Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire: Much Decayed Of Late

This is an excellent post about the differences between the Thomas Boleyn in our known sources and how he has been portrayed on TV and in books.

You know this guy already, don’t you? Avaricious, ambitious to the point where he would happily prostitute his daughters to the king if it helped him get ahead, a flint-hearted tyrant who sent his daughters abroad as mere children and didn’t care what kind of emotional wreckage resulted. He urged his younger daughter on while she pursued the crown, then slithered away, earldom intact, as she was judicially murdered alongside her only brother. His marriage was an unpleasant affair, undertaken only to further his financial interests and occasionally featuring abusive behavior and rape. In short, not the kind of ancestor one would wish to have a visiting acquaintance with.

Or so you’d be justified in thinking if your main source of information was the packet of fictional works in which Thomas usually plays a secondary and highly unflattering role. There’s a non-trivial number of non-fiction books which also take it…

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