Title: The Other Other Boleyn Girl
Eras: At the Heart of the Tudor Period
Dates: 1505? - 1542
Jane Boleyn. No, she's not a third sister to the infamous Anne and Mary. She's their sister-in-law, married to George, playboy, man-about-town, possible womanizer and rapist. But most excitingly, she was one of the few noblewomen (or even men) with an up-close view of Henry VIII's reign, from Renaissance Prince to Tyrannical Despot. She saw it all from her lofty place just a few steps behind Queen Catherine, Queen Anne, Queen Jane, Queen Anne (again), and Queen Katherine. Sadly for Jane, she just missed her chance to serve as lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII's final Queen, another Catherine, because sadly, she lost her head!
She was there through thick and thin. She watched as Anne bewitched Henry. She saw the overthrow of the Catholic Church for love, or maybe lust. And then she became sister-in-law to the new Queen. She was investigated during Anne’s trial, she was actually exiled by Henry for a time due to some shenanigans, she assisted Queen Jane during her disastrous birth, she met Anne of Cleves fresh off the boat, and then testified that the marriage was never consummated, AND – most notoriously – she helped little Kitty Howard (Queen Catherine) with her romantic entanglements. And then… moments after Catherine’s blood pooled around the executioner’s platform, she placed her own head down on the sticky red block, closed her eyes, and waited for the chop.
But despite her close proximity to power and intrigue, we know very little about her. Was she in love with George? Did she betray him? Is she the villain history paints of her? Or was she simply caught up in the Tudor Tornado of torrid scandal and illicit affairs? Did she deserve to die?
Listen now, and let us know what YOU think about the infamous Jane Boleyn...
Henry VIII's wives
Sadly, there are no known portraits of Lady Rochford.
But here's a big-ass portrait of Henry VIII in all his... glory?
Fox, Julia. Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007.
Hamilton, Dakota L. The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 40, no. 3, 2009, pp. 828–29. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40540804. Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.
Williams, Owen. “Exorcising Madness in Late Elizabethan England: ‘The Seduction of Arthington’ and the Criminal Culpability of Demoniacs.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 47, no. 1, 2008, pp. 30–52. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25482684. Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.