The Other Boleyn Girl
George Boleyn and his sister, Anne, in "The Other Boleyn Girl"

Just a quick reminder about a webinar I will be doing next Thursday, the 22nd September. This is the first in a series of webinars I will be doing for Anne Boleyn Fellowship members and Part 1 is on George and Jane Boleyn, examining who they really were in contrast to the way they are portrayed in fiction, in film and on TV.

As you know, my mission is to get to the REAL truth about Anne Boleyn and this extends to her family and Tudor history in general. The Boleyn family have been badly maligned and misrepresented and I hope that I can successfully challenge some of the things that people take as fact about the Boleyns. As part of my research I have been re-watching “The Tudors” (such a chore!) and re-reading “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Boleyn Inheritance” and looking at how George and Jane are portrayed. Here are a couple of examples for you:-

George and Anne discussing Jane Boleyn:
“The other night she asked me if I would like a maid brought in. She offered to bring me in a girl and worse: she wanted to watch.”
“She likes to watch?” Anne demanded.
He shook his head. “No, I think she likes to arrange. I think she likes to listen at doors, to spy through keyholes. I think she likes to be the one that makes things happen and watches others at the business. And when I said ‘no’…” He stopped abruptly.
“What did she offer you then?”
George flushed. “She offered to get me a boy.” “

George and Anne:
“He leaned forward and kissed her again. Her eyes closed and her lips smiled and then parted. I watched as he pressed closer, and his finger went to her bare shoulder and stroked her neck. I watched, quite fascinated and quite horrified, as his fingers went into her smooth dark hair and pulled her head back for his kiss. Then she opened her eyes with a little sigh. “Enough.” And she pushed him gently off the bed. George returned to his place at the fireside and we all pretended that it was nothing more than a brotherly kiss.”

Was Jane really a voyeur? Was George really gay or bisexual? Did he really have such an inappropriate relationship with Anne?
These are the questions I will be answering in this webinar and I hope that you can join me. Details are below and if you can’t make the live webinar then Anne Boleyn Fellowship members will be able to access a replay of it on the site. I welcome questions from members before the webinar or at the end of my talk so start thinking!

EVENT: The Real Boleyns Part 1 – George and Jane Boleyn
DATE: Thursday, September 22nd 2011
TIME: 8:00pm Eastern (Click here to see what time this is in your country or timezone)
LISTENING METHOD: Attend via Phone/Skype or Webcast — it’s your choice
FOR: Anne Boleyn Fellowship Members ONLY

Click here to join The Anne Boleyn Fellowship now and enjoy benefits like this webinar, downloadable e-books, audios, videos and more.

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14 thoughts on “The Real Boleyns Part 1 Webinar – Thursday 22nd September”
  1. Congrats Claire! To be honest I don’t think we should even debate things such as was George Boleyn bisexual or gay, was Anne guilty of incest or witchcraft, because such controversies have no basis in fact and stem from the popularity of Philippa Gregory.

    1. Conor, I get emails every day from people who believe that George was bisexual or gay, and actually he’s not just presented that way in fiction, historians like Retha Warnicke and Alison Weir represent him in that way too.

  2. It never fails to amaze me what people will believe if it is published. I remember watching an interview with Carl Sagan, years ago, in which he asked a girl why she believed that UFO’s are definitely aliens. She said because it was in a book so if it was in a book then it had to be true. “Chariots of the Gods” convinced a lot of people that our planet has been visited by aliens, even though the book is a terrible piece of research. Once on tv and printed, good luck in getting people to change their mind.

  3. There is absoultley no evidence that George Bolyen was a cruel husband either by the standards of Tudor times or our own. There seems to have been tension in the marriage but that seems to have been casued by differences in religious belief and personality than the far fetched theories some people support. If George had had homosexual relationships it seems odd that in the Tudor court where gossip was rife that there is not even the slightest hint of rumour. If there was it would have certainly have been added to the accusations used to condemn him.

  4. Well it seems to me to be a difficult quest to prove whether or not George Boleyn was gay, bisexual or straight….without actual written proof from what would have been a liable source. Because many during the Tudor reign were busy trying to climb to the top, just about anything would have been said and spread about court about anyone as long as it improved the advancement of another. How do you find proof from a source that well was not involved in court life, who just maybe in writing a letter to another person and in passing mention something like, “I feel that after my many encounters with George Boleyn that possibly he may be more interested in men then women, but I do not know for sure.” Finding a statement like this somewhere would give proof that at least it was somewhat apparent possibly via observation that George may be different from other men at court. But statements, even though actually true, made in text by power grabbing courtiers or women seeking revenge on George, whatever, unfortunately would have to be either taken for face value or simply disregarded as someone attempting to strike out at George in order to hurt him personally or smear his name at court. So, I guess what I am saying is, “Where could that letter or innocent written text be, and from whom, that would be considered more of a truthful clue that indeed George had a tendency to favor men over women or both or even that he was abusive to women and if abusive to women it was possibly because of his favoritism to men?” Otherwise, I would have to give poor George the benefit of the doubt that he was the victim of vicious gossip. This investigation is an interesting one as are all of our investigations to bring forth the truth regarding the Tudors and the Boleyns, as well as, the many other families involved with King Henry VIII and those about him…Question is, “Where do you begin looking or digging for such proof?”

