Monday 2 May 2016

Anniversary of Anne Boleyn's arrest

On this day, 2nd May, in the year 1536 Anne Boleyn was arrested on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII. She must have known the writing was on the wall. Her nemesis, Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had died at the beginning of January, and Anne's position went from precarious to hopeless when she miscarried the child she was carrying on the very day of Catherine's funeral. With Catherine dead, and many believing that the marriage to Anne was a sham, Henry was free to marry another without any question-marks hanging over the new union.

At the time the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, remarked of Anne, "She has miscarried of her saviour".

 She must have known all of this at the time. She'd already seen evidence that Henry had his eye on her lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. A clever operator like Anne would have realised that she was fast falling out of favour and quickly becoming expendable.

Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn
Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn

They took her off to the Tower where she lived in the rooms prepared for her Coronation just three years earlier. Within two weeks she'd been tried and found guilty of adultery and high treason. On 19th May she was led out and executed.

Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle. They say she bore it all with dignity and good cheer, making a final speech that praised the King and gave little offence to anyone. Perhaps she was reconciled to her fate. But to my way of thinking she was being clever to the end, thinking of her daughter, Elizabeth, and not wanting to do anything in her final moments that might impact negatively on her child's future.

The Tower of London
The Tower of London

And what a legacy she left in the form of Elizabeth, arguably England's greatest monarch.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

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