Being George Boleyn by Clare Cherry

Posted By on April 4, 2012

Tower Hill scaffold site

Today we have the special treat of an article on George Boleyn by Clare Cherry who has been researching George for many years. Thanks, Clare!

I’ve often wondered what it must have been like to be George Boleyn throughout his short but eventful life.

He was born into a life of great wealth and prestige. His father was a highly respected courtier and diplomat. George himself was attractive and intelligent to the extent that his ‘great wit’ was later commented on in poetry. He was, therefore, not only born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was also born lucky. He was the only surviving son and heir. He represented the Boleyns’ future, and a promising future at that.

Yes, there would no doubt have been pressure placed upon him to succeed, but he had bred into him the confidence which would have alleviated that pressure by the knowledge of his own abilities.

Good looking, gifted and rich. It is difficult to imagine a better start in life for a young boy who had pride and ambition instilled in him from birth.

He was introduced to Henry VIII’s court at the tender age of ten and was an instant hit, being appointed one of Henry’s pageboys shortly afterwards. He had charm and charisma to add to his other attributes. His wit and humour made him popular, and life must have seemed extraordinarily easy. He was a talented sportsman and later discovered a propensity for poetry. He was made for great things, to be a courtier in his father’s footsteps, a trusted adviser to the King. He had a charmed life.

And then, in the mid 1520s, his sister Anne caught the King’s eye. For the first time in his charmed life the Boleyns greatest asset was usurped. As Anne’s position as queen consort became established George was no longer the most important Boleyn sibling. He took second stage to a sibling, and a woman at that.

How did he cope with the transition? It is a testament to his character and his affection for Anne that throughout the late 1520s and through into the mid 1530s he exhibited nothing but love and support to the sister who had taken his limelight. Of course it was in his interests to do so, but every position of power and authority bestowed upon him from then on would be questioned by enemies and rivals.Was he awarded a Viscountcy on his own merits? Was he appointed ambassador to France at the age of twenty-five on his own merits? Was he appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports at the age of thirty on his own merits? For a proud young man with ‘great wit’, that must have been hard to take.

His life, after Henry became attracted to Anne, certainly changed. It is hard to say how his career would have progressed without that happening, but I don’t doubt that he would have been highly successful in any event. Whether George Boleyn felt his life changed for the better once Anne’s own destiny was established is only something he could answer.

What it did mean was that, with Anne’s influence over Henry and Henry’s desire to marry her, George’s commitment to religious reform had a far greater chance of success. For that alone he had reason to support her rise. But whether he was content with being the powerful brother of the queen consort, or whether his pride would have preferred recognition in his own right without the ‘brother’ tag is again something only he could answer. The ‘brother’ tag certainly made his life even easier. Into the mid 1530s his charmed life continued. He held roles of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from June 1534 onwards, he was a politician and a leading light in the Reformation Parliament and was also a busy diplomat attending a total of six embassies to France.

Irrespective of being the queen’s brother he never sat back on his laurels, and the evidence we have indicates he was highly active in the roles appointed to him, and highly thought of by Henry. He worked hard and diligently in defiance of those who may have questioned his abilities. He was too proud not to do so. He may have taken his personal abilities and attributes for granted, but he does not appear to have taken his position as Henry’s brother-in-law for granted, and that is a credit to him. He wanted recognition in his own right, and I think that shows in his scaffold speech.

Life carried on for George Boleyn as it always had, with a charmed existence, until 2nd May 1536. Waking up that morning, just like any other morning, but this time walking straight into a nightmare. Nothing, during his thirty-two years of life, could possibly have prepared him for the horror of that moment, or the horror of the dreadful, shameful and completely unfounded allegations laid against him.

He had shown great strength of character throughout his life and career, but he had never needed the degree of character required to get him through this ordeal. How on earth could anyone who had lived a life such as his possibly cope with what he needed to cope with?

He initially wept with the shock, horror and shame of it all. But did he crumble? Did he give up? No, he walked into court with his head held high and destroyed the prosecution case with his wit and courage, in a trial considered to be one of the most sensational of the sixteenth century. And when he was condemned did he rail against the sentence? No, he accepted it with the dignity which was expected of him. When he faced death did he show fear. Yes, but only for those who may have suffered as a result of his death. On the scaffold did he show weakness. No, he gave an impassioned speech before submitting to the axe.

Those last fifteen days of George Boleyn’s life, compared to the previous thirty-two years, were so completely opposite that it’s hard to imagine anything more diverse. Yet in death he showed what he had always been made of; strength, wit, courage and determination. However, whatever had gone before was, to modern eyes, lost in the final act. For that reason alone, perhaps the greatest tragedy of being George Boleyn is that, as far as history views him, his death became his finest scene.

63 thoughts on “Being George Boleyn by Clare Cherry”

  1. miladyblue says:

    Excellent article, Claire and Clare!

    What I find sad and ironic is that someone of such great virtues was destroyed, perhaps without a second thought, by someone (Henry) who did think so highly of him, to the point where nearly 500 years later, the truth of his life is so elusive.

    The lies which hounded him to his death are so much more prevalent, and are even fully believed. Some modern writers are no help, and yes, I do mean the likes of Philippa Gregory’s horrific portrayal (betrayal?) of George in “The Other Boleyn Girl.”

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Miladyblue,I had to laugh when you said not to watch The Other Boleyn Girl,OMG I did it was one of the most grueling moveis I have ever had the misfortune of viewing!I I did drop it in the trash. Thank You Baroness Von Reis

  2. Esther says:

    Thank you to both Claires for a wonderful article. However, I find it a little ironic that George seems to be similar to Edward Seymour in many ways (religion; desire to be recognized for his own merits, etc.)

  3. tracy says:

    I just find it hard to swallow that Henry beleived all he did about George Boylen.

    As I see it, Henry had tired of Anne after 10 years, personally I get the impression that while Henry was in pursuit of Anne she held power over him, she was elusive, captavating, intellegent, once she submitted to him his feelings changed towards her, he hadher killed because he didn’t want to, in his eyes, lose face having broken from Rome in the first place to marry her.

    Henry wanted a way out of his marriage to Anne, this was the way he did it, killed her than had her brother killed out of spite becasuse of the closeness of the two.

    I seem to remember reading that henry had first divorced her and had got her to sign the papers saying she agreed to it only for the excution to go ahead.

    I think there’s a telling moment abuout a year or so before Anne and George died whe Anne was expecting again, she found Henry in a compromising situation and flew at him over it, his comment was “You will bear it as your betters did” meaning Katherine of Aragon, letting Anne know she was NOT of Royal blood, his first wife afer all was Royal and in his eyes had breeding.

    I agree that George’s death overshaowed his life and his work at court and in the diplomatic service, which is the saddest part of it all.

    Who can really say what his thoughts were towards the end?

    I am reminded of Elizabeth the first’s comment on hearing of the death of Thomas Seymour “Today died a man of much wit but very little judgement”

    George had much wit and judgement but he had the bad luck of having Henry VIII as a brother in law.

  4. Julz says:

    I have sometimes wondered about George Boleyn and whether he was actually gay, as is rumoured. I certainly pity him for being so unjustly killed and being married to Jane Parker. He seems to have been a very able and ambitious man, much liked at court. What a waste to have him executed on trumped up charges, for which their was little or no real evidence.

  5. Bridgett says:

    What a very nice write up on George Boleyn!

  6. Bev says:

    George Boleyn has always held a certain fascination for me. Loved reading this beautifully written piece, thank you.

  7. Emma says:

    Great article. It’s a shame that George is only known by many people for an untrue scandal or as a victim instead of the intellegent, succesful and charming young man he seems to have been.

  8. Leslie says:

    Sadly, I did not know much of George – my focus was always on Anne. Having read over the various resources on this site, I now have become more curious as to the life of the other men who died with Anne in 1536.

