The lecture starts at 18:00 GMT and 20% of our profits will go to local Kent charity, Hospice in the Weald.
Mary Boleyn has gone down in history as the “great and infamous whore”. She was the mistress of two kings, Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England, and sister to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife.
But in her book, Alison Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds Mary Boleyn by carrying out extensive, forensic research to facilitate a new portrayal.
‘Forced to be mistress’
She has concluded that the paternity of Mary’s two children can now be established, thanks to new and overlooked evidence and one was almost certainly fathered by Henry VIII.
Her research has also focused on the relationship between the two sisters, showing how Mary, as the elder of the Boleyn sisters, was soon overshadowed by the more accomplished Anne, and how Mary was more beautiful than Anne, although there is no authentic portrait.
Alison has discovered that contrary to popular belief, Mary did not gain a notorious reputation at the French court, and she probably spent ten years of her life living abroad. But at some stage in her life, Henry VIII forced Mary to become his mistress. However, there is evidence to suggest when their affair began.
Her astonishing and riveting book argues that Mary was entirely undeserving of her reputation as a great and infamous whore, or the calumny that was later heaped upon her, and also shows that Mary’s story had a happy ending and that she was by far the luckiest of the Boleyns.
Hear Alison talk about her research by joining us at Hever this autumn. See our booking information for ticket details.