Each of us can play up to two characters from Anne Boleyn’s inner circle. Meet the players and the characters below:
My name is Sarah Morris. I have been in love with the Tudors since I was eleven years old, and with Anne Boleyn, in particular. She is my historical heroine, a true force of nature and a woman ahead of her time. As a result of this passion, I began writing a novel about her innocence in 2010. This was published in two volumes in 2012 and 2013. It is called Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Two more Tudor books have followed since, this time both non-fiction; In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn and In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII. Both focus on telling the life story of the women in question, but looking through the lens of the places they visited and called home.
The characters I play are Anne Boleyn and Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond. Whilst everyone knows of Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, Mary is less well know. Younger than Anne by some eighteen years, Mary appears in contemporary records as serving a key role to her mistress in great ceremonial events. Unusually, Mary was of the reformed faith, quite at odds with the rest of her powerful, Catholic family. Married to Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she remained a widow from the age of seventeen, after the duke died. Therafter, she forcefully resisted the attempts of her male relatives to secure a second marriage. Like Anne, Mary was a strong woman, who dared to defy convention. I love them both!
My name is Chris Rew. I am a more recent player in the Tudor community. However, I have always had an interest in this fascinating period. I find Henry VIII to be a compelling character. In my professional life, I spend a lot of time with business leaders exploring the leadership challenges they face. Today leadership is a more complex – and subtle – art. As the dominant alpha male of the time, Henry resorted to more drastic measures than we see today to wield his power! This larger-than-life character makes for an engaging experience for all.
The characters I play are a young (and slim!) Henry VIII, and Sir Henry Norris. Henry VIII is perhaps one of the most well known characters in English history. However, his courtiers are less well known, but in my opinion, often equally as fascinating. Sir Henry was a close confidente of the king, serving as his Groom of the Stool from 1526 until his execution ten years later. A popular character at court, Sir Henry was very much part of the cosmopolitan Boleyn faction. However, it was his closeness to Anne and the Boleyns which was to be Sir Henry’s downfall. A minor argument between Anne Boleyn and Henry on the 30 April, 1536, in which the queen accused Sir Henry publicly of looking for ‘dead men’s shoes’, was to seal his fate on the scaffold, on 17th May, 1536.
My name is Zarrina Bull. I love English history and have been particularly fascinated with the Tudor period since I was six years old, when I was given a large ‘readers digest’ book of the history of Britain! From here I poured over the dramatic tales and dark deeds that have shaped our great country. Part of the fascination was the decadent fashion of the key players in history, the power dressing, the romance of the damselesque heroine, the colours, fabrics, and textures that we simply don’t have today. This ultimately led me into studying period/theatre costume construction at the London college of fashion and subsequently starting ‘Tudor Gowns’ in 2011. I now make costumes as commissioned for a variety of events, museums, book covers, weddings and film. (For more information on this, please see our Links page).
The characters I play are Anne Boleyn, the infamous Queen herself, and Baroness Anne Berkeley, who was a lady-in-waiting and close companion to Anne Boleyn. Baroness Berkeley was born in 1496 and died some time before 1546. She was described as being of middling stature with a comely brown complexion and much tender hearted with her two children. Anne Berkeley was one of a small handful of witnesses at the secret wedding of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She is said to have borne Anne’s train during the ceremony.
My name is Louise Hunter Hall. I live in Essex with my husband. I work as a full time carer for adults with profound learning disabilities. In my spare time I work for English Heritage. I fell in love with the Tudors at the age of nine, when I first saw a picture of Anne Boleyn. Something about her called out to me, and a love for that epoch has never left me.
The character I play is Jane Boleyn. Jane was married to Anne’s brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. There is a great deal of debate about whether the couple were happy together. Certainly, they never had children. Perhaps more compelling evidence for the state of their unhappy union though comes from the fact that Jane was willing to testify against both her husband and sister-in-law at their trials in 1536.
She was later embroiled in the infidelilty of her mistress, Queen Katherine Howard. For her complicity, she lost her life at the Tower on the 13th February 1542. For me, she is a women who gives us more questions than answers. For that reason, I am captivated by her story.
