Heirs of Ambition: The Making of the Boleyns
The aristocratic daughter of earls and dukes; the polished, intelligent courtesan and the spurned wife, persecuted by enemies and condemned by her husband. Anne Boleyn was all of these things. Her maternal lineage, extensive education and courtly charm are undisputed, but behind her name lay a not-so-secret truth. Her great-grandfather, Geoffrey Boleyn, was a London merchant, whose successful career had made the family astonishingly rich. While mercantile wealth was never far from the royal court a short ascent into the older branches of the Boleyn family tree revealed forebears even further removed from the glitter and gold of aristocracy. Geoffrey’s ancestors were little more than Norfolk farmers and cloth workers. With at least seven generations between the plough and the palace, Anne left this heritage far behind but it was never forgotten. This was a world where family mattered and where enemies and rivals could have long memories. Medieval England is often portrayed as a land polarised by wealth and status. In this England, a peasant could never dream of changing his class and a descendant of his could never sit upon the throne. Except, he could. This is the story of the Boleyn family, who did just that, and the age which made it possible.