In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted
from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men
and women around her became victims of Henry’s ruthless and absolute power,
including her own husband and sister-in-law, Queen Anne Boleyn, Jane’s
allegiance to the volatile monarchy was sustained and rewarded. But the price
for her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name.
For centuries, little beyond rumor and scandal has been associated with “the
infamous Lady Rochford.” But now historian Julia Fox sets the record straight
and restores dignity to this much-maligned figure whose life and reputation
were taken from her.
Born to aristocratic parents in the English countryside,
young Jane Parker found a suitable match in George Boleyn, brother to Anne, the
woman who would eventually be the touchstone of England’s greatest political
and religious crisis. Once settled in the bustling, spectacular court of Henry
VIII as the wife of a nobleman, Jane was privy to the regal festivities of
masques and jousts, royal births and funerals, and she played an intimate part
in the drama and gossip that swirled around the king’s court.
But it was Anne Boleyn’s descent from palace to prison that
first thrust Jane into the spotlight. Impatient with Anne’s inability to
produce a male heir, King Henry accused the queen of treason and adultery with
a multitude of men, including her own brother, George. Jane was among those
interrogated in the scandal, and following two swift strokes from the
executioner’s blade, she lost her husband and her sister-in-law, her
inheritance and her place in court society.
Now the thirty-year-old widow of a traitor, Jane had to
ensure her survival and protect her own interests by securing land and income.
With sheer determination, she navigated her way back into royal favor by
becoming lady-in-waiting to Henry’s three subsequent brides, Jane Seymour, Anne
of Cleves, and Catherine Howard. At last Jane’s future seemed secure—until an
unwitting misstep involving the sexual intrigues of young Queen Catherine
destroyed the life and reputation Jane worked so hard to rebuild.
Drawing upon her own deep knowledge and years of original
research, Julia Fox brings us into the inner sanctum of court life, laced with
intrigue and encumbered by disgrace. Through the eyes and ears of Jane Boleyn,
we witness the myriad players of the stormy Tudor period. Jane emerges as a
courageous spirit, a modern woman forced by circumstances to fend for herself
in a privileged but vicious world. Download and start listening now!