Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question from Marie - Jane Boleyn protesting against Anne

I've read varying accounts on an incident where Jane Boleyn was caught protesting against her sister-in-law, Queen Anne.

This seems highly illogical to me if you take into account it was while Anne was still alive and therefore still Queen. I was wondering if this information has been taken as true by historians...or if it's regarded as false. Also, I would love any more information about the event itself, if it is true, as most books seem to offer only a sentence on the matter and then flutter on to something else.

9 comments:

PhD Historian said...

I am not aware of any story that Jane, Lady Rochford (wife of Anne's brother George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford) "protested" against her sister-in-law, the queen. She did, however, testify at the trial of her husband in 1536, offering her belief (without supporting evidence) that George had been sexually involved with his sister Anne. Contemporaries considered Lady Jane jealous of her sister-in-law ... as sometimes happens in families, especially "celebrity" families ... and that her "belief" may have stemmed from that jealousy. While the outcome of George's trial was a foregone conclusion, even without his own wife's testimony against him, certainly her "belief" made matters worse for him and guaranteed her own reptuation for hatred of Anne. And her later meddling in the Katherine Howard affair cemented that reputation as a jealous malcontent.

Julia Fox has recently published a biography of Jane, Lady Rochford, though I cannot attest to its quality. She reportedly defends Jane, so there is probably a detailed account of the matter in her book.

Marie said...

Maybe protest was the wrong word...more specifically, the event was a group of women gathered to show support for the Lady Mary. There is a handwritten document of the event showing The Lady Rochford as one of the women in attendance. Julia Fox discounts the story, but I know some people discount Julia Fox...she mentions it very, very briefly on page 166 of her book. I have seen the same thing come up in other works, but also very briefly.

djd said...

I didn't find Julia Fox's book very informative at all. It was filled with suppositions like "Jane may very well have been there" or "Jane may have felt..." and "Jane was probably there when..." The book - at least to me - did not reveal anything new and was the same story about Henry and his wives being told with guesses about Jane's involvement. I recall reading somewhere that Jane attended something in support of Princess Mary, but not against Anne Boleyn. As PhD said, her testimony was key in convicting her husband and Anne, and as others have supposed before, she was probably manipulated into this and other situations by those in powerful positions. Poor Jane.

Elizabeth M. said...

I was not thrilled with Julia Fox's book on Lady Rochford. To me it seemed to whitewash Jane and her actions, but did bot really shed any light on them. Lady Rochford came out as almost a victim in all these events--Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard--and I, for one, seriously doubt she was that. She played a major role in the downfall of two queens and paid the ultimate price herself. It is kind of hard to rehabilitate that kind of reputation, but Julia Fox gave it a try, but for me, it was wholly unsatisfactory.

Anonymous said...

I also found Julia Fox's book to be more speculative than informative. Much of the book described things from the perspective of the Boleyn family with an added comment regarding Lady Rochford's possible role in the event.

Marie said...

Let me correct myself again.
I did not intend to start a conversation about Julia Fox. I have read in several Anne Boleyn biographies that indicate Jane Boleyn and Anne had some sort of falling out around 1535. What is often quoted as the reason (not of the falling out, but why people think they did fall out) is centered around an event where some ladies gathered at Greenwich and shouted support to Mary(I.e. You are still the rightful heir to the throne, not Elizabeth) The event was broken up and the women who organized it where sent to the tower. A list of the names in attendance includes "The Lady Rochford."

I have tried to re-locate all the various times I've read this, but the info on it is so sparce, that it took me half an hour to even locate the paragraph in Fox's book. I KNOW I have read it on multiple occasions before reading the Jane Boleyn biography. The only difference is Julia Fox dismisses that the event ever happened.

I just thought it interesting that we know so little about such a key incident determining Jane Boleyn's motives during the trials.

I thought the Fox book was interesting if only from the point of view that history tends to villify or praise certain people, and maybe we get a lot of it wrong.

Thanks for trying to help answer my confusing question, though, guys!

kb said...

Ives, p. 293 -
"Support for Mary was as strong as ever, or stronger. True, June had seen the death of George Neville, Lord Abergavenny, politically the most formidable of the princess's sympathizers, but while the small summer court was in Hampshire, there was a public demonstration at Greenwich in support of Mary by the wives of a number of London citizens, aided and abetted by some ladies of the royal household not on duty. Among the ringleaders who ended in the Tower were Anne's aunt, Lady William Howard, and her sister-in-law Jane, Lady Rochford. Evidently Jane did not share her husband George's commitment to Anne's cause."

There are 2 endnote references for this passage including the next sentence which I have not included. L&P vi.1164: Friedmann, Anne Boleyn, i.233, L&P, ix.566.

And

L&P, ix.862 and p.xxxii.

The references are actually listed as LP but I'm pretty sure that's Letters & Papers. I don't have access to those so perhaps someone who does (foose?) wants to take a look at the source material.

My personal, non-academic interpretation of the relationship between Jane Parker Boleyn, Lady Rochford and Anne is that animosity between the 2 ladies pre-dates this event. I suspect their relationship was very complicated. While the bonds of kin would dictate that Jane should be an unwavering supporter of her sister-in-law the queen, I think that this was clouded over with the personal.

Did Anne think Jane Parker a sufficiently illustrious wife for her brother? My notes have George and Jane marrying in 1526 well before Anne became queen but not before Anne caught Henry's fancy. Was Jane envious of the relationship between Anne and George which has always been portrayed as close? If George had male lovers, was Jane jealous? Did Jane support Anne inside her chambers? Was Jane resistant to religious reform?

There are several reasons the two women may not have liked each other. If Jane supported Mary over Elizabeth as heir as the Ives passage indicates, then the religious question might be at play. I believe that Lady William Howard was of the 'old religion'.

Foose said...

Chapuys has a reference in his letter of December 19, 1534, to the Emperor:

"It is true that Rochford's wife was sent from Court for the reason that I have heretofore written ..."

I am not sure what the "reason" is but immediately previous to this Chapuys refers to "the love of the King for the young lady of whom I wrote to you ..." (This is the mysterious ladyfriend of 1534 that historians have spent much time speculating on the identity of.) Some have interpreted this as signifying that Lady Rochford was conniving with Anne to get the new favorite removed from court, and that Henry had caught them out.

However, in contrast to Chapuys' tale of Lady Rochford supporting Anne, the French ambassador Dinteville reported in 1535, "When [Princess] Mary had left Greenwich to go to Eltham, a great many women, in spite of their husbands, had flocked to see her pass, and had cheered her, calling out, that notwithstanding all laws to the contrary, she was still their princess. Several of them, being of higher rank than the rest, had been sent to the Tower. On the margin of that report ... we find (written by Dinteville himself): 'Note, my Lord Rochford ...' The ambassador clearly meant that Lady Rochford ... was among those who had cheered Mary." This is from Paul Friedmann's "Anne Boleyn," which although a late 19th-century work has the great virtue of reproducing the actual contemporary statements (in their original languages) as footnotes.

Motive? Maybe Lady Rochford was hedging her bets. Maybe she had quarrelled with Anne. This took place apparently in October 1536, when Anne was pregnant, so it is odd for Lady Rochford to have taken Mary's part.

Jules Gegogeine said...

The Greenwich demonstration for Mary Tudor occurred during Henry's late summer progress. Some of ladies unbeknownst to their husbands that were not on the progress attended. Lady Rochford was supposedly one of these as well as Anne's aunt Lady William Howard, Margaret Gamage (May1,1515- 1581). They were supposedly sent to the Tower for some time around Oct of 1535 but were out by Easter of 1536 as there are references to Margarets presence at court then. I so wish I could give you more information as far as references etc but just have not completely researched. But her attendance there doesn't by necessity point to her being against Anne. I mean she was out with other ladies who did not go on the progress so who is to say they weren't just out to have something to do. Any of the ladies could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. And just ended up getting in trouble for it obviously they all were allowed to return to court so it couldn't have been THST big of a deal .