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"I did nothing to you. I was innocent. All the accusations against me were false- I thought you knew."-Anne Boleyn 

Queen Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII and the Queen Consort of England from June 1, 1533 to May 17, 1536. A short-tempered yet charismatic and intelligent young woman, she appears in seasons 1, 2 and in a dream sequence in the fourth season finale of The Tudors.

Anne is introduced to Henry by her father, Lord Thomas Boleyn; who wishes to improve his own social standing by having one of his daughters seduce the king. She is portrayed by English actress, Natalie Dormer in an award-winning role, which spans 21 of the 38 episodes. 

Anne infatuates the king by denying him. She refuses to be his mistress which only increases Henry's desire to marry her. She is part of a conspiracy with her father and the Duke of Norfolk to ruin their longtime enemy, Cardinal Wolsey. During her rise to power she manages to make more enemies, which leaves her with few allies when she falls out of Henry's favor.

Despite Anne's eventual execution (May 19, 1536) her legacy continued through the English Reformation - and through her daughter, Elizabeth I; who became the queen regnant of England in what is called the Golden Age.

Season One[]

Anne Boleyn is the younger sister of George Boleyn and of Mary Boleyn, who becomes Henry's short-time mistress in episode 2.  She and Mary are shown at the end of the first episode of The Tudors in Paris with their father, the ambassador to France and a minor nobleman; he says that they will have the opportunity to ingratiate the King while he is in France, both of them having served as ladies-in-waiting to the French Queen.  At the end of episode 1.02, Thomas Boleyn is dissapointed by Mary's failure and tells Anne she must take Mary's place, to restore their family's favor with the King.  Anne muses that she may also be rejected, but Thomas reasons that Anne's more unique than her sister and she'll be able to keep the King's interest longer (pointedly remarking, "I daresay you learned things in France?...")

Henry and Anne meet for the second time (Season 1)

Henry first sees Anne at the summit he holds with King Francis, but doesn't think much of her. Eventually, while performing in a masquerade in episode 1.03, Henry dances with Anne and they share an intense moment; he continues to gaze after her.  When he encounters Lord Thomas Boleyn shortly afterward (having mostly ignored him before), he elevates him considerably and asks after Anne.  Boleyn immediately arranges for her to be brought to court as a lady-in-waiting for Queen Catherine, telling her to 'put herself in the King's path'.  When she arrives at court, she turns many heads with her exotic features and continental style.  At the end of the episode Henry dreams of pursuing Anne into a room where she stands naked, and she tells him to seduce her- 'ravish me with your words'- by sending her letters and poetry.

Henry becomes infatuated with Anne and kisses her in episode 4, but she breaks the kiss and says she has to get back to her ladies.  Anne's deliberate avoidance flames Henry's attraction into an obsession, and he sends her jeweled brooches fit for a queen. Uncertain of his intentions, Anne politely returns them and returns to her family home of Hever Castle.  The poet Thomas Wyatt is shown to be deeply in love with Anne (they were once betrothed) but Anne refuses to return his affections anymore because he is married, telling him to stay away from her.

In episode 5, Henry visits Anne and requests that she be his mistress, but she declines for fear she will be discarded, as Mary was. He promises not to have a thought or affection for anybody else (a promise proven worthless in season 2), but Anne refuses to give herself to anyone but her husband. Henry leaves in a fury, storming back to court annoyed. Anne's eyes tear as she realizes she's upset the King, whom she is genuinely growing to love. However, later on in the episode Anne and Henry are seen making out passionately on a bed, and she has apparently agreed to become his lover. She promises to bear Henry a son- when they are married.

In the following episode, Henry sends Anne the first of many love letters, stating "For what joy in this world can be greater than the company of her who is the most dearly loved?" However, Anne is told by her father and uncle (the Duke of Norfolk) to use Henry's love to their advantage. Anne keeps her genuine love for Henry secret, knowing they will disapprove.  Her family is increasingly favored by the King; Catherine quickly realizes where Henry's interests lie and tries to warn Anne off in episodes 1.06, but Anne refuses to be intimidated, demonstrating her boldness when she brazenly talks back to the Queen without permission.  Catherine is angered by Anne's impertinence, but her response- merely dismissing her from among her ladies - seems rather feeble, indicating she's actually afraid of Anne. 

Anne challenges Catherine (Season 1)

When a plague breaks out, Anne is struck by the sweating sickness and begins dying. Her brother George (the only member of her family who genuinely cares about her besides her sister) and King Henry are both devastated, and Henry forces the royal physicians to go to Hever and tend to her. He is told she'll by dead by morning and there is no hope, but Anne is still alive in the morning and she and Henry run up to each other, kissing, and Henry thanks God for saving Anne's life. 

