Mary Boleyn (1499-1543)
The French monarch François I called her his “hackney,” explaining that he loved to ride her. An Italian visitor to François’s court thought her “una grandissima ribald et infame sopre tutte” (a great prostitute and more infamous than all of them). She is probably best remembered as the older sister of Anne Boleyn. What seems clear is that this daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard knew how to have fun in bed.
Mary Boleyn possessed the blond, blue-eyed, curvy beauty that was the era’s belle idéale. In 1514, she was a member of the French court in the household of the queen, Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary Tudor. But after Mary’s husband, King Louis XII, died on New Year’s Day in 1515, Mary Boleyn remained at the French court, where she became a lady-in-waiting to the new queen, Claude, the wife of François d’Angoulême. Claude was the older daughter of Louis XII, but France was under Salic law, which prohibited a female from inheriting the throne. So on Louis’s death, his son-in-law became king.
Francois I (1494-1547)
(Henry VIII 1491-1547)
Anne Boleyn (1500 (?) – 1536)