As busy as I have been with my selling of Anne Boleyn replica necklaces, I have found some time to work on my book. There are many, many books about Anne Boleyn but I feel like I do have some original thoughts and theories. I’d like to share a small portion of my writing.
“1536 should have been a golden year for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn–after all, it had begun with the death of one of the greatest obstacles to their happiness, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne was again pregnant, this time with what surely was going to be the longed for male heir that would make up for the chaos and disappointment of the previous years.
Yes, it was going to be a memorable year, but not one that would be remembered for triumph, but for tragedy.”
More to come!
I do apologize for the lack of posts in recent months. I have been working to build my jewelry business. My number one seller is still my Anne Boleyn replica B necklace, but I now offer a version that is made with real grade B or grade A freshwater pearls.
I’m also continuously working on designing other letters so that I can offer the entire alphabet. I haven’t been happy with any of my designs yet but I’m hoping to be able to offer them by next year. I’d also like to offer them in silver.
For the month of May my shop is quite busy–I have started giving away free Anne Boleyn cameo pendant necklaces with every purchase of a B necklace. My reason for this was mostly my attempt to make May a slightly happier time for those who are remembering Anne’s tragic execution. Such necklaces are great conversation pieces that allow for the wearer to tell the story of the subject of the necklace, which means to me that more people have chances to explain that Anne was not guilty, that she was not a low-born seductress who only wanted the crown, and that she did not have six fingers, as well as being able to discuss her charity, education, faith, and wit.
If you are interested in supporting this cause, or just interested in owning a beautiful piece of jewelry, you can get yours here at:
As well as occasionally blogging about my own historical research, I’m writing a book. Another book about Anne Boleyn? Yes. Why?
Because there are centuries of misinformation to attempt to undo, and it’s going to take more than a few passionate historians to try.
People watch The Other Boleyn Girl and learn that Anne played the king until he forcefully had his way with her. That she actually tried to conceive with her own brother.
They watch The Tudors and learn about an ambitious family who used Anne as if she accomplished nothing on her own.
In Wolf Hall, we see Anne as being cruel and demanding…an unbearable nag.
These portrayals of Anne exist because we have historians not looking at evidence objectively. We have people taking the correspondence of Chapuys (who never disguised his hatred for Anne) and using it as pure truth. We have historians misinterpreting events, as well. We do not have Anne’s responses to Henry’s love letters. How does one then arrive at the conclusion that she was keeping him “at arm’s length” until he promised to place a crown on her head?
In all of these portrayals of Anne, she falls out of favor with Henry when Jane Seymour comes along. Henry wants to get rid of her, and so she loses her head when accused of adultery.
It baffles me that some historians think that she was guilty.
And so my work truly begins. People will challenge me and criticize my ideas, my writing style, and my knowledge…but I have to put it out there.
It’s the least I can do for someone who has inspired me from such an early age.
As well as being a full-time European History student, I make and sell necklaces on Etsy. My shop’s title is “OrganzaExtravaganza”–I started out by selling Tudor portraits set in cameo pendants that were attached to organza ribbon necklaces. These days the only thing that I am selling is my handmade replica of Anne Boleyn’s B necklace.
Of course, I am not complaining about this. I have been quite successful and my version of the necklace is what is being sold on THE Anne Boleyn Files website (A great place to learn about Anne and Tudor history–check it out!).
I started making my own version of the necklace because, like many fans of Anne, I wanted one, and it is surprisingly difficult to find a version that I actually wanted to buy. There are several out there–some made of clay that I had tried that broke easily, some strung with plastic pearls on clear plastic thread that also broke easily…and none of the Bs looked right. I wanted something beautiful that lasted.
I decided that my version was going to start with durable white string, and I was going to hand-knot it between each pearl so that *if* it ever broke, the pearls would not end up rolling around on the floor, as had happened to me before. The pearls were not going to be plastic, but glass, and I was going to also offer a luxury version made of the highest grade cultured freshwater pearls (soon to be in stock!). The B was going to be gold-plated, but most importantly, it was going to look like the Bs in the various portraits of Anne that show her wearing the necklace.
