Anne Boleyn: Queen of England and a Fashion Icon

August 19, 2013 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

Anne Boleyn is a legendary figure in England’s history and also one of the most controversial.  Her life and her death are symbols of inspiration, discussion, and admiration.

Many elements of her life have been explored; by historians and people interested in the life of those who built the pillars of the world we enjoy today.   But Anne Boleyn was more than the Queen Consort of King Henry VIII, More than the Mother of The greatest Monarch that England ever had, Elizabeth I; more than the victim of a tyrant; she was also an icon of her days; in fashion, glamour, style and strong temper.    Nicolas Sanders; author of many myths about Anne Boleyn was only true in his words when he said that: “She was unrivalled in the gracefulness of her attire, and the fertility of her invention in devising new patterns, which were imitated by all the court belles, by whom she was regarded as the glass of fashion” .

Anne Boleyn was a woman with a very special sense of style; based in an immaculate point of view.  This only gave more life to her unique place among the ladies of her days, because Anne Boleyn was not the usual type of English girl of the 1500’s.  Anne’s skin was tanned, sometimes described as olive toned; deep and beautiful black eyes, of middle stature, elegant long neck and a slim body figure.  Compared with the pale, blond and blue eyed girls of court, Anne was indeed the center of attention in those days; even when she was not the perfect beauty, she used her charmed and exotic beauty to capture the King and change History.

During her time before become Queen of England; Anne Boleyn was admired for her style of fashion; always different, her designs were always spectacular; clean and with a great taste; centered in the glamour of the French Fashion.  Anne Boleyn’s favorite color was green, and her favorite jewel, were pearls; she made sure to always have those two favorites in her designs.

Anne Boleyn was sent to France in 1515 and there she was observing how the fashion developed. When she returned from France in 1521/1522 she was considered to be more like a Frenchwoman than an Englishwoman. Anne was fond of French fashion and she manifested it almost all the time.  She favored French hoods rather than heavy and unflattering English gable hoods.  For Anne, elegance and beauty were the most important elements in her attire.

Before Anne Boleyn became Queen of England, she was Henry VIII’s fiancée and he often showered her with magnificent gifts. From gowns, tapestries, furniture and jewels; the King treated Anne as she was already his consort.  Henry’s Privy Purse accounts have survived for the years 1529-32 and they reveal what Henry was buying for Anne. Professor Eric Ives writes that “much of the expenditure went on clothes”.

 These are only some of the expenses from king’s Privy Purse:

 December 1530: ‘In the same day paid to Adington the skynner for furs & furrying of

My Lady Anne gownes”

May 1531: ‘Crimson clothe of gold for my Lady Anne Rocheford’

June 1532: ‘twelve yards of black satin for a night gowne for my Lady Anne’

Anne Boleyn and Henry enjoyed hunting and this activity required a special costume and accessories. Henry presented Anne with hunting gloves, dresses and her own set of arrows. Of course, The King also gave Anne fine horses as well.

In September 1532 Anne Boleyn was made Marquis of Pembroke in her own right and of her offspring. This was a magnificent ceremony and an occasion for Anne to shine even more than she already used to: This is an account of how beautiful Anne looked that day: There, her hair about her shoulders and her ermine-trimmed crimson velvet hardly visible under the jewels” (Eric Ives, “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”,)

In 1532 Henry VIII purchased a beautiful black satin nightgown for Anne. Back then nightgowns had the role of modern day dressing gown and it was a common practice to receive guests that way.

Anne Boleyn charmed Henry VIII not only with her exotic beauty, but also with her elegance, and she proved to him that she was able to shine in his court more than a crown on rubies.  She was admired by the ladies at court; imitated and followed in her style of fashion.  Even before she was formally Queen of England, Anne Boleyn already looked like one.

On her coronation day in June 1533 Anne Boleyn looked very beautiful; this is an account of what she was wearing that day:

“going under a rich canopy of cloth of gold, dressed in a kirtle of crimson velvet decorated with ermine, and a robe of purple velvet decorated with ermine over that, and a rich coronet with a cap of pearls and stones on her head; and the old duchess of Norfolk carrying her train in a robe of scarlet with a coronet of gold on her cap, and Lord Burgh, the queen’s Chamberlain, supporting the train in the middle.”

 Anne Boleyn passed her love for fashion and elegant style to her household.  All her ladies in waiting were dressed in the French fashion with no exceptions; the strict designs of her gowns represented her status as queen.  Delicate dresses, sometimes adorned with pearls were used by her ladies.  Only Anne’s mother, the countess of Wiltshire was the only member of Queen’s  that used the English Fashion style on a daily basis; this was understandable since she was raised at the English court since she was five years old, and her French influence was limited; but for formal occasions; she followed the dress code of her daughter.

Although many documents from Anne’s time as Queen were destroyed, luckily there is an account of Anne Boleyn’s expenditure for clothes in period from January to April 1536:

“This tells of Anne buying gowns in tawny velvet with black lambs’ fur, in velvet without fur, in damask, and in satin furred with miniver; a russet gown in caffa (heavy silk), two in black velvet, one in black damask, one in white satin and a second with crimson sleeves; a gown in purple cloth of gold lined with silver, and new carnation satin from Bruges to insert into the sleeves of a gown of tissue. There were eight nightgowns, two embroidered and another in russet trimmed with miniver; and three cloaks – of black Bruges satin, of embroidered tawny satin and of black cloth lined with black sarcenet – while Arnold the shoemaker had eight lots of black velvet to make shoes and slippers. Thirteen kirtles included white satin and white damask, black velvet embroidered and crimson satin ‘printed’, with matching sleeves.”

 In Henry VIII’s inventory there were at least two pairs of sleeves for women (very important part of the gown) identified as belonging to Anne:

one of white satin embroidered over with purled gold acorns and honeysuckles tied with ten pairs of aiguillettes of gold’ and the other ‘of cloth of gold embroidered with a great trail of purled gold with honeysuckles tied with ten pairs of aiguillettes of gold’.

 Queen Anne was a woman who was totally in love with jewels; and she used them in her wardrobe too.  Here is an account of how the Queen mixed her passion for fashion with her love for jewels:

“Such as the nineteen diamonds set in trueloves of gold which Hayes supplied in January 1532, along with twenty-one rubies and twenty-one diamonds set in gold roses and hearts.   

Anne cared not only for her own fashionable look, but she also supplied her almost three year daughter Elizabeth with elaborate gowns. Professor Eric Ives described how in three months period Anne supplied her daughter with:

“a gown of orange velvet, kirtles of russet velvet, of yellow satin, of white damask and of green satin, embroidered purple satin sleeves, a black muffler, white ribbon, Venice ribbon, a russet damask bedspread, a taffeta cap covered with a caul of gold”.

Anne, apparently, was especially fussy about her daughter’s caps; one made of purple satin required at least three journeys to Greenwich to get it right”

 Anne Boleyn had an exquisite taste for jewels; she shared that taste with her husband, who gave Anne many gifts. Many were symbolic pieces of jewels that formed an important part of the rituals of Courtly Love.  In the year to May 1532 Cornelius Hayes’ bill included three dozen items of jewelry for ‘Mistress Anne’, costing almost 100 pounds. The largest item is a girdle of crown gold billed at £18 10s.4d.  It is believed that Henry VIII spent a huge fortune with Anne in jewels than he did with any other of his wives; only Katherine Howard is a little closer to Anne on that range of jewelry spending.

But in 1536; the life of Anne Boleyn changed for the worst; a miscarriage of a male child; the presence of Jane Seymour and the increment of enemies guided Anne to an undeserved and cruel death. She was lost, she was devastated, but she never lost her dignity or her pride, and less her desire to shine as she used to when she was free and ruled England alongside King Henry VIII.

Anne Boleyn certainly knew the rule ‘dress to impress’. Fashion was a part of demonstration of power and wealth. Anne knew that perfectly well. When on 2 May 1536 three men came to tell Anne that she was accused of adultery, she was allowed to return to her chambers for lunch. But the first thing she did after returning to her rooms was to get changed into a new dress. She was probably aware that she will be arrested and she wanted to look every inch a Queen. She chose a splendid gown of crimson velvet with a cloth of gold kirtle. 

