“Anna comes, the most famous woman in the world;
Anna comes, the shining incarnation of chastity
In snow-white litter, just like the goddesses
Anna the Queen is here, the preservation of your future”
- Nicholas Udall, In Praise of Queen Anne Boleyn, 1533
Welcome to the home of AnneBoleyn.com! We are excited about the launch of this website, devoted to the life, love – and lies – surrounding the most interesting queen in history.
So you may be asking yourselves...
Why is it time for more information on Anne Boleyn?
Isn’t there so much out there about her already? Yes, there is a lot of material, written and filmed, about Anne Boleyn. But we have discovered that most of it is based on heavily skewed perspectives and shockingly shoddy research. We had no intentions of getting involved in any project on Anne Boleyn initially for the very reason that we thought she had been “done to death” but as we continued to dig deeper, we were stunned – and frankly horrified – at what has passed as history and biography where Anne Boleyn is concerned. This led us to a set of critical questions which would not let us go:
- Why has Anne Boleyn been so deliberately maligned and misunderstood?
- Why, to this day, are biographers and historians so willing, even gleeful, about calling her a whore – and worse?
- Why is the strong evidence that she was a brilliant – and yes, virtuous! – woman completely overlooked?
- What was it about this woman that terrified so many, yet captivates us all to this day?
- And most of all: WHO WAS THE REAL ANNE BOLEYN AND WHY SHOULD SHE STILL MATTER TO US IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
The true story of Anne Boleyn has never been told. Of this, we are certain. There is so much more to the fascinating, world-changing, brilliant courage of Anne Boleyn, and those who loved and surrounded her, than the narrow perspective given us by most history books and historical novels. And whereas fan pages and blog sites continue to crop up, we have discovered that along with the truly great ones, many of these are simply rehashing the same old stories from the usual suspect authors. Worse, some of these sites are so full of crass, tasteless advertising – Anne Boleyn’s Execution Dress! Matching hood and jewelry! Get them all for under 400 dollars! – that they are impossible to wade through without serious eye strain, much less take seriously. Anne’s infamously refined sensibilities would be deeply offended by the gruesome marketplace that has been made of her life. In visiting one of the more popular Boleyn sites today, we encountered twelve pieces of advertising on the first page alone.
So let us stress that we are not here to create a commercial site, we are here to educate, inspire and entertain.
AnneBoleyn.com is privately funded because we believe profoundly that it is time to avenge the name of Anne Boleyn and restore her to a place of respect in history. This site was created by a team of authors so here is the full disclosure: there will be forthcoming books about Anne Boleyn and the other fantastic characters around her which we will discuss and excerpt here. So while we will be discussing our new books, as well as creating a bibliography page with links to the research books that we feel are truly valid, there will be no other advertising on this site. And we promise to keep the book promotion to a discreet and elegant minimum. Anne would want it that way.
What will we be doing on Anne Boleyn.com? We want to be worthy of having this domain name, and we intend to prove to you that we are. We want to create a hub for all who love history as much as we do, and are as obsessed with all things Anne as we are. We will be unveiling our exciting research and some conclusions about Anne Boleyn right here online. Some of it exists from our decades of combined research into the great female leaders of European history, while some of it we will be presenting to you in real time as we trek through Europe digging up the information.
The premise we have been working from over the last year is that none of the current biographers/historians have paid proper attention to Anne’s early years and her childhood. Some of her critical formative years were spent on the continent in the presence of the most powerful and fascinating women in the world. Anne’s childhood was dramatically shaped by these experiences, but few historians write about it in any depth. Why? Because there is very little written about it that is easy to find or readily available in English. Our motto is to “Go beyond the books!” The really juicy and illuminating details of Anne’s life come from outside the traditional sources, and that is where we have been looking. Our research team consists of fluent French, Dutch and German linguists, so we are able to dig into a variety of sources which the average English-speaking researcher does not have access to.
We are willing to take personal and financial risks to obtain relevant data in keeping with our “stop at nothing” approach to research. As an example, when we could not get a clear enough view of an 18th century engraving of Anne to analyze important details – we bought it. It is now in our collection and has offered up several interesting leads, all of which we will share here – and carefully photograph. We have scoured antique book auctions and websites to gain access to rare material, including documents and images. We are not content to take any historian at their word. We will get as close to the original source of the history as possible, and this requires significant traveling over the next year to see some of these clues in situ. We will be gathering data in the UK and on the Continent, and sharing our findings with you as we go.
Finally, our commitment to telling Anne’s true story caused us to take several vows, first to ourselves and now to you.
- We vow to do our best to inspire and excite all who care about Anne Boleyn and the integrity of history by demonstrating a unique approach and an unparalleled, dogged persistence in our search for the truth.
- We vow to present original research, both as raw data and as well considered theories, that will challenge you to re-evaluate all that you believe about Anne Boleyn and her world (ie., a very different portrait of her father, Thomas Boleyn, has emerged from the buried pages of history).
- We vow that we will leave no stone unturned, and that every source will be rigorously cross-examined. We have discovered that many of the Tudor “authorities” quote each other in a neat little circle, with nobody ever double checking the others’ work. This is how “history” is created, and it is full of errors and irresponsible assumptions.
- We vow to be completely honest when we are making an assumption and admit that it is an assumption. We will only state fact when we are certain, and we will verify it in as many ways as possible.
- We vow not to subject you to garish advertising ploys, Anne Boleyn paperweights, Queen Elizabeth keychains, coffee mugs, etc. If such things are your cup of tea, bless you. Google is your friend. There will be no marketplace here.
Finally, we have found so many errors in the “legitimate sources” over the last year that we are still reeling from the shock. Which leads us to another, soon to be trademarked concept*, exclusive to AnneBoleyn.com: The Truth Autopsy!
What is a TRUTH AUTOPSY? This is the process in which we take apart existing historical material on Anne Boleyn, including best-selling books and critically acclaimed biographies, and put it under the mental forensic microscope to see what does – and does not – stand up as the truth. We are betting you all will be as shocked as we were to discover that many of the most respected names in Tudor-dom have a lot of explaining to do. Not only are there hundreds of assumptions made without any kind of attribution at all, but there are gross factual errors that would make a high school journalism teacher turn green with disgust. Major authors who should know better have perpetuated serious and unfortunate errors in some of the most recent and acclaimed books.
* Sadly, while being over-excited and wanting to share our concept and approach with some of the Boleyn researchers online, we discovered that every word we were saying was being, er, “borrowed” and ended up presented on their sites and in their newsletters the next day as their own clever observations. Makes you wish you had a Thomas Cromwell around to deal with the likes of them, but instead we now have to do awful things like copyright and trademark everything. Violators of our copyright will be sent to the Tower.
We look forward to sharing our passion for ALL THINGS ANNE and this exciting new research with you.
[Anne Boleyn collage by Heidi Alfonzo, used by permission]