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Sir Thomas Boleyn

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Sir Thomas Boleyn

  • Original Name Bullen
  • Birth c.1477 Hever, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England
  • Death 12 Mar 1539 Hever, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England
  • Burial Hever, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England
  • Memorial ID 12262

English Diplomat and Politician. He held the titles of the 1st Earl of Wiltshire and 1st Earl of Ormond during the Tudor era and is best remembered as the father of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England as well as the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. He was born into a wealthy family around 1477 at Hever Castle in Hever, Kent, England. Little is known of his early life. Sometime prior to 1499, he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, the oldest daughter of Thomas Howard, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. In 1503 he helped escort Margaret Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VII of England north for her marriage to James IV of Scotland. In 1509 he was created a Knight of the Bath at Henry VIII's coronation. In 1512 he was appointed as one of the three English envoys to the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) which brought him into contact with the regent Archduchess Margaret of Austria. They both spoke French and Latin and got along well enough for her to accept his daughter Anne as a maid of honor. From 1518 until 1521 he was the English ambassador to France, where he was involved in arrangements for the "Field of Cloth of Gold" meeting between Henry VIII and the new French King Francis I in 1520. From 1521 to 1523 he served as the English envoy to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. In 1523 he was invested as a Knight of the Garter. In 1525 King Henry VIII became enamored with Anne and began pursuing her, even though he was married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Coincidentally, her father was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford in June 1525. As Henry VIII's infatuation for Anne intensified, so did her father's titles. Henry arranged for the main claimant to the earldom of Ormond, Piers Butler to renounce all his claims to the titles in 1529 and was rewarded for his generosity by being created Earl of Ossory five days later. The same year, Boleyn was part of an envoy to a meeting of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII, to seek support for the annulment of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. In 1530 Boleyn was appointed Lord Privy Seal in 1530 and in 1532, his daughter Anne was granted a peerage, being created Marquess of Pembroke in her own right, before marrying Henry the following year and becoming queen consort. In 1536, when Anne was arrested for high treason and found guilty and executed, he was disgraced and stripped of most of his titles and he returned to Hever Castle where he died three years later at the age of 61 or 62. He was portrayed by actor Sir Michael Hordern in "Anne of the Thousand Days" (1969), by actor Benjamin Whitrow in "Henry VIII," and by actors Jack Shepherd and Mark Rylance in the 2003 and 2008 film versions of "The Other Boleyn Girl" respectively. In the 2007 Showtime series "The Tudors," his role was played by actor Nick Dunning.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12262
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Thomas Boleyn (c.1477–12 Mar 1539), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12262, citing St Peter Churchyard, Hever, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .