19 October 2009

When was Mary Boleyn born?

Mary's birth date is fairly impossible to pinpoint with any certainty. Amazingly, historians are equally unable to identify the exact birth date of Anne Boleyn. It seems likely that the doomed queen had become a pariah to the extent that every possible item which would serve as a reminder of her, had been obliterated. If Anne had a bad reputation, Mary's was immeasurably worse. Nevertheless, historians are able to provide windows of time in which it is likely the Boleyn girls were born. Historians have long disagreed as to whether Mary or Anne was the eldest child. Most will agree that George Boleyn was the youngest. There is some evidence of Anne having been the eldest in the form of A Catalogue and succession of the kings, princes, dukes, marquesses, earls, and viscounts of this realm of England, published in 1619 by Ralph Brooke, York Herald. In this, Brooke names Anne as the eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Bullen. Most scholars hold that Mary was born in 1500, with Anne following approximately a year later. Mary's father would complain many years later that in the younger years of his marriage his wife had brought him "every year a child." In addition to Mary, Anne, and George, Elizabeth, Thomas' wife, had bore two sons, Henry and Thomas. These two children did not survive infancy.

*Photo is of actual bedroom at the beautiful Blickling Hall, Norfolk

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