I think it was more of a case of Anne and George having more in common than Anne and Mary. Both Anne and George seem to have had the same sense of humour and the same love of art, music and poetry. They were also both fervent reformers and enjoyed "heretical" literature and learning about the new religious thoughts that were coming out of Europe.
Mary was different. Anne may have looked down on her sister for her loose morals and for allowing herself to be the King's mistress. Anne was quite rightly furious with Mary for secretly marrying Will Stafford in 1534 as he was a commoner and she married him without her family's permission. Mary and Will were banished from court for their disobedience. Perhaps Anne felt that Mary had undermined her position as Queen by acting so rashly.
So, I think it was more of a case of the sisters not having much in common and of not being close, rather than Anne being cold towards Mary.
14 thoughts on “Why was Anne so cold to her sister,Mary?I’ve heard all over that she was always mean to her sister but nice to her brother. I don’t get it.”
I more wonder why Mary Boleyn, who was described by the King of France as the greatest whore considering that she never got pregnant in France. Birth control wasn’t that great back then. If she used “secret methods” of BC/abortion I’d expect she would have ended up sterile!
Another of the reasons Anne did not get along with Mary was because she was her mother’s favorite, and Anne was her father’s favorite, Mary did not have the same education that Anne had, and it is also suggested and seems more likely that Anne was the younger sister, thus adding to the resentment she probably had for Mary. Even after Mary’s incident with the king, her whole family more than likely looked down on her. Because (unlike they would have you believe) it was not desirable at that period of time to be known as the king’s mistress. More over, Anne’s beliefs were also fuled even more thanks to her religion which at that time was not very popular. But the Boleyns were also noveau riche, and thus wanted to climb the social ladder as much as possible, this drove the sisters even further apart. As daughters were the most useful tools for such things.
The relationship portrayed in historical fiction between Anne and Mary is grossly inaccurate. We know from documentation that Mary had an affair with the King before his marriage to Anne. We also know that the King did have a ship commissioned in Mary’s honour. Records of Anne’s political and charitable contributions have also been widely recorded, so we know where her political, religious, and amorous beliefs lie. As far as their thoughts and behaviours we only know in the few remaining letters from Anne to Henry and vice versa. There is no accurate account of how the Boleyn sisters got on with one another. I believe that there was some jealousy there, as Mary did have Anne’s husband before her, and may have bore him children, including a son. There is no historical proof that Anne was a favourite of her father and Mary her mother. We are simply going on wild rumors, word of mouth over several centuries, and the vivid imaginations of several authors.
I think Tofer makes a very valid point. Mary had slept with Anne’s husband and possibly managed to give him a Son, the very thing that Anne seemed incapable of doing. I doubt that Anne would have kept Mary close by as a reminder.
I think that what Mary did in marrying Stafford was admirable and very courageous. I know things were different back then when it came to marrying with in one’s social status and I am a huge fan of Anne Boleyn but I cannot agree with Anne’s displeasure in her sister’s marriage. What Mary did took some serious guts! Her sister was queen,her family had rose very high and she knew in marrying this man would mean facing their immense disapproval, and even disinheritance. Yet she had the daring to give up all the wealth and status for love. Anne wasn’t the only courageous Boleyn sister.
i completely agree with you! i know this is like 4 months after you wrote it but i always feel like everyone thinks Mary is the quiet and obeadiant daughter, when i think she was just as courageous as Anne. sorry for the spelling mistakes
Your reply is much appreciated,Kate! I always had to wonder if I was the only one impressed by Mary’s courageous and suprizingly independent marrrage to Stafford. I just don’t think too many woman had the guts to go against whatever their family had planned for them back then,but she did and I find it to be quite impressive. I’m glad to know you have the same view on this matter!
Yes, I have always thought so too! She married for love! Its courageous, brave, & sweet! 🙂
mary was the clever one of the family
I think that you’re too biased. She probably married for love & anne would’ve never allowed it. still, she was the only one in the family to send money and a beautiful gold cup to her sister who was begging for some help. anne didn’t even play the courtly flirt game w/renowned singer and musician mark smeaton because of his origin.
Thanks for your comment, Kim, but who’s too biased? Who are you replying too?
Hi claire! I was refering to you because you wrote that “Anne was quite rightly furious with Mary for secretly marrying Will Stafford in 1534” because this is like the first time Mary didn’t screw up her life. She expected Anne’s support & so did I. The Tudor Dynasty never would’ve existed if the French princess didn’t marry Owen Tudor, who probably cleaned closets for a living or something.
But I agree w/Carolyn Meyer’s hypothesis (Doomed Queen Anne) that Anne was probably jealous that Mary was loved by her hubby & she could bear children w/o the stress and pressure that Anne was forced to endure. Mary probably named her daughter after Anne, so I’m guessing she forgave her & understood her.
Why is that biased? A Tudor woman was expected to wait until her family had arranged a marriage for her and Mary should have got the permission of the head of the family, normally the father but in this case Anne because she was queen. It’s just like Mary Tudor marrying Charles Brandon – Henry VIII was furious, sent them away from court and fined them. Why should Mary expect Anne’s support when she going against her family and her queen. You have to look at this in the context of the 16th century when women just did not have the choices that they do now, they were expected to do what their family wanted them to. Anne’s behaviour was not down to jealousy, whatever she may actually have felt, it was a valid reaction to Mary’s disobedience.
As far as Mary’s child is concerned. We have no record of its birth or baptism, so she may well have lost it or it could have been stillborn, or perhaps Mary and William went to Calais and Mary had the child there and it died young. We just don’t know.
I think Anne was just closer to George than Mary.
However, other than in historical FICTION, there is nothing to suggest that she was mean to Mary. In fact, she DID intercede for Mary when her husband died.
Some people even believe that a letter from King Henry to Anne suggests that Anne asked Henry for Mary to be able to keep her home and have an allowance.
(Generally unheard of at the time, when the Master of a House died, it was often forfeited to the Crown)