George BoleynAs many of you know, Clare Cherry and I have been working on a biography of George Boleyn, the poet, courtier and diplomat who tends to be overshadowed by his sister, Anne Boleyn. The book is now in the hands of our editor, so Clare and I are getting together next week to celebrate and make final decisions re illustrations etc. We thought this would be a great opportunity to hold a Q&A session on George.

All you need to do is to comment below this post with a question you have about George Boleyn and Clare and I will do our best to answer as many questions as we can when we get together next week. Tim’s going to video us too!

We need the questions by the end of this Friday (14th) and we’re hoping to have the video ready to view here on The Anne Boleyn Files by 28th March at the very latest.

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93 thoughts on “George Boleyn Q&A with Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway”
  1. George lost his life accused of an affair with his sister the Queen. I believe he was also accused of affairs with some of the other men involved. What do we know about George’s romantic interests.

  2. Can you address George’s relationship with his father, Thomas Boelyn? Is there any record or George disagreeing with his father or was he pretty much under Thomas’ control?

  3. I would like to know if George ignored his wife, Jane, in his effort to be of complete service to his sister, Anne. And, what was George’s relationship with his sister, Mary, like? Did George & Jane have any children together? One book I read hinted at a son that was sent off to school, but I haven’t seen any other reference to a child(ren).

  4. Any idea what George might have looked like? I know he was intelligent, well-educated, a supporter of the New Religion but I have no idea of how he might have looked. Also, would love to know what his wife, Jane, looked like, too. What do most people NOT know about George?

  5. What are your thoughts on the authorship of ” Farewell My Lute”? Anne, George or neither? I really love that poem to sum up how it all ended.

  6. While the old King slept, it seemed quite permissible for Anne to have a gaggle of male friends in her apartments to amuse themselves with music, poetry, and no doubt gossip of the day. Perhaps George was gay and seeking artistic pleasure in the evenings with friends and his beautiful, vivacious sister acting as mistress of ceremonies. It certainly doesn’t seem inconceivable like the accusations of Anne’s incest and multiple infidelities do.

  7. I have a few questions, one a few people are asking and I want to aswell is what was his relationship with his wife Jane Parker like? Also what did he do… Like generally everyday? We hear a lot about him and Anne but not what his jobs were at the court and who he was close to etc.

  8. Like his father, George was a life long courtier eventually serving as an ambassador. Compared to his father what do sources say about his diplomatic abilities?

  9. In many novels and films, George and Anne were said to share a close relationship,which seemed to be “proved” by the later charge of incest.
    Are there any historical evidences or accounts for that?Why was Georges so close to Anne, but not Mary? What do you think their relationship was like?
    Thank you.

  10. When did Henry VIII appoint George to his post? Was Mary present at the executions of George and Anne? In “The Other Boleyn Girl” Anne is depicted as so desperate to become pregnant she asked her brother to impregnate her. One would assume Henry was impotent or in such a bad relationship with Anne that he did not sleep with her at the time she was trying to produce a male heir to assure her place in Henry’s graces.

    1. I understand “the Other Boleyn Girl” is popular. It made an entertaining book and movie, but very little of it is based on fact. Most of it is simply the author’s opinion. Anne was so dedicated to her religion and too smart to try and conceive her brother’s child.

      1. I agree with Caitie. I think liberties were taken in the film. I do not believe that Anne ever tried to conceive a child with her brother George.

      2. I couldn’t agree with you more. One of the special features of the movie is the author’s comments. Of course she believes her movie and book to be the truth so I am happy to see that I am not the only one to question what she feels are the facts.

  11. What do we know of George’s education? Are there any records left of his diplomatic missions? Do we have anything left to us of his spiritual beliefs and work for the reformation, ie prayer books, letters, recorded conversations? Also, did he have any contact with his niece and nephew after their mother’s banishment?

  12. George has been regarded as the male counterpart to Anne, do you agree, or do you think that he was rather more distinct a character? Do you think it’s a fair analysis of him to see him as a male counterpart to Anne or do you think that is just people being lazy and comparing him to his sister? On that note, whilst his relationship with Anne is largely explored, what do you think of his relationship with Mary?

  13. This might be a little off subject, but I will ask anyway: Who do you think was the father of Mary Boleyn’s two children? Henry VIII or William Carey? What evidence do you have?

