10 September 2010

Mary Boleyn: A Shadow Figure

Though Mary is so often seen as a shadow figure, remembered only for her tenure as mistress to King Henry, and as a sister to Anne and George Boleyn, she had a full life independent of the court. In fact, she wasn't exactly able to enjoy the trappings of having relations in high places, given that at one point Anne permanently ejected Mary from court.

Mary certainly did enjoy some number of favors granted and given by the king and from her sister. But Mary's relationship with Anne was changeable and certainly not close. Did this coolness stem from Mary's first having been the love interest of Henry? While her one-time romance with King Henry couldn't have helped her future relationship with Anne, it seems that the divide between the sisters was created by a number of factors. While the Boleyn and Howard clan were impressive, a family who enjoyed prestige, they were also ambitious, jealous, grasping.

Thomas Boleyn was so eager for favor and recognition from the crown, that he was more than willing to pawn his children, his own precious daughters, with seemingly little regard to the personal cost to his children. Of course he could not have known what lay in wait for his children, and perhaps he thought he was ultimately doing well by them in so aggressively pushing his children into the court of King Henry. However, having ever met King Henry would prove disastrous for George and Anne.

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