Anne and Henry talk with the French Ambassador (Season 1)

Anne argues with Henry about the delays to his annulment

Henry's desire for Anne and his obsession with a male heir to secure his dynasty, rather than his 'conscience', drives him to want an annullment to his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. However, the granting of the divorce is delayed, and Henry continues his affair with Anne.  With both their frustrations mounting, she directs his anger towards Cardinal Wolsey as a possible obstacle.  This allows the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Boleyn and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (who hates the Boleyns, but hates Wolsey even more) to usurp the Cardinal and elevate both themselves and the lawyer Thomas Cromwell, a family ally.  Meanwhile, Anne cautiously introduces Henry to the Protestant faith as a way out of his marriage, giving him a book describing the king as head of the church in his own dominion; thus, she, along with Cromwell, help set the stage for the Reformation in Season 2.  Henry increasingly shows Anne off as his new lover, kissing her in public and having her accompany him whenever Queen Catherine is not present.  Her father is made an Earl and a council member after Wolsey is deposed, and her brother George is made Lord of Rochford.

In the season 1 finale, Anne is shown wearing a purple dress at court, which offends most of the nobility there, as purple is the color of royalty; they are further offended by her disparaging remarks towards Queen Catherine. In the final scene, Henry rides with Anne into the forest and they begin kissing passionately. Eagerly stripping off their clothes, they engage in a wild sexual encounter, but when Henry reaches his climax Anne forces him to perform coitus interruptus to avoid impregnating her. Bellowing in frustration, Henry storms away upset, and Season 1 ends. 

Anne wears royal purple (Season 1)

Season Two[]

King Henry and Anne Marquess of Pembroke (Season 2)

Having been appointed Marquess of Pembroke (a prestigious noble rank) by the king shortly after Christmas, Anne Boleyn is now formally acknowledged as Henry's mistress at court, although she still intends to remove Catherine as his queen and bear him legitimate children. On the other hand, the hostility the court originally aimed at Wolsey is now directed at the Boleyn family (who dominate the council) and at Anne in particular; Sir Thomas More suspects her involvement in a poisoning attempt on Bishop Fisher (who opposed Henry's annullment) in actuality, her father masterminded the attempt by bribing a chef to poison Fisher's food. After discovering Catherine still makes Henry's shirts, Anne yells at Henry, saying "you can't have three people in a marriage". Henry then orders Catherine to stop making his shirts; she's exiled to the Castle Moor shortly after, and Anne takes over her quarters in the palace. Anne is also introduced to the musician Mark Smeaton by Thomas Wyatt, who has been elevated considerably.

In episode 2.02, Henry takes Anne to France, both to renew a friendship treaty with King Francis and present her as his betrothed. Francis recognizes Anne from her days as his Queen's lady-in-waiting and greets her as a friend, but warns her of the challenges she will face as a Queen, especially as she was not born into the world of monarchy; Anne also greets her sister Mary Boleyn, who has come back to France briefly after her husband died. Later that night, Anne finally submits sexually to Henry, asking him to help her concieve a son. They then have unrestricted sex.  While she is in Calais, Anne unknowingly avoids an assasination attempt by William Brereton- hired on behalf of the Pope by Imperial Ambassador Chapuys, an adamant supporter of Catherine of Aragon. 

Henry and Anne's private wedding ceremony (Season 2)

By the following episode, Henry's tired of waiting for his anullment, and secretly marries Anne- who is now pregnant with his child- to legitimize the baby.  Her power rises dramatically when Catherine is formally banished from court; so is her daughterMary, who despises Anne. Catherine's stripped of her title as Queen as well as much of her income after the new Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (who is a Lutheran) nullifies her marriage and validates Henry and Anne's marriage, openly defying the Papacy. Mary is declared King Henry's bastard and demoted to the title of Lady Mary.  Anne is finally crowned Queen of England by Cranmer. However, the crowds of peasants who have turned out for this event are sparse, as Anne is unpopular, and Anne narrowly avoids another assasination attempt by Brereton.  This time, Henry and her family notice the attack, and although they fail to catch Brereton, he is correct in assuming it is an act of terrorism. This only serves to give Henry further justification to denounce the Papacy and have the Church of England secede from the Vatican.  Anne instructs her household to convert and to keep “good” etiquette, displaying a Bible written in an unheard of language in those days: English. Her sister Mary visits her while she's heavily pregnant, and later joins her staff.  At the end of episode 2.03 Anne gives birth to a baby girl whom she names Elizabeth. Although she and Henry are extremely disappointed as they both believed her child would be a boy, Henry assures her they're both still young, and sons will follow. 

Queen Anne pregnant with Henry's child (Season 2)

In episode 2.04, Elizabeth is baptized by Cranmer. Henry begins sleeping with one of Anne's ladies-in-waiting (Lady Eleanor Luke) while she's recovering from childbirth; Anne soon realizes this and has George banish her on false accusations of theft. When Anne discusses this with her father, he tells her not to worry as long as Henry claims a mistress who isn't a political threat to her. After revealing to Henry at Christmas that she's pregnant again (which greatly pleases him), she later successfully sets him up with her lady-in-waiting and cousin Madge, but is then shown crying in her bed alone, indicating she's still distressed.  Despite the King's sexual deviance during her pregnancy, she and Henry continue to share affection. Anne tells Mary Tudor (who's become a lady-in-waiting for the baby Elizabeth) that she wants reconciliation and she will convince Henry to reconcile with Mary, and allow her to return to court, if Mary denounced Catherine and her claim to the throne. Mary refuses, stating her mother is the only true queen and correctly refers to Anne as Henry's mistress. Despite saying she wishes for peace with Mary, Anne is visibly frightened by Mary and becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea of Mary being her undoing. She even asks the king to kill her and plots to poison both the young princess and queen Catherine.

Anne's confrontation with Mary Tudor (Season 2)

Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England (Season 2)

Early in episode 2.05, Anne's pregnancy ends in miscarriage after 7 months, both to her and Henry's grief. She and Thomas Boleyn both learn of her sister Mary's marriage to an army officer when she comes to visit them while pregnant; after some hesitation, Anne coldly banishes Mary from court as punishment. Although Anne was pressured by her father to do so, she is also clearly jealous to see her sister with a healthy pregnancy after her own miscarriage. She befriends Mark Smeaton but does not become anything more, although some of her handmaidens suspect her of flirting with him.  Anne's father bullies her about losing her child, warning her she needs to give the King a son and win his love back quickly, or the Boleyns will fall out of Henry's favour and he might restore Mary as his Crown Princess. Henry has indeed been acting more irritable since Anne's miscarriage; unknown to her, he's also still philandering. Frightened, she asks him if he still has passion for her. Henry says he still loves her, then kisses and embraces her, easing her distress. 

Queen Anne (right) and Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk (left), one of her biggest enemies

However, Anne's paranoia of Catherine and Mary as political threats remains high, despite the Act of Succession forcing every man and woman in England to take an oath, which among other things, acknowledges the children of Henry and Anne as the only legitimate heirs to the English throne. Anne knows from Catherine's fall from grace that Henry can change the decree whenever he wants, and she now fears the King's absolute power that she first encouraged him to acquire; now, her attempts to influence the King in political matters make Henry hostile.  This is driven home in episode 2.06 when Anne and Henry argue angrily with each other over the French refusal to accept a betrothal alliance involving Elizabeth.  Anne's blunt remarks (while drunk) did not help the circumstances, but the main reason for the failure is that Catholic France still refuses to formally recognize Anne as Henry's wife or Elizabeth as his heir, despite King Francis' previous friendship with the Boleyns. The argument is somewhat assuaged when Anne plays upon Henry's past problems with France, causing Henry to remark he indeed feels insulted that King Francis declined Elizabeth's hand in marriage to the Dauphin. Anne and Henry's marriage begins to truly fall apart in this episode, and her attempts to speak against her many enemies in court - including all the King's ministers apart from her family, Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell - are ignored, making her vulnerable. Henry is also leaving her alone in the palace more often, and she's convinced he is spending all his time with other women.  She increasingly fears a conspiracy for her death, which she confides in her brother George.

Henry and Anne after their dance (2.07)

After another passionate night with Henry in episode 2.07 which appears to temporarily heal their rift, Anne becomes pregnant a third time, something she reveals after Catherine's death at the end the of episode.  Although Catherine's death removes any illegitimacy of Anne's marriage to Henry, he soon takes an interest in Lady Jane Seymour, a new lady-in-waiting. This interest particularly angers Anne when she sees Jane wearing a locket bearing the king's face, mirroring the expensive necklace he gave to Anne while she was a lady-in waiting to Catherine. Anne tells her father that she is carrying the King's son. Thomas Boleyn berates her for interfering with their ally Thomas Cromwell, with whom she now disagrees on reformation policy, and reminds her that she gained her position through following his instructions and manipulations. Stung, she retorts that she became Queen through her own actions, by making Henry love and respect her for her intelligence and spirit. Initially, despite visible tension, it seems she and Henry are indeed reconciled.

