The Other Boleyn Girl Characters

The Other Boleyn Girl Character List

Mary Boleyn

She is the main character in the story and under pressure from her family, she embarks on a relationship with King Henry VIII. She falls in love and is naive in her relationship and is angered when she finds out her sister Anne will be marrying King Henry VIII.

She is the youngest daughter of the Boleyn family. Although Mary shares some similarities with Anne Boleyn, she is portrayed as a contrasting character to Anne. Unlike the viciously unscrupulous Anne, Mary has a human heart. She cherishes the values of loyalty, devotion and kindness. Mary is devoted to her husband and does not view marriage as a means of social advancement. She is determined to be a loving and devoted wife to her husband. Although she later becomes the mistress of the king, her action was entirely orchestrated by her avaricious family. Mary is not a royal mistress who flaunts her enviable position. Instead, she suffers moral qualms for betraying the beloved queen Katherine. Court life is not congenial to Mary’s simple, unsophisticated character. She comes to love the tranquil country life. She loves the idea of become a mistress of a well-governed homestead, spending her time milking cows and rearing chickens. Mary has an angelic disposition; she continues to devote herself to her sister despite of Anne’s viciousness. After Anne’s marriage, Mary helps Anne with many underhanded tasks, such as burying her miscarried child and procuring medical potion. She bears no grievance towards Anne’s meanness. In many ways, Mary is portrayed as an idealized character. Her sweetness and forbearance are such that she almost appears to be a larger than life character.

Anne Boleyn

She is Mary's sister and initially helps Mary seduced King Henry VIII but this changes when Anne seeks to be Queen herself and so she steals the affections of King Henry VIII and the two eventually marry. Anne is extremely ambitious and wishes to retain her position as Queen at all costs.

She is the eldest and the most favoured daughter of the Boleyn family. Her physical appearance is quite unique from the emotionally passive, fair-haired ladies at court. Anne has dark hair and brown eyes. Her pronounced features are more striking than delicate. She has a penetrating gaze, which sheds light on her sharp intellect and strong character. Anne spends the early years of her youth in the French court. The refinement and sophistication of the French court are stamped deep in Anne’s character. Anne is a highly competent scholar. She is well-versed in many languages. She can converse in many subjects with proficiency and ease. She is a trend setter who is responsible for introducing the stylish French fashion into the English court. Anne’s unique intellect, charming eloquence and alluring sex appeal make her irresistible, even though her features are far from delicate and perfect. Anne has a fierce temper. In this story, she is portrayed as a vicious woman who disregards the feelings of other people. She treats people with little consideration and regard. She can be extremely mean-spirited, vindictive and obnoxious. She sees the world only through the light of her self-interests. She resents the good fortune of other women and is determined to outdo them in the marriage market. Anne is highly ambitious. She is an unscrupulous social climber who is not content to contract marriage with a low-ranking aristocrat. Instead, she aims for the greatest prize in court. She initially seeks to marry the illustrious nobleman Henry Percy. When this attempt fails, Anne is not discouraged by it. Rather than resigning herself to her defeat, Anne ups the ante and seeks to have the king’s hands in marriage. Her determination and ambition shocked the entire Christendom to the core. Her efforts in ousting the beloved queen Katherine and her involvement in the controversial religious reformation led to great resentment across the country, causing Anne to become the most hated woman in the realm.

George Boleyn

George is the brother of both Mary and Anne. He is supportive of both of his sisters and is eventually executed after being accused of committing adultery with his sister Anne.

George is the only son of the Boleyn family and is the heir to the family estate. He resembles his sister Mary in character. Like Mary, George is free-spirited, easy-going and emotionally unaffected. Although George is ambitious, he does not share Anne’s viciousness. George is kind-hearted, even though he can sometimes become extremely hot-tempered and bursts into fits of rage at the slightest insult. Unlike the unscrupulous Anne is willing to do anything to advance her interests; George is repelled by the sycophantic and decadent royal court. He hates the corrupt influence of the court and loathes the fawning courtier of which he has become. George is extremely devoted to Anne and is fiercely determined to shield her from harm. While most people in the Boleyn family treat Anne as a dispensable commodity, George is one of the few who takes Anne’s interests to heart. When the court is populated by immoderately ambitious courtiers, George is someone who has a moral conscience and a human heart behind his courtier’s facade.

Henry VIII

He is the King of England and beings a relationship with Mary at first. However, he then pursues Anne who refuses to begin a relationship with him until he makes her Queen. King Henry VIII is tempted by this and eventually makes her his Queen.

However, he later has her executed after accusing her of committing adultery with others.

