the TUDOR TUTOR

Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

“B” is for Boleyn

Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, probably painte...

Image by lisby1 via Flickr

I have to get this out of my system because it is making me crazy: On “Ugly Betty” (which I have never seen, though I’ve seen still shots) the title character  wears a large pearl-adorned “B” around her neck. Some Bettyphiles have gotten a hold of “The Other Boleyn Girl” (which I have also not seen)  and thought it a cute in-joke that Natalie Portman’s Anne Boleyn wears “the Betty necklace.” 

Heck, someone must have even continued the joke into “The Tudors” with Natalie Dormer!

Here’s the scoop: Anne Boleyn herself wore that necklace, as you can see in the title picture above. Personalized jewelry was all the rage at the time; Henry’s second wife also had an “A” necklace as well as an “AB” one. Its present-day whereabouts are unknown, although popular belief says it was handed down to her daughter Elizabeth — a very different “Betty.” Now that that’s cleared up…

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5 Comments

  A Different Lara wrote @

Fortunately, I’ve never heard that. I do remember hearing a friend comment on Ugly Betty’s necklace, saying it was the “tackiest thing she’d ever seen!”

I tried not to be affronted and explained the origin of the necklace, but I realized by TODAY’S standards, yeah, it’s a little silly and gaudy. It’s a tragedy it was lost. But can you imagine the media firestorm that would ensue if it were ever to be FOUND? I like to think someone on some estate has it tucked away, somewhere…

  Rebecca wrote @

I’ve never heard of the AB necklace, but if you look at Elizabeth in Henry VIII’s dynastic portrait which hangs at Hampton Court Palace, you will see she wears an A pendant about her neck. Certainly seems more than possible that Anne had 3 different versions!

I had a couple of “name” necklaces as a child, and you can still buy “bling” letters at market stalls and in high street jewellers today, so perhaps we’re not so different to our Tudor forebears. Then again, I think they look tacky, so maybe they weren’t to everyone’s taste, even back then!

  barbalexander wrote @

Right, Rebecca, many assume that the “A” in that portrait was a pass-down from mom to daughter. I was a teen in the 80s in NJ — we had more than our share of name/initial pieces of jewelry! =D

  Anne Barnhill wrote @

Wonder what really happen to the AB one? I’d love to get one–since my initials are AB 🙂

  Lisa davis wrote @

Another teacher told me she liked my Ugly Betty necklace – big mistake on her part! She soon found out who was wearing Anne’s necklace.


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