Henry and Anne in episode 2.07 on May Day

However, near the end of episode 2.08 when she's about four months pregnant, Anne, having heard of Henry's injuries while jousting, walks in on Henry kissing Jane Seymour, and flies into a tearful rage; she miscarries her son a short while later. In response, Henry angrily declares God won't grant him any male children, and he tells Thomas Cromwell he was under the influence of witchcraft when he married Anne, and the marriage is null and void.  He's also claimed she influenced him to execute Sir Thomas More. Anne grievingly blames Henry's pursuit of Jane Seymour for her miscarriage, claiming he broke her heart. She becomes extremely paranoid, emotionally unstable and prone to lashing out in the next episode, browbeaten by her father from one side and Henry from the other; feeling obligated to support Henry's interest in an alliance with the Emperor, she disparages the French (her main source of foreign support) only to see Henry yell at Imperial ambassador Chapuys over another matter, leaving her with enemies on all sides. 

Anne's second miscarriage (Season 2)

Anne pleads with Henry (Season 2)

In episode 2.9, Anne's accused of adultery, incest and treason. Although Henry's increasingly resented her for failing to producing a son, it 's really Thomas Cromwell who destroys her, despite being a passionate Reformer like her. In the latter part of Season 2, Anne's become the major obstacle to Cromwell's influence with the king; she not only disagrees with his methods of enforcing Reformation, but threatens him personally. Cromwell gains inconclusive but highly suggestive testimony from Margaret "Madge" Sheldon, the handmaiden Anne set up as Henry's mistress, while Charles Brandon continues to poison Henry against her. Innocent men, Anne's supposed lovers, are tortured into submission and even Anne's brother George is accused of sleeping with his sister - though ironically, her only past love interest, Thomas Wyatt, is eventually released. Anne privately pleads with Henry for "one more chance" attempting to appeal to him through their mutual love for Elizabeth, but Henry angrily rejects her. Brandon is finally sent to Anne with an arrest warrant. 

Charles Brandon leads Anne to the Tower (season 2)

Despite repeatedly denying the accusations, Anne does not resist her arrest and is escorted to the royal apartments in the Tower of London which is paradise compared to most of the men condemned to the same Tower, but spartan compared to the life she knew as queen. In contrast to her attractive handmaidens, three homely maids wait upon Anne. Cromwell later tells Wyatt she pled not guilty at her trial, but Cromwell's 'evidence' was overwhelming and she was sentenced to death. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Thomas Boleyn condemns his children and gives support to the allegations; Anne observes him leaving the Tower alive, though permanently disgraced. From her window, Anne watches her friends and brother executed on fabricated testimony, howling in grief, as she awaits her own fate. Her only remaining ally, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, is unable to regain the King's favor for her. Cranmer also annuls their marriage, lest he find himself also arrested. He sadly informs Anne that her daughter has been declared a bastard, but he will protect Elizabeth as best he can. Anne thanks Cranmer and makes her last confession, swearing on the damnation of her soul that she was never unfaithful to Henry and that she goes to her death hoping that it will serve him. She spends her time in the Tower reminiscing about her happy younger years in continental Europe, and praying. 

Anne's memory of her childhood at Hever Castle

Anne meets her death with dignity (Season 2)


"I confess my innocence, before God.  I solemnly swear, on the damnation of my soul, that I have never been unfaithful to my Lord and Husband, nor ever offended with my body against him.  I do not say I have always shown him the proper humility, which his kindness to me merited. I confess also I had jealous fancies and suspicions of him. But God knows, and is my witness, that I have not sinned against him in any other way. Think not I say this in hope of prolonging my life; God has taught me how to die, and He will strengthen my faith. As for my brother, and those others who are unjustly executed, I would willingly suffer many deaths to deliver them... but since I see it pleases the King, I shall willingly accompany them in death, with this assurance: that I shall lead an endless life with them in peace." -Anne's final confession to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, in the presence of her jailer William Kingston.

In the season 2 finale, Anne prepares herself to die, but her agony is prolonged by delays in getting the executioner to the Tower, and her resolve begins to weaken as she wonders if she will be pardoned. At first, Henry seems somewhat reluctant to kill her despite his rage over the 'confessions' of her supposed lovers - demonstrated by his repeated postponement of her execution and his ultimate choice to behead her, rather than the agony of burning. Charles Brandon, despite his hatred of Anne, believes she does not deserve death either and berates Thomas Boleyn for his indifference to his childrens' suffering. Even Thomas Cromwell, her former ally-turned-enemy, privately seems horrified by the result of his plot against her.  Ultimately, the execution is finally carried out in May 1536.

