Anne Boleyn. Unknown English artist. So late 16th century, based on a occupational of circa 1533-1536. National Portrait Gallery.

You are watching: Did anne boleyn have 6 fingers

Of every the wives of england’s King Henry VIII, the most renowned is ann Boleyn. She is the woman who, one way or another, brought about the split between Henry and Catherine that Aragon – and the split in between England and also the Catholic Church. She has been asserted a martyr, a witch, a hero, a snake, and also a feminist icon. Regardless of her reputation, facets of her health and also appearance stay a mystery.

Following Anne’s death, the is reported that Henry destroyed countless portraits that her, leave only duplicates of paintings that might not be of the queen at all.1 most sources agree that she had actually dark hair and eyes, that she was tall, and also that she had actually a darker complexion. The was additionally believed she to be unattractive, v a prominent goiter and also six fingers on one or both hands. These ideas have even created a supposed “syndrome” describe a link in between goiter and polydactylism. However is any kind of of that true?

Historians now say the is not. Many of the remaining documents describing ann Boleyn were developed after she death, and also many by those seeking to destroy her reputation. Few of these documents were developed by world who had actually actually recognized the queen throughout her lifetime.

Her main detractor, Nicholas Sander, stated she had a huge “wen” that she hid through high-necked dresses, and also a protruding tooth and the notorious sixth finger ~ above her appropriate hand. Sander was a Catholic scholar, and his writing on the Anglican schism to be intended to counter pro-Anglican writing, specifically John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments. Considering Anne’s vital association through the schism in England, the is not surprising she did not fare fine in his writing.2

Writing a story of his friend and employer Cardinal cutting board Wolsey, George Cavendish claimed that Anne had actually an extra nail, not whole finger, and also that it was surprise well. He also stated that instead of a goiter she may have had small moles on she neck. Wolsey was closely connected in the chaos surrounding Henry and Anne. Cavendish was at court throughout the same period and may have had quick encounters v the royal pair, however his purpose in creating was focused on clearing the Cardinal’s reputation. Advancement of Anne’s image was most likely to reduce any kind of shadow actors on Cardinal wolsey by their association.3

Other sources explain her hands as “well-shaped” and make no mention at every one of polydactylism.4 Later, an excavation was conducted at the site where the queen was reportedly buried, and also when the skeletons found were examined, none showed indications of an extra digit.5 Assuming that Anne’s human body was amongst those discovered, and that those who defined her multiple fingers and goiter had the explicit target to skew late of her, the is doubtful she had either condition.

Further, the is hesitant that Henry VIII would have been therefore enamored v Anne – waiting six years for his divorce — if she had actually an imperfection as large as one extra finger. In his time “even a discolored spot on a fingernail” to be a poor omen, and with the king’s pursuit for a healthy and balanced male heir, Anne would certainly not have met his demands if she were together unattractive together reported.6

What around the link in between goiter and also extra fingers?

Two sources claim a connection between these conditions, the first written in 1953 as a thing on congenital anomalies7 and the 2nd an editorial essay in MD magazine in 1974. Both label it as the syndrome of ann Boleyn. One study evaluating goiter in Panama did uncover a regional prevalence the polydactylism, however the link seems to exist i do not have anything else.8 The syndrome is stated only in the writings from 1953 and 1974.9 Dr. Felix Marti-Ibanez, writer of the 1974 article, supplies the previous work-related as a feather board right into a more comprehensive discussion of the health of Henry VIII, but he nevertheless perpetuates the connection.10

Consequently, that is no fair to conclude that anne Boleyn represented a famous situation of one undiscovered syndrome – together neither syndrome nor extra finger seem to exist.

This go not median Anne Boleyn’s wellness is without exciting notes. In June that 1528 she contracted sweating sickness,11 i beg your pardon periodically brushed up through the English populace until its critical epidemic in 1551.12 little is known about the English sweating sickness other than that the was very contagious and had a high mortality price – around 30-50%.12

Symptoms had chills and tremors complied with by high fever, weakness, and also profuse sweating. The an illness ran its course exceptionally fast, and also at the moment the best treatment was confinement to bed for 24 hours.13

When one of Anne’s maids contract “the sweat” Anne and also her air hostess were sent to Hever come wait out the sickness in quarantine. Henry VIII was concerned for her health, and perhaps more so the he could contract the sickness himself,14 as the sweat appeared to have some choice for young males of noble blood.15

But Anne would certainly recover16 and also would then walk on to do her note as queen and also mother come Elizabeth I, who would bring England right into its golden age.

End Note

Title quote from: George Cavendish, The Life that Cardinal Wolsey, 2nd Edition. Accessed via the net Archive (London: Harding and also Lepard, 1827), 424, https://archive.org/details/lifeofcardinal00cave/page/n8.

