63 Questions I’d like to ask Mary Boleyn…
I have recently finished writing a 22 000 word piece about Mary Boleyn. Through reading and writing extensively about her life part of me feels closer to his mysterious woman than ever before. Yet on the other hand, through reading about Mary’s life so many more questions have been thrown up. It seems as though with every question I answered ten more popped up in my mind!
Mary Boleyn is most certainly a woman of mystery. Her younger sister was Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and Queen consort of England. Anne was the mother of Elizabeth I and one of the most famous women in English history. She helped to change the course of English history, played a role in the separation of England from the Catholic Church in Rome and ended up being executed on trumped up charges of adultery, incest and treason. Mary’s brother was a well-known member of Henry’s court, evangelical in his religious beliefs and followed his sister Anne to his own tragic death. Mary’s father was also an important member of Henry VIII’s court. Thomas Boleyn was a talented man fluent in French who was sent on many missions as an ambassador for England. He was cunning and smart and used his skills and wits to provide a fantastic education for his children as well as further himself and his family at court. And yet when we look at Mary’s life we see that she was woman who played on the outskirts of a famous tale of love, power, excitement and tragedy and frustratingly so much of her life remains a mystery.
Below are a list of questions about Mary Boleyn that I would desperately love answered:
- What is the date of Mary’s birth?
- What are the circumstances of her birth?
- Were there any portraits painted of her?
- What were the pastimes Mary enjoyed as a child?
- What were her strengths and skills?
- What were her feelings towards her brothers and sister?
- How did Mary feel about her parents?
- How did Mary feel when Anne was chosen to go to Margaret of Austria’s court?
- What did she feel when she was told she was going to France to serve Mary Tudor?
- What were Mary’s feelings about being in France?
- Was Mary the mistress of Francis I?
- Where was Mary between 1515 and 1520?
- Why was William Carey chosen as a husband for Mary?
- What were Mary’s feelings towards William Carey?
- Was Mary nervous on her wedding and wedding night?
- How did Mary become mistress to Henry VIII?
- When did Mary capture Henry VIII’s attention?
- What were the circumstances/events of Mary’s affair with Henry VIII?
- What was Mary’s thoughts and feelings about her affair?
- How did William Carey treat Mary during her affair with the King?
- Was Henry VIII the father of Catherine and/or Henry Carey?
- When and how did the affair end?
- Why did Mary not have any children with William Carey after the end of her affair?
- How did Mary feel about the death of her husband?
- Where did Mary go after the death of her husband?
- What were the reasons behind Thomas Boleyn’s unwillingness to support his oldest daughter?
- How did Mary feel about her son becoming ward to her sister Anne?
- What were Mary’s feelings towards her children?
- What were Mary’s feelings and thoughts about Anne capturing the attention and heart of Henry VIII?
- Was Mary jealous of Anne?
- What was day to day life like for Mary when her sister was ever growing in the King’s affection?
- When did Mary return to court?
- How did she feel going to France with Henry VIII and Anne in 1532?
- Did Mary see King Francis I?
- What were her thoughts and feelings about the French King?
- How did Mary feel about her sister marrying Henry VIII?
- What did Mary think and feel during her sister’s coronation procession?
- How did Mary feel when Anne gave birth to Elizabeth?
- Did Mary and Elizabeth ever meet/talk/interact?
- When did Mary meet William Stafford?
- What did William Stafford look like?
- What were the circumstances of their meeting?
- When did Mary fall in love with William?
- When did they marry?
- Where did they marry?
- When did Mary return to court in 1534?
- What happened to the child she was carrying during this time?
- How did Mary react when she was told she was banished from court?
- Where did Mary and William live after their banishment?
- What were Mary’s feelings towards Anne, George and her parents after her banishment?
- How was Mary told about her sister and brother’s arrest and the reasons behind their arrest?
- How did Mary feel about Anne and George’s alleged crimes?
- Did she try and contact her younger siblings?
- How did Mary feel when she heard the news her siblings had been executed?
- How did she feel when she learnt of the death of her mother and then father?
- How did Mary feel towards Henry VIII after the death of her siblings?
- Where did Mary live during the later years of her life?
- What was the exact date of her death?
- Where was she buried?
- Did Mary leave behind any letters or a diary?
- Was she happy with her life?
- What were her religious beliefs?
I suppose all that I need to do now is either invent a time machine, go back in time, dress in Tudor appropriate clothing, slip seamlessly into the Tudor court, avoid getting my head removed from my shoulders, find Mary Boleyn, befriend her and casually find out all 64 questions! (Plus the rest that will no doubt come to my mind!) Either that or travel to England, discover a dusty book hidden away and find a long lost letter or diary belonging to Mary Boleyn which reveals every question I’ve ever wanted answered about this mysterious woman! Now which option is easiest….
I can only hope that one day a long lost diary, letter or piece of evidence will be discovered which will uncover more about the mystery of Mary Boleyn.
A minature of a young woman, painted 1525, possibly Mary Boleyn, by Lucus Horenbolte