    Thank you for this post. George seems to be portrayed as a lecherous, flighty, bisexual (as in “The Tudors”). It is nice to read about the real George; sad that his story has become distorted over time!

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Leslie,Hi myself thought the same thing when the Tudors was on,but George was not bisexual nor a lecherous man as I ask QsAs and found that infact he nor Smeaton were not. I found the Tudors more entertainment and maybe this could of happen or that could of happen.If you want to see more true facts get the movie Anne Of a Thousand Day.Its really very I think right on as to what did happen.If you have’nt seen this flim I highly recommend it. Regards Baroness Von Reis

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Leslie,Claire gave me a site to go to on George as I wondered myself so maybe Claire can give you the info and were to go . Regards Baroness

  9. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Yet another great read Claire/Clare, I agree with Miladyblue a very sad ending in his life, as well as all the men that were wrongly acused by Henry and lets not forget Cromwell as he was the one that was behind all the lies that sent him to his death,how tragic. THX Baroness Von Reis

  10. Nannette says:

    Is there a book in the works on his life? He is a very interesting person and I don’t think his life has really been examined yet. Thanks for the great article.

    1. H. Bollyn says:

      By admiring George just for his looks and wit, you definitely miss the bigger picture:

      Both Anne and George died because they were reformist Catholics and supported the break from Rome. The Boleyn family had been instrumental in bringing the Scripture to the people in the English language. “Promoting the vernacular Bible was clearly a Boleyn family enterprise,” Eric Ives writes in The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn. To understand how revolutionary the English Bible was in the 1530s we need to consider that for seven centuries after the conversion of England to Christianity (in the Third Century), the common man had no access to the text of the Scriptures.

      In “George Boleyn, Religion and the Reformation,” Claire Ridgway points out that the Boleyns were “reformist Catholics”:

      Reform amounted to a desire to rid the church of increasing greed and corruption, for the rites of the faith to be reformed, and for the word of God to be accessible to the masses. George and Anne Boleyn were not only devotees of this idealism; in time they came to embody it…They sought reform of the Catholic religion, not a complete departure from it, and both of them died as Catholics. They obviously supported a break with Rome because that was essential in order for Anne to become Queen, but their passion for reform did not mean that they altered their basic religious beliefs, and for them, the break also meant that the reforms which they envisioned could be brought to fruition. They died as reformist Catholics, not as Protestants.

      For those who want to read more about their good deeds, I recommend reading a book by Colin Hamer “Anne Boleyn – One short life that changed the English-speaking world” Day One Publications, Leominster, U.K., 2007
      http://www.dayonebookstore.com/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=4172

      George Boleyn said these last words before he was killed:

      Truly so that the Word should be among the people of the realm I took upon myself great labour to urge the king to permit the printing of the Scriptures to go unimpeded among the commons of the realm in their own language. And truly to God I was one of those who did most to procure the matter to place the Word of God among the people because of the love and affection which I bear for the Gospel and the truth of Christ’s words.
      – George Boleyn’s scaffold speech, 17 May 1536

      1. Nannette says:

        @H. Bollyn – I am confused as I never said I amired “George just for his looks and wit”. I was only asking if there has been a credible non-fiction biography of him. Sorry if I wasn’t clear in my posting.

        1. H. Bollyn says:

          I am sorry, Nannette: it’s true that you did not say anything about George’s good looks or wit. All I actually wanted to tell you (and others) was that you can find lots of interesting factual material and analysis about George and his evangelical family in Colin Hamer’s book that I mentioned above.

        2. Claire says:

          You can also find lots on George on this site 😉

  11. Melanie says:

    Am I correct in thinking that during and after his arrest, George Boleyn worried aloud, several times, about his debts and his servants’ well-being–wanting to make sure that money he owed to various people was paid in full? That seems honorable to me (and not typical aristocratic behavior!).

    1. Eliza says:

      Yes, I have read that, too!! It speaks very well of him!

