The Other Boleyn Girl – Mary Boleyn

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The Other Boleyn Girl – Mary Boleyn

Mary Boleyn was the sister of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. Mary Boleyn’s story was subject of a book and film entitled ‘The Other Boleyn Girl.’ Mary Boleyn was well known in her own right during the time of the Tudors. It is believed that for a period she herself was a mistress of King Henry VIII. 

The 2008 film starred Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana. It received critical acclaim in terms of cinematography, but what of it’s historical accuracy?

Did the Other Boleyn Girl exist?

Yes, Mary Boleyn did exist. She was born c1500 and died in 1543. As records for the Boleyn family at the time are incomplete the dates upon which Mary Boleyn, and her sister, Anne Boleyn, were born are estimates rather than precise: though the dates upon which they died is well documented.

Mary Boleyn

Was Mary Boleyn the younger sister?

Most historians (though not all) actually think that she was older than Anne Boleyn.

Why is The Other Boleyn Girl important?

The Boleyn family held a lot of power in the court at the time of King Henry VIII, certainly until the decision to execute Anne Boleyn. Mary Boleyn is known to have been a mistress of the King, between 1521 and 1526. It is rumoured that she bore two children to King Henry VIII, though if this was the case they were never recognised by the King himself.

What happened to Mary Boleyn after the execution of her sister?

Mary was banished from court. She married a soldier and moved to Norfolk, where she died in 1543.

Is she known for anything else?

Yes, Mary Boleyn also spent time in the French court and was a mistress of King Francis I before returning to the English court. The exact dates are not known.

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