On her trial Anne Boleyn wore “a gown of black velvet over a petticoat of scarlet damask and a small cap sporting a black-and-white feather”

 

Anne Boleyn wanted to show her enemies that she was as strong as she always was; that she was a Queen in right and virtue’ and that she had nothing to fear; her elegance, her exquisite style accompanied her to that stressful moment; giving the message that she was still, even in the darkest hour; the Queen of England.

 Even in the last day of her life; Anne Boleyn decided to leave this world shining like the Queen she was.  She woke up before the sun appeared in the sky; she said her morning prayers; and according to the ladies that attended her; she looked so calmed and composed; that sometimes it felt unreal.  She was reconciled with her fate; but she was determined to carry her pride with her towards the end.

 When she walked out the Tower of London; she looked immaculate in her black damask gown lined with fur, mantle trimmed with ermine and English gable hood. She wore also a crimson kirtle.

Every part of Anne’s gown had its meaning:   Although through her life Anne favored French hoods, on 19th of May she wore English gable hood; on the last day of her earthly life she wanted to accent that after all she was wholly English, and the Queen till the end.

Ermine fur was reserved for the Royal family: Anne emphasized the fact that she was dying every inch a Queen; Crimson kirtle probably had a meaning as well crimson was associated with Christian martyrs and thus Anne used it to emphasize her innocence. Years later Mary Queen of Scots will do exactly the same thing by wearing a scarlet bodice and petticoat on the day of her execution.

Anne Boleyn was a fashion icon until the end of her days; and she will always be remembered for that aspect of her life.   Although there is no surviving portrait of Anne by Holbein we know that Henry VIII designed for Anne a pendant with ‘a central stone and the initials ‘H’ and ‘A’ intertwined’ He also designed a shield with the same cipher.

After Anne’s death in 1536, a wooden desk containing pieces of Anne’s jewelry was inventoried. The items included a diamond ring with the ‘HA’ cipher, another diamond ring with the cipher and the text (in Latin), ‘O Lord make haste to help me,’  Among other items of Anne’s jewelry inventoried was a brooch with ‘RA’- standing for ‘Regina Anna’ – in diamonds and other items with ‘HA’.

Historians have many theories of what happened to the rest of Anne’s jewelry.  One traditional painting has Anne wearing three strands of pearls across the bodice, a necklace of rubies and pearls, a choker and matching pendant and a brooch made up of the letters ‘AB’ in gold with a drop pearl. Eric Ives believes that the pearls are so similar to those worn in the earliest portraits of Elizabeth as to suggest that her daughter may have been allowed some of her mother’s jewelry.

There are other theories as to what actually happened to Anne’s famous necklace with the gold B. Some people believe that it went back to the Crown after her downfall and was broken down and reset for Jane Seymour. Others even believe that some of the pearls are in the crown of Elizabeth II!  Unfortunately, of Anne’s personal jewelry, none has survived to be identified.

But there is an account of events that has raised many theories and speculations. It is based on the facts that King Henry VIII repurchased items that belonged to Anne after her execution.  For example;  Henry repurchased from Thomas Trappers a gold bowl ‘having Queen Anne’s sapphire upon the top of the cover’ and his post-mortem inventories included a dust bowl of gold (for blotting ink) with a crown on the lid and ‘H’ and ‘A’ in. Eric Ives goes on to describe how Henry also kept a tablet of gold bearing the monogram ‘HA’ set with small emeralds, pearls and one diamond.  In the words of Eric Ives, ‘it suggests vividly what has been lost’ and for me raises the question of why did Henry repurchase some of Anne’s items?

This question has been discussed among historians; some of them believe that Henry VIII wanted to keep some of the good memories of his years of love with Anne; others, simply say that he was living with an intense feeling of guilt; knowing that he murdered an innocent woman only for his desire of a male heir.  Some people laugh at this theory, considering that Henry VIII was a man that saw no impediment in removing people from his path when his desires were not accomplished; but; we must remember that Anne and Henry, no matter the hidden purposes in the beginning; lived an intense love, a passion like no other known at that time; those memories for sure never abandoned the mind of Henry.

The feeling that he was trying to keep memories of Anne are stronger when you see the fact that Henry kept those items intact; he did not send them to be changed, melted or broke them to assemble another; he kept them as when he gave them to Anne.  Did Anne still have a place in the King’s heart after all that had happened between them? Or was it that he simply liked those pieces?  I guess we will never know; but what we will always know is that Anne Boleyn was a woman who left a mark in the history of fashion… a mark what will never be forgotten and always be admired.

Sources:

http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/2011/03/18/anne-boleyn%E2%80%99s-jewellery/

http://www.anne-boleyn.com/eng/?p=127

http://theanneboleyn.tumblr.com/

http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/2010/09/04/anne-boleyns-famous-pearl-necklace/

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, 2004.   Eric Ives

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII.    David Stark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underneath

June 6, 2013 in Historical Fact, Historical Fiction, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

Underneath

 

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Why? I keep asking the heavens why; I was able to bring Elizabeth to this world, safe and sound; and now, in this second chance I lost my baby… and I can not understand the reason.  I was feeling well, all was perfect.  Or wasn’t it?

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Suddenly all has changed since the blood stained the so much wanting arrival of my now dead prince.  Nothing is like it used to be a few weeks ago, when I still had the baby inside of me.  My father does not speak to me; my brother avoids me, my mother only has words of fear for me and Henry… Henry is so cold; and when I look around, I see the glances of the ladies at court towards him.  They smell my weakness, they feel this is the moment to approach and see if they can achieve what I did a long time ago.

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I know Henry… I can see underneath his skin; his passion for me is dying; he wanted a son and I failed, twice.  I reached for him last night and he rejected me, for the first time since we are together, he rejected my kisses, my caresses, my passion; that passion that made him move the world to be with me.

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How I will face this?  How I will endure this?  Perhaps this is the punishment for my actions.  When I think about this… I can see the eyes of Catherine of Aragon haunting me with tearful eyes… the tears she always hid in front of me.  I can see the eyes of my still living enemies invading my dreams; telling me that God is punishing me for my actions against Rome and the Catholic Faithful.

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I am back at court… everyone smiles to me, but they can see underneath my shining appearance; they can see that I am sad and displeased with life around me.  And Henry… he is looking around for solutions… for ways to be away from me, for entertainment.  I need his comfort, his love, and he is avoiding me, hunting around my ladies in waiting…and I am here, sitting in this throne as a silent witness; just like the former Queen did before me; God is making me feel what she felt, when I was the desired prospect of lover and she was the abandoned Wife.

I was so selfish during those days… I did not care for her pain, I was the most happy, that was the only thing important for me.  I had his love and total attention, he was mine and I had no doubts… now… now I can see everything in clear state.  Henry’s love is determined by his own desires and happiness; he chose me because he needed a younger and healthier wife to produce a son; he loved my passion, but not my soul.  If he really loves me, he would not be acting like this.  I am wounded and he does not care; he walks away and he does not say a word; he pushes me away. He yells at me and treats me like if I were not his wife and Queen.  If I am not blessed with a son soon… this will be the end.

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The night is young; he is dancing… all my ladies around, dying for his attentions; my mind is calling his name loudly; suddenly he looks up; finally I have his attention, I stand up and show him that I am still his Anne, that I am still young enough to please him as I did before; that I am still beautiful enough to make him go mad with desire; that I am still healthy enough to give him a son; and that my love for him is alive and even stronger than before.   I am making him look underneath my sadness; he must see the truth of my love, the strength of my desires.  I can not give up like Catherine did; I need to fight against the wolves and crows that are waiting for my fall.  I have no real friends here… enemies grow by the minute… and those who are loyal to me feel the wrath of the King more than my own; that means that I will fight this battle alone; I am determined to win; I will give the King a son… even if that is the last thing I do.

The Eve

May 20, 2013 in Historical Fiction, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

 

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Nightfall; sounds of the modern times, mixed with the endless sweetness of nature’s nocturnal voice.  This is the eve… the eve of a date that will live eternally on my mind.  And here I am again, wandering as I do every single night, like I have been doing since that day… four hundred and seventy seven years ago; when a sword finished me… but then turned me in to a legend.  Sometimes I am tempted to walk in to the light; but then… I look around and, I simply can not leave; my blood is here, my memories are here; we are part of a history that will not be repeated; this realm is old but is not like it used to be; even when things are done almost in the same way.  I am part of this place… I am still part of this world, and I will stay.  Here I walk now again, like I did centuries ago, towards a monument in honor of my death… and in the death of many who died in the name of the King, and in the name… of other Kings.  Here I will stay, bound to my grief… until time and earth finally fall in to an eternal dream.

