Anne Boleyn is arguably the most famous of Henry VIII’s six wives. She rose from being just one of the many ladies of the court to become a consort to England’s monarch. From just a simple lady-in-waiting to the Queen, Anne herself became one. But she is a tragic figure in history and of the many accusations leveled at her, the charge of witchcraft is probably the most ridiculous.
Anne of the six fingers
Some paintings and reports regarding Anne Boleyn depict her as a woman with a smallish face, a disproportionate neck and six fingers on her right hand. It is also said that she had a mole on the neck that was not exactly inconspicuous. Ms. Boleyn was also known to have multiple moles on her body.
Whether her moles, special markings and unique physical characteristics were the reasons she was accused as a witch or used as an excuse to bring her down is unclear. However, living in an elevated position like she did had its benefits and disadvantages – deadly disadvantages. Her powerful enemies conspired against her and showed enough strength to actually make Anne suffer.
So was Anne’s sixth finger really did exist? According to certain historians, the finger in question wasn’t that terribly obvious. It was at most a small bulge and a double nail. The diminutive extra finger appeared on Anne’s little finger. She was supposed to have tried to hide this fact herself by using long sleeves.
The mole on her neck is also a very interesting part of her physicality. Some people say that it could have been an extra nipple (vestigial is the term), hence the rumor that Anne had three breasts.
All things being considered, Anne Boleyn presented a very attractive, fascinating figure, especially for Henry VIII. If she were really the freak her enemies made her out to be, it’s highly unlikely the king would have favored her. He would probably have been too creeped out.
Besides, think about this: would a man as powerful as the King of England leave his first wife and defy the Catholic Church for a woman with certain deformities?
The problem with the moles
The century in which Anne Boleyn lived and the subsequent centuries later proved to be lethal for people who were old, lived alone, had plenty of dark colored cats, kept brooms and large kettles, showed certain physical deformities and had strange markings on their face and body.
Anne Boleyn had many of those markings, particularly in the shape of moles. What made matters worse was that these markings were discussed in detail in the infamous book Malleus Maleficarum, published in 1486. This book served as a how-to manual for identifying, testing and punishing witches.
According to the book, men and women who become witches and warlocks made a deal with the devil. The devil, in turn, would touch them on certain parts of the body to mark them. These marks appear as moles and birthmarks. Unfortunately for Anne, she had the ‘true marks’ of a witch.
So history has judged Anne Boleyn rather harshly but more and more people are recognizing (and accepting) her innocence. Unfortunately, even if Anne didn’t know squat about casting a circle or summoning a spirit, she still suffered for crimes she probably didn’t commit. Of if she did, she would have done so for love of the king and to save herself.