Good morning, we are working on our explorations of Women in history by looking at the relationship between two sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn. Anne Boleyn is often vilified as the other woman. Mary is known as a fool and a whore. Anne is remembered in history and Mary is a fleeting thought. What does this say about their relationship? The run time for this documentary is 43:12.
The pair is notorious. Little is known about their lives. Even their portraits are disputed. It is not even certain when they were born. The Boleyns were important, but they were still a modest family. Mary is often assumed to be the oldest and even evidence is that is not clear. Much of their childhood was spent in Kent and Hever Castle. Thomas Boleyn, their father was a rising star at court. He insisted on education for his daughters.
Anne was smarter and more forward. She was sent to Europe and she was sent to the Court of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. This court was considered a finishing school for kids. Margaret of Austria’s court was known as flamboyant and the archduchess was a kind woman. Margaret grew fond of the young Anne. Unfortunately, Mary was left behind. However, her turn was to come. When Henry VIII’s sister married the French King, Mary Boleyn went to France. Unfortunately, the French king died and was replaced by Francis. Anne would eventually join up with Mary in the French court. The French Queen Claude kept Anne on. Queen Claude was an educated woman. Anne would remain in France for seven years. Mary soon caught the attention of the French King.
Eventually, Mary was sent back to England. She was to get married and Henry VIII attended the wedding. They soon began an affair after the marriage. Eventually, Anne was sent back to England because tensions between France and England were rising. Anne would join Mary at court. Mary was Henry VIII’s mistress and Anne was in the background. Eventually, Anne caught Henry VIII’s attention. He becomes obsessed with Anne. Anne refused to become Henry VIII’s mistress and retreated to Hever Castle for two years. Was this an attempt to make Henry VIII back off?
However, Henry would not be refused and he made it clear that he wanted to marry Anne. He was going to divorce his wife Catherine and was going to marry Anne. Anne had the choice to become a nun or marry Henry. Henry’s plans were nearly derailed when Anne became sick with the sweating sickness. Anne survived, but Mary’s husband died leaving Mary a widow to care for two small children. Anne intervened to make sure Mary got help and a pension. Anne would take Mary’s son on as a ward. Mary would eventually get away from court. The Boleyn family had other concerns: the divorce proceedings were going slow.
Henry was furious that he was not given a divorce and blamed Worsley for his failure in securing the annulment. Worsley also was spreading rumors that Henry would cast Anne aside to help secure the divorce. Anne was furious and Worsley left London. He would die before he faced charges of treason. Anne found a new ally in Thomas Cromwell and he had ideas as to how to secure the divorce. Catherine was sent away from court and Henry married Anne in secret. Anne was already pregnant. The Boleyns were now the most prominent family in England. Would this supremacy last?
Anne was crowned Queen. Henry VIII arranged days of celebrations for the coronation. She was a woman who had grabbed the king. He was genuinely in love with her. However, the public hated Anne. When Mary returned to court, she bore the brunt of public hatred. Her second time at court was an unhappy one. However, everything was for naught when Anne gave him a daughter. Fissures started to appear in the marriage: Anne could not adjust to life as a queen. She and Henry quarreled frequently. To learn more about Anne, Mary, and Henry VIII continue to watch the rest of this episode.
I was not going to do this documentary because I was worried about being Tudor-heavy in this blog. However, since it does fit in with Women’s history month I thought I would take the chance and do it. This would be more appropriate for research purposes.
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