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King Henry the VIIII feel myself descending softly like a crisp autumn leaf upon this spot. Knowing where I am and why I am here. Called here to perform this task. Not to relive the event, but to recall it, as though it had ever left my mind…for you see though the body withers, the mind, that elusive intangible apparatus lives on…The structures surrounding this place look different. Strange. The scaffold that once stood here and served it’s task long rotted and gone. Replaced by a stone platform. Encircled by chains. But the energy, the pall of death remains… I am part of it.

It is nearly the hour of midnight. It shall usher in the nineteenth of May. With it the hour of the death of the queen…condemned to die by my decree…found guilty of the most salacious charges of high treason against me her king. Her husband…of course, there was no treason committed, nor incest, adultery…none of the charges were true. I condemned five innocent men and one innocent queen to death by axe and sword…why I am here reflecting on the past and not burning in the fires of Hades, I know not…I know only that for me my punishment-if punishment it be-is this beckoning which has brought me to this time this place, and face the past and what I have done. the single act I am remembered for most of all… I look across the green and see the dust in the moonlight, swirled by the evening breeze begin to materialize into a rising form…The same austere purple dress. the white linen head cap…’tisher.. Anne…. I am not startled nor surprised…This was not wholly unexpected…I knew the moment I arrived this place why I was called here. why WE are called here…”Anne” as I move toward her, I expect to see that defiant look I had seen on so many occasions, but instead see only calm. ”have you just arrived?…surely your spirit does not dwell in this  place?”

 

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Queen Anne Boleyn

*I was not expecting him on this date… in four hundred and seventy seven years…I only saw him once wandering on these haunted lands, and it was not here; it was in Hampton Court and when he disappeared, he was angry and in rage… and now, after all these dead years… he comes back to me and on this date. I slowly turn… he looks dazzled, afraid…gently I raise my hand and I touch his cheek, I smile… is marvelous how death is benevolent sometimes and let us be able to touch other spirits…he is cold as I am… but he looks just like the last time I saw him…Henry… My handsome and Cruel King…*”You are here…on this date….you were the last soul I hoped to find here…. in fact; every year when I come, to mourn on the place of my death and the death of my brother…I just see shadows, enemies…. unfamiliar faces… never you; why now?”.

King Henry the VIII

Even at this hour, ages from whence the events occurred, I still cannot bear to look directly into her eyes. As deep and dark as they were in life…In material state, I can feel her cool touch upon my face…even now she queries me, pricking the last vestige of my being with talk of her brother and why I have been evoked to walk this place alongside her… ”I know not the exact reason for my calling here, save to say as tomorrow is the anniversary of your death I have been summoned here to recall my folly and perchance make some measure of atonement…though I know not how to make right that injustice committed against you and the others so long ago…tell me, Anne…does your spirit harbor still any disdain for me? I have been cast by posterity as a villain, deservedly so, though it matters not to me anymore…but you, you whom I have loved so ardently. Passionately… do you still hold against me, my sins?”

Queen Anne Boleyn

*I lay down my hand… and I look ahead…The breeze turns a little stronger than usual, but yet is gentle…I can even smell the scent of May. * ”I am trapped here by memories…. and for all that I wanted to live with you…with our daughter… for our people and families; things that never happened….because you stopped them. For years after the day of my death I planted the seed of hate in my heart, in my mind. Every second I visited our daughter’s home and I was not able to touch her, to hold her… I hated you; when I saw my mother die alone, in pain and dishonor… I hated you. When my sister also die forgotten, I hated you. I hated you for a long, long time. Always waiting for the day of your death, so I could finally be able to reach you again and tell you what I felt. *I pause for a few seconds, and then I look at him* ”But time passed… I saw Elizabeth growing so well… she was alive, happy, she was strong and wise… and she kept me in her heart, in secret, but I was there in her heart; that gave me peace. And then… I saw how time and the Divine justice was dealing with you…. slowly you became a shadow of the proud, strong, and fearless warrior King you once were….After the death of Jane you never knew happiness again; you suffered…. in body and soul; you started to look like the monster that always lived inside of you *Once again I touch his face* ”That monster that lived hidden behind that handsome and gentle presence of yours. During those days… days where I walked around you in silence, watching, waiting… I finally pardoned you. I still remember the love and passion that I shared and lived with you, it still burns in my heart, in my memory. Now is your turn… tell me… how you remember me? What you really felt when you killed me? Did you ever see me in our daughter’s eyes?”

King Henry the VIII 

I compel myself to look Anne directly in the eyes. ’tis the only way after all this time she will know that my words are sincere. ”What did I feel?…that part of me that had convinced myself you were guilty felt merely relief, vindication and the liberation of knowing I may now pursue the Lady Jane Seymour in earnest and marry her properly, unlike…unlike our marriage. Darkened by Catherine’s shadow…However, the part of me that loved you as none other… loved you with body and soul…moved heaven and earth to make you my queen.. that part of me felt only shame. Guilt. The self- inflicted torment of destroying that which I loved the most…time after time I sought to banish all thoughts of you. Of our love… But never could I completely erase your memory. You were always there. Alive in our daughter’s eyes…and Elizabeth” I allow myself a laugh at my own expense. ”Elizabeth…what a blind fool I was not to see that any daughter born of a mother of such cunning, such courage, and a father imbued with the strength and pride of a lion could be anything but born of greatness and destined to rule!… What an ass to think our daughter could ever be too weak to bear the crown!…Ye, though a monster I may have been, I am now merely the essence of a man…that which sees so clearly now, what was lost to him then”. I turn away. The realization of the folly of all the . pain I have cause comes rushing through me all at once, and even as immaterial entity, I must pause in my reflection before turning and looking back at Anne… ”I am sorry, Anne…sorry for all those I have wronged and all my sins and misdeeds whilst still on this earth…but most of all, dear lady, I am sorry most of all for all of the pain and suffering you endured at my hand in this world…I know you say you have already pardoned me… however, I cannot pardon myself…I feel I shall always bear the anguish of knowing now, as spirit, that what I did in life was wicked…it is only fitting after all, is it not? …I accept my fate, Anne…I only wish that this is not the final time I shall see you…Somehow, even in life, I knew we would be together again”. I reach out my hands, offering her to take them.

 

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Queen Anne Boleyn

*I look at him, and I take his hands…. suddenly the wind changes.. the breeze turns warmth and death plays its magic upon us…in the moment our hands hold; we see ourselves again in our era, shining in youth, as King and Queen.

 

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the modern objects around are no longer there… we see what we want to see now….and like in the old times…in those days where my goal was to make him love me, I kiss him first, with the love and the intense passion I always felt for him; then I break the kiss and look at him directly in the eyes* ”I pardoned you….sadly, carnal and human love is far from us… we can only create memories of that we once had and shared; we can go back in time all we want… like children playing an endless game; but as soon as the sun comes up… we must hide again in the walls, in the mirrors, in the air…. we are part of these grounds, but we are not part of this world anymore Henry… that is the painful side of this… state. I have seen your other queens around…. Gentle Katherine Aragon pardoned you and me a long time ago….Poor Jane wanders around lost in her sadness; Anne of Cleves already resides in Heaven, she has no reason to be here. Katherine Howard on the other hand still believes you are after her… she runs up and down looking for you…. begin to see you, seeking your mercy. And Catherine Parr… she just, walks around, looking… I do not know why; she always carries a barrier of resentment with her… I can not approach her. *I still hold his hands* ”You made me the most happy Henry, you really did, and I really loved you…. I never knew that it was possible to love a man in the way I loved you. But I failed you… I made a promise I never fulfilled… I promised you a son and I failed… you started to hate me after that, right?”.

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King Henry the VIII

My brow furrows as I strain to recall. I have left those feelings of wrath, of hostility so far in the past I strain now to recall them at this moment. ”Yes I…I suppose so. But to be completely honest with you I cannot recall precisely… any hate, any anger have long since disappeared along with the other misbegotten remnants of this place. The scaffold, the axe man’s block… but if I were to guess, I should say ’twas more than just after Elizabeth’s birth… the break with Rome, the death of my dear friend, Sir Thomas More …I foolishly laid the blame at your feet rather than face the fact ’twas all my doing. You may have chided, may have hoped and wished for these things to pass… however I actually ordered them, and therefore it is I, not you who is squarely to blame…I see now the full extent of my depravity and wish constantly I could do something to reverse it’s course even now…but it has all come to pass. If I have learned one thing it is that hate, lust, greed, these are useless feelings that should never hold any true significance in a person’s life…the only genuine emotion is love… Even after life has gone, there is only one thing left and that is love. In the end, that is all there is”.