My name is Debbie Allen. Like my fellow ‘Boleyns’, I have been fascinated by the Tudor period since childhood, when Tudor re-enactors visited our school. I remember being captivated by the booming sound of King Henry VIII’s voice echoing around the hall. I admired the beautiful gowns of the ladies of the court, and I remember them showing us how to bow and curtsey before the king and queen. It was an experience which always stayed with me and which sowed a seed for my later interest.
Now as a re-enactor, I’m proud to be part of a group who are passionate about recreating this captivating period of English history. The character I play is Lady Elizabeth Worcester, lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn. Born Elizabeth Browne in about 1502, she was about the same age as the queen. She was married by 1527 to Henry Somerset, the 2nd Earl of Worcester, thereafter becoming the Lady Worcester. The role of Lady Elizabeth in Anne’s life and death is somewhat of a mystery. On the one hand, contemporary records describe how Elizabeth was ‘the fyrst accuser’ of the queen. However, if the Lady Worcester was the queen’s enemy, it seemed Anne Boleyn knew nothing of it. After her arrest, the traumatised queen ‘much lamented my lady of Worcester… because her child did not stir in her body… for the sorrow she took of me.’
Lady Worcester had ten children in all. It was suggested her daughter, Anne, was not the Earl’s child, although there is no indication of this in the family records. Her story is far from straightforward. It appears that she was a fiesty character, and on these grounds, to me, she remains one of the most interesting ladies in the queen’s household. She died in 1565; her effigy is at St Mary’s Church, Chepstow, Monmouthshire.
My name is Diane Warsinski. From the age of six I became infatuated with the Tudor Court and in particular with King Henry VIII and his six wives. I studied, in great detail, the pictures and stories in my history books, using my imagination to bring the Tudor Period to life. This has led me to a love of history and an appreciation of the hardships and anguish our forefathers endured. I started to live my dream as a Tudor re-enactor in 2010 at Hever Castle. Since that period I have continued to relish my role, particularly as Jane Seymour, a woman I find intriguing and dignified.
The character I play is Jane Seymour. Jane served as lady-in-waiting to both Queen Catherine of Aragon and Queen Anne Boleyn. She shared a family connection with Anne; they were half second cousins. Jane is known for being very fair in complexion, and a gentle and conservative woman. Mistress Seymour became the focus of Henry VIII, probably in erly 1536. Eleven days after the execution of Anne Boleyn, Jane became Henry VIII’s third wife. She was the only queen consort who bore the king a son who lived past infancy. He ascended the english throne as King Edward VI on 28th January 1547. Sadly, Jane died of puerperal sepsis within two weeks of giving birth to her son. She is buried beside Henry VIII in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
My name is Liz Burns. My fascination with the Tudors began when I bought a book on Catherine Howard at eight years of age. Coming from Yorkshire, I have always been interested in the Tudor connections to the North of England including the Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536 and the fateful Royal Progress of Henry and Catherine Howard in 1541. This royal house contains a world of beguiling characters, and if you were to see my bookshelf today, you would quickly realise that it takes a lifetime of reading to get to know them all, but what a world to live in (if only)!
The character I have chosen to play is Anne Gainsford, Lady Zouche. Anne, or Nan joined the household of Anne Boleyn in 1528, before her marriage to King Henry VIII, and became one of the Queen’s official ladies-in-waiting in 1533.
A close confidant to the Queen, Nan was trusted with Anne’s own copy of Tyndale’s “The Obedience of a Christian Man”. It was eventually taken by Nan’s fiancé George Zouche to Cardinal Wolsey who deemed the book heretical, and ultimately in to the hands of the King. Nan was also witness to what Anne Boleyn referred to as “a book of prophecy” which was left in her private apartments. Depicting images and letters that were interpreted as King Henry, Catherine of Aragon and Anne herself, it showed Anne without her head.
Anne Zouche was questioned in the lead up to Anne’s arrest and was forced to testify against her Queen.