Anne Boleyn in Victorian Thought: The Star of the Court

By Natalie Sweet

The Victorians maintained an avid interest in the Tudors throughout their queen’s reign. Comparisons were made back and forth between the Virgin Queen and Victoria, and readers consumed many books, plays, and other works on the 16th century dynasty. Anne Boleyn’s image fluctuated depending on the writer, but she was occasionally used as a morality tale for young girls. Today we present the Dedicatory Address to young readers from S. Bunbury’s The Star of the Court, or, The Maid of Honour and Queen of England, Anne Boleyn. If you are interested in reading the full text of the book, you can do so online by going to

The true character and position of  woman, from the moment of her exile from Eden, is to be found briefly but uniformly described in the sacred Scriptures. Her position is one of retirement and meekness ; her true and natural source of happiness is found in forming that of others. Ambition is the deadliest, the strongest  foe that can enter a female heart

Vanity, a less frightful, because a more common and natural failing, I had almost said attribute, of female character, is scarcely less dangerous to the safety, peace, and happiness of women. Vanity  also hardens the heart, and renders it capable of even feeling pleasure in the  sufferings of others. Vanity, too, can blind the eyes, and cause us to be led  pleasantly on until we awake as from a dream to find ourselves in darkness and sorrow.

In the character, history, and fate of  poor Anne Boleyn you will, I think, find verified all that I have said. None of you may ever be exposed to the dangers and temptations that so early beset the fair “Star of the Court;” but all of you, I hope, will experience that woman’s true happiness consists in shining, like the soft planet of night, in a borrowed radiancy, meekly reflecting the rays she receives from a higher source, and content to be seen and admired by the few who love to watch and bless her.

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