  12. Sharon says:

    Great article Clare!
    Beautifully written. Your devotion to getting the truth out there about George is inspiring. YAY! You are George’s brilliant champion. Thank you!

  13. WileWales says:

    Thank you Claire for a superior article on this capable and couragous man. I have to agree with miladyblue, 100% on this one. He was wise in not taking his status as brother-in-law to the Queen Consort for granted, and diplomat to SIX embassies in France, as well as a member of Parliament. Yes, he most capable.

    I cannot conceive, especially, back then, the horror to which must have awakened on that morning in 1536! He held his head high and was courageous to the end.

    I’d also like to thank miladyblue for bringing up Phillipa Gregory as well. Not many people knew or even still have no idea who he was, his achievements so that 500 years later, he had a hand in Parliament for his sidings. She has tarnished the reputation of a man almost no one knew (outside our circle and of the sample of her audience, relatively few in comparison – and I think tarnish is the best word I can think to say on this site too), and made him into everything a person can think of and thus cheapened it, except his achievements, and his love for his sister, and his courageous death. That is reprehensible and shows what a “little” woman she is…

    I never saw the movie, and thank goodness I didn’t eve see the movie(I had read about Gregory, and stupid me, went and bought at the used book store [they do take credit for books brought back], and read about the first 100 pages, if I got that far, put all of her books in a bag and went back to the book store]). Ihad bought up to “The Red Queen.” This was long before Phillipa was highly crticized (she was becoming so by that point, but when I saw her advetise herself as an archeologist with three other P.h.D.’s [I also understand the book didn’t do welll]), I had had enough of her.

    Claire, thank you so very much for the very succinct article covering all of the important areas of his life. He and Anne did die innocently, and each of them had courage that few today would ever has or would exhibit. Thank you! WilesWales

    1. WileWales says:

      Forgive me. as I started this one when only miladyblue had commented. Great comments in the meantime!!! Thank you, Claire and Clare!!! ! Thank you, once again! WilesWales

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        WilesWales,Hello have not had a chat with you for sometime,I to think how tragic for all who were put to death on this horible turn of events.Also wanted to thank you for the info – movie about The Lady Jane Grey it was great and also another tragic event. Kind Regards Baroness Von Reis

    2. miladyblue says:

      WileWales, do yourself a favor and NEVER see “The Other Boleyn Girl” – To put it mildly, flies would leave fresh sewage to swarm this movie.

      “Hatchet job” is not even an adequate description of the insult done to both Anne and George. If they were alive today, they would have an airtight lawsuit against the producers and Ms. Gregory.

      In fact, I want to sue the producers myself for the almost two hours of my life I wasted watching it.

      1. WilesWales says:

        Thank you Baroness, and miladyblue! I had a good laugh when I read miladyblue! I am so sure you are correct, and agree with you on the movie, and I would join in with you on the lawsuit just on the little I read of the book! Frankly, the most accurate account, that is movies, is not a movie, but the threatre production of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII,” put out by BBC in about 1968 (I am guessing the date by a few years, as the most that sticks to the facts is also “Elizabeth R” with Glenda Jackson [who could have played that role other than her?] in 1971. Each series contains six separate theatre versions with “Anne Boleyn” as the the second part of six in the first above.” I relate to that one (I first saw it on PBS when I was a little boy, and then at 13, rode my bike to see it at the public library), then when I was in college with my majors in European Hiistory with an emphasis in the Reformation, studied and wrote about Anne and Elizabeht quite a bit, and finally in 1988 Eric Ives’ put out his first edition of “Anne Boleyn [I have bought the updated version as I use it as my bible as Claire say she does. I also own both the two BBC series as well]. No matter what paper or examination I wrote with what seemed like exhaustive bibiliographies that the one on Anne Boleyn is the most accruate.

        Love “Hatchet-Job” in miladyblue’s description. No one would have ever brought up unless doing serious research, if that, would be speculating that George was a homosexual (and what has that got to do with his accomplishments, and being accused of inces with his sister) or not. Enough on that for now!

