10 Facts about Jane Boleyn by Adrienne Dillard

I’m honoured to host my dear friend and fellow MadeGlobal Publishing author, Adrienne Dillard, on the Anne Boleyn Files today. I’ve known Adrienne for a few years now, due to our mutual fascination with the Boleyn and Carey families, and I’m so excited for her about the recent release of The Raven’s Widow: A Novel of Jane Boleyn. It’s wonderful to see an alternative to the horrible, scheming Jane that we usually see in fiction – thank you, Adrienne!

Adrienne is here as part of her book tour for The Raven’s Widow. MadeGlobal Publishing is giving away a copy of the book at each stop and there is also a big prize on offer – scroll to the bottom for details.

Over to Adrienne!…

When it comes to Tudor history, there is one phrase I hear over and over when it comes to anyone other than Henry VIII or his six wives: “What we know about (fill in the blank) would fill no more than a postcard.” This is certainly true for most people, but there is actually more out there about Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, than you would expect. As you look over this list, you will see many facts that you probably already know, but there may be some that are brand new to you. I know I was very surprised when I stumbled across a few of these! Hope you enjoy!

1. Jane’s Siblings

We have documentation for four of Jane’s siblings. Her eldest brother, Henry Parker, served in the king’s household and was created a Knight of the Bath on the eve of Anne Boleyn’s coronation. He married Grace Newport and then Elizabeth Calthorpe. Jane’s sister, Margaret appears to have been younger, but, as with all of the Parker children, we have no date of birth. She married Sir John Shelton. There is no record that her brother, Francis ever married, but he did live long enough to be granted property along with their father in the 1520s. The last sibling, Elizabeth, disappears from the records after birth.

2. Chateau Vert

On March 4, 1522, Jane appeared in a pageant at Cardinal Wolsey’s palace of York to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Jane and the two young women who would become her sisters-in-law, Mary and Anne Boleyn, were joined by a few other damsels of the court to portray the womanly virtues of Constancy, Kindness, and Perseverance, respectively. Though a Mistress Parker is listed in the records concerning the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting in France in 1520, this is the first time we can officially pinpoint Jane at court.

3. Jane’s Jointure

Jane’s jointure was signed on October 4, 1524. While it doesn’t give us a specific date for her marriage to George, the date on her jointure can help us pin it down; particularly when we consider that the Eltham Ordinances, drawn up in the autumn of 1525, notes the payment allotted to “Young Boleyn and his wife.” When we figure in the holy holidays in the religious calendar, we arrive at a wedding date of November 1524 or in the very early months of 1525, after Epiphany and before Easter. Jane’s jointure amounted to 2,000 marks – part contributed by her father, Lord Morley, and the rest made up with funds from the king.

4. New Year Gifts

In 1532, Jane gave King Henry VIII four caps for New Year; half were made of satin and half were made of velvet, two of them trimmed with gold buttons. That same year, George gave the king two gilt daggers hung on velvet girdles.

5. Visit to France

In October 1532 Jane accompanied Anne Boleyn, by then Marquess of Pembroke, across the channel to meet Francis I in France. On the third night in Calais, a banquet was held to fete the French King. After the meal, Jane danced in a masque that featured both of her sisters-in-law.

6. Both she and George were godparents to her brother’s children.

The Miscellanea Genealogica Et Heraldica lists the entries of births in the family of Parker from 1533 to 1546. The original source for the information is from a Latin Bible formerly in the library of the late Rev John Fuller Russell, possibly a descendant of the Russell family. Jane (awnt to the sayd Henry Parker) is listed as godmother to her brother’s heir, the third Henry Parker, born August 21, 1533. The next year, “the Lord Rochford” is listed as godfather to Henry Parker’s first daughter, Alice, born October 8, 1534. Since this is post-1529, we know that the lord referred to is George Boleyn. Two more sons, Thomas and Charles, are born in 1535 and 1537, respectively. Then Jane is again listed as godmother to the next child, Mary Parker, born June 14, 1538. The second Henry Parker seems to have stuck to the tradition of naming his children after their godparents. His heir is named for both father and grandfather – Lord Morley served as co-godparent with Jane. Alice is named for her grandmother, who served as co-godparent with George. Thomas is named for his godfather, Sir Thomas Audley, and Mary is named for her godmother, Mary Howard, the Duchess of Suffolk. A daughter born after Jane’s execution is named Amy after her grandmother/godmother, Amy Calthorpe. The only child not named in this manner is Charles, whose godfathers are Sir Francis Bryan and Sir John Russell.

7. Queen Anne’s Coronation

When Anne Boleyn processed through London from the Tower to Westminster on the way to her coronation, Jane followed along behind her just after the Lord Chamberlain and Anne’s Master of the Horse. This position was far above what her rank as Viscountess entitled her to and placed her higher than the queen’s sister, Mary. There is no explanation for why her position was so prominent, but perhaps it was because she enjoyed a much closer relationship with Anne than history has portrayed.

8. Banishment

In the autumn of 1534 the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, wrote a missive to the Emperor detailing Jane’s involvement in a “conspiracy” to quarrel with another woman at court who had caught the king’s attention. It’s not clear who all was involved in the conspiracy; it may have been just Anne or could have included more members of the Boleyn family. Regardless of the participants, it was Jane who was punished when the plan backfired. It is at this point that Jane disappears from court, not to return until the spring of the following year. It’s not clear where Jane lived during this time, but some historians have theorized that she stayed at the palace of Beaulieu.

9. Intellectual Pursuits

At some point before August 1535, Jane became patroness to one William Foster, a scholar at King’s College, Cambridge. Subsidising the education of a scholar was not something that was unique, many of the great ladies of the nobility did it, but perhaps Jane was inspired by her father’s love of learning when she decided to become Foster’s patroness.

10. Letter to Master Kingston

Shortly after her husband was imprisoned in the Tower of London on charges of incest with the queen, Jane wrote a letter to the Constable of the Tower asking how George fared. She asked Kingston to assure George that she would attempt to intercede with the king on his behalf. It’s not clear whether Jane was able to make good on her intentions; but her promise provided at least a sliver of comfort to her husband, who asked Kingston to reply with his thanks.

Bonus Fact! Jane’s Property

After Jane’s arrest, the king’s ministers took an inventory of her goods, just as they did with all traitors to the crown. This list included several jewels: a black enamelled brooch with six diamonds, an agate brooch, and a gold brooch. However, the most telling item in the collection was something rather more ordinary. Among the clothing, jewels and other accoutrements for proper court attire, we find a piece of furniture: a wooden bed with Rochford knots, complete with its original yellow and white silk and sarcenet furnishings. This was Jane’s marriage bed. It may not seem like such a big thing, it’s only a bed after all, but you have to remember that this particular bed was confiscated after George’s execution. He was a traitor, and all of his goods were forfeit to the crown. When Jane petitioned Thomas Cromwell for his assistance in claiming her jointure lands, she also asked him to petition the king for George’s plate and bedding. Judging by the final inventory of Jane’s own property, she was successful in securing their return and – most importantly – she kept them. These household furnishings would have been very valuable; it would have been tempting for Jane to sell them during her meanest years, but she never did. These objects could have reminded her of happier times with her late husband. Perhaps the Rochford marriage wasn’t as miserable as history would have you believe.

As I said, MadeGlobal Publishing is offering a copy (paperback) of Adrienne’s novel as a giveaway prize at each book tour stop. To be in with a chance of winning, simply comment on this post saying which other historical personality you’d like to be given a fresh depiction or rehabilitated in a novel. A winning comment will be picked at random and the winner notified by email. Comment before midnight on Friday 7th April.

Good news – There’s another giveaway too! If you go to https://www.madeglobal.com/giveaways/ravens-widow-giveaway/, you can enter a giveaway to win your choice of either a kindle e-reader or a bundle of goodies (a beautiful Jane Boleyn pendant, Henry VIII & Six Wives drink charms, and a Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scarf.

Do make sure you catch up with Adrienne at her other book tour stops! Here’s the schedule:

Adrienne Dillard, author of The Raven’s Widow: A Novel of Jane Boleyn is a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with emphasis in History from Montana State University-Northern. She has been an eager student of history for most of her life and has completed in-depth research on the American Revolutionary War time period in American History and the history and sinking of the Titanic. Her senior university capstone paper was on the discrepancies in passenger lists on the ill-fated liner and Adrienne was able to work with Philip Hind of Encyclopedia Titanica for much of her research on that subject. Her previous works include best-selling novel,“Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey” and “Catherine Carey in a Nutshell” for MadeGlobal’s History in a Nutshell series. When she isn’t writing, Adrienne works as an administrative assistant in the financial services industry and enjoys spending time with her husband, Kyle, and son, Logan, at their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Connect with Adrienne here:
Twitter @ajdillard81

Notes and Sources

  • Hamilton, Adams & Co, ed. (1886). Miscellanea Genealogica Et Heraldica
  • Fox, Julia (2007). Jane Boleyn: The Infamous Lady Rochford
  • Letters & Papers of Henry VIII

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98 thoughts on “10 Facts about Jane Boleyn by Adrienne Dillard”
  1. I can’t wait to read this book ! I have always been fascinated by Jane Boleyn. I believe that she and George had a happy marriage and that she was friends with Anne.

  2. I’ve never given much thought to Lady Rochford other than what possessed her to abet the indiscretions of Queen Katherine Howard. Writings on secondary actors really round out the scenario of the time for readers and enhance the mystique of it all. Thank you Ms Dillard.

  3. I’d love to see this kind of text about Queen Anne Neville or Richard III This was fascinating! Thank you very much!

  4. This book sounds really good, and I agree that the marriage of Jane and George was probably happier than most people think. (We know that the first marriages of both Jane Seymour’s brother Edward and Katherine Parr’s brother William were both disasters, so the absence of any information about George’s marriage indicates to me that it wasn’t so horrible.) I’d like to see something like it dealing with Thomas Wolsey (after Mantel’s works, I don’t think Cromwell needs it as much any more)

    1. Thank you! I absolutely agree with you. I definitely think Eustace Chapuys would have been thrilled to report any kind of discord in the Boleyn family. The fact that he doesn’t is probably one of the most important indicators that the relationship wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I like the idea of a Wolsey story!

  5. Always interesting information regarding Henry and Wives – however, very little has been offered regarding the reason for all the wives – failure to provide a male heir to the throne – and given that Edward and his sisters were the center of the issue – more on Edward would be most interesting.

    1. I think Henry just loved the idea of love. He loved to be in love and when those warm, fuzzy feelings fell away, he did what he needed to do to find it again. I think that he pursued the divorce with Catherine of Aragon because of his desire for an heir, but then I think that when Jane Seymour came along, it reignited the passion that had died away in his relationship with Anne. After Jane died, he was forever trying to recapture it.

  6. What about the child of Henry’s last wife Katherine? There was some speculation that her child lived. Also, rumors of Elizabeth giving birth. There should be a book titled “the lost children”.

  7. Anne’s father , Thomas would be interesting as he is seen as the villain , getting his daughters involved with Henry. We don’t know enough of what Anne’s mother thought of any of it. Norfolk is interesting as well. Rickie Rich is a very interesting character, when he died no one had a good word to say about him. I’d love to read this book on Jane , to get a different angle to what’s been written about her .

    1. Historian Lauren Mackay is working on a book about Thomas Boleyn, I think. I can’t wait to read it! I’m very interested in Richard Rich as well. He seems to have been quite villainous, but I wonder if that’s the truth. Maybe he needs some rehabilitation?

  8. It’s not easy to take facts, such as we know them, and also consider the way history has portrayed someone – and turn those presumptions upside down. But that is exactly what Adrienne has done in her oh so enjoyable book about Jane Parker Rochford. It’s a delight to read, and so sad when one considers how it must have felt for her to be playing in such a high-stakes arena… especially when she might well have been someone who lacked an abundance of confidence. The 10 facts are a bonus! Thank you!

  9. I just finished reading a book which portrays Jane Boleyn as absolute evil. When I read my Anne Boleyn File email, I immediately email my sister, who read the same book to tell her we HAVE to read The Raven’s Widow!.. I can’t wait to see how she is portrayed in this novel!! I would love to read something on Anne’s father to see if he is indeed as evil and scheming as he is portrayed.

    1. I bet I can guess which book it was! I purposely avoided that one so I could keep my blood pressure down! I hope you enjoy my version of Jane. I definitely came to love her over the last few years that I was researching her.

  10. This is an interesting list, and I’m always glad to see more depth on people who are usually portrayed as 1-dimensional cardboard cutouts. I’d love to see such a treatment done on Lettice Knollys. Other than her (understandable) pleading for her son’s life, Lettice is too often portrayed as a 1-note shewolf. There had to be more to her than that.

    1. Ah, Lettice. She is one I might come back to. I didn’t get too far into her life while I was researching my novel about her mom, Catherine, but she was definitely an interesting woman. She is on my list of ladies to write about for sure.

    1. Watch the Anne of Cleves episode of The Six Wives Of Henry VIII(with Keith Michell.). It certainly doesn’t show her as ugly or stupid. Not pretty, but pleasant-faced, and having a good understanding of why it might be a good idea not to consummate the marriage!