  14. Like many others, I am curious about the relationship between George Boleyn and his wife. I have read that she was childless; could George have gotten an annulment if he so desired one? How much is known about getting annulments? Was there anything stopping him from doing so? Also, I have read that women sometimes took the initiative, such as the, Countess of Northumberland’s 1532 attempt to annul her marriage to Henry Percy on the grounds of his alleged pre-contract with Anne, or the Duchess of Norfolk’s letters to Cromwell complaining about her husband. Was there ever a time when Jane have done something if George was the abusive rapist shown on TV? It would be interesting to know if the absence of evidence is significant.

  15. If the Boleyns were as raised up in court as history suggests ,why is there not more information about them in documents ,papers ect also if there is no evidence of georges sexuality ,why do many historians believe that he could not possibly have had homosexual tendencies.

  16. I am excited about the book! During George’s trial, why do you think he read aloud for all to hear the bit about Henry’s impotence, lack of ability, etc. when he had been directed not to? I think this shows an enormous amount of bravery, or hubris, depending upon how you believe. I can just imagine the collective gasp when he read it out loud. Do you think he felt he had nothing to lose at that point, so why not go out swinging?

  17. Looking forward to the book! I’d like to know more about George’s language skills. Was he gifted? In how many languages were he proficient? I’d also like to know what artistic skills he had, apart from poetry. Thank you.


  18. What is know of George’s early life, before he became ‘famous’?
    Childhood, education, his early time at court etc.

  19. Why do we know so little about George? I’ve heard a theory that Henry VIII tried to destroy almost everything to do with Anne (portraits, letters, etc). Is it possible he tried to do the same with George?

  20. What i would like to know is are there any portraits of George;Jane his wife and George’s parents as we have portraits of Anne and Mary.
    2.Was he well liked at court;or did people resent him for the power which his sister had with Henry and did they think the Boleyns were over reaching their station in some way?
    3.What really was George’s relationship with his wife Jane Parker Boleyn? Did they care for each other in anyway? If we might understand it; then we might also be able to figure out what her relationship with Catherine Howard was.I know that Jane was kin through marriage;but it makes me wonder if Catherine knew something about George and Anne’s relationship or some other event regarding George.Maybe about possible affairs with men and women?
    4. If the rumors about George maybe being say bisexual have any truth to them; could that maybe have been the reason behind whatever his wife Jane told Cromwell about George and Anne? That she was upset that George prefered a man to her; or that he was having some affair and was jealous of the partner male or female?

  21. I have never seen in any history book connected to the Boleyn’s have I ever seen a picture, cartoon, bust, drawing or portrait of George Boleyn. Does one exist and what did he look like?

    Thanks in advance, Claire


  22. I have a few questions, what was George in charge of when he was in the service of H8, and did he do anything of distinction? I read that George was also a poet, maybe even better then Thomas Wyatt , and that his work was destroyed , like everything of Anne’s . And finally, what was his true character like, I assume like Anne’s , it was completely besmirched , ie homosexual, wife abuser.. thank you I love this website!

  23. I have a question about the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl”?

    The majority of the books I have read about this extraordinary lady have Anne as the 2nd daughter but this movie has her being the eldest???

    As far as George goes, from this same movie, it has him marrying Jane Parker certainly not for love and of course with his demise he was a young man at the time of his death,

  24. There is a book about Jane Parker at I can’t imagine there would be enough info on this person that it would warrant a book. If anyone is interested please check at and type Jane Parker in your search and it should bring up the book I’m referring to.

      1. If you recommend the book about Jane Parker then maybe that’s another one I can add to my collection. Yes I think Julia Fox was the author.

      2. I just bought the book at and am anxious to read it. I won’t have it until March 20th or so.
        I have so many books about this tragedy and it’s one more to add to many.
        Of all the books about this queen and her demise, I took as very reliable the book

        Anne Boleyn, A new life of England’s tragic queen” The author is Joanne Denny.

        Her ancestor actually assisted Henry VIII to his last day. It is a very good read, it’s the very first one I read of many.

      3. The book about Jane Parker has shipped and I am very anxious to dig into that one. When I start a good book, I am unable to put it down and sometimes have read a book in a day (naturally nothing else gets down because of my reading)

    1. Historian Lacy Baldwin Smith used the phrase “pathological meddler,” to describe Jane Parker. Serving under 4 queens, there is plenty of intrigue and mystique surrounding Jane to fill a book.

      1. 5 queens ..she started in the household of Katherine of Aragon along side her two sister-in-laws before transferring though bothe Anne’s households and Jane Seymours before being in Katherine Howard’s lady in waiting.

  25. From everything I’ve read about Anne’s poetry and love letters to H VIII were stolen by the Vatican and are in the Vatican arcives

  26. Is it true that George recklessly read out loud the written implication of Henry VIII’s impotence during his trial and if so, what were his motivations for this? Do you think his life might have been spared if he had not read the words out loud?

