International Women’s Day

March 08 2024 | History

It’s International Women’s Day and to celebrate we’re remembering Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle’s most prominent heroine.

Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, grew up at Hever Castle in Kent.

Visitors to the double-moated castle are able to see her childhood bedroom and two prayer books owned and signed by her are also on display.

Anne Boleyn, the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, was educated in the Netherlands and France before securing a job at court as a maid of honour to Catherine of Aragon.

Hever Castle is also thought to be the place where Henry VIII and Anne fell in love. The now 125 acre grounds would not have existed during the pair’s courtship but the recreated Tudor knot and herb gardens allow visitors to experience a garden from that period.

Henry met Anne when he was still married to Catherine of Aragon and it was Henry’s love for Anne and her insistence that she not be his mistress that led to Henry breaking away from Rome and the subsequent Reformation.

Anne and Henry only had one daughter, Elizabeth who would go on to be one of the most famous monarchs in history, Elizabeth I. Three years later Anne was investigated for high treason and was executed.

One of the prayer books on display at Hever Castle is thought to have been taken to the scaffold with her.

Tudor enthusiasts and fans of Anne flock to Hever Castle to see where she grew up and walk in her footsteps.