    1. Anne Seymour features in an excellent book by Susan Higginbotham called Her Highness, the Traitor. I highly recommend it! Anne is definitely someone who could use some rehabilitation.

  11. Jasper and Owen Tudor interest me. I would like to read more about their lives before Henry VII defeated Richard III.

  12. Would definitely like to know about Jane, it is always good to know what goes on at court and it’s surroundings. The more we know about people like this makes the Tudors even more fascinating than what they are at the moment.

  13. Poor Jane had to bear so much after her husbands execution. Trying to keep her life together and maintain her dignity must have been so very difficult. I look forward to reading this book. I would think a book about Anne Neville and/or Anne of Cleaves would be lovely.

    1. I think the fact that she had a breakdown three days into her incarceration really shows that she was under a lot of strain. I think she probably was quite affected by George’s death. I don’t think she ever got over it.

  14. Very interesting, article. It’s only when we look into research on a life that we uncover who we are. Even the smallest mention can tell you something huge and significant about a historic person. Michael Woods followed the life of a very ordinary village woman from the fourteenth century from parish records, court records and bequests. He was able to reconstruct her entire life and work out that she had married four times, won two court cases about her inheritance, which were stripes of farm land, by entries in the court books and local records. In one later records she signed her own name and gave her own testimony, which meant that in later years she had learnt to read and write. She survived the black death but her third husband didn’t. She swears for land for her three daughters, as she has no sons, is not in the records for some time, then in her mid sixties appears under a new name. She married a fourth time. Her will was registered and witnessed three years later, she also appears in disputes over more land she gives her daughters and then finally in death documentation. She died when she was 67 or 68. Her story was remarkable as it was about an ordinary woman, but we only know her story because Michael Wood looked at those documents. When we say we don’t know about something, it’s because we have not looked or the evidence was lost. We all leave a paper trail or today a digital trail, especially if we are daft enough to put even our most private photos on Facebook or Instagram. In those days you had to come before a local court or council or board to make everything official. You did nothing without some piece of paper being written on. It’s amazing how even the most obscure person can be brought back to life, even if they only step out of the shadows occasionally. Well done, Adrienne, your positive look at this maligned lady is a delight. Thank you.

    1. Yes, Michael Wood is very good at this sort of thing. And I’ve heard the saying, “History is not in accounts but account books.” Even when there are accounts, you always need to ask, “What’s in it for him/her? Who was he connected with?” But forensic evidence, when carefully put together, can certainly tell you as much as, or mire than, a history book.

    2. Thank you, Banditqueen. I am so happy you enjoyed my article! That sounds like a wonderful story, I’m going to have to look into that. I think it is amazing what you can find out there.

  15. I would like to see a book about Charles Brandon, The Duke of Suffolk.
    It would be interesting to read what his life would of been like being one of
    The Kings closest friends and his outlook on the life at King Henry VIII’s court.

    1. There is a wonderful biography about Brandon by Sarah Bryson. I highly recommend it! I would love to see more of him in fiction. I think Henry Cavill did a great job portraying him on The Tudors.

  16. Excellent article, thank you Adrienne. I’ve always wanted to know and have been wondering about Elizabeth Boleyn, Queen Anne’s mother. Not that she had a say in what happened but how did she feel about her children and what their father had planned for their futures? Was she angry, sad, or did she just have to sit and watch it happen?
    Love theanneboleynfiles, thanks Clair.

  17. Wonderful interview. I think it is very telling that Jane kept the bed, had the marriage been an unhappy one she would not have wanted the reminder,
    I would love to see Mary Boleyn’s life shown in a fresh light, without the stigma so often painted of her.

    1. Thank you, Anne Marie. There is a wonderfully detailed inventory of Jane’s goods confiscated after her arrest in the archives. It’s just incredible the amount of information I was able to get from it. I could almost picture the bed in my mind after reading it. It must have meant a lot to her.

  18. Anything Tudor is always of interest. I have a completely different picture of Jane now. I would appreciate a book about Anne of Cleves. I know very little about her as all the books about the Tudors sing from the same hymn sheet. There must be more to her than plump and smelly. She looks very pretty on her portrait.
    Thank you for a great article.

  19. The new book is definitely going on my to-be-read list. I loved the facts that are listed as they add to all the wonderful knowledge that is gleaned from available sources, and I love learning something new every day. I’m in agreement with some of the others that Anne Neville would be an interesting person to learn more about. I’ve read several books about Richard III but not much is said about Anne.
    Thank you so much!

