Incest and “Fallen In Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn”

George Boleyn and Anne BoleynThere has been some speculation online regarding the content of the “Fallen In Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn” which is being performed at the Tower of London and Gippeswyk Hall this month and next. The speculation and debate has occurred due to an article at Royal Central which refers to the play being “controversial” and describes it as “about Anne Boleyn’s incestuous relationship with her brother”.

Obviously, this statement has upset some people and led to criticisms of the play – nobody wants the incest myth propagated all over again – but the article from Royal Central has got it all wrong. Here’s a statement Joanna Carrick, the writer and director of the play, asked me to publish just to clarify things:

“Just for the record, I could not have more respect for the memory of both Anne and George Boleyn. In my research and writing I have been rigorous about historical accuracy and made every attempt to create as authentic a portrayal as I can. The play explores their relationship in depth; the support they had for each other and their friendship and sibling devotion. It also deals with the false allegations made against them and with their brutal and unjust deaths. In “meddling with their cause” I have attempted in every way “to judge the best”. I do hope you will join us at The Tower.”

I am going to see Fallen in Love on Sunday and I will review it here on The Anne Boleyn Files next week. Further information on the play can be found at

(Thank you so much to Barb at The Tudor Tutor Facebook page for sharing the article and starting the discussion.)

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8 thoughts on “Incest and “Fallen In Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn””
  1. Thanks for the clarification. I can breath easier!
    It was bad enough that Mantels ‘Bring Out the Bodies’ publication coincided with the anniversary of the events in May 1536. At least there won’t be a further insult to the memories of the innocents who died.
    It’s also nice to see that the fact George Boleyn wasn’t a coward has been reiterated in your posts, Claire.

  2. I saw the play at Gippeswyk Hall in May of 2011 and I didn’t notice any hint of an incestous relationship between Anne and George. They were devoted to each other as siblings and friends, but there was no indication of anything beyond that. Enjoy the play, Claire!

  3. I so wish I could watch this. I live in the US and my dream is one day be able to visit England. To bad it wont be released on Dvd for people in America to view

  4. I saw the play last night. It was brilliant. The actress playing Anne looked almost exactly as I had imagined her to look.

  5. I have not seen the play and do not know if I will get to go but I never attack anything like this until I have seen it or spoken to a number of people who have. To attack a play based on an article in a magazine is silly and ridiculous. Errors are often made in the media and the author and producer have obviously done a lot of research before presenting the play and interpreting this relationship between Anne and George Boleyn as that of brother and sister and not lovers. Magazines should be more careful about what they print as they cause a lot of unnecessary upset and confusion, but on the other hand people should not be so stupid as to believe everything that they read in the first place. Go and see the play if you are not sure what it contains is what I would say to anyone, if they are able to do so. Unless you know the true nature of a play, book, film, etc very well for certain, then as far as I am concerned no-one has the right to attack based on report alone.

    Reviews are always helpful as a guide, but only as a guide. Only picking up a book and looking through it can you be certain if it is a good piece of literature or not. The same with a play or film or TV drama. You can only judge by watching for a time that it is rubbish or not, although some of the weeks of previews these days give a good enough idea.

    Hope the play travels as it sounds fascinating and I would love to see it if it comes North.

    Finally I agree it is not good if authors dig up myths over and over again, but some do have obsessive convictions that these myths are true; like Philippa Gregory in the Other Boleyn Girl puts the case for a relationship between Anne and George to beget a child as Anne cannot conceive a son and heir. This of course is a novel and should be seen as such, and in fact you are left without any real clue as to whether they sleep together or not. But again to bring up these myths in the first place is just raking over old ground and ignores the evidence.

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