What do we actually know about Anne and George Boleyn’s relationship? Full question: It is known that they were very close. But what did that closeness consist of? What did they do together and did they really spend so much time in each other’s company? Did it really border on the inapropriate for that time and did Anne and George really looked suspicious to some people – and why? (just so everybody knows, I don’t believe they commited incest and I admire them both greatly). Thank you for the wonderful website, huge fan!
We certainly have no evidence to suggest that their relationship was in any way inappropriate, they were simply a brother and sister who shared interests and ideals. They were both interested in the new religious ideas coming from the Continent and George completed translations of two evangelical books for his sister: ‘Les Epistres et Evangiles des cinquante et deux sepmaines de I’an’ (The Epistles and Gospels for the Fifty-two Weeks of the Year) and ‘Book of Ecclesiastes’, both by Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples. These manuscripts were beautifully done and show how much he cared about his sister and how like-minded they were. Anne and George also shared a love of poetry and the arts. I'm sure that George would have shared his poems with Anne and with their group of friends.
The incest charge was a shocking charge used to completely discredit Anne and blacken her name. As Clare Cherry says in her book on George Boleyn, "if she was found to have had sex with a number of men, including her own brother, then Henry would be viewed, not as a laughing stock, but as a wronged man, unlucky to have been married to an evil perverted woman." Clare goes on to say that "In reality, because of George Boleyn’s performance in Court, the incest charge did not have the effect on the public that it was intended to, and there were many murmurings of discontent that the trial was a sham." The charge of incest also brought George down with Anne and therefore prevented him from acting to save Anne in some way. George was a popular courtier and could well have launched some counter attack and possibly have brought down Cromwell and the Seymour faction.
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