I made one for myself, but I had enough supplies to make five more. I decided to list them in my Etsy shop.
They were sold within a few days.
I ordered more supplies and kept making them because people kept buying them. I am still surprised at my own success.
“Kings Ms. 9”. I had sent at least nine emails to a wonderfully helpful woman at the manuscripts services department of the British Library and now I had what I needed to request a book that I never thought I would be able to hold. Over the previous weeks I had had to fill out several pages of information to apply for a special pass that would grant me access to the manuscript reading room at the St Pancras location. I still did not think that I was going to be given access to the book–it was rare and valuable and I am not a famous historian, just a history student with a dream. I have always believed that rather than playing him for power, Anne Boleyn was in love with Henry and inside of this book was proof.
Anne Boleyn’s famous B necklace–a gold B with three attached teardrop pearls hanging from a choker-length strand of round pearls. We all know it well. Almost every actress who has played Anne Boleyn has worn one on screen. It is frequently used on book covers. It is on its own shirt in the Tower of London gift shop. It is also the logo for my page here.
I have been asked many times “what happened to the original?”. In short, we have no idea. We can’t even be sure of how frequently she wore it.
There are many portraits that show Anne wearing the necklace, but no portraits exist (that we know of!) that were painted during her lifetime. The only contemporary likeness we have of her is the medal in the British Museum, in which she is wearing a cross, rather than the B necklace.
We do, however, have the John Hoskins miniature portrait of Anne. In his amazing book, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives states that the Hoskins miniature is “the best depiction of Anne we are ever likely to have, failing the discovery of new material”. Though this miniature was painted in the 17th century, Eric Ives believed that it was based on “an ancient original”–that perhaps the painter had access to an original portrait that had been done by Holbein during Anne’s lifetime! This “lost” portrait is said to have been owned by a Lord Lumley (an art collector who may have tucked the painting away rather than destroying it after Anne’s death) in 1590 (there was an inventory of his property when he was in dispute with Queen Elizabeth I over a financial debt) and existed until 1773, when it seems to have vanished. Perhaps it’s still out there somewhere…Perhaps we are so familiar with these newer paintings of Anne that we do not even recognize her true image and have mislabeled contemporary portraits of her…but in it, she wears the B necklace.
Do we think of the B necklace as something that Anne wore frequently because of the many copies of her likeness in which she wears it, and the many actresses that sported their own version in various shows and films, or was it really a favorite piece of jewelry?
“The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, Eric Ives, 2004, p. 43
Greetings to all who have happened upon this, my first post. I have started blogging because I thought that it would help me to practice my writing and get it out into the world–“publicity”.
I know, I know…Another person writing about Anne Boleyn…What could I have to say that’s any different from what’s already been said? Well, a lot, actually.
My fascination with Anne began when I was about twelve. I was looking for something new to read in my school library and tucked between two other hardcover books was a copy of Carolyn Meyer’s “Mary, Bloody Mary”. I read the back. And then the inside cover…before I knew it the bell was ringing and I was well into chapter two. I took the book home and finished it about two days later. I felt so sorry for this young girl, Mary and her poor discarded mother who had been queen.
I hated Anne Boleyn.
I couldn’t get enough of Mary’s story so I went back to the library and found another book–this one was not an historical fiction. It included black and white photos of portraits! I immediately skipped to the photo section and my heart jumped as I opened right to the striking image of a seemingly smirking woman with sharp features and dark hair. Though she was not beautiful, I was entranced, like so many before me. Who was this? Why did she seem to be smirking? On the bottom of the page I read the words “Anne Boleyn–National Portrait Gallery”. Instead of borrowing that book from the library, I went home and spent hours researching Anne Boleyn.
I found that even at a young age, I seemed to have much in common with her. I also found that she was not a grasping “shrew” or a “concubine” who bewitched a king into discarding his true wife, but an amazing, intelligent, charitable, strong, and opinionated woman.
I love Anne Boleyn, and my goal is to write about her so that fewer and fewer people ask “wasn’t she bad?” in response to that.