Anna was born in East Anglia in 590, the nephew of King Raedwald of East Anglia. From 630 to 641, East Anglia was leaderless due to a pagan revolt against the Christian king Eorpwald of East Anglia, and Anna rose to the throne in 641. In 645, he converted King Cenwalh of Wessex to Christianity, leading to Cenwalh re-establishing Christianity in Wessex in Wessex on his return from exile. In 651, King Penda of Mercia attacked Anna's monastery at Cnobheresburg and then drove Anna into exile, but Anna returned to East Anglia in 653. In 654, Anna was killed in battle with Penda at the Battle of Bulcamp in Suffolk.