Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Tomas Boleyn, Earl of Ormond and of Wiltshire (1476-1539), and Elizabeth (d.1538), daughter of Thomas Howard, second duke of Norfolk (1443-1524) and Elizabeth Tilney (d.1497). She was the second wife of King Henry VIII (1491-1547), reigning as Queen from 1533-1536, and mother to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603).
The present miniature forms part of a series of enamels by Bone and Pierce Bone of the English sovereigns and queens from Edward III to Queen Victoria. Prince Albert purchased a group of 33, paying two installments of £200 in July and October of 1843 (V. Remington, Victorian Miniatures In the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2010, p. 84). Two enamels by Henry Pierce Bone, which are nearly identical to the present example, are in the British Royal Collection (op. cit., p. 88, nos. 129 and 130), the larger of the two, dated 1835, formed part of Prince Albert's 1843 acquistion. The smaller version on gold, dated 1843, was purchased by Queen Victoria from the artist in the same year.
According to V. Remington, the traditional identification of the sitter as Anne Boleyn has been questioned, first raised by Lionel Cust in 1880. It has been suggested that the identity of the sitter is possibly that of Katherine Parr (1512-1548), daughter of Sir Thomas Parr (1478-1517) and his wife Jane Fogge. She was the sixth wife of King Henry VIII and Queen of England from 1543 until her death in 1548.