A Petition to Rebury Anne Boleyn

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.

It's Time.

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?

Room for one more?

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.

Can the reconstruction live up to Natalie? We'll see!

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.

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12 Responses to A Petition to Rebury Anne Boleyn

  1. Karen says:

    And a lottery to choose the Designated Eye-Roller?

  2. Peggy Baker says:

    And a name! Anne-iacs? Boleyn-ians? Of course, its not until David Starkey insults us that we’ll know we’re being taken seriously.

  3. Anne Outterson says:

    Now if I could just put my finger on the answer! (Check the date!)

  4. AnnieG says:

    Perhaps this will raise interest in getting a pardon issued?
    Her ‘crimes’ would not have led to anything but bad press today….

  5. Sonetka says:

    And happy April Fool’s Day to you, too :).

  6. Esther says:

    According to this, someone is quite serious about a pardon for Anne Boleyn (if not a re-burial):


    • Sonetka says:

      How on earth did I miss that the first time around? I agree with Claire, for what it’s worth — after 500 years, it’s pointless.

  7. Esther says:

    I agree, Sonetka, that it is pointless …. but for April Fool’s Day, we will have to find someone else. What about Mary I, since the first queen regnant in English history only gets a mention on her half-sister’s monument:

  8. Celia Parker says:

    I was going to suggest, this being 1st April, that someone sets up a campaign to dig up Bisham Abbey, locate the remains of ‘Edward, Earl of Warwick’ and prove that he was really Lambert Simnel or perhaps vice versa. Then I discover that John Ashdown-Hill has beaten me to it: http://www.historyextra.com/feature/tudors/lambert-simnel-richard-iii%E2%80%99s-heir-who-had-stronger-claim-throne-henry-vii.

    Oh well. There’s always Perkin Warbeck…

  9. Relative says:

    I’ll sign!

  10. Kendall Smiley says:

    My mother was killed by a six-fingered woman. Since Anne was the only likely candidate, I have longed to travel to her grave and say to her headstone, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my mother. Prepare to be reburied.”

  11. Sensibilia says:

    I was at Blickling Hall a couple of weeks ago, in Norfolk, reputed birthplace of Anne Boleyn. One of the room guides, a fanatical AB supporter, told an interesting story. She is convinced that the skeleton in St Peter ad Vincula is not Anne. She thinks that Anne’s father and uncle (the Duke of Norfolk), feeling guilty for what they dragged the poor girl into, had her dug up more or less immediately, and reburied beneath a black slab in the church of Salle, a few miles from Blickling. This slab can be seen today. An exhumation and DNA test would satisfy this person!