    1. This is the first I’ve heard about George having mentioned Henry’s impotence in court???? I would think that if that is true it would certainly play a big part in his downfall with Anne

      1. George did indeed read out loud the note that spoke of Henry’s problems in the bedroom. Cromwell asked that George not read it out loud. It was George’s way of showing contempt for what Cromwell had wanted kept secret.
        George knew there was no way for him to be acquitted after the guilty verdicts against the other men and his sister.

      2. Yes, George did read out loud in court the note that was handed to him by Cromwell. The note was a reference to Henry’s problems in the bedroom. George read the note out of contempt for Cromwell who asked that he read it himself and then comment on it.
        George was aware that there was no chance of acquittal for him since the guilty verdicts were in for Anne and the other gentlemen. Even after he did this, the audience were taking bets for his acquittal. Unfortunately, there was no hope for that.

        1. Hi Sharon,
          Thank you for telling me about George reading that in the court room. I guess he didn’t have anymore to lose so why not read it. I might have done the same thing if I were in that position. It’s so tragic.
          I read in one of the books I have that during Henry VIII reign, he had 56,000 people executed and not all beheaded either, some were burned alive, some were hung upside down and disemboweled. Henry thought he was showing Anne mercy by having the executor come from France because he had an excellent reputation with the sword, he was quick and therefore merciful. To me it would have been merciful to let them live. I would hate to have lived in that time period and know that if the King gets ticked, you die

        2. As Sharon says, George could not be found innocent because Anne had already been found guilty of committing incest with him, so he had nothing to lose by reading out what was on that note and I think it shows real spirit.

  27. I have always been interested , do we know what George’s relationship really was with Anne (any documents, papers) and what kind of relationship did the siblings, especially George have with Mary?
    In other words was it only George and Anne or was it a trio, at least at some point?

  28. Did George Boleyn have a love interest like Anne with Henry Percy, before he was married to Jane Parker? A first love so to speak? Many thanks X

    1. From all the books I’ve read, and there have been quite a few-they all have mentioned that Anne and George were very close because they had so much in common. Both were fluent in several languages, both very interested in religion reform. Personally I don’t have the feeling from everything I’ve read that George’s and Anne was anything but a love for a close sibling. As for Jane Parker, apparently he couldn’t stand her and only married her because he was ordered to do so by his father.

  29. I read that Thomas Boleyn, George’s father, spoke the most fluent French at Court (until, I suppose, his daughter Anne appeared on the scene). How did Thomas acquire such fluency in French and did son George have the same aptitude for the language?

  30. I have always been fascinated with the relationship with George and his wife Jane. I would love to know more about why George was dragged down in Anne’s Downfall, but his father, Jane and Mary remained safe for the time being. Why weren’t they all dragged down with Anne?

    1. If you haven’t seen the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl” it explains that George’s downfall was the false accusation by wife Jane that he and Anne had a sexual relationship. For that she was beheaded herself but not for another 4 years after Anne and George had been executed. Mary was safe in that she did bear Henry VIII a son. She married Stafford and they were living in the country so they weren’t involved in the court life as were Anne and George. That may have been what spared her. That’s what I took from the movie and from what I’ve read.

      1. Jane was executed because of her presumed involvement in the actions of the Kings 5th wife Catherine Howard, and there is no solid proof Jane accused either Anne or George of anything.
        There is no evidence or proof either that Mary’s son was Henry’s. The King acknowledged his illegitimate son to Bessie Blount but not Mary’s, suggesting the boy wasn’t his. But when it comes down to it, who really knows.

        As for the film The Other Boleyn Girl, it took ‘artist licence’ to a whole new world, it was in my opinion, been the worst film ever produced about these people and needs to be took with a huge pinch of salt.

        1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I didn’t like the movie one bit but it was a gift from my daughter as she is all too well aware of all the books I have about Anne Boleyn. I took the movie with a grain of salt but listening to the directors of the movie based on the book “The Other Boleyn Girl”. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I have no interest in reading her book.
          Thank you for your comment and correction. In one of the many books I have actually in 2 books it states that one of Mary’s son is definitely Henry’s so how are we to know?

        2. I also have books stating that Mary’s boy was the King’s, and the daughter too, so we can’t really know, in this case I think you have to weigh up others opinions and make up your own mind, like a lot of things that relate to this period, for me this is what makes this time so fascinating the ‘not knowing’ it makes so many scenarios.