        “Anne of the Thousand Days” is a great movie, and is mostly accurate, but things like what she said about Elizabeth…and my blood will have been well spent,” are not exactly on key, as Henry never again saw Anne, especially when she was in the Tower. Other things are definitely accurate, and it is a great way to introduce Anne to others. Peter and Genevieve (sp?) give great performances, if not Oscar winning.

        Baroness, thank you again! If you, milladyblue, Esther, etc. ever need anything, as I’ve said in the past, and I never have done this on except once on these pages my email address is WilesWales@gamail.com. I also receive, thanks to Claire, an email anytime someone replies to one of my posts. I will never be Claire, but I do really, and I don’t usually feel this way, but have a vehement dislike for Phillipa Gregory, Agh! Thank you! WilesWales

        1. WilesWales says:

          Great article again Clare. It was so well put together I found myself lost in a different world! BTW, mistake above correction: WilesWales@gmail.com Thank you! WilesWales!

        2. Baroness Von Reis says:

          WilesWales,Thank you for the heads up on Phillipa I think I had heard nof this persons babble therefore I donot waste time with such people,also THX for the info on The Lady Jane Grey Queen for nine days that to was excellent.I This was a very interesting movie with fact not fic,yet another tragic timeless death. Hope to chat with you again. Kind Regards Baroness Von Reis

        3. WilesWales says:

          Glad you enjoyed a fact filled movie. She was forced into it, and the poor thing, being chosen because the Act of Sucesson favored Mary, Henry’s younger sister. Then she and her husband being beheaded because of I think their father’s breaking the law and being sentenced to death. This is also, among other things, the reason that Mary, Queen of Scots, granddaughter of Margaret, Henry’s older sister, laid claim on the throne as she was the Catholic heir, and Elizabeth the savior for the Protestants, but Elizabeth did no persecute the Roman Catholics, just because of that, as she said something to the effect of she had no desire to look into other humans’ souls. I agree, another timeless tragic death. Kind regards, WilesWales

        4. staci white says:

          I so agree with all of you about Philipa’s The Other Boleyn Girl”. When i first read her novel I was new to the life of Anne, Mary and George and took it as factual. Then I really started researching the Boleyn family and Henry VIII and wow! Then I watched the movie and omg I spent the next hour telling the friends we went with what a huge break from history the movie took. I was also somewhat dissappointed with the first season of The Tudors when they got it wrong about Margaret Tudor marrying into the french royality and not Mary Tudor. How did they miss that!!!! I have been so grateful to find this site and folks who care so much about the true history of the Tudor age.
          Best regards, Staci White

        5. WilesWales says:

          Thank you, Staci! This site is wonderful and Claire Ridgway, our moderator could not have done a better job in stimulating, developing, and constructing a civil way of discussing these things. I just thank goodness (and I was told this about the movie on the book, “The Other Boleyn Girl’, and that lady told me she was ready to have two attorneys ready after the film to sue Gregory, LOL!), but I believe I did myself a favor by not watching “The Tudors” as well. I was on the TudorWiki as a writer for a while, and almost everyone on that site was what I call a “forum Queen” backbiting, and bad mouthing, and pointing out errors, and if replied with cited truth, that just made it worse. “The Tudors I understand now is loaded with misinformation.

          Just what you have told me about Margaret (and she stayed in England for about 12 years AFTER she was married to James VI of Scotland) and Mary is enough.I also understand it was a great monetary reward, and pushed the actor who was 32 as Henry VIII into rehabilitation a short while after it was over.

