Susan Bordo is writing the book The Creation of Anne Boleyn, in which she explores why Anne Boleyn is so interesting to our society now. More details of the book can be found here.

I was going to upload one of the edited clips from the interview with Susan, but then I discovered that Susan has uploaded the raw footage onto YouTube. So instead of a three minute clip, you can now watch a fascinating twelve minute film!

In the interview, Susan talks about the mean girl Anne Boleyn in Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and how this links into ideas of femininity in the twentieth century. She also speaks about how Anne’s image has changed through time and how our modern cultural views have influenced how Anne is portrayed.

We were lucky enough to be able to include an interview with Susan in our film. This might not sound like such a feat, but Susan is based at Kentucky University and we were based in London with no budget!

Our huge thanks go to Susan and her technical team who filmed the interview for us and we can’t wait for the book!


Philippa gave up an hour of her precious time back in April for our interview and there was so much we could have put into our final film.

I’ve picked the most interesting clip for the project to put up on this site because Philippa really gets to the heart of Anne’s relevance to modern day society.

She talks about the balance between being a historian and a female novelist and how Anne’s appeal is not time bound.

This is particularly interesting to all those who have felt an emotional connection to the characters in The Other Boleyn Girl because it seems Philippa shares that with you too.

Many thanks to Philippa Gregory.

Claire Ridgway runs the most popular Anne Boleyn website from her home in Andalusia, Spain.

The site gets over 20,000 hits a month from fans across the world and we went to meet Claire to talk about why she started the site. Claire told us that it was a dream which fired up her interest in Anne.

As you’ll have read in the previous posts historians such as Alison Weir are concerned by these fansites because they may damage Anne’s historical legacy.

As Alison pointed out, film is a powerful medium and it could give young fans an impression of a historical figure that isn’t necessarily accurate.

When I asked Claire whether she thought her site was putting Anne on a pedestal this was her response.

Many thanks to Claire, Tim and the Ridgway family.

Back in April, Becca Attfield and I went to meet historian Alison Weir at her home in Surrey. We only had space for a minute clip of Alison in the final film so I thought I’d share more of her interview with you here. It was an absolutely fascinating interview as you will find out…!

Alison told us that Anne Boleyn has become so popular because she has become a celebrity. She also had some very interesting things to say about The Tudors, the television series!

But the rise in young fans idolising Anne Boleyn does worry Alison. Here she told us about her concerns that this new trend could damage Anne’s historical legacy.

Despite this, Alison told us how she could have been seduced by this trend if she had not become a historian.

“Anne Boleyn is seen as modern woman”, Alison told us, “but her power came from a man”. So is there an Anne Boleyn cult?

Many thanks to Alison for taking the time to speak to us on this fascinating topic and to Becca Attfield for filming.


We have been lucky enough to wangle an interview with feminist historian Susan Bordo!

Susan is writing the book The Creation of Anne Boleyn, which will be published in January 2013. The book will look at Anne’s posthumous image over the years to see how her image has changed. It’s been particularly interesting corresponding with Susan because I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the same topic (just with far less intelligence, depth and breadth!)

Susan has also been speaking to young Anne fans to find out why they are so interested by her as well as interviewing the actresses, novelists and historian. The book sounds fascinating and it is highly anticipated.

The interview with Susan should really get to the heart of why Anne is so fascinating to young fans now and how she has been turned into a cultural construct to appeal to young women.

Unfortunately for us, Susan is based out at the University of Kentucky and she isn’t going to be in the UK until next year. I thought that meant the interview was completely out of the question. But, we were very fortunate in that the technical team at the university agreed to film the interview and ask our questions. Perfect!

The interview has happened and we are waiting for it to arrive on UK shores!

Charli Burden

I was lucky enough to achieve a teenage ambition today as Kathryn and I went to interview best-selling author Philippa Gregory.

I have to admit, I was very nervous because Philippa is my favourite author, I’ve read all her books and I really admire her work. The first novel I read was The Queen’s Fool as I was doing a section from it as part of my drama exam. I read book and I was completely hooked!

We were asked to come to The Berkeley Hotel for 2pm. When we arrived, Philippa came out to meet us and sent us up to the suite to set up whilst she finished her lunch. I’d like to think that I remained cool, calm and collected on the outside but unfortunately I think it was probably quite obvious that I was a bit starstruck!

Philippa came and joined us fifteen minutes later. She then took forty-five minutes out of her very busy day to allow us to interview her about the book itself, her success, the subsequent films and the reaction the Tudors have worldwide. It was absolutely fascinating. We now have a 36 minute interview which will be cut to about 45 seconds for our film. It feels sacrilegious!

Philippa spoke about how Anne Boleyn has become an icon and that it is incredible how her story experience resurgences for every generation. The book has been incredibly successful and is now sold in countries worldwide in multiple different languages. It has also been turned into two films: the BBC version and the Hollywood version. Philippa told us that when Scarlett Johannson played the role of Mary Boleyn, she went to the director with a highlighted copy of the book to say that certain chapters from the book had to be part of the film.

I asked Philippa whether she felt a sense of responsibility for how Anne’s image had been adapted. She told us about the lengthy research process that she undertakes for each book. For Philippa, there are two distinct phases- the research phase and the writing phase. She said that she doesn’t make any apologies for her work because she argues that it is very obvious that the work is a novel. She does also include an author’s note and a bibliography at the end of each novel so the information is there if readers wish to find out more.

I won’t spoil too much of the interview because we will be publishing it on this website, but it was absolutely fascinating. A huge thanks to Philippa for taking the time out of her busy schedule to fit us in, especially as she does not have time to do any more interviews with students and we were her last. She has also asked to host our final documentary on her website so we are very excited about that!

Charli Burden

Historical researcher Claire Ridgway runs the website The Anne Boleyn Files from her family home with husband Tim and three children in Almeria, Spain. Kathryn and I made a very flying visit (literally!) out to visit them to interview Claire and find out more about the website.

After waking up in the painful early hours of Saturday morning, it was a relief to touchdown in sunny Spain, especially when Tim then picked us up and drove us through the beautiful Spanish mountains. We arrived to an idyllic mountainside village, one straight off the back of a postcard, and got to know the family on their rooftop terrace. It certainly made a lovely change from the English weather, despite Claire and Tim’s protestations that the weather out there was still cold. (My pink nose begs to differ!)

Claire’s passion for Tudor history shines through the second you start talking to her. The idea for the website came to Claire in a dream. In the middle of the night, she woke up her husband Tim and told him that in her dream she’d been at the execution of Anne Boleyn and she now had to set up a website, called The Anne Boleyn Files, to find out the truth about Anne Boleyn. The website started getting significant numbers of hits within months and it grew from there.

Claire recently published her first book called The Anne Boleyn Collection in February 2012. It sold very well, very quickly and made it to the Amazon bestsellers. Her second book will be out this month and it is the story of Anne Boleyn’s final days.

The Tudors have clearly influenced the Ridgway’s life in every way, even though when we asked the kids what they thought, they replied ‘boring!’ We were lucky enough to see the room from which Claire runs her Anne Boleyn empire and she showed us all the merchandise that is available to buy from the website. For our film, the best images by far are the dolls of Henry VIII and Anne and the Anne puppet!

We interviewed Claire about her website and her love for the Tudors. I don’t want to spoil what she said so check back here soon for the interview!

Have a look at these images, which were taken by Tim.


Charli Burden