I can feel the force that brought me here, returning…lightening my mass…feeling light as a feather… I look up at Anne and caress her cheek, and kiss her sweetly, tenderly on the lips…Our kiss feels warm. The only warmth I’ve felt since departing this world. ”Goodbye Anne…we shall meet again”…the words leave my lips just a moment before they turn back to dust. Carried off on the night breeze. Back to the sky and away from Anne…for now.

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Queen Anne Boleyn

 *The King leaves… he leaves me behind like he did more than four hundred years ago; I still feel the same pain… just like that evening; the last time I saw him… on May the 1st 1536; when I begged for my life and cry about my love carrying my beloved child, also for the last time. Here I am… here in this place….with the rays of the moon upon me; the night is still long, longer than any other century; wondering why this happened to me is what keeps me here; even when I know the answer…I can not understand it. Suddenly I do not feel alone anymore; is a sensation of another presence, familiar, yet strange. I never felt it before…not in all these centuries. Who else that no longer share this world still remember this date with sorrow?

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Jean Rombaud, Swordsman 

My spirit arrives to this place, carried on the cool night breeze of spring… swirling the grass and disappearing into the rustling leaves of the nearby trees. Leaving me here. Though the spirit may go where it pleases, and to be sure I have passed the stars in the heavens and flowed through the mightiest oceans, still I am drawn back to this place this same time every year… This is not done to exact some eternal retribution or punishment, no… The spirit always returns, for a time, to the place of it’s most significant action or achievement… I do not choose this place as such, but here I am, and there she stands before me once again…her Majesty, the Queen…

 Queen Anne Boleyn

*Even the spirit world is small, just like the world of the living… I have not seen this apparition in all my centuries here….and now, here he is… my dark angel of death; the one that obeyed the King’s command and took my life away in the blink of an eye… with no pain, and no regrets. He treated me with mercy and I showed him no fear; perhaps I earned his respect. But I never believed… in all this time…time that seems slower with every new year, with every coming decade…. with every century; that he… will appear before me. I look at him, with the same strength and calm of that terrible day* ”Maître épéiste, pourquoi êtes-vous ici?

Jean Rombaud, Swordsman 

Votre Majesté” I say in thought, for no actual spoke words pass between the disembodied. ”Like you, I am compelled here, n’est-ce pas?…I have been to this place many times since my departure from the earthly world… though I have not always seen your form, as I do now, I have always felt your presence here…Majesté, it was only upon leaving life, that I came to know that you were innocent of the crimes with which you were so wrongfully charged …crimesthat brought us together for those brief tragic moments…though all is revealed and our deeds in life left behind us when we pass, I wish you to know what I feel you already do…that while I did my sworn duty, a mercenary’s duty to be sure, but duty nonetheless…I regret that twas my blade that shortened the life of one truly innocent…It is too late to ask for atonement…I am merely expressing to you, votre Majesté, what I now know, and shall carry with me eternally”.

 

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Queen Anne Boleyn

*I smile to him…if only I could see his face… he wears the hood of his days of life now in spirit…* ”There is no time placed to forgiveness, there is always time… here in death as well as in life. I gladly and honestly forgave you that day… it was not your call, it was the King’s call; and you were true to your word… you caused me no pain, no agony, no humiliation; for me that meant… that inside you knew you were killing an innocent woman, even when you were able to find out in fact. I come here because… on the night of this date… the date before the dawn of 19th of May…is the last memory I have of my days as Queen of England. People come… year after year… calling my name, praying for me… leaving roses here and upon my grave; I am loved by the world… The King’s hate towards me did not touch them; I am remembered as a martyr.. even when some… still think I was evil. But it is now… when I see you, that I wonder… what you really felt that day? You did not know me… you had a task and reasons in front of you…. I also, wonder… does someone leaves flower on your grave? Parlez avec le cœur, mon ange doux de la mort. Le cœur ne meurt jamais.”.

Jean Rombaud, Swordsman

”Bonne Reine Anne, in my lifetime I was the greatest swordsman in St. Omer, perhaps even in France, though Monsieur Sanson may disagree with that opinion even to this day…with one stroke of my sword, I brought justice to two guilty criminals…twas that act that made my name famous, oui?…until…well, THAT morning…Mais oui, I tell you now, ”Bonne Reine Anne, in my lifetime I was the greatest swordsman in St. Omer, perhaps even in France, though Monsieur Sanson may disagree with that opinion even to this day…with one stroke of my blade, I brought justice to two guilty criminals…twas that act that made my name famous, oui?…until…well, I tell you now that on that day. Standing upon the scaffold, I felt sympathy and pity for you. This without the knowledge of your innocence, votre Majesté…Even if you had committed such carnal transgressions in the name of love or desire, they are acts of passion. Of lust, wholly undeserving of such a punishment… I say CASSE-TOI to all monarchs!… I say if they wish to take life so lightly they should take up the sword themselves!…on that day, votre MajestéI I felt only compassion.”

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Queen Anne Boleyn

*I will say something he never heard, but for sure it will make him smile, perhaps sincerely for the first time* ”I knew before I met you on the scaffold that you were a very good swordsman… and I also knew the task would be easy for you…. after all… I have only a little neck” *Once again I smile to him, then I look away, hiding my desire to laugh, like it happened that day… in the presence of good Master Kingston. I can feel the coming of the dawn… soon will be May 19th… I am not sure of the year… I do no count the numbers… only the memories… the weight of the aging of the walls, the ground and the air itself. I look at him again* ”If I could… my gentle angel of death… I would leave flowers upon your place of resting… you were kind to me….you showed respect and honor, you were a good man in life… you took no joy in killing, I know that. Men had to do what they needed to do to survive on an era where Kings and Queen decided upon the lives of others…they believed they were the hands of God on Earth….That way of thinking spilled too much blood… it haunted these lands with the tears of the innocent lives that were lost…. we are all victims… victims of an old era, that for us it never ends.

Jean Rombaud, Swordsman 

At that moment I can feel the wind returning. Swaying the overgrown grass and whipping off the tower’s stone walls…I know my time here is nearly up and I shall be once again among the stars…

”Merci’ votre Majesté…thank you for your kind words of understanding… in my life, I was married to a woman as young and lovely as you, and had a son and a daughter, whom I loved dearly…I accomplished all I sought to achieve, in both my personal life and career… however, though I departed this world having lived life to the full, I was never freed from the image of the youth and beauty of the English Queen. Of how I brought an end to her short life much too soon… Merci’, votre Majesté…your words, your thoughts have at last freed me…”

At that moment, I can sense my spirit lift off the ground, ascending into the moonlit night. As the wind carrying me aloft sweeps through me. Once again I look down upon the figure of the Queen, growing ever more translucent as it disappears in the distance… After all these centuries, the love she had sought in life has found her through the ages and given her true immortality…farewell, votre Majesté.

 

Anne-natalie-dormer-as-anne-boleyn-21400704-1280-768

Queen Anne Boleyn

”Farewell, my Angel of Death…May you find peace and the Lord’s comfort on your way out of this haunted lands.. towards the safe heaven. I will stay here… I can not leave… if I do… I will feel incomplete… Here in these lands I left my life behind, my dreams, my promises, parts of me that never knew life; my blood that was spilled unjustly… is still damping these ground… below this monument, in honor of me and of those who die in the name of the King…and in the name of other Kings after him. I am part of this world… in the silent side… I can not leave… I will not leave… not even for the sake of peace…. because there is no peace in my heart…. I tried…I tried to fulfill all my promises… to the King, to my daughter, to myself…and I failed…perhaps the guilt is what keeps me here…I wanted to live… to see my daughter grow… to love my King…and that never happened. It stopped… in the blink of an eye… with the death of my son… and with the last beat of my heart. Here comes the dawn… is 19th of May… people will come, calling my name… leaving me flowers, praying for me…. I will be around but never seen; This is the dawn of my death… and yet I am still here…. Life is still bound to me; even in death.*

Here In My Darkness

May 9, 2013 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, News, Poetry, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

Here in my darkness

Here in my darkness, waiting with sadness,

The end of my life, a chapter that was full of glory,

Joy and laughter; here, in total darkness, in a silent fortress, I spend

My last hours.

