Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Chapter 47

By Philippa Gregory

Chapter 47

Winter 1536

  • Katherine of Aragon is dead.
  • Anne, who would spit on the woman's grave if she could, is happy.
  • Henry is happy, too, as if he had never loved Katherine, ever.
  • Mary's uncle pulls her aside after the news is delivered. He tells her she is to stay at court for the death party.
  • William tells Mary's uncle that Mary is free to do as she pleases.
  • Mary agrees to stay, but she refuses to dance and insult the dead queen's memory.
  • Anne summons Mary later and tells her she is confident she is with child.
  • "I went on a journey to the very gates of hell to get him" (47.67), Anne tells Mary.
  • Mary does not want to know the details.
  • Anne orders Mary to run and tell George, her brother.
  • Mary thinks that's weird.
  • "I meant the king" (47.78), Anne corrects herself. That's a weird slip, like calling out your mom's name during a hot makeout session.
  • Mary runs to fetch the king and take him to Anne's room.
  • Outside the room, Mary tells George that Anne is with child.
  • A weird look crosses George's face. It's so weird that no emoji can approximate it. It's so weird that Mary wonders if George is the father of Anne's baby.
  • While Anne is with child, she is constantly attended to by George, as if he is her "devoted husband" (47.107).
  • Anne is also attended to by Mary's daughter, Catherine, who is shaping up to be a good lady in waiting.
  • Mary, though, doesn't want her daughter to be waiting to be auctioned off as a bride. She wants her to have a life of her own.
  • Anne receives a surprise visit from her uncle. He informs her that Henry has fallen from his horse. He is gravely hurt and may die.
  • Anne feels like the Vice President of the U.S. about to become president. She must prepare to take control of England if the king is, in fact, dead.
  • Henry, injured, is carried in to a private room.
  • Mary goes to check on Henry. He isn't dead, but he is delirious.
  • Henry asks for Katherine, thinking he is still married to her.
  • Henry recovers, but his fear of death and desire for a male heir is stronger than ever.
  • Henry tells Anne, "You had better have a son in there, madam" (47.251). The unspoken phrase: or else. We're surprised he doesn't mime a guillotine falling.
  • Oh, wait, they don't have guillotines yet.
  • Henry soon turns his attention away from Anne and begins flirting with the virginal, sweet Jane Seymour.
  • Even Mary is fed up with the flirtatious behavior from a countless succession of women in the court.
  • Mary tells Jane, "If you go on flirting with the king with those sickly little smiles, one of us Boleyn girls is going to scratch your eyes out" (47.315). We imagine she went back to her room to sharpen her nails.
  • Anne orders Henry to kick plain Jane out of court.
  • But Henry orders Anne to keep Jane as a lady of waiting. King trumps Queen in cards—and in the royal court.
  • Anne fights publicly with Henry, and the family worries that Anne can't recover from this. She might forever be on his bad side.
  • The only thing that could save Anne is the child she holds.
  • At a dance that night, Anne begins to bleed, and everyone sees it. All hope may be lost, along with the baby.
  • In Anne's room, everyone tries to save the baby.
  • Not only is the baby stillborn, it's also a "monster" (47.395), according to the midwife.
  • Mary describes the baby as "horridly malformed, with a spine flayed open and a huge head, twice as large as the spindly little body" (47.395). It's like Anne gave birth to a stegosaurus.
  • The midwife rushes to tell the king that Anne gave birth to a devil child.
  • Mary attempts to buy the midwife's silence, but no price will keep her mouth shut.
  • Rumors quickly spread about Anne's demon baby.
  • The king does nothing to silence the rumors. He is too busy going on walks with Jane Seymour, who is so angelic she repels demons even when she sneezes.
  • Henry takes the court with him and leaves without bidding Anne goodbye.
  • Remember when that happened to Katherine? It was the beginning of the end for her, and she didn't even have any devil babies.
  • Jane Seymour is clearly the favorite. Secretary Cromwell gives up his rooms at Greenwich so that Mistress Seymour may stay there.
  • Anne is no longer in anyone's favor.
  • Anne follows to Greenwich when she recovers from her miscarriage.
  • But Henry does not want to see Anne, no matter what role she has assumed.
  • Not even Anne's own mother will associate with her.
  • Mary realizes it's just she, George, and Anne on their own.
  • The king throws a winter fair with ice-skating.
  • Anne is graceful on her skates, an ice princess, while Jane Seymour is more like Bambi, sprawling over the place.
  • It's not enough to get Henry's attention, and Mary makes the obvious metaphor that they are "on thin ice" (47.634).

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