  20. I always enjoy reading the fascinating details on this site about which I had previously been uninformed or misinformed concerning Tudor life–particularly those focused upon Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard!

  21. I think it would be a great idea to choose one of the most intriguing Wives of Henry the 8th, the life of Katherine Parr!

    1. My first novel, Cor Rotto, was about her daughter, Catherine Carey. I was stunned that there were no books out there about her, fiction or non! Fortunately, Wendy Dunn wrote a beautiful book focusing on a young Catherine in service to her aunt, Anne. It’s kind of neat that our books were released within a month of each other. We’ve certainly bonded over our love of Catherine! I would love to see a novel centered on Henry Carey.

  22. I would love a novel about Margaret Tudor, former Queen of Scotland and grandmother of Lord Darnley. She led a rather racketty life and it was through her that Darnley had a claim to the crown of England. Yet she is not so well known as the rest of the family. I think, being so much at the centre of things, she would make an interesting protagonist.

      1. Philippa Gregory wrote a novel from Margaret Tudor’s perspective. It is called Three Sisters, Three Queens. The one by Jean Plaidy is The Thistle and the Rose.

    1. There is a novel from her perspective – My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes, who also wrote a wonderful novel about Anne Boleyn.

  23. Edward IV for me. All the novels I’ve read so far have him seen from other people’s viewpoints. What would it have been like to lose so much of your family so early, then be responsible for those family members left, while trying to win a war? And to have your former mentor and your brother join up to go against you?

    1. That would be a great novel, I think. Those are excellent points. I really do wonder how he felt about that. There was a lot riding on his shoulders, and he always seemed to forgive so easily.

  24. I’d been indoctrinated into Jane Boleyn was the Evil bitch of Evilness.for far too many years.

    And now..we see she was just another woman trying to navigate a anti-woman hostile world..

    But her degradation is still a constant plot point for lazy fiction writers..

    1. It’s hard not to be! Some very eminent historians have reinforced that ideal of her. Even Ives was not a fan and he is one of my favorite historians. I think that it’s really hard to break out of those long-held beliefs. It’s been repeated for so many years, it’s been ingrained. That’s why I chose to write about her, and I’m so happy I did. It’s been a wonderful journey getting to know the real Jane.

    1. Thank you, Monica. I would love to read more about her too. There is a fictional novel out there about her, but from what I’ve read about it, it’s not a very sympathetic portrayal. I haven’t quite got up the courage to attempt reading it because I get too upset when I read books like that. I would love to see a novel about both of Anne’s parents.

    1. Thank you, Frances. I would love to see one about her too! She was fascinating. I love that she named her dog after Stephen Gardiner…so cheeky! I read a lot of her letters when I was researching Catherine Carey’s life and they are just a treat.

  25. Great article, I’ll be reading the book as soon as I get chance! I know that this is not going to go down well but I would love to see a rehabilitation of Thomas Boleyn, he is often portrayed as scheming and calous but, in reality he was at Henry’s mercy just as much as any of his (Henry’s) other victims

  26. How interesting! It does seem telling that Jane kept the marriage bed rather than selling it.

    I agree with Sarah, I would love to read a fresh look on the life of Thomas Boleyn.

    1. I loved finding that little piece of information! Thank goodness for Julia Fox. She did such a brilliant job digging into Jane’s life. I’m really surprised other historians haven’t bothered to look at her inventory. Or perhaps they did, but didn’t make much from it. I got a really good picture of Jane from that document.

  27. I like the idea of Jane and George being happy together. I always felt that they didn’t hate each other, idk why just a feeling in the back of my head. If I was to see any person get a fresh new book it would probably be either Rita Hayworth or Mary Pickford. A bit forward in time from Jane, but they fascinate me.

  28. How about Elizabeth Woodville. Historical fiction often seems to highlight the negative aspects of her personality but it seems so much more to someone who went through so many emotional traumas in her life.

  29. That was a wonderful article Adrienne, thank you. It makes a refreshing change for Jane to be seen in a positive and balanced light.
    So how about a Scottish ‘Baddie’ to give a more positive side to, if there is one…James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, Mary Queen of Scots last husband. He hasn’t faired well through history, a real Bad Boy it seems, well the bits l have read about him have been of that ilk!

  30. I found the article very interesting. As, Adrienne Dillard said, there were some new facts and some I had read before. Jane is often portrayed as in a loveless marriage and the cause of George Boleyn’s downfall. I think there are two sides to every story and somewhere in there is the truth.

