Monthly Archives: March 2012

Today four unsuspecting Anne Boleyn fans came to the East of London to meet us for a day of filming.

We met at West Ham’s football stadium, Upton Park because it is known as The Boleyn Ground. As the name suggests, there is Tudor history attached to the ground.


The club rented Green Street House and grounds in East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was known locally as Boleyn Castle because of its imposing nature and an association with Anne Boleyn, who had either stayed at, or as some believe, owned the house. The ground is said to be haunted by one of her maids who died in childbirth. Therefore, when the stadium was built, it became the Boleyn Ground.

It was the perfect setting for the film. The contrast of history meets modern. The empowered female fans of a, supposedly, feminist role model against a stereotypically chauvinistic  male setting. The joining of two passions but ones that are viewed with different cultural expectations.

When I put out the original call for fans, four pages of my email inbox had been filled with Anne Boleyn fans. It was absolutely fascinating to meet our four twenty-somethings who all arrived with fear and trepidation at the Boleyn Ground! Rachel, Sophie, Michaela and Kelly were absolutely brilliant! They all came with their Anne merchandise and were ready and eager to talk about their passion.

The question that we really wanted answered was WHY is Anne seen as such a role model. Our fans went a long way in explaining that. It seems that fans have an emotional connection to the ill-fated Queen, who has reached almost celebrity status in the last ten years.

Sophie told us that she makes her wardrobe decisions everyday based on Anne. She only wears gold jewellery and always wears a headband, (having dark hair and eyes like Anne certainly helped!).

Rachel wore her own Tudor replica gown at the meeting and it was an amazing dress! She said it cost her around £250 and she was planning on buying another one this year. She had been to many of the Anne Boleyn sites around the country, and her passion for Anne had taken over her life.

Michaela told us that she finds she is trying to embody Anne in everyday life, sometimes meaning that she gets into arguments with her boyfriend. She said this is particularly evident if she is reading a story about Anne, particularly The Other Boleyn Girl, in which Anne and Henry have a very fiery relationship!

Kelly told us that she really wants to organise a Tudor dinner party. All the guests would have to come dressed in historical costume and they would eat Tudor inspired food. It would be a brilliant theme!

Each of the girls had so much to say on the topic that we could have stayed for hours. Once the interviews are edited I will be posting them here as they give some amazing insight into their passion for Anne!

Kathryn and I would like to thank Sophie, Rachel, Michaela and Kelly for putting up with our slightly strange filming requests and being fantastic interviewees on a very surreal afternoon at Upton Park! We’d also like to thank the staff at West Ham for letting us come and film at the stadium this afternoon.

Charli Burden

Kathryn and I were lucky enough to spend a fantastic morning filming at Hever Castle today.

We were extremely fortunate as the castle was closed to the public and Sue, the lovely lady working in the Estate Office who gave us a tour, told us that they let students come and film once a year. We are incredibly grateful that we are the lucky students!

I’ve wanted to come and visit the castle for many years and never quite made it, so I was incredibly excited!

Much like Penshurst Place, Hever Castle is set in the stunning Kent countryside. The fantastic weather showed off the castle to its best and if you haven’t been, it is a must for all Tudor fans!

We visited Hever Castle this morning to get footage for the voiceovers in the film and the castle is so beautiful that we lost sight of this and filmed far too much!

We also filmed our pieces to camera in the courtyard and after about a million takes each, I think Sue and my mum (the chauffeur!) had got very bored with us! We were also nearly hit by a nesting duck which decided to dive bomb us. I’m not sure if that is on film, but if it is it will certainly make the out-take reel! It was heart attack number 2 moment of filming!

Hever Castle also has a long history. The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270. In the early 1500s the Boleyn family bought the castle so it became the childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn.

It later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humfreys and the Meade Waldos. Finally, in 1903, William Waldorf Astor restored the castle and built the ‘Tudor Village’, gardens and lake.

Hever Castle has become a must-see site for Anne Boleyn fans and is one of the key sites on any Anne Boleyn pilgrimage. It’s easy to see why. Hever has many Anne portraits, fans can see her bedroom (which is incredibly small!) and the castle also houses Anne’s Book of Hours.

Once we have edited the footage from the visit, we will put it up on site so you can have a look.

Do go and visit Hever Castle!

Charli Burden

These were some of the beautiful Tudor gowns on display at Penshurst Place and Gardens.

The film is underway!

We spent our first day of filming at the beautiful Penshurst Place and Gardens in the glorious Kent sunshine.

Penshurst Place and Gardens

Set in stunning countryside, the original part of the house was built in 1341 by Sir John de Pultney. Penshurst Place has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552, after passing through the hands of two of Henry IV’s sons, then the Dukes of Buckingham before returning to Henry VIII. He used it as a hunting lodge. The current owner is Philip Sidney, 2nd Viscount De L’Isle MBE.

At Penshurst Place we interviewed Steve Murphy, who runs Tudor History Tours, and Mary, an American from Tennessee. They were on the fifth day of his Six Wives Tour.

Steve told us that this was his fourth year of running tours and that there had been an upsurge of interest in the Tudor Period. Their clients are 9:1 women and they have had many Anne Boleyn fans. Last year two women brought along their Boleyn necklaces to have themselves photographed in front of her portrait at Hever Castle.

Steve’s favourite portrayal of Anne Boleyn was done by Genevieve Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days. Over a coffee, Steve showed us some of the film as it was filmed at Penshurst Place. (It certainly put our footage to shame!)

Our interview was going very well until the performers behind us  suddenly fired a musket gun! It nearly gave us a heartache. The footage will definitely be going into our out-take reel at the end of production!

The Great Hall.

We then looked around the part of the house which is open to the public. The house was a beautiful showcase of many different periods of history as the rooms ranged from the Great Hall, which was completed in 1341, to the Queen Elizabeth Room, named after Queen Elizabeth I as she held audience there during her many visits to Penshurst Place. At the end of the tour, there is an exhibition of family photographs, which clearly show the history of the house.

In the Great Hall, there were costumes from the medieval period for visitors to try on. Kathryn certainly got into the swing of it…

There is also a video of Kathryn in costume but it will be included in our out-take reel!

We’d like to thank the Viscount de L’Isle for letting us come and film at Penshurst Place and Steve and Mary for allowing us to interview them. Once the interviews have been edited, we will post them here.

Charli Burden

This message has been posted on The Anne Boleyn Files and On The Tudor Trail so it makes sense to post it here as well!

“Calling all Anne Boleyn fans! I’m Charli and I’m a broadcast journalist based in London, England. I’m making a television documentary about Anne’s status as a modern day heroine and I’m looking for Anne Boleyn fans to interview. Are you a member of the Anne Boleyn Fellowship or a follower of The Anne Boleyn Files? If Anne is your idol, if you buy the merchandise, watch all the films, read all the books and visit all the palaces, then we would love for you to get in contact.

We’re looking to arrange a meeting of Anne Boleyn fans in London to chat about why you love her. It will be a very informal meeting and as an Anne Boleyn fan myself, I’d be really interested to meet others in real life! Historians Alison Weir and Susan Bordo have already agreed to be in the film as well as author of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, Philippa Gregory. The film is being made by myself and a colleague so we are a small team and not at all intimidating! If this is something that you would like to be involved with, please contact me at Thank you!”

Do get in touch if you’re interested!


Charli Burden

Anne Boleyn on the Internet

We’re at the discussion stages of the film now and trying to find interviewees for the film. After six months of news days and having to find obscure interviewees on the day for topical stories, the response we’ve had from members of the Anne Boleyn community has been a pleasant surprise!

At the moment we’ve been searching for the key online sites for Anne Boleyn fans and there are some very interesting websites, which we’re going to share with you today!

The first is The Anne Boleyn Files, a site run by British writer, researcher and historian Claire Ridgway in Spain. Not only does the site have interesting articles about the Tudors but you can also   buy Anne merchandise and even sign up to Tudor tours or the Anne Boleyn fellowship.

The second site is On The Tudor Trail, a Tudor site run by Australian Natalie Grueninger. Natalie says that her interest in the Tudors started in 2000 when she stepped through the gates into the Tower of London. This is a similar site with interesting posts about the Tudors and you can also buy products and go on a summer progress.

There are many websites dedicated to Anne but these two seem to be the main hubs for fans. They are well worth a look- I lost a few hours going through both of these websites!

Charli Burden