The Tudor Society
  • 26 July – Anne Boleyn and St Anne

    Today, 26th July, is the feast day of St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ. Happy St Anne’s Day to any Annes or Annas out there! Have a wonderful day!

    St Anne was very important to Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, and a pageant at her coronation procession in 1533 took St Anne, combined with Anne Boleyn’s falcon badge, as its theme.

    Find out more about the pageant at Anne Boleyn’s coronation, and why St Anne was chosen as the theme, in today’s talk.

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  • 25 July – A fool gets into big trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th July 1535, the Feast of St James, t, the imperial ambassador wrote about a furious King Henry VIII who’d apparently been nearly driven to commit murder!

    What had angered the king? Well, it involved Henry VIII’s fool and some foolish name-calling. Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 19 May – A dispensation for Henry VIII to marry wife number 3

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th May 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed within the confines of the Tower of London.

    It must have been an incredibly hard day for the queen’s friend, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Not only did he have a visit from a friend regarding a terrifying vision, in the early hours… Not only did he have to cope with the idea of his friend and patron being beheaded, but he had to issue a dispensation for the king to marry again!

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn Wordsearch

    As we’re coming up to the anniversary of Queen Anne Boleyn’s anniversary, on 19th May, I thought I’d test you on your knowledge of those involved in her fall.

    Get those little grey cells working with this fun wordsearch. Warning: the words can go in any direction!

    Simply click on the link or image below to open and print out.

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  • 28 April – A man involved in the falls of two queens

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th April 1548 (some sources say 6 May), courtier, diplomat, soldier and Keeper of Oatlands Palace, Sir Anthony Browne, died at Byfleet in Surrey. He had been one of Henry VIII’s most important and richest courtiers and was also involved in the falls of two queens: Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves.

    Find out more about this man and how he was involved in the falls of the two Annes in today’s talk.

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  • 11 April – Victory for Anne Boleyn, finally!

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th April 1533, Good Friday, King Henry VIII informed his council that Anne Boleyn, the woman he’d married in January 1533, was his rightful wife and queen, and should be accorded royal honours.

    Finally, things were going right for the couple, who had been waiting for this moment since 1527.

    Find out more about what had led Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to this point, and why they thought that the Great Matter would be sorted out much quicker, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 January – Queen Anne Boleyn miscarries

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th January 1536, the same day that Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Abbey, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII suffered a miscarriage.

    Contemporary accounts state that she was around 3 1/2 months pregnant and that it was a boy.

    In today’s talk, I share information given by the imperial ambassador on Anne Boleyn’s miscarriage, including the gossip concerning the king and a certain Jane Seymour.

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  • Remember me when you do pray – what’s Anne Boleyn’s message?

    Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Corinna Hahn for asking the following question for our “Expert Answers” section. It’s a very interesting question.

    I (Claire) opted to answer this one as I’ve done lots of research on the two books of hours in the collection at Hever Castle, and I was lucky enough to hold them and talk to my dear friend, castle supervisor, Owne Emmerson, about them back in May. I’ve included the video below my answer so that you can find out all about these beautiful books.

    Here is Corinna’s question in full:

    “I’ve got some questions about one book of hours that Anne Boleyn owned and that is now at Hever Castle. It’s the one with Anne Boleyn’s inscription under a prayer adjacent to a miniature of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The inscription reads “Remember me when you do pray that hope doth lead from day to day.”

    This rhyme has intrigued me for years, since we don’t know when and where Anne wrote it, to whom she wrote it and what the real message behind her inscription was.

    It seems to me that Anne didn’t write in her prayer books heedlessly, every inscription she has left somewhere is there for a reason and where she placed her “Remember me” rhyme could possibly be a clue to the point of time when she wrote these words.
    My questions are: Under which text did she write her “Remember me” rhyme? Is there a transcription and/or translation of this text? Why did she place her message there? Was the rhyme she wrote meant as a prayer request or a farewell to someone? Is it known who owned the prayer book after her death? Where was the book before Hever Castle acquired it?”

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  • 27 October – Anne Boleyn makes an entrance

    On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 27th October 1532, Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke, made a dramatic entrance to the great banquet held by King Henry VIII in Calais in honour of King Francis I of France.

    I share details from contemporary sources regarding the banquet and the masque that followed. Anne Boleyn definitely knew how to make and entrance and the English ladies must have looked spectacular. You’ll recognise some of the names of Anne’s ladies and those present in Calais.

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  • 21 October – Henry VIII leaves Anne Boleyn behind in Calais

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st October 1532, King Henry VIII left his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, behind in Calais while he travelled to Boulogne to spend a few days at the French court with Francis I.

    The kings were beautifully attired for their meeting and there was a bit of a bromance, with Henry calling Francis his “beloved brother” and Francis instructing his sons to be “loving always” to Henry. However, Anne Boleyn was disappointed with the situation and you can find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 2 October – William Tyndale, Anne Boleyn and a book for “all Kings to read”

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd October 1528, reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale’s book “The Obedience of a Christian Man” was published in Antwerp.

    A copy of this book owned by Anne Boleyn ended up being a catalyst of the English Reformation when it was confiscated from the suitor of one of Anne’s ladies as a heretical book. Henry VIII ended up reading it and proclaiming that “This Book is for me and all Kings to read.” It set him on his path to the break with Rome and saw him marrying Anne Boleyn as his second wife.

    Find out the full story in this talk…

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  • 1 September – Anne Boleyn becomes Marquess of Pembroke

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st September 1532, in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle, King Henry VIII elevated his sweetheart Anne Boleyn to the peerage by making her Marquess of Pembroke.

    This was a hugely significant act because Henry VIII made Anne a marquess in her own right, granted the title to her and her heirs male (legitimate or not) and gave her a title associated with his father, Henry VII, and uncle, Jasper Tudor. It also made her a rather wealthy woman, and a fitting consort for their trip to Calais to meet with King Francis I of France.

    Find out more about what happened on this day in 1532, who was there, and just what Anne Boleyn was given by King Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

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  • 26 August – Queen Anne Boleyn takes her chamber

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th August 1533, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, prepared for the birth of her first child by “taking her chamber” at Greenwich Palace. This child was of course the future Queen Elizabeth I.

    “Taking her chamber” was common practice in Tudor England, and in today’s talk, I explain all of the rituals and traditions involved, as well as describing what Anne Boleyn’s chamber would have been like.

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  • 1 June – Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st June 1533, Whitsunday, Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony performed by her good friend, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.

    It was a long day for the pregnant queen, starting with a procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, then there was the actual coronation, where Anne was crowned with St Edward’s crown, and finally the huge coronation banquet.

    Find out exactly what Anne Boleyn did on that day in 1533 in today’s video.

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  • 31 May – Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 31st May 1533, the eve of her coronation, a pregnant Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, processed from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall.

    This coronation procession is one of those events that Claire would love to travel back in time for as it was a huge procession through the streets of London and there was lots of entertainment, including lavish, pageants, orations, music, and wine flowing in the conduits and in fountains. To be a citizen of London on that day! Wow!

    Hear all about the pageantry in today’s video.

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  • 29 May – Queen Anne Boleyn’s River Procession

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th May 1533, the celebrations for Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation kicked off with a spectacular river pageant on the Thames.

    In today’s video, I describe this amazing river procession, using details from contemporary sources. Fire-breathing dragons, wild men, music, sumptuous decorations… it must have been a wonderful sight.

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  • 12 April – Queen Anne Boleyn makes an entrance with her sixty ladies

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th April 1533, Anne Boleyn made her very first public appearance as King Henry VIII’s official queen consort.

    Anne made quite an entrance! Accompanied by sixty ladies and “loaded with jewels”, she processed to Easter Eve mass at Greenwich Palace, setting tongues wagging.

    Hear an account of this event in today’s video.

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  • 31 March – King Henry VIII as King Ahab, Anne Boleyn as Jezebel

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st March 1532, Henry VIII was left fuming after Friar William Peto likened him to King Ahab and preached against his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Friar Peto also made a prophecy that some believe was fulfilled after the king’s death in 1547.

    I explain exactly what happened on this day 1532 to make Henry VIII so furious, what Peto said and what happened next.

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  • 28 March – Anne Boleyn’s chaplain and almoner John Skip

    Today is the anniversary of the death of John Skip, Bishop of Hereford, on 28th March 1552.