 

Here in my darkness, in this cold place,

Where once I shared moments of grace; where once I

Fulfilled a dream,  a dream of love, a dream of power,

A dream, that I never expected to be over.

 

Here in my darkness, I remember my love for him,

A love greater than the universe.  I gave my heart,

I  gave my soul, I gave my body, in an intense passion that now

Is a painful agony.

 

It all started as a game… as a hunt for fame; but I ended loving

Him, with a love I never knew, with a feeling I never knew; he

Became my world, the center of my soul; the reason for me to

Breathe, to exist, to live.

 

And tomorrow, will come the end of my sorrow, I know he

Will not remember me anymore… but I will never be discarded

Of his existence, because I will be there… in his presence.

 

My Elizabeth, in her eyes, in her smile, in her glorious presence; he

Will see me, he will find me; he will see that I loved him truly, in the

Existence of her, that is the fruit of the intense love that we once

Shared.

 

Here in my darkness, I remember his love, I remember his touch, I

Remember his words; his promises… the intense fire of his kisses.

Oh, those days… when were just Anne and Henry, when the crown

Had no value, and our bodies were like statues, joined by the power

Of love.

 

But those days are over, my fairytale is finished, and the last

Chapter is not a happy ending… my fairytale will end with my

Blood shed in front of those who once witnessed my rise… and

 By tomorrow, they will laugh with my fall.

 

I played with fire, and I got burned; and there is no time to turn;

Here in my darkness I pray… for a painless death, for a chance

To see the heaven in my last breath… I know I will be remembered

As Anne the whore, the traitor, the King’s mistress.  But I know the

Truth, and he knows it too…. I loved another in the past… but I was

The woman of the King, only his, always his.

 

Here in my darkness, I bury my love, my memories, my life, my

Tears and my desires;   I will be no more tomorrow, my new dawn,

Will be my last, this life of mine ended too fast. 

 

Farewell my love… forgive me for my fails, they were not planned,

I was frail, I was not strong enough to bear you the son you wanted,

In the end.. you proved your superiority over me, and now I will be

Just a bad dream for thee.

 

Farewell my little angel… my sweet and loving Elizabeth, here

In my darkness I make you this promise… that I will always be

With you, I will protect you and give you my blessing… and when

You feel that the weight of the world in pressing… remember my

Love for you…. And all will be better.

 

Here in my darkness… I know soon will come the end of my

Loneliness.   Wait for me my brother… it will not be longer, soon

We will share heaven, no more pain, no more regrets, no more

Sadness… only rest, only peace… here in my darkness, I pray for a

Painless death.

No Regrets

October 14, 2012 in Historical Fact, Historical Fiction, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

No Regrets

 

 

Here I am, in my last night on Earth; knowing that at dawn I must get ready to die; knowing that I am dying an innocent; knowing that is unfair and that is not a test of the King anymore.  And yet… I have no regrets of how my life was lived.

I don’t regret anything… I had a beautiful childhood; my mother… how wonderful she was with me; she told me I was her shining diamond every day when she woke me up; she said I was wise for my age; and I will never forget her tears when I was ready to leave to the Netherlands; her tears were the last proof of her immense love for me.  

Even my father was always kind and sweet with me, he always treated my sister and my brother different but with me… he was all smiles; I always knew I was special for him; because even when I was sometimes naughty, bad tempered and playful… he knew that my interest to learn was there and I never failed him in that.

My childhood, my adolescence, was based in learning… I learned how to be a lady at court, how to serve, how to smile, I learned how to be admired; I learned the important things in life; I learned the true meaning of faith; and that made me a different person inside.

I don’t regret my return to England… even when my father wanted me to take the place of my sister in the King’s bed.  I was sure that I would find a way to escape that… I was wise enough to achieve that; even when my cruel and cold uncle was also behind the plan; I did not fear him; I knew I would have my way, but then…. I met the King; my soul met his; and I lost my will, my strength to escape.   I started to follow a plan and I ended up loving him.   I learned what passion was in his arms, I learned what love was in his kisses, in the sound of his voice, in the sweetness of his promises, in the power of his presence.  I stopped being myself, and he captured my heart.

For his love… I learned how to be cruel, I learned to fight with low weapons, with dark elements… I lied, I conspired, I wished the worst to my enemies, I enjoyed their miseries, I laughed when they died… that cost me everything, God punished me, but yet… I don’t regret it; I was his queen thanks to all that, I was his thanks to all that; I became a mother, and I was the most happy, thanks to all that.   Evil can bring good moments too…but alas, they never last; nothing that is build in the bases of evil can survive; nothing.

But I don’t regret it; I fell, but Elizabeth will stay; my sweet little girl, I know she will be fine, she is so strong, I saw in her eyes when I held her the first time.  I know she will be Queen, and I know she will not hate me; even if she is forbidden to even remember me, I will live in her heart and in her memory; with true love; I know she will not believe the lies placed upon me.

May God Bless my sweet Elizabeth, may God allow that the crown be placed on her head one day, may life allow her to live long and happy, to find the love she deserves; to receive the devotion, admiration and respect of the people of England; may she honor her dynasty and rule with justice, kindness, strength, honor and in the true love of God.

The pain of seeing my brother die so cruelly, so bloody, so undeserved; is piercing my heart; but now… I don’t regret it either; he is free, free of all that turned him in to a cunning and ambitious man; sadly he became my father, and he paid the price just like me.  But soon we will be together again, like in the old times; when we played for hours, when he came to my room and we shared our secrets; our special love, our pure friendship was never understood; and my enemies used it against me.

I will die soon, time never stops, the moon is already moving away and the sun will shine again, for me, it will be the last time; but I don’t regret it. I will die young, but in many ways I lived long; and I still call myself Queen of England. 

In my heart I know, that even when he will scream out loud that he hates me; I know he will never forget me.  Because I brought him back to life, I gave him a passion that I know he will never find in Jane Seymour; she will never give him what I gave to him; even if she delivers him a son; the love, the lust, the passion I gave to him, will always be there; burning his heart, torturing his memory; I know he loved me, my failure to give him a son made him to do this to me; his desire for a son is greater than the love he can feel for me or for Jane Seymour or for anyone else.  All he wants is a son, and he is willing to even destroy the entire world to achieve that.  Because Kings are first rulers than men; and Henry desires to be the most powerful King alive; but to achieve that he needs a son, an heir to show around; to be proud of.  

I failed and he destroyed me; and strangely I do not hate him, sadly I still love him; with the same force, with the same passion.

I have no regrets, God knows that; and I hope He can understand and forgive me.  I am innocent, I never betrayed my King; that keeps my soul clean right?

I have no regrets… not at all.

One Thousand Days

September 9, 2012 in Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, Poetry, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

One Thousand Days

One thousand days; perfectly counted, lived and wanted; One thousand days of love, joy, glory, passion, power, sorrow and death; in one thousand days I had a life… and now, I will see it extinguished in a short last breath.

I can count, those thousand days like single pearls in my hand; that first day… when I met him, when we danced, when I was just lady perseverance, and he was the symbol of Honesty; the day when I started a game… and never thought I would burst in to flames.

Days came and went after that; I was following the game like a puppet in the hand of my masters; but my heart was melting in his presence; my soul possessed by his essence.  I started to count the days to see him; and my game turned in passion, my passion in desire, and my desire in endless love.

Days… changed in to months… and I already felt I was his, even when he only wanted me as a mistress; but I wanted to be more…I wanted to be his wife and queen; the reason for him to live, to breathe, to exist.   And in a dense group of long and hard days; I got my dream… he told me he would leave his useless queen… to give his heart and the crown to me.

Oh those days of love… those days of joy and glory; I was a queen without a crown… and I enjoyed the pain of the woman in the throne; because she was fading away, while I was the most happy.

 

But once she faced me and told me… that one day he would be tired of me… like with all the others before me; I should had listened, because now I am here… abandoned, neglected, condemned and forgotten; just like she was… when I arrived.

These are the last days of my life, no more hope, no more chances, no more dreams, no more dances, and no more laughter.  I see my days of glory passing by… like dark ravens.

