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Anne Boleyn’s devotional prayer book protected by Tudor women

woman with long hair holding a prayer book with golden-edge pages

Anne Boleyn’s devotional prayer book protected by Tudor women

Anne Boleyn had likely had several illuminated prayer books where she wrote notes in the margins that are now seen as inscriptions with remarkable historical significance; only a few have survived to the present. One of them, a devotional Book of Hours was missing for many centuries, only coming to light after businessman William Waldorf Astor purchased Anne’s childhood home of Hever Castle in 1903. Former Hever Castle steward Kate McCaffrey spent a year poring over the book and found evidence that it had been passed along within the family of one of Boleyn’s courtiers in the form of erased inscriptions that became visible under ultraviolet light. It took some time for McCaffrey to decipher the writing, but once she figured out who wrote the inscriptions, the book’s path after Boleyn’s execution became apparent. In the video below, she describes the research she was doing and the ensuing discovery.

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