21 Comments

  1. Alan Powers

    interesting theory but I think henry wanted anne out of the way because he wanted jane Seymour and did not want the same trouble of getting a divorce like he did with Katherine that’s why anne was set up

  2. Dr Karl Olah

    It’s in the wrong place for a thyroid goitre. That would be lower down in the neck and not where this swelling is placed. More likely is a salivary gland swelling or a lymph node.

  3. Paulinejoan

    Lovely drawing of a blonde haired woman who is a bit chubby. That is not a goitre.
    She looks lovely and healthy ,,
    We will never know for sure who it is ..

  4. Christin Rauwolf Winckelmann

    To me, this picture look like an older version of Catherine of Aragon. She was portrayed with reddish blond hair in her portraits. I don’t believe that Ann Boleyn would have ever worn a hat like that. She favored the French styles.

  5. Marian Dunne

    I’ve been looking into this idea and searching for articles because a) I’ve recently been have diagnosed with a hyper active thyroid and b) I love anything Tudor but it was the expression “goggle eyed” that really got me thinking.
    The symptoms do fit with a number of articles I’ve read about Anne – how she lost weight and became anxious, irritable and hysterical. A hyper active thyroid could also interfere with getting pregnant and carrying a child to term.
    Nowadays, of course, there are treatments that help with this but in Tudor times the poor woman would have been in a pitiful state.
    If I could just touch on mine again, I wasn’t diagnosed until my symptoms had reached an advanced state and I recognise a lot of my symptoms in reports of Anne, especially after the birth of Elizabeth.
    Now, she could have just been stressed by the pressure she was under but I still find the idea of her having a thyroid problem very interesting.

  6. Rob

    I am convinced this is Anne… you can see the resemblance in this portrait to ones of Elizabeth the first especially around the eyes

  7. Sunny Rowe

    Ann suffered from milk leg (phlegmasia alba dolens) following her pregnancy with Elizabeth. This is caused by deep thromboses to the deep arteries, edema (swelling) of the limbs with reduced circulation to outer blood vessels, causing the skin to turn white. This would prevent her from dancing, as her legs would have been heavy and painful, not to mention ugly. This would have been a turn-off to Henry, for sure. If she had the goiter problem (which can affect under chin and neck, he would have been repelled, and considered her diseases, even to the point of being cursed. His aversion to her was way overboard for the loss of a child. He loathed her.

  8. Anke Brühl

    I think the picture is deceptive. The band of the nightcap, which is under the chin, gives a false impression.
    A goiter would also be much deeper.

  9. Katie

    As a nurse I have seen many a goiter and don’t believe that the woman in the picture has one. Anytime a woman must tie a string under her chin it seems to give the appearance of a double chin when really it is just the look created by said string.

    • Helen

      I totally agree with Katie. Most people who have a tie holding any form of headdress on will have a slight double-chin, especially if the person is pregnant too. I also noted that the woman is looking downwards, so again this would give the appearance of a double chin.
      I am convinced this is a sketch of Anne Boleyn, drawn by Holbein from life. She was his patron and as such is likely to have allowed him to sketch her even when she wasn’t wearing her finery! David Starkey and another historian (I forget the name) have recently declared that the inscription “Anna Bollein Queen” was written on the sketch at the time of the drawing, not later on as previously thought.

  10. Karen

    I thought this after looking at that picture this evening.
    I have hypothyroidism and everything about her change of appearance said she had it to me. Mine started in pregnancy.
    It also explains some of her daughter, Elizabeth’s health problems as she aged….hair loss etc., you can develop hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism if it’s in the family genes.

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