What about the allegation by the writer of The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory, that Anne Boleyn was definitely guilty of at least one murder?

I haven't read TOBG girl for a long time so I can't remember the details but I know that Philippa Gregory portrayed Anne as a woman guilty of murder and incest. What we have to remember is that although Philippa Gregory does do historical research she is a fiction writer and not an academic historian. She embellishes stories. She has also admitted to loathing Anne Boleyn and to paint Mary Boleyn as a virtuous angel and Anne as some corrupt, ambitious woman who will let nothing stand in her way, is completely incorrect. I know that Gregory based many of her theories on Retha Warnicke's biography of Anne which is an interesting read, but I don't think that even Warnicke believes that Anne was a murderer.

There is no evidence at all that Anne murdered anyone or that she committed incest or adultery. I believe, like Eric Ives and many historians, that Anne Boleyn was innocent of all charges against her (which did not even include murder) and was framed. I'm sure that Anne would have been charged with murder too if anyone thought that she had committed one or that they could frame her with that too.

Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, reported that Catherine of Aragon's heart was black when she was opened up after her death in January 1536 and it was rumoured that she may have been poisoned. Of course, this report has led to Anne's name being muddied and her being accused of murdering Catherine, but I don't think it really was in Anne's interests to get rid of Catherine. It may have been a relief to her when Catherine died but some say that Catherine's death may have been a catalyst of Anne's fall. Henry could get rid of his wife and would not be forced to return to his previous wife.

The poisoning accusation is a very wild accusation and there is no basis for it whatsoever. It is now thought that Catherine died of heart disease or cancer and that this accounts for the appearance of her heart. Does Gregory also accuse Anne of trying to poison Bishop Fisher in TOBG? I can't remember, but this is also a complete fabrication.

I have nothing against Philippa Gregory - she writes great fiction, but that's all it is, fiction, and I do not agree with many of the theories that she comes up with. I do not believe that Anne was the vindictive, conniving woman that Gregory makes her out to be.

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10 thoughts on “What about the allegation by the writer of The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory, that Anne Boleyn was definitely guilty of at least one murder?”

  1. Mary Benedict says:

    Thanks for responding. In the novel itself, Anne murders Fisher’s accomplices. However, it is in the author’s notes in the afterward — in which she defends herself against certain criticisms of the novel, including the criticism of her implication in the novel that the incest charge was true — that she says Anne committed at least one murder. It is noteworthy that she doesn’t say what murder she is convinced Anne committed, which greatly undermines her position. However, I thought perhaps someone might know what she was talking about, maybe she mentioned in in another interview. I haven’t read a quote from her that she loathes Anne Boleyn; it would be interesting to see that. I think I’m going to give away my copy of TOBG; I don’t think Anne Boleyn was a saint, but I’m not a supporter of tacit attempts to rationalize the murder of wives by husbands — even when those wives aren’t the nicest people in the world, there is no excuse for murder.

  2. Kaylee says:

    Does that include the fact in The Boleyn Inheritence that Anne of Cleves ‘inherited’ that someone was falsley blaming her for treason?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Thought I’d share….I’m reading Alison Weir’s incredible biography of Henry VIII. One point addresses poisoning in England — it just wasn’t done. While the rest of Europe’s royals were offing each other with some drops in the chalice, it wasn’t the British style. One would think Anne would have offed Catherine that way; it sure would have made her life easier earlier on. Maybe poisoning was too underhanded? They’d prefer a good fight?! That’s all I can think of. Nobody in Henry’s court was ever even food poisoned, let alone murdered … that way.

    Without Anne, there’d be no Elizabeth. She passed on her smarts, genius, guile to her daughter! I’d prefer her to any “saint” like the stomach-turning Mary (who when she insisted she was pregnant, it turned out to be a stomach tumor!) Nobody would touch that horrid woman!

  4. Wally Pynn says:

    The line that Anne murdered, is grossly and incideously preposterous – lacking a better description. When people continue to .. ‘mythisize’ … about someone of Anne’s stature in history – society, unforgivable injustices are being done that carry over into eventual folklore and subsequently a subdued interest in her real being. Such tragic presentations of myth and sensationalism are clealry unfortunate, which over time, makes an already mysterious and honourable figure, even more mysterious and difficult to understand. What hope have we, to move forward with Anne’s persona, if this decrepid nonsence of lies and literary frolicking remain in the anals of her legacy? Anne was an exceptional woman, in my take: intelligent, loving, motherly, charitable, and knew her place in life and the court into which she was cajoled. But she fell through the cracks, as many have and will continue to do and no matter what she would have done, she was predestined to fall, because of her ‘royally’ greedy, and insane circumstance. She was hated by Wolsey, tossed to the dirt by an decrepid psychopath, lied about, physically compared to a witch – why wouldn’t she get angry? Why wouldn’t she scream and shout? And yes, after being accused of everything under the sun, why not include murder, too? … R.I.P. Anne … at least try … please …

  5. Catie says:

    SO okay, I thought and I mean thought please correct me if I am wrong and going off of speculation and myth, that the cook who poisoned the “soup” did admit of being hired or atleast showing actions proving guilt. Did he serve the Bisop well for years piror to this occurance?
    Is their any writting’s besides that Henry had made poisioning more severe with burning alive. I was under the impression the cook was hired and never admitted who gave him the vile to begin with.
    Yes, the Tudor’s show’s us this, but biasly it shows Big Bad Boy Thomas Bolyen giving him the vile and having George beging present at the “questioning” so where is the truth.

    Is all we know that the poison occured and the cook punished? Look at what surrounds this crime and we do see Bolyen written around it in our 21st centry eyes. However, we have to remember that in Tudor England Reformation was and was not popular many families tied to the rise/fall and Bolyen is not the only name surrounding these circumstances.

    1. Claire says:

      Richard Roose did not admit to being hired, he claimed that had had just put purgatives into the food as a joke and that he meant no harm so it is hard for us to know the truth of the matter. There were rumours that the Boleyns had bribed him but no evidence to support this.

      The 1532 statute making boiling the punishment for poisoners did come about as a consequence of this case.

  6. Baroness Von Reis says:

    My ,thoughts on MS.PG book is all fiction and know facts so take TOBG with a grain of salt. Regards Baroness X

  7. Lia says:

    Anne Boleyn was no saint, but then again is anybody truly so virtuous and good as to be called such? She had her flaws, as we all do, but I do not believe for one second she was a murderer. There’s no proof of it, and any such belief is truly fabricated. Does it make for an exciting scene in a fictional novel? I would certainly think so. And what would Anne have to gain by murdering someone? Nothing. There’s no way she would have jeopardized her position as queen, nor would she have gambled with her daughters future. She was calculating, possibly ruthless and very ambitious, but she was also highly intelligent.

  8. Star says:

    I realize it has been a while since a thread has been added to this post . I felt the need to let ( Wally Penn ) know that the sentiments and thoughts that were written are wonderful . I really wish this could be said again and again and again .
    It is difficult to get to the truth and when others take poetic justice without saying it is historical fiction damage is created .

  9. HELEN D says:

    Gregory does accuse Anne of murdering Fisher, yes

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