died in 1937)

    As lisaannejane, Claire, and myself have said earlier, tutoring and calligraphy classes could very well explain Anne’s abilities. I think that handwriting analysis can be often times be subjective. There are many adults whose handwriting looks like that of a child- and if you were to compare two samples side by side, you probably couldn’t tell the difference. It is possible that Anne was a prodigy.

  17. Louise says:

    I came home from work tonight and was going to post a comment, but now I don’t have to because Christina has said everything I intended to say. Thanks Christina!

    The only additional thing is that just because Elizabeth’s jointure was not finally settled until 1501 does not negate an earlier marriage. I’m with Ives on that one, although I admire Gareth for his research, which is impressive to say the least.

  18. Christina says:

    “Jane Seymour has been said to be born between anywhere from 1503 to 1509, so in 1536, she was perhaps as young as 23 or as old as 27 when they married, which is still young in comparrisson to Anne’s age of 35 at death, if you believe the 1501 birthdate.”

    Yes, but as I say, Henry expected to marry Ann in 1527 or 1528, when Ann would have been no more than about 27 even if you take the 1501 birthdate.

    “As lisaannejane, Claire, and myself have said earlier, tutoring and calligraphy classes could very well explain Anne’s abilities”

    I’m not sure if they could ‘very well explain it’. I think it could be the case that a child of 7 – no matter what his/her education or intelligence – simply would not have the motor coordination to produce such fine handwriting. However, I’m happy to be corrected on this – I’d like to have the opinion of an expert in children’s handwriting.

    As I say, my mind is open on the subject of Ann’s birthdate. Thus far the evidence could lead one to either conclusion – imho the case is stronger for a 1501 date but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

  19. Abby Lyn says:

    I am confused, and well sad to say this, but, I believe neither of those dates are correct. I stand to believe it was around 1505. It would make sense. For the letter she wrote, she would have been around nine, or near nine when she wrote that. And childbearing would have stilll been proper for her age of 28, when she was queen. Which then points evidence to her still having her beauty when she was executed when she would have been 31. Oh, and with the position of fille de honour only being granted to an eleven or twelve year old, she would have been eight, not six or seven, and not eleven or twelve. I knw many people believe many different theories, but I am bound to mine. And when Henry fell in love with her, she would have been twenty one. Perfect age. Oh, and I am certain that she WAS NOT brn in 1512.. If she was, then she would have been ne when she went to the netherlands. And if we learn Anne’s birth, then it might make things easier for the other two.

  20. The points you give, Abby Lyn, on 1505 are all worth considering, as are the arguments insisting on 1501. However, the crunch is that there is no contemporary evidence from the 16th century which explains why the Duchess of Feria and William Camden insisted (in the duchess’s case, specifically) on 1507. There are arguments which can explain the calligraphy of the letter – they are not hard and fast proof – but there is absolutely no evidence, theory or argument which has ever properly addressed how the duchess and Camden got it so wrong, writing so close to the time and, in the duchess’s case, actually knowing Anne’s stepdaughter. Hence, why I believe 1507 – although, you’re right, had she been born in 1505, the difference in her life trajectory would not have been much different.

  21. Carolyn says:

    How old was Edward, when, as Starkey says, “He was soon writing chatty little letters in Latin (to Katherine Parr)”? He was 6 or so when Henry married her, wasn’t he? Do we have any examples of his handwriting from the years of his father’s marriage to KP? This could give us some idea of a well-educated young Tudor-era child’s handwriting abilities.

  22. Carolyn says:

    Or not, as I just remembered that his will wasn’t the grandest handwriting, although he was very ill at the time. So who knows?

  23. Lady Kateryn says:

    This is an interesting theory. I do remember that Anne in her letter to her father, writes that she will look after her virtue or honour. I believe one historian (I cannot remember whom – perhaps Nasim will know) commented that this would be applicable to a girl on the cusp of adolescence – definitely not a child!