  31. I am relieved to hear that there may have been more kindness shared within Henry’s court. I am very new to Tudormania but have fallen hook, line, and sinker into their world. I have read so little that I may find a world of books on her but it is Mary Boleyn that I am curious about and her parents. I think of being ages 10 – 12 and I was playing jacks and watching cartoons. How do you absorb the French court at that age? I am utterly hooked and am determined to find out.

    1. Alison Weir has a book on Mary Boleyn and she brings up some interesting points to refute the image of the “infamous wh*re” that history has repeated through the ages. I loved seeing another side of her. The only thing I didn’t like about this particular book was that Ms. Weir’s tone was scornful of previous historians whom she quoted frequently and it was rather distracting, It felt like a one-upmanship at times. With limited evidence from hundreds of years ago, nearly any historian is going to have to enter the realm of speculation to piece together a whole story. But I’m really glad there are authors out there willing to tell another story.

  32. I have always thought that Jane Rochford was much maligned. Various things I have read led me to believe her marriage to George was not as unhappy as some like to portray. I look forward to reading the Raven’s Widow. I would love to know more about Anne, Mary and George’s mother Elizabeth. Seems so little is known, and the, I believe, false rumor she was Henry VIII’s mistress.

  33. Hello Claire and Adrienne!

    Just finished reading the Raven’s Widow. So good. This story is refreshing and revealing and though we all know the ending, I loved how you brought us on your journey Adrienne. I hope you have some other Tudor surprises for us soon.

    1. Thank you so much, Jules! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! As I got closer to the end, I kept wishing that I could give her a last minute reprieve. I’ve begun work on my next novel, which will feature Margery Horsman and Jane Seymour.

  34. I’m currently reading ( and very much enjoying ) the Ravens Widow) . It’s a take on Jane Boleyn that i find intriguing and refreshing. Although I was entirely captivated by our BBC drama production of Wolf Hall , Jane was portrayed brilliantly as a scheming , bitter woman with a grudge against the Boleyn’s , so this book is an interesting and thought provoking alternative. Many thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Cath! I’m so happy that you are enjoying it! Jessica Raine did a great job portraying the Jane that Hilary Mantel wrote. Though I know the history was a bit muddled, I did really enjoy the show!

  35. Wow! I I just finished reading The Raven’s Widow. I really enjoyed this book and could hardly put it down! It made me want to know more about the lady.

  36. For Jane to be one of the court ladies chosen to play a part in a pageant does tell us that she was most likely a quite attractive woman, as only the prettiest were picked for such an occasion, many writers have written quite disparagingly of her looks but there is no comment on her appearance from contemporaries and no paintings we can go on, it just fits in better with the bitter jealous person she is said to have been, there was Anne her sister in law, the beauty who had cast a spell on the King and most of the men at court, and her adoring younger brother, a handsome go lucky talented poet and musician in his own right, and then there was poor little Jane, the neglected unloved drab little wife, whose hatred for her sister in law nurtured a desire to ruin both her and her brother’s lives, it suits many historians and writers of historical fiction to present this picture of Jane and her relationship with her husband and his sister yet it seems to belong more in the realms of fiction than actual fact, as there is no evidence whatsoever that there was any animosity between them, there is a sketch titled Lady Rochford which is of a pretty young woman, the sitter has an oval face and regular features with large eyes, if this is of Jane she was anything but plain, yet some believe it is of her sister in law Grace Newport, I think Jane has throughout the years been the victim of character assassination, her marriage was arranged so it was not a love match but they very rarely were, some prospective husbands and wives had only met each other a few times, prior to getting married, they were both sophisticated court people and knew what was expected of them, they knew the ways of the court and we’re both in service to the King and his queen, therefore they probably got along well enough, who can say otherwise? There is no record of any falling out between them and Jane in fact was in cahoots with Anne to rid the court of one of Henrys mistresses, that shows they were friendly, there is such a lot of myths going round about Jane as there was of Anne such as she is said to have confessed on the scaffold that she believed her death was a penance for bringing a false accusation against Anne and her husband George, the accusation being one of incest, but she never said that, scaffold speeches have been bandied about like frisbees with so many variations that it’s a wonder where they got them from, I think Janes reputation as a jealous harpy who sent her innocent husband and his sister to death is quite undeserved, possibly when alls said and done, it was Cromwell who used her as a scapegoat for his dirty work.

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