Editor’s Note: I am very excited to announce that between now and May 19th, the anniversary of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution, Sandra Vasoli, author of Struck with the Dart of Love: Je Anne Boleyn Book One; Truth Endures: Je Anne Boleyn Book Two; and Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower, will be visiting Queenanneboleyn.com to share excerpts of her fiction detailing Queen Anne Boleyn’s final days. Sandy will also share her expertise of Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne while they were courting, letters she was privileged to lay eyes on firsthand at the Vatican Library.
As many of you know, Alison Weir will also be visiting Queenanneboleyn.com on May 19th, and we will also be reviewing her novel, Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession. Both Sandy and Alison hold thought-provoking views of Queen Anne Boleyn’s and King Henry VIII’s relationship, as well as just how and why things went so tragically wrong. It is truly an honor to highlight their astute observations that though differing, still are quite intriguing to consider.
May Day and Beyond, 1536
An Excerpt From Truth Endures: Je Anne Boleyn Book Two
On May 1st, 1536, Anne Boleyn became fully aware that something was terribly wrong. Her feelings of misgiving in recent days now came full circle, as her husband the King suddenly departed from a joust which they both attended. Anne never saw him again.
The events of days which followed were shocking and so tragic that they continue to haunt us, 481 years later.
In the coming two weeks I will post excerpts from my novel Truth Endures, describing how Anne might have experienced those frightening events. Here is the first:
…My moods veered wildly from fear and despair to hope that my marriage with Henry might still be saved and, in fact, revived. Then I learned that a visit to Calais was in the offing, and that I was to go with Henry. Delighted, and indeed surprised, I suddenly felt I could breathe freely again and immediately began to prepare for what I hoped would be this chance to fully renew our broken relationship. Surely this was a very positive indication that he was willing to consider renewing his faith in me: in us. After all, we had always been at our closest during our travels. Undoubtedly this diversion was just what we desperately required.
Feeling jubilant for a change, I looked forward to May Day; always a lighthearted celebration. Better still, the very next morning, the 2nd of May, Henry and I and our company of travellers were scheduled to depart for Rochester on the first leg of our journey to Calais.
This year the May Day revels were to be marked by a jousting tourney. I took my place in the berfrois with the ladies to watch the competition from the seats closest to the riders and near to the King and his men.
Henry, thankfully, was not competing in this event, and because I did not have to watch and worry about his safety, I felt a greater sense of calm than I had in some days. We cheered and waved to the crowd and competitors, and I was enjoying myself, so I did not take notice immediately when a messenger arrived to speak privately in the King’s ear. Maggie, sitting next to me, nudged my arm however, and I looked up in time to see Henry and several of his courtiers stand and hurriedly abandon their seats. I caught only a glimpse of Henry’s expression – it was not reassuring: set hard with displeasure.
They disappeared from view while the rest of the court present were left whispering and wondering what had occurred to cause the King to leave in such haste. Maggie and I exchanged glances of concern: Henry had not looked my way; he had not passed me a message explaining his departure – I had no idea where he had gone and was bewildered. Something did not feel right.
Mind in a whirl I stayed for the remainder of the tournament, yet comprehended little of its outcomes. But how could I? As each moment passed my instincts screamed ever louder that something was terribly amiss. The evening was spent in my chambers, alone. I had no appetite, ate little, and slept even less.
Henry did not make a return appearance during the following day’s tennis matches. I had planned to attend, and so I did: sitting in the stands with several ladies, pretending – but not really knowing – who played or who won. At its conclusion, as I left my seat, I was met by a royal messenger. He very stiffly told me that I was to present myself to the Privy Council of the King, by the King’s orders, immediately.
My heart pounded and a cold sweat broke out on my forehead. I was accompanied by a guard to the council chamber. Upon entering I saw three men -the Duke of Norfolk -the brother of my beloved mother, Sir William FitzWilliam, and Sir William Paulet – awaiting me, their countenances most solemn.
I felt the bile rise in my throat but summoned all my courage, took a deep breath, and greeted coldly, “Good day, gentlemen. Please explain what purpose have you to summon me in such a way?”
Their response was beyond anything even a madwoman could have anticipated.
Norfolk – my own uncle – replied, “Madame, we are here to inform you that you are charged with evil behavior. You are accused of having intimate relations with several men, including the musician Mark Smeaton and the Groom of the Stool, Sir Henry Norreys … What say you to these charges?”…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandra Vasoli is a historical fiction writer from Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, USA. A graduate with a dual degree in English and Biology from Villanova University, Sandy enjoyed a long term career in leadership and organization development before turning her attention to her passions of writing and Tudor Era history. Sandy has written all her life: essays, stories, and articles, but Je Anne Boleyn: Struck with the Dart of Love is her first work of published fiction. Volume Two of the Je Anne Boleyn series soon followed. Sandy’s career, working for several of the largest companies in the world, allowed her the study of people, especially those in leadership positions. Thus, she is keenly interested in the bold and insightful qualities possessed by Anne Boleyn. For more information, visit her website at SANDRA VASOLI.