    The case of Anne Brandon could be construed as slightly different as she was motherless and I believe Charles Brandon entertained some idea of marrying the Archduchess Margaret.

    The age of 12 in England was also traditionally the age when children were sent away to great households to learn how to fit into society. (Thomas More, for example was sent to Cardinal Morton’s household when he was 12) I think boys were sent to sea at the age of 11 or 12 to be a midshipman (as Nelson was) and it remains to this day, the age when children start their secondary education or are sent away to boarding school.

    I tend to take the view it that from a Tudor perspective, it made sense that if children had survived the dangers of infancy, then the parents would invest in them for the future. However, I look forward to hearing more of your theories!

  24. Conor Byrne says:

    I think there is strong evidence on both sides to suggest either birthdate.
    It has been proved that Sir Thomas Boleyn married Lady Elizabeth Howard in 1498 by several historians. Mary Boleyn has long since been considered the elder sister, and we need to accept this once and for all and discount Retha Warnicke’s claim that she was born in 1508. Her children received the honours due an elder sister during Elizabeth I’s reign, as Elizabeth was Anne’s child she would surely have taken them had she been the daughter of the elder sister. Mary was in France at the same time as Anne, but she was a mistress to Francis I during the mid 1510s, probably around 1515, when she would have been around 14 or 15, had she been born in 1500. Therefore I think we need to accept that Mary was the couple’s first child, and was born in 1499 or 1500.
    George Boleyn’s birthdate has also been disputed, but most people agree it was 1503 or 1504 and therefore may have been the youngest surviving Boleyn child. He was however married to Jane Parker in 1524, as boys had to be at least fourteen to marry George was born in 1509 or 1510 at the very latest. However Thomas Boleyn claims that his wife bore him five children every year from 1500-1504. Although this may not be accurate, it also fits with the description that George was in the bedchamber of Henry VIII in 1529 and had he been born in 1509 or so would have been too young, as it was normally given to older, more mature men. Had he born in 1503/4 he would have been twenty five or twenty six, which seems to fit. Jane Rochford herself seems to have been born around 1505.
    And what about Anne? Well to be honest we will never really know. There is a lot of evidence on both sides to argue the 1501 or 1507 birthdate. Had Mary, her elder sister, been born around 1500, 1501 may seem too early for Anne to have been born, unless Elizabeth Boleyn conceived Anne immediately or soon after Mary’s birth. However this is no reason to support the 1507 birthdate, as yet. Had George been born in 1504, and Mary in 1500, it may seem logical to suggest that a child was conceived a year after every birth. Perhaps we should consider that Anne may have been born in 1502. She would have been eleven when she was sent abroad, which was the youngest age a lady could be to serve in a royal court, and the letter surviving of which she wrote to her father in about 1514 may suggest she was about 12. Girls mature more quickly than boys and if twelve Anne was on the cusp of puberty. It also fits with the suggestions by several sources that Anne was twenty when she returned to court in 1522, which was a highly suitable marriagable age. Mary Boleyn herself was married in 1520 to William Carey, at the age of twenty or twenty-one. Anne was sent to England in 1522 to begin negotiations for a marriage to James Butler, had she been born in 1502 she would have been nineteen or twenty years of age. This fits with Gareth’s statement that Thomas Boleyn married his children off at the age of about 20. Mary was probably 20 when she married in 1520 to Carey and George was certainly no older than 22 when he married Jane Parker in 1524 or 1525. Thus it seems to credible to believe Anne may have been born in 1502, if not slightly earlier in 1501. However we will never know. Jane Dormer does strongly advocate a 1507 birthdate, but it should be remembered she was only born in 1538, two years after the death of Anne Boleyn. Mary I, her mistress, was never close to Anne and she refused to come to court while Anne was queen.
    We should also consider how good Mary’s judgement actually was. She believed Mark Smeaton to be her sister Elizabeth’s father, believing Anne Boleyn to have been guilty of adultery, however Mary never met Smeaton; she probably did not even know what he looked like. She was rarely at court while Anne was in power, or rising in power in the late 1520s. Is it not credible, but unlikely, that Jane Dormer mixed up her facts and that Mary stated Anne was not quite twenty-nine at a different occasion, not at her beheading? The last time Mary Tudor saw Anne before Anne’s coronation was probably in 1530 or 1531, when she and her mother were banished from court. It is just likely that Jane may have misheard Mary, or mixed up her facts; Mary may have remembered Anne Boleyn as a striking, ambitious 28 or 29-year old in around 1531. This would again suggest Anne was born in 1502. Furthermore, Jane Dormer herself never met Anne Boleyn, so she could not judge her age, and she was never close to Queen Elizabeth, she left court at the new queen’s accession. Her evidence is suspect.
    If Anne was born in 1501/2, Henry would have first noticed her, presumably, when she was twenty-three, in 1525. However, let us remember the strange circumstances that occurred in 1522 or 1523.
    Anne had fallen in love with Henry Percy and wished to marry, but the marriage was prevented, not just by Wolsey, but by Henry VIII too. Is it just possible that in early 1523, Henry was in love with Anne, and wanting to save her for himself? Then, she was probably aged around twenty or twenty-one, which even by Tudor standards was STILL young. Katherine of Aragon had been twenty-five when she had borne Henry VIII a prince in 1511, although it did die six weeks later, and in 1527, when Henry did propose to Anne marriage for the first time, she was likely around the same age, twenty-four or twenty-five, and thus ripe for bearing sons.
    Remember, Henry constantly compared Anne to Queen Katherine later on in life, telling her to endure his mistresses and ‘shut her eyes as her betters have done’. Katherine also bore a son, although it die die eventually, in winter 1514, at the age of twenty-nine, and when Anne was 29, probably in the summer of 1531, he would probably still have considered her ripe for childbirth.
    I am sorry, but I do accept the 1501-2 birthdate as when Anne was born, and that Mary Boleyn was born in 1499/1500 and George Boleyn in 1504-5.

