In this post I will count down my top five actresses to have portrayed Anne Boleyn in films and television. I am very particular about how my favorite wife of Henry VIII is portrayed.
Number 5: Claire Foy in Wolf Hall
~Claire Foy starred in the miniseries that centers on the life of Thomas Cromwell. Now this is a take on the Queen that is more negative. One thing I enjoyed about this portrayal was that they showed Anne speaking French regularly, and the costumes were some of the most era appropriate of those worn by actresses on this list!
Number 4: Merle Oberon in The Private Life of Henry VIII
~Merle Oberon is a great classic film actress that took the mantle of this Queen in the 1930s. She does a good job in the film, but her part is quite small.
Number 3: Genevieve Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days
~Genevieve Bujold was who they cast instead of Elizabeth Taylor in this 1969 film. I personally thought her performance was okay, but not nearly as good as Elizabeth Taylor may have done (and at 35 Taylor was not too old!). Bujold did an incredible job in the final confrontation with Henry in the Tower, with the famous “My Elizabeth will be Queen” speech! That speech is what earns her third place on my list!!!
Number 2: Charlotte Rampling in Henry VIII and His Six Wives
~Charlotte Rampling is the actress to portray Anne in the film opposite Keith Michell. She shows verve and sass and certainly can hold her own against the King!
Number 1: Natalie Dormer in The Tudors!
~My personal favorite of all actresses to portray my favorite Queen of Henry VIII is Natalie Dormer! She is an actress that loved the history of this iconic Queen long before being cast. She even insisted on playing Anne with dark hair (originally the producers wanted her to keep her natural blonde). Natalie Dormer portrayed Anne Boleyn as a well rounded and real woman, and did not fall back on just showing her as a saint or sinner. I think that is one of the best parts of Natalie Dormer as Anne, and I am grateful to see Anne Boleyn portrayed as a human instead of an archetype!!!
Note: I hope you enjoyed my list of top Anne portrayals. Let me know who your favorite actresses to bring Anne Boleyn to life are in the comments!
- The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo