"The Lady Parker one looks so pretty. Ugh, if only we just had a definite portrait or sketch of Jane."
I would settle for just a description like we did of each of Henry’s wives.
Anything so I can put a face with the woman I’ve been studying for three years.
- She must have been pretty. Jane Parker is recorded as having been selected for court masques, so she would have had to be at least reasonably attractive by the standards of the day, and a graceful dancer. Unattractive or unpopular girls probably wouldn’t have gotten these coveted spots.
- Jane was likely of average height and build. If her skeleton had been tall or large-framed, the doctor who examined the remains from the floor of St. Peter-ad-Vincula would have noted it.
- She must have had personal charm. Even after all the scandals her family had endured, she wasn’t shoved back to the periphery of the court once she had returned. She is recorded as being one of the women who spoke to Anna von Kleefes about whether she was still a virgin after her marriage to the king. To be in a position where she could speak to the queen intimately seems to imply she had sufficient people-skills to get herself back into a coveted place in the queen’s retinue.
It’s important to include the time-tested, standard author bio elements in the “About Me” page on your author website: professional headshot, education, career, and publication credits.
But you may want to offer your visitors a more intimate portrait than a basic professional bio offers. So what can you do to make your “About Me” page stand out in the crowd? (And trust us—writers on the Internet are a humungous crowd!)
"The writing life is a secret life, wither we admit it or not."
Jayne Anne Phillips (via writingquotes)
Henry VIII’s pendants in portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger
I love how she almost drops it until she smells it and that flashbulb memory hits.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real … Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Anne, Mary, and George Boleyn are the famous Boleyn siblings, but there were at least two other Boleyn children who are known to us only by their graves, and a few faint historical traces that leave more questions than they answer.
Around 1498, Thomas Boleyn married Lady Elizabeth Howard, though we’re unsure of the exact date. Later in life, Thomas wrote:
When I married I had only 50£ a year to live on for me and my wife as long as my father lived, and yet she brought me every year a child.
In Saint John the Baptist Church of Penshurst, there’s a small brass cross set into the floor over the small tomb slab of "Thomas Bwllayen the sone of Sir Thomas Bwllayen." It’s in the Sidney chapel, tucked against another monument, a tiny marker on the floor that’s easy to miss.
In St. Peter’s Church, Hever, there is the little tomb slab of Henry Boleyn, marked in the same fashion, with a slightly different cross. This grave is set into the floor beside the head of Sir Thomas Boleyn’s chest tomb.
Both tomb slabs are very small - only a couple of feet square, and the simple brasses that mark them are stylistically dated to around 1520. Because stillborn children weren’t usually named or memorialized, these boys likely lived for at least a short time.
Thomas the Younger - as I’ll call him to avoid confusion with his father - might have been the eldest son, based on common naming traditions of the day, but that is not a certainty. Henry’s place in the birth order of the Boleyn children is unknown, open to speculation.
What happened to these “other Boleyn boys?” Based on the size of their graves and the simplicity of their markers, most historians have come to the conclusion that both of them died as infants. However, it’s recently been suggested by Alison Weir in her biography of Mary Boleyn that both Thomas the Younger and Henry lived to adulthood.
In the first edition of this book, I stated that Mary’s brother, Thomas Boleyn, was buried in Penshurst Church, and that his tomb is marked by a brass cross and the date 1520.
The inscription on the brass reads ‘Thomas Boleyn, son of Sir Thomas Boleyn’. That must date the brass to after June 1509, when the elder Thomas was knighted. Brasses were often small, even for adults, so the size of this brass does not necessarily indicate that Thomas Boleyn died in infancy. Indeed, he is likely to have been the eldest son, and if he was the son who went to Oxford University at 17, then he must have been born in the mid-to-late 1490s. After perhaps studying at Oxford, it is possible that he entered the household of the Duke of Buckingham, which might explain his burial at Penshurst. Buckingham, of course, was executed in 1521.
It is possible that these brothers both lived into early manhood; it may even have been Henry who went to Oxford. Two cross brasses of similar date might indicate that they died around the same time, possibly from the same cause. In 1517, for example, there was a severe epidemic of the sweating sickness, which caused high mortality in England, notably in Oxford and Cambridge.
Nor does this account for the very small sizes of the tomb slabs themselves, which was usually - though not always - large enough to cover the entire length of the grave. It makes little sense that adult Boleyn men would have been buried so simply, under such tiny monuments, at a time when the Boleyns could afford better.
Henry, then, may have been born after 1505 when the Boleyns moved to the castle. The family marked his grave in the Hever chapel after 1509 when his father was knighted. Decades later, Sir Thomas Boleyn’s tomb was placed right beside that of his infant son.