Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Chapter 49

By Philippa Gregory

Chapter 49

May 1536

  • Mary learns from Madge Shelton about the scandalous trial.
  • As one of Anne's ladies in waiting, Madge had been questioned about the goings-on in Anne's bedroom. "Who was bedding who, who was promising what? Who was giving gifts?" (49.14).
  • Soon, Henry Norris, Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Mark Smeaton are found guilty of adultery with the queen.
  • This means that George is in grave danger. Mary wants to find a way to save him.
  • William advises against it. Defending George would put Mary's own life in danger.
  • William and Mary compromise, and Mary decides to go to her father and uncle for help.
  • Mary is furious with her father and uncle for not standing by Anne, who is being accused of doing everything they wanted her to do.
  • "Is she to die for being an obedient daughter?" (49.80), Mary asks.
  • Father and uncle deny having anything to do with Anne's behavior. Boy, these men have some severe memory issues.
  • The only good news to come out of this encounter is that the men believe Anne will not be executed. Her fate will be exile.
  • Anne and George are both soon found guilty.
  • George is beheaded with the other men, and Anne is forced to watch it all.
  • The next day, Anne is brought out to be beheaded.
  • As she did at the beginning of the book, which feels like many years ago, Mary believes Henry will step in at the last minute and pardon Anne.
  • Henry doesn't.
  • Anne is beheaded, and Mary is in shock.
  • With her husband and her three children—at least she gets all of them back—Mary leaves the court for her country home.
  • Henry moves quickly.
  • Before Anne's head has even rolled away from her body, Jane Seymour has her wedding clothes ready.
  • The queen is dead. Long live the queen. At least until the king has her killed, too. (Actually, historical spoiler alert: Jane dies on her own, before Henry can get tired of her.)
  • Mary believes that the Boleyn line is finished. In her mind, Elizabeth will "never sit on the throne." (49.161)
  • Boy, is she wrong.
  • The end.

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