For the first time, the people show sympathy for Anne as she ascends the scaffold, accompanied by her weeping handmaidens- although a few members of the crowd still shout insults at her initially. With great calm despite her visible fear, she assures the crowd she will die willingly and asks them to pray for both her and the king, which they do; Thomas Wyatt is shown weeping in despair at the back, and Archbishop Cranmer and Edward Brandon (attending with his father Charles) shed a few tears. The executioner, a French master swordsman (rather than an axe) is moved by Anne's dignity and asks her forgiveness for his actions, which she gives him. After removing her cloak and jewels and putting on a cap, she kneels upright and begins to pray, as does the crowd. The executioner then beheads Anne with a single stroke to prevent pain.

Anne's beheading

This episode marks Anne's last appearance for 18 episodes (she reappears in the series finale) in the very last scene, Henry is seen indifferently eating a swan and looking forward to a fresh start with Jane Seymour, his newly betrothed.

Season 3[]

Anne does not appear in Season 3, but she is mentioned several times. In episode 3.01, Sir Richard Riche privately remarks to Thomas Cromwell that, with the very Catholic Jane Seymour on the throne, he almost wishes Anne were still Queen, as she was a staunch defender of Reform- whereas Jane might influence the King to overturn the reformation. However, Cromwell knows that Jane is a far less bold personality than Anne was, and dismisses her as a threat.  The Papacy, on the other hand - as well as many of the Emperor's court- expressed relief that she was gone, with Cardinal Von Walthburg remarking the "death of the whore Anne Boleyn is perhaps a blessing in disguise" since they saw her as the main voice of Reformation in Henry's ear. Henry refers to Anne as a whore who was with 100 men when he refuses to acknowledge Princess Elizabeth as his daughter; however, he later happily welcomes the four-year-old Elizabeth back to court when her stepmother and older sister present her in episode 3.03.

In Episode 3.05, after Jane's death, Henry is shown to be drunk in his quarters with his fool, Will Sommers; Sommers rebukes Henry  for having lost three queens through his own actions, sarcastically describing Anne as "that other one, why, her name's escaped me!. Just as her head escaped her!". Henry is visibly distressed by talking about any of his deceased queens; his first three were the only ones who both loved him truly and were loved by him truly in return. This is perhaps, the only time he shows genuine remorse for Anne's death apart from her final appearance.

In Episode 3.06, the Dowager Duchess of Milan (Princess Christina of Denmark) refuses to marry Henry on the grounds that he got rid of three queens in such a short time; the first suspected of having been poisoned, the second innocently decapitated and the third dying of childbirth from lack of proper care - indicating that, despite their dislike for her, few of the foreign courts were convinced Anne was guilty either.

Anne and her daughter Elizabeth in Henry's vision

Season Four[]

Anne Boleyn is again mentioned in Season 4, in a private conversation between Queen Catherine Parr and Elizabeth Tudor's governess, lady Katherine Ashley, both of whom secretly hold Lutheran beliefs. Catherine suggests Elizabeth should be brought up in the same Protestant reformed faith as her mother, and Lady Ashley agrees, speaking of Anne as a martyr. This proves that, in some circles - especially Protestant ones - Anne was not as universally hated as she was in the royal court, but was instead greatly admired.

Anne Boleyn's ghost rebukes Henry (Series Finale)

Anne makes a brief appearance in the series finale, appearing to Henry in a dream sequence alongside their daughter Elizabeth (now a teenager).

Anne expresses her regret at having neglected Elizabeth in life because of her gender, but now she is extremely proud of Elizabeth, emphasizing how "clever" she is. Henry agrees with Anne that Elizabeth is a daughter to be proud of, and acknowledges her cleverness, but he had kept her at a distance because she occasionally reminded him of her mother and what she had done to him. At this, Anne harshly proclaimed her innocence for the crimes she was accused of, and the cruelty she and her cousin Katherine Howard had unjustly suffered because they had been drawn to Henry. Henry almost breaks down and pleads with Anne not to go, but she still leaves with Elizabeth. This proves that, despite having taken four more wives after her death, Henry still loved Anne in a way, and might have felt some genuine remorse for having her executed.

The very last time Anne is shown is during some of Henry's flashbacks in the final scene; Henry is shown meeting her at the masquerade, watching her dance at Whitehall, having sex with her in the forest, arguing with her after she is made queen, and soothing her when she confronts him and Jane Seymour.