 

 

 

Oh the day I became his wife and queen… when I was carrying the treasure of our love inside of me… my little princess, my beautiful Elizabeth… I wanted so much to give him a son, but God gave me her… a strong, lovely and charming little girl; the only element of this earth that will keep me living on.

But the day of her birth, was the day of the beginning of my end.  He started to be displeased… his love for me began to fade. Since then my days were harder, tears replaced smiles, fears replaced courage; I was running against time; the power was no longer mine.

I struggled against nature, and once again my womb was carrying the hope of a prince; his passion and love for me returned; I was the most happy once again, but fate destroyed that with an intense pain.   I lost the prince… I lost his hope; and my second chance to be secure on my throne.

More days of despair followed my loss; I saw ghosts of traitors around me all the time, whispers of dark omens, sounds of misery clouded my mind… and peace where hard to find.   I was in war with the King, he was looking in other’s beds what he does not wanted to have in mine… he started to find me useless; my body was no longer his temple.

Days came and went like in the beginning of my story in this realm; days of sadness, days of fears; nights of despair, dawns of loneliness.  Until one night… wine, music and fate played together on my favor… and I took him to my bed again; the pleasure was alive and once again… he was mine.  At dawn I prayed to God for a son… and days later… my prayers were answered.   I was with child; finally the prince would come… I was the most happy, and my days were peaceful.

But the peaceful days were short…I saw that my King’s heart was not mine anymore.  A new threat came to me… in the face of an innocent, pale, beautiful and decent; when I saw her before me the first time… I saw myself in the early years of my quest for the throne.  She was just like me…  desperate to get the passion and the heart of the King.  But I was stronger…I had a prince inside of me and a crown on my head; I trusted in that, and waited for the best.

 

Days came and went….close to reach a thousand… and one night I went to find my King and I found him… in her arms.   On that moment, I forgot who I was, I forgot I was pregnant; I was just a women in pain, in rage, jealous, desperate in agony; because my King was loving another, while I was there, watching.

 

I wanted to kill them… to destroy her and any seed of love she planted in him; my rage was overwhelming; and he came to me again, and with his lies and his gentle touch, calmed my furious heart.

And with his betrayal came the death, the death of the prince inside of me…  I saw my blood and his in my hands, all over me; my pain was the sign of the end… I was doomed once again.

 

Darkness arrived but I never felt it… within the walls of my palace my King was trying to get rid of me, so Jane could take her place; beside his throne.   He came to me sometimes, he kissed me, he hugged me, he told me that all would be in perfect harmony really soon…what he meant and I did not realized, is that he was planning my agony and my doom.

 

 

 

 

One day… the first of the lasts… the first day of May my fate was sealed; when I was in my chambers trying to think how to conquer his heart again… he was planning how to fill mine with pain.  Alas, they came for me under his command, with an order and a duty in their hands… I was going to be a prisoner, a loner in the cold Tower.  I held my pride high, in my mind I had nothing to be worried about, I was innocent… but my heart was trembling, with fear and despair.

In the Tower I saw myself… alone in that dark place, surrounded by quiet servants and cold spies.  I prayed for a miracle… but that never came.  After days of tears, one morning I heard the crowd in the place of execution… chanting, laughing; claiming the heads of my brother and my….”alleged lovers”.  Lovers… what a lie; I never betrayed Henry in the bed of another man; I loved him, with a love that was even more pure than myself.  There was my poor brother; a gentle soul that was corrupted by arrogance and power.  But our love was sacred… innocent as a sister can be with her brother; he was my comfort, my friend, my ally… his agony was my own; I was looking… from the window of my cell; praying for a quick and painless death for him; alas, fate was cruel, and that.. never happened.  He died cruelly… and the half of my heart died with him and with the other men that joined him in the pool of blood, blood of martyrs, in the realm of a monstrous King.

After that day I knew I was the next… I had no idea if I was going to be burned alive… or beheaded to the pleasure of his Majesty. My good and chivalrous guard came and told me that my head would have been severed from my body with a sword… like I humbly asked… at last the King showed me mercy… at least in death.

After a horrible delay… my last day of May is finally here; and there is no place for more tears.  One thousand days… just a thousand; it seems a long time but in fact is nothing… is a short life, lived so fast, so passionate; that hurts when you remember it.

My last day on this earth… I will leave in all the grace of the rank I still call mine… Queen, Queen of England; even if I am called Anne the whore; I am the Queen; I am an innocent woman walking towards an unjust death.  But I will walk, on my last day… with grace, with pride, with honor, with strength, with all the passion of the life I lived and I will know leave behind.

In silence, in front of this scaffold, I pray for Elizabeth… I ask God to bless her; to use my blood to seal a glorious fate for her.  I ask the Lord for a blessing upon her young life.  I know she will be queen one day… I know she will shine as the brightest star.  She is a magnificent treasure in this realm… part of me will always live here as long as she breathes.  I bless you my Elizabeth, even if you forget me… I will always be with you; and in silence I will tell you about my love for you, and I will tell you about my innocence; you will understand… in your heart, you will.

In my last day… I kneel before my death; her coldness is around me, her dark angel is already behind me.

 

I look at heaven with hope in my heart… soon a new beginning for me will start; I will see my brother… and my two little princes; they are waiting for me, and I will look down, knowing that my death will mark the disgrace of the King I once loved; my blood will be his misery, I can feel it; May the Lord have mercy on me… and on him; I was his passion in life, and forever, I will be his curse in death.  One thousand days…one last breath… darkness is coming… and there is the light…no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears…one thousand days… just a thousand…. Just a thousand.

Anne Boleyn: Her Temper, Her Spirit, Her Feelings and her Remarkable Courage.

August 1, 2012 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

Anne Boleyn has been described by historians in many different ways.  Some of them see her as a woman of great courage, free spirit and enough intelligence to even overshadow her husband, King Henry VIII.  Others see her as a proud, vain, cruel and narcissistic woman, who played the game of power and ended with a tragic outcome.  Her truth is a mix of all that, but in the end; she was just a woman, a woman who was used by her family to obtain the highest prize of all, the throne of England; a woman who learned to love a King during the timeline of her game of power; the mother of a precious little girl who became England’s most greatest monarch, and a martyr for the protestant reformers.

 

Anne, The Child

 

Little is known of Anne Boleyn’s childhood, but by those close to her during that time of her life, she is described as a charming, spontaneous, clever and a very independent little girl.  She was very close to her mother, Lady Elizabeth Howard-Boleyn, and to her brother George Boleyn.  Her relationship with her older sister Mary is described as loving but they were not close at all.    

 Her Father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond; saw a great future in Anne’s development during her childhood; and that is why he placed her in a very strategic line of tutors, and of course, she was under the distinguished guard of her mother, who taught her all she needed to be successful in any court of Europe.  Elizabeth taught Anne the arts of sewing, embroidery, music, court protocols and behavior.   But that special bond between mother and daughter had an end, when Thomas decided to send Anne to the Netherlands, to serve on the Court of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria.

 Anne’s father continued his diplomatic career under Henry VIII. In Europe Thomas Boleyn’s charm won many admirers, including Archduchess Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. During this period, she ruled the Netherlands on her father’s behalf and was so impressed with Thomas Boleyn that she offered his daughter Anne a place in her household. Ordinarily, a girl had to be twelve years old to have such an honor, but Anne may have been younger, as the Archduchess affectionately referred to her as “la petite Boulin”.  Anne made a good impression in the Netherlands with her manners and studiousness, Margaret reported that she was well spoken and pleasant for her young age (“son josne eaige”). The Archduchess also told Sir Thomas Boleyn that his daughter was “so presentable and so pleasant, considering her youthful age, that I am more beholden to you for sending her to me, than you to me”.   The young and clever Anne was always close to the Archduchess, and that helped her to obtain special elements of knowledge; elements that are not often written in books; she learned how to live and behave in a court; at a very young age Anne discovered the essence of every soul in a royal house.  Indeed it was the Archduchess Margaret of Austria, who advised her that “To trust in those who are at your service, will lately put you in the rank of those who have been deceived”.  This advice followed Anne during her time as Queen, since is recorded that she was very methodic in the process of accept her ladies in waiting in her household, and she was very strict in the fact that she never gave second chances to those maids she rejected, even when the cause for their dismissal was her fear of being replaced in the bed of her husband, the King.

Eventually, Anne’s father decided to remove Anne from the Archduchess of Austria’s household, and arranged for her to attend Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor, Queen of France, for Mary’s marriage to Louis XII of France in October 1514.

