My new book was announced today: Boleyn Women - The Tudor Femmes Fatales who Changed English History. It is due out at the end of July with Amberley.
Despite the sub-title, the book actually goes back into the medieval period to examine the lives of all recorded women of the Boleyn family. The family first appear as prosperous peasants at the manor of Salle, with their exact origins not recorded. An Emma Boleyn, who lived in the late fourteenth century may be the first known female member of the family. There is considerably more evidence for the heiress, Alice Bracton Boleyn, who lived a few generations later and whose ambition for her family and children helped their rise. By the mid-fiifteenth century, the Boleyns were prominent in London trade and in educational circles. By the late fifteenth century they were mixing with, and marrying into, the nobility. In 1533 they produced a queen, repeating this success with a queen regnant in 1558.
This is the first book to tell the story of the Boleyns through the women of the family: wives, daughters, sisters and nieces. The life of every woman in the family who was either born with the surname Boleyn or became a Boleyn on marriage is included, as well as a number of women descended from female members of the family. While the Boleyn men were prominent in English history, the women of the family certainly increased that prominence, as well as acting independently on their own behalves. In the late fifteenth century, three marriages (that of Geoffrey Boleyn to Anne Hoo, William Boleyn to Margaret Butler and Thomas Boleyn to Elizabeth Howard) anchored the Boleyns firmly into the nobility. It was on this basis that the court careers of a number of Boleyn daughters were launched: most notably, that of the most famous family member, Queen Anne Boleyn herself.
With their ambition and influence, the Boleyns were a dynasty that proved to be as influential as many of the great aristocratic houses of the period. Largely, the family's story is the story of its women and it is fitting that the daughter of a Boleyn became England's first truly great queen regnant.