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Jane Boleyn (nee Parker), the Viscountess of Rochford, often referred to as Lady Rochford, is one of the main characters of the Tudor Court series. She appears in The Other Boleyn Girl and is one of the main protagonists and narrators of The Boleyn Inheritance. She served as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard before she was executed for treason in 1542. She was unhappily married to George Boleyn and was not accepted by his family with the exception of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. In the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl, she is portrayed by Juno Temple.

The Other Boleyn Girl[]

Jane has a minor role in the novel. She is a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine, and is betrothed to George Boleyn, against his wishes, to forge an alliance with Jane's family. Jane is initially optimistic about her marriage and infatuated with George, but is is never so enthusiastic. He rarely sees Jane except to do his 'duty' as her husband, and even then, he finds their sexual encounters intimidating and void of passion. Jane, according to George, "chases me [George] round the bed like a bitch in heat" and also tried to arrange for another girl, or even a boy, to be brought in so she could watch. It is implied that Jane is aware of George's homosexuality, and also of his apparent sexual attraction towards his sister, Anne.

Jane becomes one of Anne's ladies-in-waiting, but her marriage quickly becomes a bitter and loveless one. Jane is often excluded by her husband and sisters-in-law, and she resents that George doesn't love her and prefers the company of his sisters or male friends. When Anne and George are arrested for incest and treason, Jane testifies against them. Jane claims in The Boleyn Inheritance that she did it on the advice of the Duke of Norfolk, and planned to have George confess as well, so that he would be spared. She also claimed to be trying to save Anne. however, it is heavily implied that her true motives were out of spite and hatred; Jane resented George for not returning her affections and was jealous of his close relationship with Anne, so she testified against them to get revenge, and to save herself from the accusation of treason. Jane's testimony directly contributed to George and Anne's executions.


Jane also desired to preserve her inheritance from George, though this proved to be fruitless. Although she retained the title of Viscountess of Rochford, her lands and fortune were taken from her by the crown; some were later inherited by Jane's sister-in-law Mary. Jane was sent to live with her brother and sister-in-law, feeling lonely and despondent over her reduced station in life and the loss of Anne and George.

The Boleyn Inheritance[]

The Boleyn Inheritance begins three years after the events in The Other Boleyn Girl; Jane is living humbly off her brother’s charity 120 miles away from London. In her loneliness, she thinks fondly about Anne and George Boleyn but also she pines for life at court, hoping that one day she will return. She is eventually summoned back to court when Anne of Cleves is brought to England to be the new queen. Jane is gratefully for the opportunity given to her by the duke of Norfolk and intends to work with him again at court; being his spy in the new queen’s chambers. She arrives at court and is greeted cautiously by the other ladies-in-waiting including Catherine Carey and Katherine Howard . When Queen Anne does arrive in England, Jane makes an effort to befriend and help her.

However, when it becomes clear that King Henry VIII does not like his new wife, the Duke orders Jane to spy on Anne, hoping to entrap her. Jane reluctantly goes along with the plan and also gives evidence against Anne. She is relieved when Henry merely decides to divorce Anne for pre-contract, rather than execute her as a witch, and urges Anne to accept his terms. She pushes her kinswoman Katherine to become the king's new wife; she is appointed as the head of Katherine's household and does her best to advise and guide the girl in her royal duties. Jane also hopes to make a good match herself, now that she is high in the king's favour again. When Katherine begins to despair over her situation with Henry, who is all but impotent, Jane hatches a risky plan with the Duke's approval, to get Katherine pregnant by another man and so secure their position at court. Jane arranges secret meetings between Katherine and the handsome Thomas Culpeper, who is besotted with her.

Unfortunately, the secret eventually gets out. Jane is accused of treason along with Katherine due to her knowing of the affair. The Duke reveals he merely used Jane;; he never intended to get a new husband and will let her take the fall for everything. He says that no man would have Jane anyway, because of the terrible things she did to her first husband and sister-in-law, purely out of spite. Jane attempts to worm her way out of trouble a second time, testifying against Katherine whilst trying to downplay her own involvement, but she is ultimately found guilty and imprisoned. To escape execution, Jane pretends to be insane, as the law states that people deemed mad cannot be executed. However, it has become clear by this point in the novel that Jane really is beginning to lose her grip on sanity. Her act does little to save her, as the king changes the law so that even mad traitors can be executed. Jane is in denial over this right to the last moment. She witnesses Katherine's execution, before she herself is lead out to be beheaded. Jane panics as she is dragged to the scaffold. She pleads with the crowds, who merely laugh and jeer at her. Jane breaks down and sobs that all she is guilty of is loving her husband too much. She is forced to her knees and held down - her final chapter ends moments before she is beheaded, her hands covered with Katherine's blood.

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)[]

Jane is similar to her portrayal in the books, but has a smaller role and is also somewhat more sympathetic. In the film, Jane catches George and Anne in bed together and, devastated, goes to the king (although she does not see her husband and sister-in-law ultimately deciding against committing incest).


Philippa Gregory describes Jane as not being "wholly sane", which is an apt description of her. Jane is delusional, ambitious and can be spiteful and vindictive, rivaling even Anne in that aspect. Jane becomes jealous easily and has a very unhealthy and obsessive fixation on her husband George, even after his death. It is implied that one of the reasons Jane testified against him, accusing him of incest with his own sister, is because she despised the way he never showed her any affection and the way he and his sister excluded her. Despite this, Jane convinces herself she was trying to save him and that everything she did was for love of him. Jane is also something of a voyeur, frequently spying on others, eavesdropping on conversations and appearing to delight in scandalous rumors and gossip. George and his sisters even catch her listening to them through the keyhole of their door on one occasion; she also watches Katherine Howard and Thomas Culpeper making love and imagines it is George with his mistress. Jane has a certain low cunning and is reasonably skilled at organizing things, such as Katherine and Thomas' secret meetings. Jane thinks of her own survival first and foremost, even willing to sacrifice or testify against her own husband and kin to save herself and preserve her 'rightful' inheritance. All of these personality traits make her an unlikable person and she has few friends at court; after the incident with her husband and sister-in-law, some people openly shunned or avoided her. Thomas Howard even calls her "evil". It is implied that Jane, deep down, knows that what she has done is terrible and feels remorse for it, but makes up excuses or puts the blame on others to escape the guilt. She also does feel awful about betraying Anne of Cleves, even stating at one point that she cannot testify against yet another innocent queen, but does so anyway to further the advancement of her family.


Historical Figure[]



Anne Boleyn: "Look, she has her eye on you. Sweet Jane Parker would be a match to please our father

George Boleyn: Ugh, vile girl, she's the most ambitious little serpant in court. "