Spotlight: Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde

Name: Thomas Boleyn

Title/s: Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde / Lord Privy Seal / Treasurer of the Household /Viscount Rochford / Knight of the Garter

Birth / Death: c.1477 – 12 March 1539

Spouse: Elizabeth Howard 1480-1538

Children: Anne, Queen of England c.1501-1536 / Mary, Lady Stafford c.1499-1543 / George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford c.1503-1536

Parents: William Boleyn 1451-1505 & Margaret Butler c.1454-1539

Siblings: Anne, Lady Shelton 1475-1555 / John 1481-1484 / Anthony c.1483-1493 / Jane c.1485-1501 / Alice, Lady Clere c.1487-1538 / Margaret b.1489 / William c.1491-1571 / James c.1493-1561 / Edward b.1496

Noble Connections: Thomas Boleyn’s brother-in-law was Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. His daughter, Anne Boleyn, and his niece, Katherine Howard, became Queens of England, and his daughter-in-law was the daughter of Lord Morley.

Events of their Lifetime: Deaths of Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII, disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, Henry VIII’s Great Matter, the deaths of Katherine of Aragon and the executions of his children Anne and George

Controversy: How far was Thomas Boleyn responsible for the executions of his children? How much influence did he exert over Anne; was it her choice to go after Henry or his?

Works of Fiction:
Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl (2001)
Emily Purdy, The Boleyn Bride (2014)

Portrayals on Screen:
Nick Dunning, The Tudors, 2007-2008, 20 episodes
Michael Hordern, Anne of the Thousand Days, 1969, directed by Charles Jarrott
Mark Rylance, The Other Boleyn Girl, 2008, directed by Justin Chadwick
Jack Shepherd, The Other Boleyn Girl, 2003, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe
Benjamin Whitrow, Henry VIII, 2003, 2 episodes

Further Reading:
Robert Hutchinson, House of Treason: the Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty (2009)
David Loades, The Boleyns: the Rise and Fall of a Tudor Family (2012)
Elizabeth Norton, The Boleyn Women: the Tudor Femme Fatales Who Changed English History (2013)


Arms of Thomas Boleyn as Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde
Arms of Thomas Boleyn as Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde


Thomas Boleyn by Hans Holbein
Thomas Boleyn by Hans Holbein

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