With Richard III in his final resting place, things have become rather quiet lately, leading me to turn my thoughts to another controversial royal: Anne Boleyn.
Anne, of course, was briefly exhumed in the nineteenth century during renovations in the Tower’s Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, but the Victorians, missing a grand opportunity, quietly reburied her. Isn’t it time we considered digging her up again and giving her a proper burial elsewhere?
Think, for instance, how dull it is going to be now that no one is fighting about where to bury Richard III. With an Anne Boleyn reburial, we have several candidates for a reburial site, all no doubt with their partisans to start Facebook groups, organize petitions, bring actions for judicial review, harass all those who don’t agree, and in general act like four-year-olds on steroids. St. Peter’s at Hever, by her father? Westminster Abbey, by her daughter? Windsor, where she can sneer in death at Henry VIII and his vapid Jane Seymour?
And there’s the matter of religion, always guaranteed to bring out the best in people. Anne was receptive to certain aspects of Protestantism but died a Catholic. Imagine the fuss over the shape her church service will take!
There’s nothing like a good reburial to stir up an argument over a person’s character, and Anne already has her advocates and her detractors who can most mildly be described as passionate. Just think of all the fun once a reburial heats up this debate, and more partisans, having read a novel or two about Anne and therefore learned all there is to know about her, join in!
Of course, there’s that sixth finger to consider. The Victorians found no sixth finger on the body they identified as Anne’s. Without a sixth finger, will there be a debate as to whether we have the right body? Can a conspiracy theory develop as to the whereabouts of that supposed finger? You bet! I’m simply rubbing my hands in glee.
Inevitably, exhuming Anne is going to stir up the strange story that Anne was Henry VIII’s own daughter. Since every bizarre rumor is clearly rooted in truth, this would be the perfect time to obtain some DNA to determine whether this could be true. (This might entail disturbing Henry VIII as well, but after being so mean to Anne, doesn’t he deserve it?)
Finally, there is the delicious prospect of a reconstructed head of Anne Boleyn to contemplate. If it can be made to look as nearly like Natalie Dormer as possible, all the better.
Now other people have mentioned the idea of reburying Anne (not to mention a posthumous pardon–what fun that could lead to), so I will not claim complete credit for this idea, but will modestly share the stage with others in the event this comes to pass, as it surely will with all of the history-loving world bored out of their skulls with no one to rebury. Just be sure to invite me to the reburial service, and I’ll be there in the VIP section, wearing my best white dress.
To sign my new petition demanding Anne’s reburial, click here.