In France Anne was a maid of honor to Queen Mary, and then to 15-year-old Queen Claude of France, with whom she stayed nearly seven years. In the Queen’s household she completed her study of French and developed interests in fashion and religious philosophy. She also acquired knowledge of French culture and etiquette.   Also in the French court, Anne developed her skills as dancer, composer and musician. She used to perform at court for the special guests at court, shining always among the other ladies around her.  It is strongly believed among historians, that in the French court, Anne was likely to have made the acquaintance of King Francis I‘s sister, Marguerite de Navarre, a patron of humanists and reformers. Marguerite de Navarre was also an author in her own right, and her works include elements of Christian mysticism and reform that, but for her protection as the French king’s beloved sister, verged on heresy. She or her circle may have encouraged Anne’s interest in reform, as well as in poetry and literature.   Since then, Anne’s extreme interest in politics, philosophy and religion was an element of interest among the ambassadors and people close mostly to Queen Claude.

Anne’s behavior in the French court is described as charismatic, joyful, bright and delightful.  She was very talented, she was able to participate in every kind of conversation, and her development at court was magnificent.  She was the official translator of the Queen when English Ambassadors were having audiences with her Majesty.  Anne’s experience in France made her a devout Christian in the new tradition of Renaissance humanism. Anne knew little Latin but, trained at a French court, she was influenced by an “evangelical variety of French humanism” which led her to champion the vernacular Bible.

Later in time, Anne’s older sister Mary joined her in France, and was also placed as Maid of Honor to Queen Claude.   Anne and Mary used to be close during that time; but when Mary started to lose control and started to behave in a very scandalous manner; Anne decided to put a very determined distance with her sister. 

Anne was sweet and charming with Ambassadors and courtiers; The King often described her as a “Brunette Venus”; even when her beauty was indeed exotic and not the normal delicate and pale complexion of the English females. She was indeed attractive enough to call the attention of men, but she was wise enough to not make the same mistakes of her sister.  Anne was developing her own future; she was determined to have a good and respectable life; so she learned from her sister how not to act.

At that time, Anne and Mary were in different hemispheres in their own world at the French court.   Anne was dedicated to learn, while Mary wanted to escalate in rank by giving her favors to King Francis (even when some historians claim that she never was his mistress); Anne enjoyed parties as well as Mary, but Anne’s behavior with male courtiers were different from Mary’s.  Anne used an elegant charm with them, while Mary was too affectionate and naughty in her public actions at court. But in Mary’s case this was expected and in the French court there were not too much scandal about it; the spirit of the French court was not as strict as in the rest of the Royal Houses of Europe, especially in England, Spain and Germany, where conduct and moral were the bases of all, (Even when their monarchs acted against them most of the time).   Anne’s European education ended in 1521, when her father summoned her back to England. She sailed from Calais in January 1522.

 

Anne, The Young Adult in the English Court

 

Anne Boleyn was no longer a little girl or an inexperienced adolescent.  She was now a beautiful and smart young woman in the English Court.  Anne made her début at the Chateau Vert (Green Castle) pageant in honor of the imperial ambassadors on 4 March 1522, playing “Perseverance.” There she took part in an elaborate dance accompanying Henry’s younger sister Mary, several other ladies of the court, and her sister. All wore gowns of white satin embroidered with gold thread. She quickly established herself as one of the most stylish and accomplished women at the court, and soon a number of young men were competing for her.  The American historian Retha M. Warnicke writes that Anne was “the perfect woman courtier… her carriage was graceful and her French clothes were pleasing and stylish; she danced with ease, had a pleasant singing voice, played the lute and several other musical instruments well, and spoke French fluently. A remarkable, intelligent, quick-witted young noblewoman… that first drew people into conversation with her and then amused and entertained them. In short, her energy and vitality made her the center of attention in any social gathering.”  

During this time, Anne was courted by Henry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and entered into a secret betrothal with the young man. Thomas Wolsey’s gentleman usher, George Cavendish, maintained the two had not been lovers.   The romance was broken off when Percy’s father refused to support their engagement. According to Cavendish, Anne was sent from court to her family’s countryside estates, but it is not known for how long. Upon her return to court, she again entered the service of Catherine of Aragon.

The distinguished courtier-poet Sir Thomas Wyatt was also capture by the beautiful and stunning Anne.  Their started a special friendship, friendship that of course started rumors of romance and for some they were lovers, even when this was never proved or documented.   There is also the idea that some of the most yearning poetry attributed to Thomas Wyatt was inspired by Wyatt’s platonic relationship towards her and that it is Anne whom he describes in the sonnet Whoso List to Hunt, as unobtainable, headstrong, and belonging to the King:  Part of the sonnet, attributed to Anne Boleyn says:  “noli me tangere for Caesar’s I am and wild for to hold though I seem tame”.

Anne was indeed the attraction of the English court, but her fate was about to change in 1526, when the King of England started his pursuit towards her.

At first Anne was not impressed with the King of England; but her Father and her uncle, the proud Duke of Norfolk had other plans.  They were determined to rise at court, and more, they wanted the destruction of Cardinal Wolsey at all cost, and they wanted Anne to help in the cause; conquering the King and poisoning his mind against the Cardinal, while her father and uncle work in finding the proof against him.

But in time, Anne started to respond to the King’s advances, but for herself, not for the plans of her family.   It was expected that Anne ended to be the King’s mistress, but when Thomas Boleyn saw the spark of love between his daughter and the King, his ambitions increased.   Anne was fulfilling with her main duty, but she was also in love with the King; her love for him also developed a desire to rule by his side; and she was determined to be his Queen.

Anne and Henry’s passion was something never seen before among the Royal Society, and less by the rest of the English people.   Anne played a delicate game, she was talented in the arts of seduce a man without give herself to him; and that was a fire that kept Henry under her spell.   Anne’s versatility, charm, exotic beauty, intelligence and independence, were her elements of triumph.  The King was determined to have her, and she was determined to be his.  A battle for a divorce began, and Queen Catherine of Aragon started the long road of the agony of seeing her marriage and her rank as Queen in real danger; real this time, because in the past Henry dismissed all his mistresses after a time, but with Anne Boleyn, all was different, Catherine knew she was not a simple mistress for Henry; she was a rival for her, and she was in real disadvantage this time.  Catherine was getting older than the years she had; the miscarriages, the stress of her marriage, all was turning her life in a nightmare, and her appearance in a memory of the beauty she once held.

But the divorce was immersing in an ocean of delays thanks to the Pope and the assistance of Queen Catherine’s supporters at court; and that was putting Anne’s patience to test.  In one occasion, when she was still wandering on the Queen’s household she was dismissed harshly by the Queen; in front of many of her other ladies and some courtiers.  Anne had to swallow her pride and leave, in the presence of Catherine of Aragon she was bound to obey, even when the King was on her side.   One another occasion Anne had a quarrel with Henry about the Queen’s stubbornness and about the previous incident with her.  She shouted and made threats to him, she told him she would leave and that she was tired to wait for him.   Anne was playing her game of seduction really well; all that anger, her refusal to be his was giving her results; Henry feared that she would probably leave him, and that forced him to act more quickly and with more cruelty against Catherine of Aragon, and to those who disliked his plans.

The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn.

 

Finally, after six and a half years of waiting; Anne got what she wanted, Catherine of Aragon was in disgrace, and she was closer and closer to the crown.  Henry made her Marchioness of Pembroke; he made her a noble woman, and that, was the green light for her to do what she was refusing, even when she tempted the King for her own enjoyment, and to keep the fire alive.  In Paris, in a special visit to The King of France, when she was going to be presented as Henry’s fiancée, Anne Boleyn gave her body to the King; and in that night of passion, her fate was sealed.  Anne not only wanted to be with the man she loved; she wanted to conceive his son, and she was convinced that it will happen.

Time passed, Anne fulfilled her dreams of carrying the King’s child, Henry, overwhelmed with the news that Anne was pregnant, decided to marry her in secret and he did.  Later he was planning a second ceremony of marriage, mixed with the most luxurious, extravagant and beautiful coronation event, that England would never forget.  On the days prior to her coronation, Anne made honor to her motto of “The Most Happy”, she was glowing with joy; but she was also afraid.  There were no time for more games; she was already the wife of the King of England, and soon to be crowned; now she had a duty; to keep the love of Henry at any cost, and pray that her child growing in her belly was a boy.  She had a lot of pressure on her shoulders, she also knew she had powerful enemies at court; and the shadows of Mary and Catherine of Aragon were constantly in her mind; because even when both of them were cast away; as long as they were alive, they would become symbols of rejection towards her.