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I talk about Skip’s time serving Queen Anne Boleyn as chaplain and almoner, and a controversial sermon he preached just a month before Anne’s fall.

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  • 23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England’s rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

    In today’s video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

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  • 7 February – A joust, unrequited love and a nasty accident

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February 1526, Henry VIII took part in the traditional Shrovetide joust at Greenwich. In this video, I give details of this joust, its theme and a nasty accident that affected one courtier that day.

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  • 25 January

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th January 1533, King Henry VIII married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, at Whitehall Palace. In this video, I share an excerpt from my book, On This day in History, to tell you more about this event.

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  • Claire Chats – The men of May 1536

    As you know, I’ve just been leading the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour with Philippa Brewell of British History Tours and as well as being the resident historian on the tour, answering questions on Anne Boleyn and Tudor history, I also did a talk on the other victims of May 1536, i.e. the five men who were executed, the two men who were imprisoned and released, and the families left behind.

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  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 2

    In this week’s Claire Chats video talk, I look at a few more myths that surround Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, and challenge them. Please do share your thoughts and any other myths that you have come across.

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  • Anne Boleyn Experience Day 2 – The magic of Hever Castle

    After a night of not much sleep at all – I was too excited to sleep! – we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the Astor Wing of Hever Castle before having free time to enjoy the gardens and castle. I love walking through the gardens before the public arrives because I can pretend that I am the lady of the manor.

    The gardens just cannot be described in words. I cannot do them justice. They are breathtakingly beautiful. I did a couple of Facebook Live videos from the gardens and I hope my excitement and pure joy shone through, I was very excited. Then, I got even more excited because I visited the Hever Castle gift shop to find a display of my books. The staff were kind enough to allow me to take lots of selfies with my books. I also signed the copies they had so that they could sell them as signed copies. Seeing my books on sale in the shop of the Boleyn family home was truly a dream come true, one of those “pinch me” moments.

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  • Anne Boleyn True or False Quiz

    As we’re nearing the anniversary of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, I thought I’d choose her as the topic of this week’s quiz. Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get that thinking cap on and let’s test your knowledge of this famous Tudor queen!

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  • Anne Boleyn Myths – Part 1

    As it is nearing the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution, our informal live chat is on Anne Boleyn this month AND I’m getting ready to go on the Anne Boleyn Experience Tour, I thought I’d talk about some of the most prevailing myths that surround the second wife of Henry VIII. These are the myths that I am challenging and correcting on a regular basis.

    Here is Part 1 and I will be looking at a few more next week.

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  • Was Anne Boleyn a mistress of Francis I?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Lynne for asking this question: “When Anne Boleyn was a teenager in the court of Francis I, did she have a bit of a romance going on with the king?”

    I (Claire Ridgway) will answer this one as I have done in-depth research into Anne Boleyn’s life, including her time in France.

    Anne Boleyn left England in the spring or summer of 1512 to serve at the court of Margaret of Austria in Mechelen. In August 1514, Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, wrote to Margaret to inform her that Anne had been appointed to serve Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. Mary was travelling to France to marry King Louis XII of France and Anne had been chosen as one of her maids of honour. It is not known when Anne arrived in France, whether it was in time for Mary’s marriage on 9th October or whether it wasn’t until her coronation in the November, but Anne served Mary from that time until Mary returned to England in the spring of 1515. Anne was retained by the new queen consort of France, Queen Claude, wife of Francis I, and served her until late 1521 when Anne was recalled to England in late 1521.

    So, Anne spent seven years in France, serving at the royal court, but was she linked to Francis I romantically during that time?

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  • Live chat transcript – Natalie Grueninger – The early life of Anne Boleyn

    Thanks to all who came to our live chat with Natalie Grueninger over the weekend. We had a great time discussing the early life of Anne Boleyn including things like her birth date.

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  • Expert Talk – Natalie Grueninger – The Early Life of Anne Boleyn

    This month’s expert speaker is Natalie Grueninger, author of “Discovering Tudor London” and “In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII”. This talk is all about Anne Boleyn, her lineage, and the ever-fascinating question of when Anne was actually born.

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