Saturday, February 18, 2006

Question from Jasmine - Mary and Anne Boleyn's relationship

I'm trying to find out as much as I can about the type of relationship between Mary and Anne Boleyn. Before Mary ran off what kind of relationship did Mary and Anne have? Did they fight, were they close, best friends...any details would be helpful.


BritishNut56 said...

Historians say that Mary and Anne had a quarrel upon Mary's news that she was pregnant. Queen Anne was in a VERY perilous situation, not being with child herself, so it can be imagined her ire when Mary turned up not only in a marriage beneath her station, but months pregnant. It is said that not all was forgiven before Anne met the French executioner.

As for the rest of their life? I think it would be safe to look at any sister/sister relationship. There is rivalry, jealousy, envy, friendship, and support. The advantage which Anne had, though, is that she could see the consequences of Mary just being Henry's mistress. The older sister was very much showing the younger how NOT to handle the king.

Were Anne and Mary close? I'd say least not as close as Anne and George were. By the time Anne came to court, Mary was already on a down-ward turn with her reputation in shreds. Anne quickly found Henry enamoured with her, a situation Mary was all too familiar with. In trying a different tack with the king, and finding it very stressful to keep Henry interested, but on a short lease, Anne was apt to be abrupt with people. No doubt Mary came in for her share of Anne's stinging comments.

Anonymous said...

It seems unlikely that the relationship between Mary and Anne was ever truly intimate or close, principally because Anne spent almost five years in Paris without Mary's company. By the time she returned to England, in 1522, Mary had just finished her relationship with Henry VIII and was married. So, Anne remained at Court and Mary bore her husband two children after 1524, but resided in the countryside. So, it's unlikely that they saw very much of each other. There's also a letter from Anne in 1531/1532 to one of her closest friends in which she declares that the only woman she was ever closer to was her own mother, which implies that she was closer to one of her ladies-in-waiting than she was to her sister, Mary.

However, that is not to say that the Boleyn relationship was icy and vicious (as suggested in the novel "The Other Boleyn Girl.") Anne did step in to help Mary when she was in trouble - she secured her a pension after her husband's death in 1528, she became the ward of Mary's son, William, which was considered a great honour and provided for his education and she made Mary's daughter, Katherine, one of her maids-of-honour. After the terrible row, which resulted in Mary's banishment in 1534, Anne sent Mary and her second husband a magnificent set of gifts to help them financially. The Boleyn sisters were not as close as they might have been, but their relationship did have moments of warmth and support.