George Boleyn with Clare Cherry

Posted By on May 19, 2017

George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, was executed on 17th May 1536 after being found guilty of high treason. He was charged with committing incest with his sister, Queen Anne Boleyn, and of plotting with her to kill the king.

He is remembered for his part in the bloody events of May 1536, but he was far more than just the brother of Queen Anne Boleyn, he was also a favourite of King Henry VIII, a loyal servant to the king, a diplomat and a gifted poet.

As part of Anne Boleyn Day 2017 and to commemorate the executions of the queen and the five men, Clare Cherry, co-author of George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat talks to us about what we know about the real George Boleyn.

I know just how much research Clare did on George because I worked with her on the book. If you’re interested in reading the book you can find out more at If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the George Boleyn book and an Anne Boleyn falcon badge, simply leave a comment on this post before midnight on 24th May saying what you found interesting about this video. One comment will be picked at random and the winner contacted.

29 thoughts on “George Boleyn with Clare Cherry”

  1. Mary Rutherford-Birkey says:

    Thank you Clare,

    I love the emphasis and comments on George as a poet (a remarkable one) instead of on the more salacious aspects we hear about so often. You’ve provided some excellent counter-arguments to the historical fiction of “The Other Boleyn Girl” and recent accounts of his behavior.

  2. Rachel says:

    I’m baffled by the consistent portrayal of George as a villain and/or gay. Shaking my head here and joining with Clare in asking where it all came from. x

  3. Agnes Szabo says:

    I know George loved books and reading like his sister, Anne but I’ve never thought of him as a poet.

  4. Karen says:

    Clare, your thoughts have put George in a more positive light.

  5. Maddie says:

    I’m always so confused about why George is portrayed as such a villain. I liked hearing about him in a more positive light.

  6. Shannon says:

    George need more things written about him.

  7. Jessica says:

    Thank u for letting us see a piece of the real George . this pope man caught up in the horrible game of politics

  8. Jan Kelley says:

    A fascinating talk. I like to hear historians try to revise/rehabilitate the victims of the myth-makers of history. In George’s case it is well overdue. When I wrote about the French Revolution I met with similar myths around Louis XVI, who is so often portrayed as a sexually inadequate simpleton, when he was intelligent and erudite, and a loving husband. These myths made it easier to propagate the gossip portraying Marie Antoinette as an unfaithful wife and good-time girl. I often think these myths serve another purpose, that of assuaging the guilt of succeeding generations about executing people who with hindsight were not guilty of anything worthy of the supreme punishment. And George Boleyn is surely a case in point. Thank you again for a really interesting talk.

  9. annie says:

    I loved Clare’s passionate defense of George being an upright man not deserving the popular culture trashing his character has received.

  10. Dawn 1st says:

    This book was a joy to read, it brought what is known about George into a realistic context. He became a person with a life…having a family, a career, who was an educated man with many talents, who was falsely accused of heinous crimes and suffered the terrible consequences, rather than this depraved entity that had an attachment to the Boleyn family and got his just deserts.

    There isn’t a great deal of George’s life recorded, most know he was Anne’s brother, accused of incest, and was executed. The perfect candidate for the growing of a fictitious ‘baddie’!.
    Fiction is entertaining, and there is certainly nothing wrong with a good tale that includes well know people from history…what is wrong are the writers who proclaim their depiction is a well researched conclusion and a true reflection of this persons character. This is where fiction takes over and becomes reality to so many, and it sticks!! Shame on those who profess knowledge…

  11. Dawn Pinnataro says:

    Very interesting and thank you for a chance to win a copy of this book. George, as also his sister Mary and his wife Jane. has so many unknowns about his life. Very interesting.

  12. Veronica Lynn says:

    I feel so very deeply for George Boleyn and his sisters.
    I believe all three were victimized in great part because of their father’s ambition.
    I feel he advised them to promote himself not protect them.

      1. Veronica Lynn says:

        I watched it.
        Being an ISTJ personality type, my mind does not change about people EASILY.
        However, I promise to take the information from your excellent video and re-examine history armed with that information. 🙂
        You’ve convinced me to give Thomas Boleyn a second chance.

  13. Very interesting thank you. I do believe they where innocent of all crimes.

  14. Stacie says:

    This is amazing. I had no idea that the way he has been portrayed in recent years was false! Now I wish to study him further. Also, I am SHOCKED that Jane might be innocent. I have always thought of her as the villain in all of this!

  15. Teo says:

    I found very remarkable the fact that your interest for George Boleyn started when you read the other boleyn girl because i have to say that this book is one of my favorite in historical fiction era.

  16. Jemma Robertson says:

    This has made me want to go and look up about George

  17. Katie says:

    Such a great video. What i found interesting about this video is that so many writers have made George out to be such a horrible person. I didn’t really realize that until watching this. They seem to believe these made up stories with absolutely no truth behind them. I’m glad that Claire Cherry and Clair Ridgway are setting the record straight about George. I personally believe he was a very talented and misunderstood man. I would love to read this book!

  18. Lisa Prince says:

    I think it is great to read more in-depth about people around Anne as that gives me additional perspective on her life and the politics of court life. Thank you!

  19. Joey cavender-flanagan says:

    Thank you for bringing out george out of the closet of mystery and bringing him to the light. He is one of the most least known man in English history. I never thought he was a poet and i wish one day we can read his poetry to see what was in heart and mind.

  20. Banditqueen says:

    I can well imagine George Boleyn as a keen poet. He was a talented person, writer, translated theological works, was a diplomat and scholar. There was a less serious side to him as well and he was sporty and a gambler and joker and he was probably, but the jury is out on this, a ladies man, he was good looking and he was friendly. Yes, George was close to Anne, her confidant, there is no evidence of incest and those who believed or continue to promote that nonsense are potty.

  21. Tina says:

    I suspect George was one of those people who truly enjoyed life and had many talents to make the most of his opportunities.

  22. Jessica says:

    As with others, I knew George wasn’t really the bumbling courtier he is often depicted as, but I never really imagined him as a poet. I can see it, though.

  23. CA says:

    Thank you so much for being George’s champion. He truly needs one. Due to the fashion of the times he’s become a cypher that fiction writers can drag about and make into anything. Yours was the only biography of George that I found. I’m so glad that you and Claire were willing to make a real effort on his behalf.

  24. Charlotte black says:

    You have certainly done George justice here-I never knew he was a poet! He is always portrayed in such a negative light and it is refreshing to hear the other viewpoint. I am now turning over scenarios and accusations in my head considering a different viewpoint.

  25. Kim Young says:

    “The pen is mightier than the sword” Oh how true!

  26. Kelsey says:

    Thanks to you, my eyes have been opened to see beyond George’s portrayal in Hollywood and I’m so happy to learn more about him! I love knowing that he was a poet! It would be so incredible to read his works, it makes me so happy to imagine him writing so many amazing pieces. Thank you for giving George the time and attention he deserves!

  27. Agi says:

    Great video, thanks for it. George must have been more than we think after the movies and series.

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