Much of what we think we know about Anne melts away on close inspection. We can’t say for certain what year she was born, and there are many things we don’t understand about how her violent death was contrived. Holbein created incisive portraits of Henry VIII and his courtiers, but there is no reliable contemporary likeness of Anne. The oval face, the golden “B” with the pendant pearls: the familiar image and its many variants are reconstructions, more or less romantic, prettified. The fact that some antique hand has written her name on a portrait does not mean that we are looking at Henry’s second queen. Her image, her reputation, her life history is nebulous, a drifting cloud, a mist with certain points of colour and definition. Her eyes, it was said, were “black and beautiful”. On her coronation day she walked the length of Westminster Abbey on a cloth of heaven-blue. Twice in her life at least she wore a yellow dress: once at her debut at court in 1521, and again near the end of her life, on the frozen winter’s day when, on learning of the death of Henry’s first queen, she danced.