  25. Conor Byrne says:

    And furthermore, to just suggest quickly:

    Katherine of Aragon was 33 or 34 when her last child was born and died, in the winter of 1518. By then Henry was in love with Bessie Blount, and his son Henry Fitzroy was born in 1519. Katherine was then thirty-four, and would have no more children.

    The reasons for Anne Boleyn’s fall are political, but what if it was also for personal reasons felt by Henry? Henry will have been fully aware that Katherine had had her last child at the age of 33, and Alison Weir states that she went through the menopause aged 38. If Anne Boleyn had been born in around c. 1502, she would, too, have been 33 when her last child was born – a son, born dead – in January 1536. Is it not just possible that Henry, knowing that Anne’s years were now numbered, and that she could go through the menopause early, like her predecessor, thought it best to marry again?

    It does seem to make sense. Henry would have hardly got rid of Anne had she been 28, for this was still young at the time. Katherine of Aragon had been 28 in 1513, and had gone on to conceive FOUR more times, producing Mary I at the age of 30.
    More importantly, Jane Seymour had been 29 or 30 when she had given birth to the long-awaited heir, Edward, in winter 1537.
    If Anne was born in 1502, she was therefore around 34 when she died, which was near death anyway at the time. Women commonly lived to 40 at the very most. Surely, had she been younger, Henry would have allowed her more time to conceive and bear children.
    Please consider my arguments for this 1501 – 2 birthdate.

  26. Claire says:

    Hi Conor,
    What brilliant arguments! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Although Gareth had me swaying for a while, I still think 1501 for the arguments that you and historians like Eric Ives present. I just can’t see a girl of 6 being sent to the court of Margaret of Austria and a birthdate of around 1501 fits in with Thomas Boleyn’s words about Elizabeth Howard bringing him a child every year in the early years of his marriage. I know that Alison Weir feels that Thomas and Henry, the sons who died in childhood, were the eldest but I’m not sure. Perhaps Thomas was born between Mary and Anne and then Henry between Anne and George, which would explain why George was named “George” and not Thomas after his father or Henry after the king. What do you think, Conor?

  27. James says:

    I hope that you do not mind me saying, but Anne WAS born in 1501. As several people have already pointed out – and as David Starkey has pointed out – the letter written by Anne, was too good to be written by someone aged 6, which she would be if she was born in 1506. Also, the letter that Thomas Boleyn wrote says that Elizabeth Howard gave him children ever year between 1498(when they married; not including that year) and 1504, when George was born. We know that Mary was the eldest, born in 1499. Then there is a year break, in 1500, and Anne came along in 1501. In 1502 was the shortlived son Thomas, or Henry, and in 1503, the other son came along, either Thomas or Henry, depending on which one came first, and then, in 1504, George came along, and was the last born.
    One further piece of information is that, if Anne was younger, she would not have been sent to the netherlands, as she would have been TOO young, and would have written home, but badly, as she would have been very young.

  28. Conor Byrne says:

    By the way, I didn’t mean to come across strongly on my points.
    I know Wikipedia is infamously inaccurate at times, but on the page about Anne’s mother, Elizabeth Howard, it states that the Boleyn parents had SEVEN children: the five we know about, plus 2 more sisters, Catherine and Margaret. Is this true?! Or just a mistake?
    Starkey states that the Boleyn parents were married around 1500, and Gareth Russell believes, I think, in a later date. I think they married around 1499, and that Mary was born either that year or in 1500. It seems, in my opinion, most likely that Anne WAS born around the summer of 1501, in May or June as Fraser offers. It is conceivable that a son, Thomas, followed in about 1502, but died in childhood, with either George or Henry following in 1503, and the other in 1504, but probably George as the youngest son.
    As for Anne’s cousin, Katherine Howard – whose beheading’s anniversary it is on Sunday 😐 – I think she was born between the summer of 1524 or 1525, as I hope to write down one day properly and fully.

  29. jennifer says:

    but u all have to remember also that back in those times it was nothing to be married off early at a young age. the only way to for sure know a lay a much needed agruement to rest is dna.

  30. Bess says:

    I think Anne was born around 1503 – 1504 since she was not short and still called “Petit Boulan” by Margaret of Austria. But however a girl at that time ought to be at least 12 – 13 to be a lady in waiting, but Anne could have been younger because of that nickname.
    But thats just me… 🙂

  31. Daniela says:

    @ Eliza: As mentioned, about the signs:

    Found something onlineaboutGemini characteristics and some ofthe positive ones really fit towhat we know about Anne,cannot saymuch about the negatoive ones andinhowfartheyfit the bill:

    Positive characteristics or personality traits of Gemini

    *Bestowed with eloquence

    *Natural charm (- she was said to have natural charmor so)

    *Vivacious personalities (-I think this fits aswell)
    *Free till roots

    *Fantastical and dreamers

    *Highly adaptable

    *Truly open thoughts (-Sometimes too open!)

    *Straight forward

    *Know how to enjoy each moment

    *Crave for knowledge ( I think she did if it comes to religion and politics)

    *Quick learners

    *Strong intellect (yes)

    *Innovative approach (-new religion and supporting books &scriptures in a language that people can understand?)

    *Living life at e at it’s whole

    *Truly friendly in attitude

    *Possess many relations (And no that surely doesn’t mean in a bad way…ironically)

    *Merge with all sort of surroundings

    *Kind and generous from inside (She was generous!)

    *Inclined towards charity – Anne did indeed charity likeproviding funds for poor students etc

    Negative characteristics, or personality traits of Gemini or Mithuna

    *Lack Persistence

    *Difficult to bind in any confinement

    *Lack serious understanding of life

    *Feel bored very soon

    *Lack concentrating strength

    *Gives priority to their own amusements

    *Could turn selfish

    *Indecisive in nature

    *Lack reliability

    Sorry for my typing errors, my keyboard is screwed up and some keys don’t respond, or hard!