He is the absolute ruler in England and the brightest star in his court. In his youth, Henry was a handsome man with a powerful frame and fine physique. He is extremely vain and takes great pride in his shapely calves. As Henry ages, he starts to suffer from a chronic leg infection, which turns him into a limping invalid. Henry’s advancing years make him impatient to have a male heir. After his break from the Roman Catholic church, Henry becomes the absolute ruler of England, in both spiritual and temporal matters. His absolute power, coupled with the pain of illness and his frustration of not having a son, turn the once enlightened king into an unscrupulous tyrant. In his later years, Henry becomes a blood-thirsty, power-hungry despot. Henry is also an notorious womanizer. Both Katherine and Anne suffered immense unhappiness as a result of his unrepentant philandering.

Queen Katherine

She is a Spanish princess who was once betrothed to Henry’s brother Arthur. After Arthur dies, she dutifully marries the next heir in line. Katherine is deeply devoted to her husband. She is willing to do anything to please the king. She endures Henry’s philandering without complaint. Katherine treats Henry in a motherly manner. Despite Henry’s notorious philandering, he always goes back to Katherine when he needs to be comforted and consoled. Katherine always conducts herself with great dignity and grace. She is extremely careful with money and hates unnecessary expenditure. Katherine is indifferent towards pomp and ostentation. Henry is unwilling to divorce such a devoted wife, but he is compelled to abandon her due to urgent political necessity of procuring a legitimate male heir. Henry suffers great remorse and pain in divorcing Katherine. Even after the divorce, Henry still longs for her presence whenever he faces difficulty.

Jane Seymour

She is the daughter of Sir John Seymour. After Anne’s failure in conceiving a son, Jane becomes Henry’s favorite. Jane knows that Henry no longer enjoys Anne’s flirtatious manners, she therefore poses herself as the polarized opposite of Anne Boleyn. Jane seeks to emulate the image of Queen Katherine. She always conducts herself with great dignity and composure. She affects an extremely prudish demeanour, such as speaking in a low tone and walking with her eyes downcast. Jane dresses in pale and subdued colours in an effort to emphasize her demure and unassertive character. In order to win public approval, she poses herself as a patriotic Englishwoman who dresses in simple English style and spends long hours praying. Unlike the sexually seductive Anne, Jane is known for her passivity and sweet tenderness. She flirts through a tone of “honeyed piety” and is unendingly tender towards the king. After Anne’s repeated miscarriages, Henry comes to resent her powerful sexual allure and comes to love Jane’s demure character. An important source of Henry’s attraction to Jane is her similarity to his wife Katherine, whom Henry misses greatly. Jane Seymour’s efforts in imitating the beloved queen Katherine eventually paid off. After Anne’s execution, she marries Henry and becomes the queen of England.

Uncle Howard

He is Anne Boleyn’s uncle and her most powerful relative. He comes from the more illustrious Howard family and wields more influence than his Boleyn relations. Uncle Howard is the embodiment of the unscrupulous, heartless courtier. He is fiercely ambitious and sees the entire world through the light of his own self-interest. He is willing to abandon all principles, disregards all morals in order to safeguard his interests. He is willing to sacrifice anyone, including his relatives, in order to protect himself. He cares nothing for his niece and only sees her as a pawn in his power struggle. He is an extremely perfidious person who blows with the wind. He is devoted to nobody except to himself. After Anne falls out of favour, he immediately shifts his attention onto the Seymour camp, leaving Anne without a supporter. King Henry is flattered by uncle Howard’s groveling and sycophantic manners. He is therefore extremely favoured and trusted by the king.

Madge Shelton

She is a blood relation to Anne Boleyn. She serves as Anne’s lady in waiting. Madge is extremely beautiful, attractive and flirtatious. She has many suitors and is known for her loose living ways. She is light-hearted, vivacious and carefree. She has little serious concerns and cares only for fine clothes, entertainment, male attention and courtship.

Lady Elizabeth

She is Anne Boleyn’s mother. She comes from the powerful Howard family and marries beneath her station. Like her brother, Lady Elizabeth is cold, callous and uncaring. She has little tenderness for her daughters and sees them as political pawns. She adheres to the conventional gender behavior and believes that there is no freedom for women in this world. She fails to provide her daughters with love and support. After Anne’s miscarriage, instead of comforting her, Lady Elizabeth simply withdrew her support from her daughter.

William Stafford

He is a retainer of the Howard household. He marries the widowed Mary Boleyn and becomes her second husband. William Stafford is an extremely free-spirited and forward-thinking man. Although he is a devoted servant to his master, he is not a fawning sycophant. He treasures his independence, dignity and autonomy and is unwilling to surrender his principles for monetary gains. He holds his freedom above everything else. He is an honest servant who succeeds in winning the trust of the king. King Henry grants him the title of knighthood, elevating his title to Sir William Stafford. William Stafford shares many similarities with Mary Boleyn. Both of them are simple, unsophisticated individuals who find the corrupt court life uncongenial to their temperament. Both of them favour the simple, uncorrupted country life, free from the temptation and the intrigue of the court. William is the only man in court who truly values Mary Boleyn. He appreciates her unique individuality and puts her on a pedestal. Instead of viewing her as a dispensable commodity, William worships her as an irreplaceable treasure.

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