Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Summer 1522

  • Mary spends three months as a farm girl in Hever, which is more than enough time for her to craft a scarecrow, gather 300 units of wood, and meet a mysterious wizard.
  • Yet Mary is summoned away from her bucolic paradise by a letter from Anne, which invites her back to court.
  • Mary returns to court and discovers that the king requested her return.
  • When the king first sees Mary, he calls her "my love" (3.51).
  • That night, in their shared bedroom, Anne tells Mary she believes the king will send for her soon.
  • Anne says the trick is to not be a "slut" (3.97) or else the king will only have her once or twice then discard her.
  • "Anyone can attract a man," Anne says. "The trick is to keep him" (3.101).
  • Anne's prediction comes true more quickly than she expected. Henry summons Mary that night.
  • George, Mary's brother, comes to fetch her for the king.
  • Mary washes under her arms and all up in her bathing suit area to be fresh for his majesty.
  • The king is lounging in front of the fire, naked on a bearskin rug.
  • Okay, not really, but he is in a fur robe and probably nothing else, so close enough.
  • The king tells Mary he wants her, but first, he wants her to promise something: that she would love him even if he weren't king.
  • "If you were a nobody and I were a nobody I would love you" (3.155), Mary admits truthfully.
  • He lays her down, unties her bodice, yada yada yada, she is officially the king's mistress.
  • The king sends Mary back to her rooms in the morning, where George and Anne are thrilled the family plan is working out.
  • But that doesn't mean Mary can be a "lazy slut" (3.190), to borrow a phrase from the always gentle, diplomatic Anne Boleyn. Mary needs to be on at all times.
  • Mary has to walk an awkward line of being the king's mistress and the queen's lady in waiting, hanging out with the queen even though she's been schtupping her husband.
  • The winds of favor change, though, when England goes to war with France.
  • Spain is England's ally, thanks to Queen Katherine being the aunt of Charles V, emperor of Spain.
  • Back in the king's good graces, Katherine receives much more attention from the king, and Mary is green with envy.

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