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Lunchtime Lecture: The Life and Career of Thomas Boleyn: Courtier, Ambassador and Patron

Past event archive
21 March 2019, 13:15

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

Tickets: £4 (£3 concessions and Gallery Supporters) Book online, or visit the Gallery in person.

Thomas Boleyn's coat of arms in Long Gallery, Hever Castle. Image courtesy of Dr Lauren Mackay

Immerse yourself in history, art and culture at our popular Lunchtime Lectures. Doors open at 12.45. Lectures begin at 13.15 and last approximately one hour.

Anne Boleyn’s father, Thomas, is widely derided as a callous, grasping courtier who would stop at nothing to advance his own interests. Thomas Boleyn is often the villain of the piece, but history – and historical fiction – has been not been fair to him. For almost three decades he served the Tudor kings, Henry VII and Henry VIII, rising to become one of Cardinal Wolsey’s most highly skilled ambassadors and right hand men. Intelligent, educated, and linguistically gifted, he was well respected in England and throughout the royal courts of Europe. Thomas was also a deeply intellectual and spiritual man, and a patron of some of the greatest minds of the age, including the renowned scholar Desiderius Erasmus. Dr Lauren Mackay offers a more nuanced portrait of Thomas Boleyn, moving beyond the myths and stereotypes which have overshadowed his life, to establish his place in Tudor history.

Lauren Mackay is an historian whose focus of study goes beyond familiar historical figures and events to lesser known individuals, as well as beliefs, customs, and diplomacy of the 16th Century. Her latest book, Among The Wolves of Court: the Untold Story of Thomas and George Boleyn, is based on her extensive PhD research, and introduces Anne Boleyn’s father and brother, often underplayed figures at Henry’s court, lifting the lid on their rise as highly skilled ambassadors and courtiers who negotiated their way through the complex and ruthless game of politics. Lauren is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine, and has lectured at numerous venues around the UK, including the Tower of London, Hever Castle, and the National Archives, Kew.