I consider myself lucky to have stood before The Royal Collection’s sketch labeled ‘Anna Bollein Queen’ and attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger, (1) twice in the last couple of years— once in New York City and again in Cleveland during the fantastic traveling museum exhibition, The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England. It was in the latter location where I overheard another visitor say to her companion, “This is Anne Boleyn? Not very attractive was she? Look at that chin.”
So of course I turned and looked, said nothing, but thought a lot of things. To be fair, I can understand her sentiment. Anne’s well-known persona sings more of a glamorous, elegant, and stylish queen and for that reason alone, some people believe the sitter in the sketch cannot be the iconic Anne Boleyn.
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Update (January 24): The fantastic Talking Tudors podcast published an episode today about Marguerite de Navarre. I have added a link in the ‘further learning’ section of the article if you are keen to learn more about this ‘visionary queen’. I have already listened to it and it is a wealth of information.