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  • Elizabeth Little

Why Anne Boleyn is our 2022 Style Icon

Emma Chamberlain, Alexa Chung… Anne Boleyn? Gen-Z is no stranger to having the unexpected style inspirations, but for the most part people would still expect someone from this century. From Bella Hadid to AnnaMarie Tendler, autumn’s most unexpected style icon happens to be Henry the VIII’s most infamous former wife. Anne Boleyn, second wife to the 16th century king of England, reigned for only 1000 days, but still managed to become one of the most influential women of her time.

Strong willed and very flirtatious, Anne Boleyn became King Henry the VIII’s second wife after his divorce from Katherine of Aragon. Though the king was initially besotted with Anne – according to the Historic Royal Palaces, 17 love letters expressing Henry’s growing fondness for Miss Boleyn are still in existence – her failure to give him a male heir eventually caused him to resent his wife. Rumours and accusations of adultery and plots against the crown were made against Anne, and by 1536 her fate was sealed with a quick execution by sword within the Tower of London.

Despite being very involved in her role of queen during her short reign, very few depictions of Anne Boleyn still exist today. Today there is only one undisputed portrait of Anne still in existence; the “Moost Happi” medal was constructed while she was still the reigning queen and is now in possession by the British Museum. Her most widely recognized portrait, however, is what’s causing a stir in the fashion world. Identified as an official painting of the late queen by the National Portrait Gallery, this late 16th century portrait of the lost original depicts Anne Boleyn wearing her iconic family necklace. Hanging on a thread of pearls, the family “B” sits perfectly in the middle of her chest with three dainty pearls hanging from the bottom of the letter.

Portrait of Anne Boleyn, Artist Unknown 1584-1603

National Portrait Gallery

2021 found a classic string of pearls back in the mainstream of today’s trends. Between mixing pearls with childlike, plastic beads or with a chic gold chain, this generation has found its own spin on the timeless trend. Now with the entry of 2022, we’ve found a way to revitalise the trend once again, only this time with a royal twist. And with the recent Channel 5 drama about Anne taking over our screens, it’s no surprise she’s here to dominate our trends too.

Fancy owning an Anne Boleyn necklace of your own, only this time with your own initial? We’ve rounded up the best ones from a variety of price points. Hopefully you’ll find one which will make you moost happi.

The exact necklace worn by Bella Hadid, it’s easy to see why it sits at a higher price point. Handmade by Turkish artisans, this real pearl necklace is accented with a gold-plated letter.

This official reproduction made by the Westminster Abbey shop will find you looking most like Anne herself. Though not made with real pearls, the letter initial is gold-plated and is at a comfortable price point of £59.

Though the least accurate of the options here, at only £20 it’s hard to argue, especially once you discover the chain is made from real freshwater pearls.


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