Can we please clear something up? Anne Boleyn did not have an extra finger on either hand.
Twitter seems to be a popular mill for this particular rumor. Today I actually found a tweet which claims that she had “an extra one on each hand. Must have looked like an octopus when they buried her with no head.”
A similar tweet from last week reads “Henry VIII’s 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn, had six fingers on one hand. Special gloves all her life.. She also had three breasts.” He goes on to defend this claim and insists that “there was MORE about her which I am not at liberty to reveal.” Oh, the mystery!
Another recent tweet gushes that Anne “had 3 nipples and an extra finger on one hand. lol cool.” Nah, not so much.
I also came across this fallacy whilst watching “Steel Magnolias” one night last week.
Anne’s enemies in the 16th century and beyond talked quite a bit of smack about her, claiming that she had excessive moles, warts, and superfluous fingers.
In Tudor times, such irregularities might have indicated a bent toward witchcraft. Do we really think that Henry VIII would have changed the entire belief system of his country for a gal with [what would have been described at the time as] a deformity?
However, since I do subscribe to the idea that we learn something new every day, I will leave you with this tidbit: The name for having an extra finger on one or both hands? Hexadactyly. There — I feel better now.