Mary Boleyn: 'the Great and Infamous Whore'

Front Cover
Jonathan Cape, 2011 - Great Britain - 338 pages
50 Reviews
Sister to Queen Anne Boleyn, she was seduced by two kings and was an intimate player in one of history's most gripping dramas. Yet much of what we know about Mary Boleyn has been fostered through garbled gossip, romantic fiction, and the misconceptions repeated by historians. Now, in her latest book, "New York Times" bestselling author and noted British historian Alison Weir gives us the first ever full-scale, in-depth biography of Henry VIII's famous mistress, in which Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds Mary Boleyn and uncovers the truth about one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age.
With the same brand of extensive forensic research she brought to her acclaimed book "The Lady in the Tower, "Weir facilitates here a new portrayal of her subjects, revealing how Mary was treated by her ambitious family and the likely nature of the relationship between the Boleyn sisters. She also posits new evidence regarding the reputation of Mary's mother, Elizabeth Howard, who was rumored to have been an early mistress of Henry VIII.
Weir unravels the truth about Mary's much-vaunted notoriety at the French court and her relations with King Francois I. She offers plausible theories as to what happened to Mary during the undocumented years of her life, and shows that, far from marrying an insignificant and complacent nonentity, she made a brilliant match with a young man who was the King's cousin and a rising star at court.
Weir also explores Mary's own position and role at the English court, and how she became Henry VIII's mistress. She tracks the probable course of their affair and investigates Mary's real reputation. With new and compelling evidence, Weir presents the most conclusive answer to date on the paternity of Mary's children, long speculated to have been Henry VIII's progeny.
Alison Weir has drawn fascinating information from the original sources of the period to piece together a life steeped in mystery and misfortune, debunking centuries-old myths and disproving accepted assertions, to give us the truth about Mary Boleyn, the so-called great and infamous whore.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rainidontmind - LibraryThing

Alison Weir never writes a bad book, as far as I can tell. This one suffers a little from the lack of available information about Mary Boleyn, but Weir still tells a good (true) story. If only more history were this well-written and accessible. Read full review

Review: Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings

User Review  - CS Burrough - Goodreads

Like all Weir biographies this delivered and more, for me. The historically sneered at 'loose' sister of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII's favourite Gentleman of the Privy chamber, was the daughter of ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Alison Weir was born in London and now resides in Surrey. Before becoming a published author in 1989, she was a civil servant, then a housewife and mother. From 1991 to 1997, whilst researching and writing books, she ran a school for children with learning difficulties before taking up writing full-time. Her fourteen history books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Lancaster and York, Children of England , Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine , Mary, Queen of Scots, Henry VIII: King and Court, Isabella, Katherine Swynford and, most recently Lady in the Tower. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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