The Tudor Society

Who’s your favourite Anne Boleyn actress?

There have been some wonderful portrayals of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, but which one is your favourite?

Natalie Dormer in "The Tudors"

Claire Foy in Wolf Hall

Anne of the Thousand Days

The Other Boleyn Girl movie

The Other Boleyn Girl (BBC)

Helena Bonham Carter in Henry VIII

Merle Oberon in The Private Life of Henry VIII

Dorothy Tutin in the series "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"

Charlotte Rampling in "Henry VIII and His Six Wives"

Six the Musical

Maria Callas

There are 6 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    I voted for Genevieve Bujold, narrowly over both Dorothy Tutin and Natalie Dormer. I’ve not seen Six the musical, the opera, or Charlotte Rampling (I cannot find this version anywhere. I loved Keith Michel, i saw the Six Wives of Henry Viii,l and would like to see this one, too.) I was not particularly fond of Claire Foy, as Anne Boleyn. I love her as an actress, seen her and thought she was fantastic in everything else I had seen. I think she was horribly mis-cast here in Wolf Hall. Which I love, its one of my favorites. Anyway, thanks for the poll and the videos! Michelle t

  2. R

    I would vote for Genevieve Bujold but I think its fairer to vote for a more recent actress so Natalie Dormer as she has the right mannerisms and could use her eyes to dismiss people.

    I am going to say I do disagree with a black actress playing Anne Boleyn who sorry folks was white despite having dark hair and eyes and a possibility of being tanned. I am tanned normally but I am still white. People complain when white people historically have played Asian historical people and not native Asian actresses so why should a white Queen be played by a black actress? It may be fictitious but the Queen is still a real person. I have no problem with a black actor or actress playing fictitious characters who can be any race you choose or in some cases like Dr Who any sex or race, not a problem. For example the main family in the new film The Witches are a black American family, whereas in the original the family was white and English. No problem with that at all. In Solomon and Sheba she was incorrectly a white Queen while the real Sheba was African. A new film would have an African actress correctly. In reverse it should be perfectly acceptable to say a white historical figure should be played by a white person. In the Spanish Princess Katherine has red hair correctly and her lady in waiting correctly has Moorish African looks. There is a need to promote more black people in the media, film and drama in positive and leading roles, but I am sorry if a person is historically known to be white or historically known to be black or Asian, then the actor or actress should be from their ethnic nationality. I am not sparking a debate either but its something I feel passionate about, the accuracy of historical drama and portrayal.

    I have been watching several Russian dramas on Amazon Prime made in Russia, about Russian history, in Russian, produced in Russian with the Russian cast playing the roles. In some other historical people from other nations have appeared. In Sophia for example, a team of Italian architects and painters came to rebuild the Church of the Dominican or Annunciation and all were Italian actors. The Tarter Lords were played by actors from Asia. In Ekaterina the same thing. If correct portrayal of historical people is o.k for Russia why do we always get it so wrong? There is a time and place for political correctness and for the promotion of talented black actresses and we should be doing a lot more. Having a black actress play Anne Boleyn isn’t historically correct and its as bad an idea as the Other Boleyn Girl.

    Rant over, sorry.

    1. C - Post Author

      Personally, I don’t have a problem with a black actress playing Anne in a fictional series which is not meant to be accurate. I didn’t have a problem with some of the founding fathers being played by black actors in Hamilton, the cast of Six being multi-racial, and Sophie Okonedo playing Margaret of Anjou in the Hollow Crown, or in the same way that I haven’t minded Anne Boleyn being played by blue/grey eyed actresses or actresses who are not English. These were all fictional but with real historical people.
      If it was a factual programme, then it would be weird, but if the programme/play/movie/series is not making any claims about accuracy, then these actors are simply playing a part inspired by history. Just my view.

      1. R

        Apparently, Merle Oberon was mixed race, according to someone I read, although not necessarily a reliable source, but I didn’t know that. Randolph was played by a Black actor in Mary Queen of Scots and the actress from Humans who is mixed race played Bess of Hardwick.

        In the film 55 Days to Peking the main Chinese characters were played by an array of excellent British actors made up. A number of people in the industry now consider this to be wrong today. I think its those objections which have fired people up on this. Its just my opinion. I am sure the lady will do a good job, it’s very weird though. I love Dan Jones, very colourful in his expressiveness. I will probably reserve judgement until I have watched it. As you say it’s unlikely to claim to be accurate in any case.

  3. L

    I agree that both Natalie and Genevieve were outstanding in their own ways, and both gave wonderful performances! They will certainly be remembered as very strong Annes!!

  4. C

    Beeing a opera lover also, I just HAVE to add the amazing Anna Netrebko to the list 🙂
    In my opinion more beautiful and a lot stronger than Callas.
    The music by the great Donizetti is so powerful, you can just feel her pain.

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Who’s your favourite Anne Boleyn actress?