Although Anne's daughter, Elizabeth Tudor, was the last of Henry's children to take the throne, her reign of 44 years - often known as the Golden Age of England - was by far the longest and most successful of any of the Tudor monarchs, including her father. Anne therefore finally obtained positive legacy in England, over 20 years after her death.


Anne's anger

Anne was a spirited, strong woman but she was not without a dark side - primarily manifested in her very cruel attitude towards Catherine of Aragon. She hated Catherine with a passion, even though Catherine never did anything to provoke her; except one single insult calling her "a whore" and protest to Henry. Anne showed open delight when Catherine died and rumour has it that Catherine was poisoned by the Boleyns, although she almost certainly died of heart cancer. Anne could also be kind, however, comforting her maid when she was struck with the sweating sickness and she was also shown to love her daughter Elizabeth dearly. Outside of the court, she would drop her ruthless personality, but whenever around her handmaidens or mingling with individual members of the court, she could be harsh and judgemental, as she was always trying to locate any threat to her marriage and her position as queen.

In later episodes of Season Two, Anne's personality becomes increasingly paranoid, tactless and emotionally unstable, as she fears for her life, her relationship with Henry and her daughter.  

Henry's locket depicting Anne

She was vivacious, cultured and had wit and impeccable style to compensate for her lack of traditional grace. She was also talented at dance and music, very well-educated, and loyal to friends and family. However, she did possess a few annoying traits, like all six of Henry's consorts. She was jealous, paranoid, high-strung and would become very haughty, and sometimes emotional or when under stress, which could sometimes cause problems when she was speaking to diplomats. She was quite outspoken and wilful, something that increasingly irritated Henry after she was crowned queen. Anne was also very brave, being the only one of Henry's consorts; who ever really stood up to him and she was genuinely devoted to the protestant reformation, despising the corruption of the Catholic Church and seeking to protect, and elevate prominent supporters of the Lutheran cause. Her more ruthless, ambitious side developed largely as a result of her father and uncle's manipulations. Thomas Boleyn constantly cajoled, pressured and threatened Anne to keep the king's favor for his own selfish ends and since she was disliked from the start by many of Henry's court (as well as some of her own ladies-in-waiting) she felt she needed to act quickly to secure her position.

Anne after Elizabeth's birth

However, Anne's feud with Catherine irked the common people of England and she was extremely unpopular with most of the nobility, both English and Imperial (though she was initially liked by the French) like her sister, she was referred to privately as a whore and concubine (particularly by ambassador Eustace Chapuys; who secretly hired an assasin against her) although she was never shown to commit adultery (though it's never clarified if she had sex with Thomas Wyatt before she met the king) Although of noble blood, Anne was relatively low-born (although she was of higher nobility than Jane Seymour or Catherine Parr, and equal or higher than Katherine Howard) as she was the first lower-born queen consort that Henry took (as well as the most openly ambitious) this also turned the court against Anne. They merely saw her usurping of the previous queen for her own political and sexual purposes, not realizing she also genuinely loved Henry.

Anne was more independent and assertive than any of the other queens, and Henry could clearly rely on her for advice. Unfortunately, her brazenness made her many enemies, and this combined with her inabilty to give him a living male heir doomed her. However, she ultimately met her end with dignity; she accepted her sentence without protest, yet adamantly maintained her innocence, love and loyalty to her husband.

Anne prays tearfully for Henry's recovery from his injuries (Thomas Cromwell can also be seen praying in the background)

Despite Anne's spirit and intelligence, she was never suited to be Henry's queen because she was more of an equal to him and did nothing to hide it, which Henry disliked in a marriage. With Anne as his mistress, she had no official obligations to him and her bold, assertive intelligence was alluring, but as a wife she was expected to play a more submissive role, whereas Anne intended to use her power as queen as fully as possible. She also refused to tolerate his affairs, unlike Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and (to a certain extent) Catherine of Aragon. In becoming queen, despite her love for the daughter she bore him, Anne more or less doomed her relationship with Henry.

Anne and Henry at Christmas

Although by no means Henry's favorite wife, Anne is the most significant of the six, as his intense desire to marry her sets into motion the Reformation that is a vital theme of the entire series. Their relationship also leads to the birth of one of Henry's heirs, Elizabeth. Of the six queens, she seemed to genuinely return Henry's love more than all the others, (excepting Catherine of Aragon, his original wife) she also reigned longer than any of Henry's queens except Catherine of Aragon and Catherine Parr (though the latter only reigned about six and a half months longer) although her relationship with Henry had begun some seven years before she was married and crowned, so she really had the second longest relationship with Henry. 

