How many fingers did Anne Boleyn have?

As part of our History Extra explains series, leading historians answer the burning questions you were too afraid to ask...

Anne Boleyn. (© Classic Image / Alamy)

There is no concrete evidence that Anne Boleyn had six fingers. George Wyatt, grandson of court poet and ambassador Sir Thomas Wyatt, made reference to an extra nail on one of Anne’s fingers, which may be plausible, although no other reference exists.


Nicholas Sander, a Catholic Recusant who was living in exile during Elizabeth I’s rule, went even further, describing Anne’s numerous deformities, including a sixth finger, effectively labelling her a witch. But Sander was writing with a political and religious agenda: he resented the schism with Rome, and his account was intended to taint not only Anne’s name, but Elizabeth’s as well.

Lauren Mackay is the author of Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and his Six Wives through the Life and Writings of the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys (Amberley Publishing).


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