          I am just (not glad, but in a different sense) have great satisfaction from this site (and nowthe TudorWiki and the BorgiaWiki are no longer) that we can get on and discuss the things with each other. I myself, I hold degrees in European History wth an Emphasis on the Reformatin, have read the articles and comments that have taught me more and made me think more (and I work around the comments on the articles lauding the writer and not much else, as Claire would not have anything but the best and most accurate articles and writers with which to begin. So all in all thank you, and weclomes, Staci! Thank you! WilesWales

        6. Claire says:

          Thank you for your kind words, WilesWales, but this site just wouldn’t be the same without the people who comment here and who also use the forum. I love the fact that this site has become such a community and somewhere where people feel that they can share their views no matter what they believe. I’m so glad I started this journey, it’s been amazing and I’ve made so many friends.
          Thank you!

      2. TinaII2None says:

        First off, what a wonderful article on George Boleyn. I’m grateful to TABF for taking an intellectual approach towards Anne and her family. I’ve studied the Tudors for many years, but you’re never too old to educate yourself more on the subject, and I’m afraid that when it comes to them, I can’t learn enough. George has gotten lousy press (thanks to The Tudors and their sensationalism mixed with real history…or worse, She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named with her claims of being a real historian); I can barely remember how he was portrayed in Anne of a Thousand Days and The Six Wives of Henry VIII (with the wonderful Dorothy Tutin). So it’s nice to see that he wanted religious reform, that he wrote poetry, that he even cared about the welfare of his servants. Maybe one day,a writer or a filmmaker will actually capture George more realistically…and until then —

        If you haven’t already, as others have already mentioned — STAY AWAY FROM TOBG!! I rented it, and by the end I was not only screaming at my TV, but the last 10 minutes or so had me throwing things. Especially when Mary goes romping into the palace and…Well, never mind — I’ll start throwing things again LOL

        Thanks again for the wonderful article!

  14. Anne Barnhill says:

    Great article! I had never tried to imagine what it would be like to BE George…and that he might have felt a bit of jealousy over Anne’s eclipsing him. I cannot remember which biographer (I’ve read a ton!) mentioned George as being lecherous, though not necessarily gay–but I have read that in nonfiction as well as novels. What are your thoughts? And where did this impression of him come from? Thanks again!

  15. Anne says:

    What a nice article! It is wonderful that there are so many interested in finding out more about the real historical figures in Anne Boleyn’s life, especially those who like George were important to her personally. Although I have not heard of any known surviving portrait of
    George, the face that has always come to my mind (and the personality, too!) when I think of him is George Harrison! Charming, talented, humorous, intelligent, spiritual, etc., and those beautiful mischievous eyes. Thanks again, Clare!

  16. Amy says:

    I always wondered about George. Was he bitter that he wasn’t the favored child once Anne rose to fame? Was he jealous over her seemingly happy marriage while he was married to Jane Parker? Was he hateful when Henry’s destruction of Anne destroyed him too? These’s so much research about Anne, who we can all kind of admit is still a bit of an enigma, what about the other players in the game?
    Thank you, Claire & Clare, for the article on dear George. I really appreciated it. And my overly-logical mind dies too!
    Amy

  17. Bridgett says:

    What a brilliant blogpost! Thank you so much for sharing more about George! I loved every word of it!

  18. lorri says:

    It was great to read about George and realize that he played a large part in Henry’s Court before Anne. What moved me the most is how important the whole Boleyn family was to Henry. The entire family obviously captivated Henry for a good portion of his reign. This only proves what exceptional and magnetic people they truly were.

  19. juliane says:

    Long live George Boleyn in our hearts who remember him, beloved brother to Queen Anne.

  20. Clare says:

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. I’m so pleased by the interest shown in George. x

  21. Conor Byrne says:

    @tracy Henry believed it because he forced himself to; it could be likely that he convinced himself he hated Anne so much that it was perfectly plausible that she’d commit incest with her brother, since he wanted to be rid of her.

    @miladyblue I agree, it is an excellent article, but I’m not sure I agree with you about George’s virtues.. Yes, he was clearly bright, articulate and as ambitious as his sister, but I’m not sure you can call him “virtuous”. He referred to himself as a ‘sinner’ on the scaffold, and even interpreting that in the context of early modern Tudor scaffold speeches, you can look at evidence from George Cavendish which paints George as immoral to the point of being abhorrent in his sexual practices. Personally, I agree with you – Gregory has destroyed George Boleyn’s reputation by portraying him in the way that she did. In my opinion, “The Tudors” worsened it by depicting him as a violent rapist. But if you look at Cavendish’s verses, who knows – perhaps George was a rapist and was, to an extent, violent.

