Anne Boleyn: In Defense of Historical Inaccuracy

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fairly difficult
Historically inaccurate portrayals of Anne Boleyn aren't new, and artistic license is vital to telling her story.
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The Channel 5 historical drama series Anne Boleyn, directed by Lynsey Miller, stars black British actor Jodie Turner-Smith as the Tudor queen consort at the height of her power and influence, shortly before her dramatic fall and execution in May 1536.

Even before the first episode was shown, some complained that Turner-Smith's casting was historically inaccurate because Anne was white. But these complaints ignore several existing versions of the doomed queen's story that have portrayed her deliberately and creatively beyond the agreed-upon facts.

The series itself acknowledges its place in this tradition. One of its taglines declares that it is "Inspired by truth … and lies". Turner-Smith's wonderfully intense, enigmatic performance is the latest addition to a long line of TV and movie depictions of Anne.

Two of the most memorable are Charles Jarrott's romantic drama Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) starring French-Canadian actor Genevieve Bujold, and the HBO series The Tudors (2007-2010) in which British star Natalie Dormer plays a fiery Anne in modernised, glamorous costumes. At the same time, this Anne is written faithfully to her historical reputation as a religious reformer (Dormer reportedly insisted

that her Anne is shown encouraging the use of the English Bible at the royal court).

A controversial queen

Anne Boleyn's marriage to Henry VIII was unpopular with those…
Snopes, David Mikkelson
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