Backstory of the actual Anne Boleyn:[]

Anne Boleyn was born between 1501-1507 at Blickling Hall. Her academic education had been in arithmetic, elementary law, her family genealogy, grammar, history, reading, spelling, and writing. She did learn feminine accomplishments in conversation skills, dancing, drawing, embroidery, forms of address, good manners, household management, music, needlepoint, poetry, and singing, games such as backgammon, cards, checkers, chess, and dice, gambling, and outdoor pursuits such as archery, bowls, falconry, horseback riding, and hunting. From 1513 to 1514, she attended Archduchess Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands and learned French under the teaching of Symmonet, a male tutor in Margaret's household. She was then transferred to Paris, France, as a lady-in-waiting for Queen Claude; both Claude and Margaret were very impressed with Anne's conduct and intellect.  It was likely in France where Anne first became exposed to Enlightenment ideals and became a private supporter of religious reform, but Anne in reality was never a serious Protestant, she was according to Historian Eric Ives, an evangelical reformer. she still kept some Catholic doctrine, such as transubstantiation, but also supported the translation of the Bible and Prayer Books into English and getting rid of corruption and superstition.  Anne's European education ended in winter 1521, and she was summoned back to England on her father's orders. She sailed from Calais, in January 1522, for an arranged marriage to her Irish cousin James Butler, Earl of Ormond, but the alliance did not take place.

Anne's debut at court was in March 1522 at a pageant. Around the same year, Anne was courted by Lord Henry Percy, son of the earl of Northumberland and in the spring of 1523, they were secretly betrothed. However, Lord Henry's father wouldn't sanction the marriage after being told of it by Cardinal Wolsey, who could have been acting on the King's orders to keep Anne free for him. Anne got sent to Hever Castle in Kent. She was back to court in mid 1525. At Shrovetide, in 1526, Henry began seriously pursuing Anne Boleyn. Anne refused to become his mistress, effectively dodging his advances and avoiding him for over a year. Henry wrote a series of undated lover letters to Anne, and seventeen of them are now in the Vatican. Henry proposed marriage to her in 1527 and she agreed after some hesitation. This was marked by the gift of a Symbolic Jewel she sent Henry. It had a fine diamond and took the form of a ship in which a lonely maiden was storm tossed. A letter interpreting it accompanied it, confirming that Anne herself was the maiden and Henry was the ship. And later on, a 7-year courtship ensued where Anne held out for marriage and marriage alone.  She reigned as queen for three years until her arrest and subsequent beheading in 1536; her marriage was nullified shortly before her execution, bastardizing her daughter Elizabeth.  However, Anne's legacy was restored when Elizabeth took the throne, many years later.

  • Gentility: Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard. The Boleyns often made ambitious matches with Irish nobility; Anne was previously engaged to an Irish relative of hers. While Anne's ancestry through her father was not of particular note (contributing to the people's dislike for her "low-born" family), her mother's ancestry included several direct links to the former Plantagenent dynasty, meaning Anne had some royal blood in her veins. She was the highest-born of Henry's English-born wives.
  • Position: Anne was originally one of Catherine of Aragon's ladies-in-waiting until her long journey to becoming Queen Consort of England.


