Study Guide

The Other Boleyn Girl Chapter 5

By Philippa Gregory

Chapter 5

Spring 1523

  • The queen is with child. The kingdom rejoices.
  • And by "kingdom," we mean everyone but Mary and the Boleyn family.
  • Henry hasn't sent for his mistress Mary ever since the happy news.
  • Mary is heartbroken, and she considers fleeing to Hever to live as a farmer spinster for the rest of her days.
  • The heartbreak doesn't last long, because it turns out the queen isn't with child—she's going through menopause.
  • The Boleyns want to jump on this opportunity faster than Sally Field in a Boniva commercial. They send Anne to tell the king. She can bear the bad news, and he can turn to Mary for, um, comfort.
  • Anne discreetly tells Henry about Katherine, but in a fit of anger, he calls out Katherine in front of the entire court.
  • Mortified, Katherine retreats alone to her chambers.
  • Mary is conflicted. She wants to be with Henry, but she likes the queen and is upset to see her humiliated publicly.
  • But there is no time for conflict. Anne instructs Mary to wash herself for when Henry summons her.
  • Henry calls for Mary the next night.
  • Soon, the entire court knows Mary as Henry's official mistress. Does it come with a membership card?
  • Even better: remember that half-finished ship? It's finished, and Henry has christened it the Mary Boleyn. Even JFK never got Marilyn Monroe a ship.
  • After the ship is christened, Henry tells Mary, "I wish you were queen for all the days" (5.149).
  • Mary is excited, but the family is not. It means nothing. It's not like Henry can just divorce the queen. Meanwhile, Anne has her own plans.
  • Anne's eyes aren't on the king. They're on another Henry: Henry Percy.
  • Anne's sick of Mary getting all the family's favor, and she wants secure a profitable marriage for herself.
  • Anne cranks her flirt game up to 11, and Percy eventually proposes.
  • George warns Anne that this could be a bad idea. What if Percy's family disowns him for marrying a common trollop like Anne?
  • Anne believes their love will triumph over any adversity.
  • Anne and Percy are wed in a private ceremony, and Anne wastes no time consummating the marriage.
  • "Not even the Percy family will be able to wriggle out of it when Henry and I tell them that we are wedded and bedded" (5.339). If hashtags existed in the 16th century, #weddedandbedded would be trending.

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