    I’m not saying I believe it, because Cavendish was a hostile source, but to me Boleyn does not seem virtuous; let’s not forget he also said that it was a shame Princess Mary did not “keep company with her mother”.

    I hope my opinion isn’t slated now!

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Conor,
      Everyone on the scaffold referred to themselves as sinners, it was scaffold protocol. The Tudors believed in original sin and believed that they were all sinners who deserved to die. I cannot see much difference between George’s speech and the speeches of the other men in that respect, apart from George used the opportunity to preach. Have you read Cavendish’s words on Henry VIII? They’ve very similar to his description of George:-
      “My lusts too frequent, and have by them experience,
      Seeking but my lust of unlawful lechery,
      Whereof the slander remains still in me;
      So that my willful and shameful trespass
      Does all my majesty and nobleness deface.”
      So, I don’t think that Cavendish’s words can be used as evidence of an abhorrent sexual practices.
      I’m not sure that anyone was “virtuous” at the Tudor court but I don’t believe that George should be portrayed as he has been and still is in fiction and on TV.

  22. Bosha says:

    What amazes me most is that George’s father and mother did not suffer for the “supposed” sins of both their daughter and son. If the populace truly did believe that Anne and George were sexually involved, I would think that Thomas and his wife would have been ruined completely, if not exiled or killed. My understanding is that that is not the case and although they may have been financially devastated they were spared. Anyone have thoughts on this?

  23. Aynne says:

    George was a charismatic, intelligent and talented individual in his own right, and it would seem all three Boleyn children shared these qualities in different ways and thus drew the attention of the King. I think there is much we do not know about George, and I find him a interesting individual and do believe his story has not come to us. My research, which was some time ago, did not have the benefit of extensive internet sources, but he had a keen eye and ear as an artist and has impressed me as a sensitive soul, in an unhappy marriage, but benefitting from opportunities to perform career and social tasks well. I will try and read more of Clare Cherry’ s work. It sounds fascinating.

    1. Emma says:

      Well said. Although the only evidence that George and Jane had an unhappy marriage is that a reason is needed to explain why Jane accused Anne & George of incest. However it is almost certain that it was a different lady in waiting who did this.

  24. Baroness Von Reis says:

    What I have learned about George was that he was very close to Anne,in a good way aswell as Mary his other sister,he wasnot jelous of Anne nor Mary when Henry was chasing her skirt.What I have seen and read about George is ha was a wonderfull, kind and carring brother and man. Baroness Von Reis

  25. Helen says:

    I agree with all that Phillipa Gregory if not worth discussing or reading or seeing the movie. Her works can only be described as trash. I did read some of her books and found problems with several till I stopped reading them all together.
    Anne of a Thousand Days with Burton and Bujold is very close (albeit some descrepancies)to what I belive is the truth of Anne and George, Six Wives of Henry viii is terrific in telling the story of all the wives, (BBC Elizabeth I is likewise terrific). I never believed the” stories” about George Boleyn or Jane Rochford regarding their marriage or her testifying aganist her husband and Anne.
    Brothers and sisters can love each other without being incestous. It is hard to know the whole truth but this blog and the articles printed help tell the truth.

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Helen, I so agree withyou aswell,maybe Phillipa should get a differnt line of work,if you didnot see the movie,heed my warnning it was offull. Kind Regards

  26. Emilie Conroy says:

    As I was reading this excellent article, I was reminded of my first encounter with George Boleyn–except that he was Georges Boullan and praised by the French royal court for his sense of diplomacy, quickness of mind, and mastery of the French languages and all of its nuances. In the texts I’ve read written in French from the French perspective, George almost eclipses even Anne for the great and positive influence he exercised at court. In spite of representing England’s interests, George left his own legacy in working to smooth relations between the two nations, and in fact giving the French court a different and positive impression of England itself.

