Part 3 of our video series on George Boleyn answers the question “Was George forced into marrying Jane Parker?” and other questions on their marriage.

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2 thoughts on “George Boleyn and Jane Parker”
  1. ‘Forced’ pretty much like most marriages that were actually political, economical, or status alliances in the centuries predating our own. It was a bonus if you actually could tolerate your spouse; most couples seemed to settle in after a period of adjustment and had cordial, if not passionate, relationships.

  2. I think the problem with the marriage of George and Jane is that we do not know much about it. It may be an assumption that they did not get on as the marriage was arranged. It could not have been a love match but they may well have got along. There are examples of arranged marriages in every age when the couples know very little about each other, things are awkward at first, but over the years and the months, affection and even love grows and they become close, as close as any other couple who marry for love and stick it out.

    The fact is they were married and stuck with each other and had to find a way to make it work. George could not pop down to the local papacy and ask the Pope for a divorce as he did not like her face or poor moods or something as the King of France did when he divorced Jeane de Albert; he had to accept that he now had a wife and a home and responsiblities and get on with it and she with him. In any event if he was away a lot on business for the King or in France then she would have time to run the household her own way and be free of him for a time at least. There does not seem to be much indication that George Bolyen had a lot of affairs, which suggests that he was content with being married. I would think that if there was any events that pointed to violence or adultury, or them hating each other, there would be more than mere speculation. The violent marriage of the Duke of Norfolk caused quite a bit of remark and many complaints at the time from both parties; if George and Jane hated each other, surely someone would have made some gossip about it.

    The couple were childless, that may have been cause for speculation but as you say in the video, there is nothing here to indicate that they were childless by choice; may-be Jane was just a sad case of a woman who could not have children. I have read a couple of articles on the site recently mentioning possible grand-children in Ireland; so could George have had bastard sons or daughters. He may have had some affairs before he got married, or one or two around the court; that I think is what he meant on the scaffold and not that he was gay. But again this is speculation as I do not know if there is any solid evidence for him having any children or affairs. This would surely have been remarked around the court. Jane may just have been unlucky and a quiet housewife.

    There seems to be a tradition at least that Jane may have given evidence against her husband before his trial and speculation about his sexuality seems to have come from this. If she was questioned; and although there is no direct evidence for this; she would have been one of many ladies questioned and some remarks may have been misread. May-be she said she saw things that were quite innocent but taken as evidence that George misbehaved with the Queen. Perhaps many of the ladies said things as they were threatened if they did not. It must have been difficult for them and who knows what innocent remark was used to make a case. The accuser we do know about is the Countess of Wessex and the famous poem of Lancelot de Carles that tells of that tale; but somehow Jane Parker seems to have been scapegoated as a witness against George without any evidence to support it. Her relationship being a poor one with him is stated as the reason for doing so. Again the evidence, I think is lacking.

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