Anne Boleyn

There is no authenticated portrait of Anne Boleyn made in her lifetime. The paintings we know today were painted during the reign of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth.

There are two confirmed contemporary images of her. The first is a portrait medal, which is unfortunately badly damaged. Recently, an artist worked to recreate the medal.

The second is a sketch drawn of the plans for her coronation, which shows a crowned Anne "in her hair," allowing it to flow loose, a prerogative of queens. It's the only undisputed sketch of her made during her lifetime.

John Cheke, who knew Anne Boleyn, identified her as this woman in Holbein's sketches of the court. It is now accepted by the Royal Collection as an authentic portrait of Anne Boleyn. In another article, I give an overview of the issues with this portrait.

Image by lisby1

This image was contained in a ring worn by Queen Elizabeth. While Elizabeth likely had no memories of her mother, she knew people who did, and would have wanted as close a likeness as possible. It's worthy of noting that Anne's hair is red in this portrait, close to the tone of the Holbein sketch labelled with her name.

Will Somers

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Image courtesy of Luminarium
Will appears in at least two royal family portraits, indicating his importance to the king. In the portrait to the left, he is the figure on the far right with a monkey on his shoulder. In the portrait to the right, he stands immediately to the right of the king, behind Prince Edward.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The image to the left comes from a work written after his death.

Image courtesy of Tudor History

Will is pictured in the king's personal psalter. This image shows his raised shoulder.

Will is also featured in a painting done late in Elizabeth's reign, a copy of the Allegory of the Tudor Succession. His image is tucked down into a small arch on the far left, about halfway up.

For more Tudor images, see my Pinterest board.


  1. The image of the "Allegory of the Succession" that you used above is the original 1572 painting that does not have Will Somers in it. You want the copy, called "Allegory of the Tudor Succession: The Family of Henry VIII", done in 1590, in which Will was added in. This site shows both:

    1. Thank you for the information, Sandra! As soon as I'm able, I'll correct it.