Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore'

Author(s): Alison Weir


In this astonishing and riveting book, Alison Weir shows that Mary's story had a happy ending and that she was by far the luckiest of the Boleyns.

Mary Boleyn has gone down in history as a 'great and infamous whore'. She was the mistress of two kings, Francois I of France and Henry VIII of England, and sister to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife. She may secretly have borne Henry a child. It was because of his adultery with Mary that his marriage to Anne was annulled. 

It is not hard to see how this tangled web of relationships has given rise to rumours and myths that have been embroidered over the centuries. In this, the first full-scale biography of Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds her subject and uncovers the facts about one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age. Her extensive, forensic research has facilitated a new and detailed portrayal, in which she recounts that, contrary to popular belief, Mary was entirely undeserving of her posthumous notoriety as a great whore or the 'hackney' whom the King of France famously boasted of riding. Weir also presents compelling new evidence that almost conclusively determines the paternity of Mary's two oldest children. Mary's siblings were the tragic victims of a daring plot to destroy them, but, unlike them, she had not tempted fate too far. There was not in her the stuff of tragedy.


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Alison Weir was born in London and now resides in Surrey. Before becoming a published author in 1989, she was a civil servant, then a housewife and mother. From 1991 to 1997, whilst researching and writing books, she ran a school for children with learning difficulties before taking up writing full-time. Her books include The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Lancaster and York, Children of England , Elizabeth the Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine , Mary, Queen of Scots, Henry VIII: King and Court, Isabella, Katherine Swynford and, most recently, Lady in the Tower.

General Fields

  • : 9780224093903
  • : Vintage
  • : The Bodley Head Ltd
  • : June 2011
  • : United Kingdom
  • : May 2011
  • : May 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alison Weir
  • : 942.052092
  • : 2011
  • : Hardback