  32. Conor Byrne says:

    I believe that Ives’ guess that Elizabeth and Thomas were married by 1498, or 1499, at the latest is the safest one. I think it’s entirely credulous that Mary was born in 1499.

    If we believe it this way:

    If Anne was nearing her birthday, i.e. end of May or beginning of June, and she was born in 1501, then Elizabeth must have become pregnant with Anne in August-September 1500, or if Anne was born in 1500, around August 1499.

    If it was say August 1500 when she became pregnant with the future Anne, this must then give us clues to Mary’s birth, if Mary was the elder. Looking at Anne’s own pregnancies as an example – although this is pure guesswork – she became pregnant with her second child 3 months after Elizabeth was born in 1533.

    If Elizabeth became pregnant with Anne a few months after bearing Mary, is it too fanciful to consider whether Mary also was born in the early summer, perhaps April or May? If so, could Mary perhaps have been born in May 1500? or May 1499?

    Pure guesswork, but I do feel the 1501 birthdate for Anne rings true, perhaps the end of May 1501, or at the very latest 1502.

  33. Conor Byrne says:

    Interestingly, I have just read Retha Warnicke’s article on Anne Boleyn’s childhood and adolescence. It is very persuasive, but I have the sense that Warnicke deliberately distorts evidence in order to back up her theories. For instance, she claims that Anne only became Katherine’s maid of honour in 1527, when I always believed it occurred in 1522. And her claim that Mary Boleyn was aged 11 when she married is ridiculous.
    Nonetheless, I think we should keep an open mind as to 1507. As Gareth pointed out, the Boleyn parents may only have married in 1501, seeing Mary born that year or the next. She did, after all, become a maid of honour in the French court in 1514, aged probably thirteen.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Yo siempre he estado aferrada a la idea de que Ana nació en 1507. De haber nacido en 1501, habría tenido 32 años cuando dio a luz a Isabel. Después del nacimiento de la futura reina Isabel I, Enrique todavia mantenia la esperanza de que tendrian hijos pero recuerden que una mujer de treinta años ya no se consideraba joven en la epoca Tudor. Tan solo veanlo desde la perspectiva del rey Enrique, ¿habrías considerado apropiada para tener herederos a una mujer a la que se le estaban pasando sus años reproductivos? En cambio, los 26 años eran una excelente edad para alumbrar a un hijo.
    En cuanto a la teoria a favor de la fecha de 1501, que argumentan que Ana no pudo haber muerto a los 29 años ya que aun era joven y capaz de tener hijos, deben recordar que su supuesto fracaso en concebir no fue la unica causa de la caída de Ana.

    Aparte el testimonio de Jane Dormer es muy relevante. Ella nacio despues de la muerte de Ana, pero conocio a María Tudor. Jane Dormer dijo que Ana tenía menos de 30 años cuando murio. ¿Que razones tendria para mentir acerca de la edad de la odiada madrastra de María?

  35. Sarah says:

    I’m more swayed by the 1507 birthday. Everyone says that there’s no way a 7 year old would be sent to Margaret’s court but that was the exact age Anne Brandon (The daughter of Charles Brandon) was when her father secured her a place there. I believe that this birthdate also solves another question: If Anne arrived at court sometime in 1522 why did it take Henry so long to notice her? Part of the reason most likely is that Henry was occupied with her sister Mary but it could also be that in 1522 Anne could have only been 15 and perhaps hadn’t fully grown into the cultivated lady that captured Henry’s eye in 1526 when she would have been 18/19.

  36. Amberlyn Fox-Boleyn says:

    Anne Boleyn’s Date Of Birth is May 5th 1507. I have a strong unshakable belief that this is correct. I don’t know why I have this date or year, but there is no doubt in my mind this is the correct date. The feeling is too strong to dismiss. Sometimes, I just know things. This is one of those times. Take it or leave it.