          I often wonder after Henry’s legitimate son Edward VI died that if the was a grain of evidence to support the fact that Mary’s son was the King’s why was there no attempt to place him on the throne. It was quite an unsettled time, plus no one was completely happy with having Queen’s on the throne in this male dominated era…

          I had the film bought for me too, because like you I have loved the Tudors since being a 13year old many, many moons ago. And couldn’t believe on how distorted the story had become, it vaguely resembled the book even. Only watched it once, I don’t even rate the acting in it either if I’m honest.

          As for the book I have actually read it twice, and enjoyed it, (far better than the film) and her other historical novels too. P.G. is a very good story teller and easy to read. Give it a go Donna, I will read anything that mentions these famous names, and some of the stuff I have read makes P.G. version seem all knowing, lol. 🙂

  31. Did George and Anne have any close friends at court? People who would have supported them while Anne was married to King Henry Vlll or was everyone against them from the beginning?

  32. Thank you to the two of you for the time and effort this book will have taken.
    What intrigues me and i would love to have your views on this, is the level of George’s intelligence. There are so many contradictory views as to this and I would love to hear your take on the matter. On one hand we hear that he was nothing more than a buffoon who advanced because of his sister. But on the other hand we hear of the diplomatic side of him very much like what is known or said regarding his father.

  33. Which piece or pieces of misinformation or supposed facts culled from popular culture without any real evidence for them being true really make either Claire or Claire annoyed??

    And why??

  34. How many of these questions will have to be answered with “We don’t have any solid information on that point?” 🙂

    Personally, I’d like to know how many inventories or accounts of his possessions are still around. There was an inventory taken after he died, wasn’t there? Possessions won’t tell you everything but they can be illuminating nonetheless.

  35. George Boleyn was not gay, he did not have incest with his sister, there is no evidence that his wife betrayed him, there is no evidence that he had relations with other men, and Anne did not try to get pregnant by him. I hope this book puts those myths to bed once and for all. Yes his marriage to Jane Parker was arranged but it is not clear that they hated each other or just got on with it the same as most married couples in their class. They may still have had a good relationship; the jury is out on that one, but there is no evidence that Jane said he was the Queen’s lover or that he was a bad husband. The Other Boleyn girl is myth and is pure fiction. Why are so many people misled by this author? Read more widely on the subject and look at some of the articles and sources available on this site and others such as the national archives online. I hope with this book a better balanced view of the real George Bolyen will emerge from the shadows of myth.

    1. Personally Bandit Queen I think it’s because she weaves in a good easy to read story, adds the myths, sensationalizes them even more and we get ‘Hollywood’ in a book, lol. If you removed the names of Henry, Anne etc and gave them fictional ones it may not have been such a best seller.
      I’ve got to hold my hand up here and admit I enjoyed the ‘story’ she told, but then I knew it was a ‘story’ and not fact. Ms. Gregory really should not be allowed to claim what she has written is fact, then perhaps it would stop, or lessen the confusion at least..

      1. Hi Dawn 1st,

        I agree, and I also enjoy her books/drama; but I take her at what I think her books are meant to be entertainment the same as the Tudors was entertainment. I am all for fiction writers having flights of fancy as long as they make it clear in the notes; but it is a great pity so many people think it is fact and do not read beyond these books. Never mind, that is the purpose of Q and A on an educated site after all. Unfortunately, Dawn, in a society with free speech you cannot prevent an author from claiming something is true if they believe that it is. If they called it fictional of historical entertainment as some authors do who weave invention into historical stories, then I think the confusion would lessen.


    2. Who mentioned “The Other Boleyn Girl”? Marlene certainly did not. She has just asked a perfectly reasonable question, which is what this is all about.

  36. I’m wondering, if George was guilty of homosexuality and nothing else would he still have been executed? Do you think that his secret would have been found out especially during the time Anne was queen. Could she have protected him?
    -mary kelly nyc, ny
    PS: Congratulations on your book! I can’t wait to read it 🙂

  37. My question would be, when George was giving his execution speech, were the sins he was describing himself as commiting…lying and adultery…??…My opinion is he was trying to repent while he could and one broken commandment is as bad as another one…I don’t think he was gay, or a rapist…just a man of the times that his life got cut short because of lust and lies and when your head is on the chopping block you tell the truth and pray for the best…RIP George!

  38. And he was also saying a warning that if this could happen to him, so close as he was to the king, then it could happen to anyone and as fast as night and day . that no one was safe:{

  39. Hi Dawn,
    I just bought (online) the book that compares “The Other Boleyn Girl” movie and the book. it will be interesting to see what that tells me.
    Have you ever seen “Anne Of The Thousand Days? It was very good and goes along with everything I’ve read. If you haven’t seen, Please do> It is nothing like “The Other Boleyn Girl”. I bought this movie for myself.
    Enjoy your day.

