Kent

Anne Boleyn's home Hever Castle unveils Henry VIII portrait

Portrait Henry VIII by a follower of Joos Van Cleve Image copyright Hever Castle
Image caption The painting has been acquired on behalf of the castle

A portrait of Henry VIII as a young man has been unveiled at Anne Boleyn's childhood home at Hever Castle, Kent.

The picture is a 16th Century replica of a painting by Joos van Cleve. The original Joos van Cleve portrait is in the Royal Collection.

The painting has been purchased on behalf of the owners of the castle and is part of an exhibition there.

According to the castle, it is thought to date to 1532 and pre-dates more widely-known portraits by Holbein.

'Desperately courting Anne'

Art historian Philip Mould, who acquired the painting, said it offered an exciting look at a man who was "a colossus of English history" at a time when he was pursuing his second wife.

"This is the Henry who, in 1532, was courting the woman who lived here at Hever - the Queen Anne-to-be," he said.

Staff at the castle near Edenbridge said the unveiling coincided with the recent broadcast of the BBC's Wolf Hall and a renewed public interest in "all things Tudor".

Author and broadcaster Kate Williams, who was at the unveiling, described Hever Castle as a "Tudor time machine".

"It's like walking into Anne Boleyn's house as it was when she was standing here and Henry VIII was desperately courting her, begging her to marry him, and she was still holding back."

The exhibition at the castle, A Bed of Roses, includes a medieval oak bed frame believed to be the marriage bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

Image caption Anne Boleyn grew up at Hever Castle

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