|Anne Boleyn, Second Wife of Henry VIII, |
Waxwork at Warwick Castle
Photo By: Lisby
Mary and Anne Boleyn
The Boleyn family had been involved with King Henry VIII's family long before Anne ever came to court. Anne Bolyen was born in 1507 to Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Anne was the second of five children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Anne's fate would be closely tied to her sister, Mary and her brother, George. Her father, Thomas Boleyn had escorted Mary Tudor, King Henry VIII's sister, to Scotland for her marriage to King James VI. He became a member of the Knights of Bath at King Henry's coronation in 1509. Thomas was an ambitious politician without noble blood. His wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth of York and Queen Catherine of Aragon. Thomas married Elizabeth while she was a lady in waiting to King Henry VIII's mother in either 1499 or 1500. Thomas had gained access to the royal family through his marriage.
Anne and Mary were educated as proper women but they needed to finish their education in the court of a noble. Thomas was determined to find a place for his daughters. In 1512, while serving as one of three official envoys to the Netherlands, he secured a position for Anne within the Archduchess Margaret of Austria and Regent of the Netherlands household.
Two years later, Mary Boleyn was sent with Mary Tudor (King Henry's sister) to France where she served as one of Mary Tudor's lady-in-waiting. The English princess married King Louis XII of France on October 9, 1514 becoming Queen of France. The fifty-two year old king had no heirs and had hoped his eighteen year old bride would procure one for him. Sometime after the wedding Margaret of Austria transferred Anne Boleyn into the service of Queen Mary Tudor thus reuniting the Boleyn girls. The king died three months later from exertion in the bedroom with Mary's womb still empty. The French throne passed to his cousin Francis, who was from the Angoulême Francis I had planned to arrange another marriage for Mary Tudor. It was during this time that Mary established for herself a scandalous reputation as the king's mistress. King Francis I often called her his "English mare". Mary Boleyn returned to the England sometime before 1519 where she served as one of Queen Catherine of Aragon's ladies-of-honor and was married off to William Carey, a gentleman of the king's Privy Chamber . As his wife, she was allowed to participate in all the royal occurrences, had lodgings in the castle and was privy to royal information. She was King Henry VIII's mistress from 1519 to 1525.
Anne returned to England in 1520 where she would later caught the eye of King Henry VIII.