    1. Didn’t know there was a ‘book’ to compare the film to the book, it will be interesting to see what it says.

      Yes I have Anne of a Thousand Days on DVD, I saw it when it first come out as a young girl, it is my very favourite film of all about Anne. And although I know it’s not 100% ‘true’, it’s so well acted, the costumes were beautiful, and Genevieve Bujold, in my opinion has been the best ‘Anne’. With her being French-Canadian and dark she is how I would have imagined Anne to be.
      It was written as a play and opened on Broadway in 1949. It is also a book, which I also have.
      I never tire of watching it. I hope you continue to enjoy it as long as I have.

  40. I need to explain, the book I bought compares the movie with what is factual and is authored by Victoria Hockfield. I have no interest in reading “the Other Boleyn Girl” since I’ve come to take the movie with a grain of salt.

  41. Comparing the Movie, the Other Boleyn Girl to the Real Life Story of Mary and Anne Boleyn by Victoria Hockfield

    Yes, it will be interesting to see just what this person has to say!

  42. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve watched the movie at least times, 15 times . Richard Burton was nominated for an Oscar for his performance but I think that Genevieve Bujold was every bit as good especially since she was young and not as experienced as Burton.

    Here’s a little “factoid”–Elizabeth Taylor said that to get Richard through the movie sober, she had to take an uncredited and unpaid role of a courtesan. The funny thing is, courtesans would not have been allowed at court. She was patting herself on the back for that but we know better. Even in the 1950’s a divorced person was never to be in the presence of royalty.( like Wallis Simpson when she was with Prince of Wales)
    I saw an old interview on TCM with Hal Wallis the producer and he said Richard Burton came to him and wanted what he called the love story ending so tragically to be made with him to be playing Henry. Yes, I agree with you. I think Genevieve Bujold was very good in the role and I would like to believe that she portrayed Anne much like the person that Anne was.

    That little snippet about Elizabeth Taylor was in her autobiography

    1. Interesting that Donna, must have been tremendously difficult keeping him off the booze.. he had an affair with ‘Anne’, obviously taking the role of Henry seriously 🙂 also he didn’t like his performance in the film ether.

      Nominated for 10 Oscars, I think, won 1, Margaret Furse for costumes. The film did win other awards, BAFTA and the likes.

  43. George Boleyn gay? That’s a new one on me. The only thing I’ve never read was whether or not he had kids.

  44. I had no idea that Richard Burton had an affair with Genevieve Bujold but then again, Richard and Liz had a long history of affairs. Anne of the thousand days won more awards than I had previously thought. I would like to have seen the 2 major stores receive some recognition. I knew that there was 1 Oscar win but I didn’t know what the Oscar was for.
    Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!

  45. I’ve often wondered what it would take to have all of Anne’s poems, love letters to Henry, etc. removed from the Vatican Archives. All of those things had been stolen from her in the first place.

  46. Has anyone read this book and if so, your thoughts?

    NEW The Daring Truth About Anne Boleyn – Zupanec, Sylwia S.

    Just when I thought I had read most of them, I found this and ordered it online. Should arrive by Friday)

  47. Whoa, firstly I apologise if this raises anybody’s hackles but was this not a question & answer page for the two C’s, so that they could gather everyone’s questions and take the time to sift through them all and include some in their video?

    So why do some members insist on putting their own answers to the questions which have been asked by other members of the forum? The questions posted are what other members would like to ask the 2 Cees, as per the heading. Putting forward your own views in the form of answers is very off putting.

    I respect everyone’s opinion but I think this is the ideal opportunity for members to ask the questions they want to ask direct to the experts.

    1. I can’t see Claire & Clare minding us ‘chatting’ amongst ourselves and discussing what we think whilst waiting for the their well researched answers.

      Personally I will find it very interesting to compare the two Ladies answers with our own, enlightening, not off putting.

  48. I know I have already asked a question about portraits of George Boleyn, but I have another nagging thought that I have to ask: there is much debate about the order of age in the siblings: some authors have Mary or Anne as the eldest, others have George as the eldest and a growing consensus seems to have him as the youngest, without any real historical proof for their reasoning. What order where the Boleyn siblings born in? Was George the eldest, middle, or youngest? Is it also possible that he was particularly close to Anne as they may have been twins? I heard this mentioned on a documentary, and it has nagged at me ever since. Is there any evidence that Anne and George Boleyn are twins?



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