Works Cited:

Susan Bordo,The production of anne Boleyn” A brand-new Look in ~ England’s Most notorious Queen, (Boston, brand-new York: houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), xi.Nicholas Sander, Rise and Growth the the Anglican Schism, trans. David Lewis. 1877 ed., accessed via the internet Archive (London: Burns and also Oates, 1877), 25.George Cavendish, The Life the Cardinal Wolsey, 2nd accessed via the net Archive (London: Harding and also Lepard, 1827), 424, https://archive.org/details/lifeofcardinal00cave/page/n8Paul Friedmann, Anne Boleyn: A chapter of English History. 1527-1536, accessed via the web Archive (London: Macmillan and Co., 1884), 49, https://archive.org/details/anneboleynachap00friegoog/page/n5.Doyne C. Bell, “Queen ann Boleyn” in Notices that the historical Persons hidden in the Chapel the St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower that London. With an Account the the exploration of the claimed Remains the Queen ann Boleyn, (London: man Murray, Albemarle Street, 1877), 26.Retha M. Warnicke, The Rise and also Fall of anne Boleyn, 3rd ed., (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 1991), 246.Isidor Greenwald, “The supposed ‘Syndrome of anne Boleyn’ (Goiter and also Polydactylism),” Bulletin that the history of Medicine volume 38, no. <3> (May-June, 1964): 271, Accessed June 28, 2019, https://www.jstor.org/stable/44447065.Nevin S. Scrimshaw, “INCAP researches of endemic goiter and also its prevention,” Food and Nutrition Bulletin volume 31, no. <1> (2010): 113, Accessed June 28, 2019, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/156482651003100111.Isidor Greenwald, “The an alleged ‘Syndrome of ann Boleyn’”Felix Marti-Ibañez, “The ‘Anne Boleyn’ Syndrome,” 11.Paul Friedmann, Anne Boleyn: A thing of English History. 1527-1536, 72.Paul Heyman, Christel Cochez, Mirsada Hukiĉ, “The English sweat Sickness: out of Sight, the end of Mind?,” Acta Medica academic volume 47, no. <1> (2018): 103, Accessed June 28, 2019, DOI 10.5644/ama2006-124.221.Retha M. Warnicke, The Rise and also Fall of anne Boleyn, 80.Paul Friedmann, Anne Boleyn: A chapter of English History. 1527-1536, 72.Paul Heyman, Christel Cochez, Mirsada Hukiĉ, “The English sweat Sickness: the end of Sight, out of Mind?,”105.Paul Friedmann, Anne Boleyn: A thing of English History. 1527-1536, 73.


Bell, Doyne C. “Queen anne Boleyn” in Notices that the historic Persons buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. Through an Account of the exploration of the supposed Remains the Queen ann Boleyn. London: john Murray, Albemarle Street, 1877.Bordo, Susan. The creation of anne Boleyn” A new Look in ~ England’s Most well known Queen. Boston, brand-new York: house Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.Cavendish, George. The Life the Cardinal Wolsey2nd ed. Accessed via the net Archive. London: Harding and also Lepard, 1827. Https://archive.org/details/lifeofcardinal00cave/page/n8.Friedmann, Paul. Anne Boleyn: A chapter of English History. 1527-1536. Accessed via the internet Archive. London: Macmillan and also Co., 1884. Digital. Https://archive.org/details/anneboleynachap00friegoog/page/n5.Greenwald, Isidor. “The claimed ‘Syndrome of anne Boleyn’ (Goiter and also Polydactylism).” Bulletin that the background of Medicine  vol. 38, no. 3 ((May-June, 1964): 271-275. Https://www.jstor.org/stable/44447065.Heyman, Paul, Christel Cochez, Mirsada Hukiĉ. “The English sweating Sickness: the end of Sight, out of Mind?.” Acta Medica scholastic vol. 41, no 1. (2018): 102-116. DOI 10.5644/ama2006-124.221.Marti-Ibañez, Felix. “The ‘Anne Boleyn’ Syndrome,” (October, 1974): 11-16. Print.Sander, Nicholas. Rise and also Growth the the Anglican Schism. Translated by David Lewis. 1877 ed. Accessed via the web Archive. London: Burns and Oates, 1877. Https://archive.org/details/riseofschism00sanduoft/page/n5.Scrimshaw, Nevin S.. “INCAP research studies of endemic goiter and also its prevention.” Food and Nutrition Bulletin  vol. 31, no. 1 (2010): 111-117. Https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/156482651003100111.Warnicke, Retha M. The Rise and also Fall of ann Boleyn3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 1991.

See more: Which Element Has An Atom With The Greatest Tendency To Attract Electrons In A Chemical Bond

MARIEL TISHMA right now serves as an executive, management Editorial Assistant with Hektoen International. She been published in Hektoen International, Bloodbond, Argot Magazine, Syntax and Salt, The Artifice, and Fickle Muses. She i graduated from Columbia university Chicago with a BA in creative writing and also a boy in biology. Learn an ext at marieltishma.com.