Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn (flickr, picture by Lisby)
Anne Boleyn (flickr, picture by Lisby)

On 1 June 1533 Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England. She had already been the wife of King Henry VIII since January and the object of his admiration for more than seven years.

Anne Boleyn was born between 1501 and 1507. Yet 1499 and 1512 have also been mentioned as possible years of birth.

Anne's father was a diplomat at Henry's court. She was sent abroad for her education: first to the Burgundian Netherlands (now Belgium) and later to France. In Belgium she served the Archduchess Margaret who was very much impressed with the girl's cleverness and good manners.

After about a year Anne was sent to France to be a maid of honour to Queen Mary and later to her stepdaughter Queen Claude. With Claude she stayed nearly seven years. There, she had the opportunity to learn French perfectly, to acquire knowledge on etiquette, to study music, art, fashion and religious literature and poetry. As a Courtier, she naturally learned about French culture, courtly love, dancing and games of cards and dice.


Anne Boleyn made her first appearance at the English court at the Chateau Vert (French: "Green Castle"), a pageant on 4 March 1522. She played the part of "Perseverance". Her looks were quite different to the Tudor beauty ideals 'pale and fair haired': she had thick dark hair, dark eyes and not very pale skin. The habits and French style Anne brought with her were exotic at the English court and helped to make her a centre of attention. Anne did not, however, introduce the French Hood, more light and coquettish by showing the hair, and the "moost happi" medal shows that she also wore the traditional gable hood. Yet, her importance as the focus of the King's admiration and her ascension to the throne made her unquestionably a style icon for the contemporary noblewomen and courtiers.


© Nina Möller