  5. I agree whole-heartedly with David. Attempting to determine the sexual orientation of George, when no documentation is reliable or indeed available, can have no more credence than the idea that a fruit fly – (pun unintentioned) – can computate. It is however, a good literary passtime but I too agree that no amount of digging can set anything straight – (darn! Another pun ..) especailly when the reality exists that whatever is discovered about George will always correlate with the reputation of the Establishment, ie the Tudor Court, the collective focus of its people, and his place in it. As David has suggested, all were in some way, pre-occupied with advancement and royal recognition, and THAT reality in itself is inseparable from the actions and behaviours of courtly conduct.. Personal advancement and the causal behaviours which therefore existed and followed, were more often than not, the fuel for gossip of all sorts, and moreso in gossip of a sexual-orientation, nature. Similarly, this kind of intrigue can be found in many lives and places of our present society – thus the lpresent-day law regarding slander and defamation. So, when we consider the degree of calculated and unimitled ambition present in the Tudor Court of the 1500’s, I think that no sensible level of credibility can be afforded any suggestion that George was either gay or straight. We can however, be certain that he was a sexual being and that’s as close as we’ll ever come, I think, to seeing the real truth regarding his sexuality.Trying to derive a determination about his dislike of women and his homosexuality, from a suggestion that he was in a bad marriage and was perhaps abusive, is tantamount to saying the most riduculous of thoughts. I personally think that Anne was far too smart, too focused (in the intelligent sense), too unequivically adept at seeing the possible consequences of incest, to partake.

  6. Like David says above, there seems to be no evidence either way to prove wheather or not George was gay,straight, bi-sexual or a wife beater, or Jane was a mean hearted shrew, people have to make their own judgements from what sources they take their information from.
    But isn’t this where the problems arises, fiction verses fact in literature and drama, nothing wrong with fiction, as I have said before it brings these historical characters alive, they speak, think and feel, and knowing the true events through factual books that I have read, I am able to recognise when the facts have had the ‘Hollywood’ touch, many people haven’t and I think many won’t go any further to find out because they are not interested enough.
    Entertainment especially T.V/film is for the masses, it has to have the wow factor otherwise it won’t get the ratings, I really do not think that the people who make these dramas are bothered about hard truth or whether they have educated viewers, just ratings, so called drama and film are pumped out at such an alarming rate that there is no way proper reseach could be done, its all beautiful people in beautiful costumes and spicy story lines, most don’t want the politics and the so called ‘boring bits’.
    If these drama and films do awaken an interest in some and they go on to the books to find out more depending on what they read is going to either underline the hollywood version or lead them to the truth. Personally out of all the films/dramas I have watch over the years the worst one ever is the ‘OBG’, it is too fragmented, so far from the truth its disney, and I didn’t rate the costumes or the acting much either, in this case the book was really better than the film, I did enjoy the book, read it twice, I liked the fictional twist on the people, but this is another problem for newcomers to Tudor history, it is claimed to be factual…
    With a bit of luck the newcomers will come across this site and find out the truth and which books they need to read under Claire’s expert guidence.
    Though I have to say even the factual books written by historians can vary on the portrayal of the people and events, an element of their own personal intepretation can creep in.
    Anyway good luck on the first Webinar Claire, hope all who are able to join you have a ball !!

  7. I agree completely with Cobert Byrne, as her books are the only places this European History major with an Emphasis in the Reformation graduate has come across this. I also agree 100% with Claire, and how these things need to be investigated, and if Claire can’t find out, nobody can!

    I also look foward to when the Webinars are online as well. I LOVED the ones about the other Boleyn brothers (if those were Webinars). Just am not up that late to watch, otherwise, all other things, jump back, this would be viewed, watched, and replayed to get all the facts and highly detailed much needed information! Thank you, WilesWales

    1. Hi WilesWales,
      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, I really appreciate them.

      The webinars I’m doing are open to members of the Anne Boleyn Fellowship – see – and are online seminars, i.e. me doing a talk and slide presentation. The one I did on Thursday on George and Jane lasted around an hour with a Q&A session as well. The webinar is recorded so that it is available as a replay for those who can’t make it live. Hope that makes sense.

  8. I have read all the comment so far, and happen to agree with each of them, and compliment everyone on their readings, etc. lisaannejane gave a perfect example, and I remember that interview – I am a Carl Sagan reader, and have Cosmos, etc. He death was such an absolute and terrible loss to the SETI (of which I am a member), and the academic astronomical community as well. Thank you, again, WilesWales

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