  37. Diane Watson says:

    I would like to put forward the date of 26th July for Anne’s birthdate which is the Feast of St Anne. This would make her a Leo which I think suits her personality

    Leo is confident and full of vigor and energy. This can make them successful in everything they set out to do. These qualities can be contagious to those around them, and this results in a lot of creative energy and possibilities opening up in front of all those who enjoy their presence. Determined and loyal, Leos will make good friends, and their warmth and childish nature will be a real joy to be around most of the time. They know what respect means and won’t ever willingly jeopardize someone’s personal progress, no matter how hard the road gets.

    If a Leo gets too detached from their emotional side, they can become extremely annoying. Separated from their heart, they become separated from compassion, too demanding, and fully unaware of their own responsibilities, while closed for constructive criticism. Impulsive and set in their ways, these individuals can get difficult when they think they are right, even to the point of conflict that has no resolution. In general, this will rarely be shown, and even though their temper sometimes spins out of control, they are warm enough and aware enough not to endanger things that are truly important to them. When turned to negative things in life, some of more tired and weaker Leos easily become drama queens, but this never decreases the love they feel for people they are close to.

    Leo In Relationships
    As a fiery representative of fixed quality, Leo is stable and reliable in most cases when it comes to interpersonal relationships. They can be counted on for practical issues, and they will always give a helping hand if you need it, in their own way. However, they can be too rigid with their walls built too high, and sometimes turn to dominance instead of compassion, just to avoid closeness and the hurt they fear simply for not knowing how to cope. They might understand other people’s deeds, the way in which to rule, or their own mind, but they rarely understand matters of the heart enough to slow down, take a breath and stop being to proud to cry.

    Positive Leo Traits
    Warm as an individual guided by the light of the Sun itself, a Leo is always passionate and warm, to their benefit or loss. This passion they carry inside will make them straightforward and brave, often raising the quality of life for many people they cherish.

    Loyal simply because they can’t see a reason not to be. If a Leo ever ends up in a mess of dishonesty, their entire life will lose much of its potential and quality, and once they realize this, they will remain true to themselves and those around them, every step of the way.

    Energetic as if their mission in life is to fill up everyone else’s batteries. They become incredible teachers when they learn that there is nothing that cannot be done. Even though they don’t always push things in the best possible direction, they are still incredibly strong and they will make everyone around them feel powerful and capable.

    Negative Leo Traits
    Dominating simply because their nature of a leader takes over even when it is not required, necessary, or wanted at all. The feel of the atmosphere surrounding them will help this tendency greatly, as they learn that what they think has to be done, maybe doesn’t have to be done at all.

    Arrogant as they tend to see their own view as the only one that matters. A Leo has to work on their ability to value other people’s opinions. This isn’t so much a matter of respect as a matter of togetherness and teamwork.

    Impatient as a follower trait of domineering. Once they decide on things that have to be done, they will want them done right away, and their deep positive understanding of the fact that there is nothing that cannot be done can become a problem when assessing what other people are prepared to do, or realizing the time some things need to develop in a wanted direction.

  38. Elizabeth Martiniak says:

    I tend to go with the 1501 date for her birth. Even with the grammatical mistakes, her letter to her father from Belgium looks to have the motor coordination of an older child. I work with second graders, and it is very difficult for me to believe a child of seven could have written such a letter. Also, given she was in the process of learning French, the grammatical mistakes are to be expected.
    If she were as young as her her early twenties while waiting for King Henry to get his divorce from Catherine, why would she have made the comment that she had wasted her time and YOUTH, when she could have made an advantageous marriage and had children. Early twenties was old for a first marriage, but not unheard of. But, were she nearing thirty, her comment makes much more sense. Then, she really had seen her youth pass her by.
    Alison Weir has a theory that Anne may have been rhesus negative and that was why her subsequent pregnancy (pregnancies) ended tragically. But could it also not have been because of her advancing age? It has been scientifically proven that women as they get older are more susceptible to miscarriages and that could have been the case with Anne.

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.