    In other words, George Boleyn is remembered as having perhaps been the most intriguing and interesting Boleyn of them all. Fascinating, no?

    1. Claire says:

      I agree with you, Emilie, and I am as fascinated with George as I am with Anne. I hate the way he has been portrayed in fiction and his real character and accomplishments completely overlooked. He was an incredible man.

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        Claire, When George Boleyn was taken before the court and charged,he said to the court, Your Judge’s Are My Creature’s,can you explaine ,to what that means in lay term’s ???? Or if anyone else wants to take a stab at that it would be great!! THX Baroness Von Reis

  27. Helen says:

    Unfortunately I did see the movie,. You are so right Baroness, if was terrible..
    Why do some people who write historical books never get their facts straight or even seem to want to. Guess the almighty dollar is better telling untruths or partial truths.

    1. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Helen,I do not no who would publish Phillipas garbage, thats French for trash as far as that Other Boleyn Girl movie,those poor actresses,that was perhapes the most mind numbing movie I have ever seen. Kind Regards Baroness Von Reis

    2. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Helen,Lets Hope they donot make a sequal to The Other Boleyn Girl,it then would be The Other Other Boleyn Girl! I do jest! Regards Baroness

      1. Julie B says:

        The Other Boleyn Girl and The Tudors are both terrible :O(

        1. Clare says:

          Thank you, Julie B. I couldn’t have said it better!

    3. Baroness Von Reis says:

      Helen, Thx for the reply and your so right on,when i first started to veiw the Tudor’s,It seem to start ok and then it went on and on with much fic not fact,so I stoped the series in my package on dish. I will say that Elizabeth1 the newer version was excellent and factual,but the sequal was not very good.I wish they would stop making sequals ,never see a sequal myself as i pretty much no whats in store. I ask Caire about George Bolyen if he and Smeaton were bisexual?/ She did assure me that was not true. I donot have anything agaisnt gay men or women ,have a few friends that are and there great people! Kind Regards Baroness

  28. Emma says:

    I totally agree with the comments concerning Phillipa Gregory and her work. She seems determined to believe the very worst of both Anne and George based on the very slightest evidence or on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Even if she truly believes what she writes it does not excuse the spiteful, gloating and childish way in which she portrays historical characters. She really is no better than the trolls who post moronic ‘X was really evil and I hate them and Ha Ha they got killed’ comments.

  29. lucy says:

    A lovely article, thank you :>)

  30. Conor Byrne says:

    Claire, I agree with you. I think the theories of Retha Warnicke and to some extent Alison Weir have influenced media portrayals of George in “The Tudors” and “The Other Boleyn Girl”. If we follow Ives’ argument then he was certainly as charismatic and brilliant as his older sister Anne.

  31. kim says:

    Retha Warnicke & Alison Weir have some improbable theories. Ives is still the best author for anne boleyn. i have mixed feelings about george. he and his uncle norfolk criticized anne shelton for not being cruel enough to lady mary because of her birth.

  32. kim says:

    Hi, claire! do u think that he attempted to assassinate fitzroy? I don’t because henry would’ve done something far worse than a simple execution. perhaps torture?

  33. kim says:

    but alison weir recently wrote that thomas boleyn was the heir of their father and died in his mid 20s in 1520.

    1. Claire says:

      Alison Weir based her theory on Thomas Boleyn the Younger’s tomb being marked with a date of death of 1520, but she has had to correct that because it is not dated at all. You may want to see my video on this:



      or my articles:
      https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-lost-boleyns-thomas-and-henry-boleyn/
      https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/the-lost-boleyns-update-on-the-tomb-brasses-of-thomas-and-henry-boleyn/

      It is clear from the style of the brass memorial that Thomas died in infancy, just like his brother Henry.

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