  • "Even if he had me, who is to say he would keep me?  It's not just Mary; they say all his liasions are soon over. He blows hot, he blows cold..." Anne about Henry.
  • Henry: "And who are you?" Anne: "Anne... Anne Boleyn."
  • Thomas Wyatt: "Do you like it?" Anne: "(smiles) Should I like something that accuses me of being cruel, Master Wyatt?"
  • "Seduce me. Write letters to me. And poems, I love poems. Ravish me with your words. Seduce me."
  • Henry: "Anne, why?" Anne: "Because I know how it goes otherwise!  My sister is called the great prostitute by everyone!"
  • "Sometimes I wish all Spaniards were at the bottom of the sea... I care nothing for Catherine. I'd rather see her hanged than acknowledge her as my mistress."
  • "He will tire of you, like all the others."- Queen Catherine. Anne: "...And what if he does not?"
  • Anne: "I have a new motto. Do you know what it is?" Henry: "Where is it?" Anne: "On a piece of ribbon, hidden somewhere. You'll have to find it."
  • "I would only be unhappy if you ever stopped loving me."
  • "Here is a book of prophecy.(reading cards secretly laid out by William Brereton) This is the King... this is the Queen... and this is myself, with my head cut off."
  • Anne: "Eleanor Luke.  See the way the King looks at her?" George: "She's his mistress." Anne: "Then get rid of her."
  • "How can you say that to me?!  Don't you know, I love you a thousand times more than Catherine ever did!"
  • "I will welcome you back to court, and reconcile you with your father, if only you will accept me as queen."
  • "I love you, Elizabeth.  I will love you forever, and I bid you never, ever forget it."
  • George: "I don't understand- what harm can they do you now?" Anne (somewhat drunk): "Every harm!  As long as Mary is alive.. she could  become Queen!" George: "No!... No, no- the Act of Succession makes it impossible.  Elizabeth- your daughter- will be made heir to the throne."  Anne: "But the King can change his mind!  He can do whatever he wills now, he has absolute power, you know that!  And what he has given, he can take away- and what taken away, he can give back!  And he could still make Mary Queen even above my daughter!" George: "But why should he?"  Anne: "I don't know, I just fear it!... This is all I know of Mary: she is my death, and I am hers."
  • "And now I am indeed Queen." (A maid arrives and whispers that Catherine  has died)
  • "I know how I got there, Father.  And it was not all you.  It was not all you, or Norfolk, or George, or any other man you want to name!  It was also me.  He fell in love with me, he respected me!"
  • "Oh, my God. Oh my God, what is this?! (Anne walks in on Henry kissing Jane)  Just when my belly is doing its' business, I find you wenching with Mistress Seymour!"
  • "This is not all my fault. You have no-one to blame but yourself for this! I was distressed to see you with that wench Jane Seymour! Because the love I bear you is so great, it broke my heart to see you loved others."
  • "Catherine is dead, and I am pregnant.  I am carrying the King's son. We are on the edge of the golden world!"
  • "Yes, I heard the executioner was very good- and in any case, I have only a little neck." (laughs)
  • "Good Christian people, I have come here to die according to the law and thus yield myself to the will of the King, my Lord. And if ever in my life I did offend the King's grace, then surely with my death I do now atone. I pray and beseech you all to pray for the life of the King, my sovereign Lord and yours who is one of the best princes of the Earth, who has always treated me so well. Where for I submit to death a goodwill, humbly asking for pardon from all the world. If anyone should take up my case, I ask them only to judge it kindly.  (her handmaidens remove her cloak and jewels, and she puts on a cap) Thus I take my leave of the world and of you, I heartily desire all of you to pray for me. (Kneels, closes her eyes and begins whispering to herself) Jesus Christ receive my soul, oh Lord God have pity on my soul, to Lord Christ I commend myself..."
  • Henry VIII: "Why are you here?" Anne Boleyn: "To see my daughter. She was the only pure thing in my life, and in my life I neglected her. Since she was only a girl and I wanted so much to give you a son, but now I am so proud of her. (she gestures to Elizabeth standing next to her) Fiercely proud. She is so clever and though she is like me in so many ways, she is not as intemperate as I was. You must be proud of her too, Henry?" Henry: (suppressing tears of anger and grief) "I am. I am very proud of her and I know how clever she is. And I wish I could love her more, but from time to time she reminds me of you and what you did to me." Anne Boleyn: "I did nothing to you. I was innocent. All the accusations against me were false. I thought you knew. Poor Katherine Howard, she lies in the cold ground next to me. Poor child. It was not her fault either. But we were like two moths drawn to the flame - and burned." Henry: "Anne, please, don't!" (Anne disappears with Elizabeth).

Physical appearance[]

Anne was not considered beautiful by the standards of her time, which prized fair skin and blond hair. However, despite her rather severe features she was still an attractive young woman in an exotic unconventional way: petite in stature and olive-skinned, with long black hair and distinctive black eyes.

In the series, Anne is shown to have piercing blue eyes, which differs from what she is described to be in reliable historical accounts. However, her appearance still retains its famed distinction, and she has a powerful yet alluring presence, despite her petite stature, and her remarkable skill in art, dance, conversation and music made her shine. The producers of The Tudors initially wanted Natalie Dormer (who is blonde) to portray Anne with her natural hair color instead of Anne's dark hair, but Dormer insisted on dyeing her hair dark for the role.

The following paragraphs describe the real Anne Boleyn:

"She was never described as a great beauty, but even those who loathed her admitted she had a dramatic allure. Her dark complexion and black hair gave her an exotic aura in a culture that saw milk-white paleness as essential to beauty. Her eyes were especially striking: 'black and beautiful' wrote one contemporary, while another averred they were 'always most attractive', and that she "well knew how to use them with effect."

"Anne's charm lay not so much in her physical appearance as in her vivacious personality, her gracefulness, her quick wit and other accomplishments. She was petite in stature, and had an appealing fragility about her...she shone at singing, making music, dancing and conversation...Not surprisingly, the young men of the court swarmed around her."