But Anne hid her fears and she enjoyed her coronation, even when only a few people witnessed it, and there were offensive shouting against her.  She had the Crown, she had the King and she was sure she was carrying a Prince inside of her. But when time came, and a beautiful baby girl came out of her body; Anne knew that the magic was over.  She loved her baby, but she knew that she failed.  Henry was disappointed; Anne saw it in his eyes when he came to see her and said: “You and I are both young, and with God’s Grace, boys will follow”.   Then he left, and Anne feared that his love for her was gone too.

But she kept the hope alive, her baby was a healthy girl, for sure she was able to give life to a healthy son.   After some time, Anne conquered the passion of Henry again, and by Christmas tide, she was pregnant again.  She was in peace, but also she was aware that the King was acting like he did in his younger years, when he took mistress after mistress.   Henry was still handsome, healthy and with enough stamina to pursue his unfaithful adventures and Anne was not willing to sit and watch how her husband replaced her in his bed while she was with child. 

Queen Anne dismissed many of her ladies in waiting, she believed every rumor she heard about her husband’s infidelities; but at least for now, she was wise enough to keep it to herself; she had a life inside of her to protect, the life of a son that would give her not only peace of mind, also the security of a loving and long marriage.

But all went against Anne, and she miscarried; The King was devastated and also was Anne.  It is reported that Anne spent her recovery days with a minimum amount of her ladies in waiting in her chamber; that she was silent, like in a deep aura of meditation; distant from the world.  Her mother was by her side; giving her support, even when for her was almost impossible to control the constant pressure of her husband upon her daughter; always reminding her of the importance of a male heir and that she should be aware of the dangers of being apart from the King for so long.

But the King already went on his pursue of consolation in the arms of women at court; and Anne knew it.  Rumors again came to her faster than the speed of sound.  This time she had nothing to protect inside her, and that gave her freedom to act in person and face her husband.   The quarrels started again.  Anne Boleyn was not afraid of her husband when she knew she was right; she faced him as any other woman would face her husband; and that, was the thing Henry hated the most about her.  Anne was a woman of a very strong temper, she was not docile or submissive like Catherine of Aragon; she was a queen, but also a woman who loved her husband and her crown, and she was not willing to lose it.   She started to spy him, she followed him all the time, and she managed to avoid the King’s personal guard and servants to find out his whereabouts and dealings with women at court and outside of court.  The king on his side, was getting tired of all that.

Anne was losing the battle; the pressure was increasing; she needed a son to survive and keep her King’s love.   One night she was trying to make peace with him, but things went out of control again when Henry admitted to her that he was indeed sleeping with other women.  When Anne screamed that he was unfair, and that she was impressed that he did not know that she loved him more than Catherine ever did in her time as wife and Queen of England; Henry’s reply was: “And don’t you know, that I can drag you down, as quickly as I raised you”.    Those words were like knifes in the heart of Queen Anne; she knew she was in the dark point of her marriage; and that she needed to act soon, before the King indeed, start with his plans of drag her down.

Anne was depressive, but her family, at least her mother and her brother were very supportive.   The Queen, alongside her mother, and five of her most trusted ladies in waiting; started a private celebration in the Queen’s chambers one afternoon at Hampton Court Palace; they were having a nice time with music on the lead of Anne’s favorite musician Mark Smeaton.  There was wine and laughter, Anne was in good spirits; looking young and charming like in her maiden years at court. Suddenly the King made his big entrance alone, with no guard, no servants; just as any husband who visits his wife.  As was expected; the party was over; everyone in the room understood the King’s silence and leave; Anne also saw his intentions, and she was pleased; now it was the time, the time to revive the passion, to make him remember why he moved the world to make her his queen, and of course, it was the time for her to achieve her major goal, conceive a son.

After that night, Queen Anne and King Henry acted more joyful together, the court was cheerful, there were no more rumors of quarrels or women entering in the King’s chamber late at night; Anne got her new chance and she was treasuring it.  She was extremely careful in her personal care; she looked radiant, she was smiling; and she had all reasons to do so; once again, she was pregnant, and more, news of the agony of Catherine of Aragon came to her ears; so she was close to say goodbye to the shadow that was tormenting her for so long.  To Anne, Catherine was the symbol of her unpopularity with the people of England, once she was gone, all would be different, at least in her mind.   Anne tried to be in peaceful terms with Catherine’s daughter, Mary; many times, but that failed, and she retreated from that war.

The maternal instincts of Anne increased with this pregnancy, she visited Elizabeth on many occasions, and she had her little girl with her for days in White Hall Palace, for the enjoyment of the court that saw an intense charm and intelligence in the cute little princess.   The King allowed Anne to have her way in all she wanted; his desire for the safety of her pregnancy was higher than his desire to go to bed with another woman.   But that vow of chastity of the King did not survive for long;  since Henry placed his eyes in a new lady at court; Lady Jane Seymour; a fair, pale, docile, innocent and delicate young girl, daughter of one of Henry’s oldest friends, Sir John Seymour.  In fact, Jane Seymour was not new at court, since she served Catherine of Aragon in her teen years; then, thanks to some family scandals, Jane was withdrew of court and returned to her home, Wolf Hall.

Immediately, Henry appointed Jane as Maid of Honor to his Queen; with the only intention of have her close to pursue her and make her his mistress.  The Seymour’s noticed this, and they started with their own plans.  They knew that the Queen was unloved by many, that she had many enemies; and if the King grew to love Jane, the Seymour would rise as the Boleyn’s did.  But they would do things different; they would use Jane’s innocent appearance to create a different game of seduction; a game more disciplined and shorter in time of success.    The Seymour’s hated the Boleyns; first, they were supporters of Mary Tudor, and the death of Catherine of Aragon increased their desire to overthrown Anne and place Jane in her place, so they could probably have a chance to restore the Catholic fate.  But, Jane’s brothers, Edward and Thomas had different plans; they wanted Jane on the throne but they would follow the King’s desires and commands; and they would not dare to change the King’s mind as the Boleyn’s did to obtain their glory; they knew that was a dangerous game, and they would prove it in time.

Henry was tired of Anne, even when she was carrying the hope of a Prince inside her belly.  Anne had a close watch on him but she kept a safer distance to maintain the peace.  

But the peace was not something Anne used to handle well.  She was strong, determined, and independent, with her own ideas and desires.  She always took command of what she wanted and that was one of the elements that moved Henry away from her once they married. The fact that he was unable to control her as he did with Catherine of Aragon was frustrating for him.   At first Anne seemed to ignore the presence of the young Jane Seymour; and that because this time, Henry was careful enough to not show his interest in a new mistress with little care, like he did in the past with his first marriage.

But the Seymour’s saw the chance and they trained Jane very well to enter the game with better cards than the Queen.  Jane acted like a maiden in a fairytale; with a submissive spirit, delicate character and sweet charms; erasing the fire he once he felt for Anne.  Henry was getting older, Anne was too strong and passionate; he needed peace, and Jane was all he needed to achieve that.

Henry’s interest for Jane Seymour was increasing, to the point that he arranged secret encounters with her.  Anne was almost 5 months pregnant; and one evening, she was looking for Henry, and she found him; in his main chamber with Jane Seymour on his lap, they were kissing.   That was the last blow for Queen Anne; she lost her mind on that moment; she forgot she was carrying a Prince in her belly and she went for revenge against them; she yelled at Henry and tried to attack Jane.  For the first time, Anne Boleyn showed her pain, agony, frustration and sorrow to her husband in all clarity.   That was the moment when Anne discovered that Jane Seymour was a serious threat, and that she was now, with no doubts in the same line that Catherine of Aragon was in her days of rejected Queen. Now she was experiencing the same pain, the same humiliation and rage; and that was killing her inside.

King Henry was able to calm his angry queen; they spent the evening together; but at night, a new hell developed. The sorrow and the strong excitement of the awful scene between Henry and Jane claimed the life of the unborn son in her belly.  Anne was soaked in blood, pain and tears, as she was watching how her last hope of survival as Queen of England was dying before her eyes.   The Prince was gone, the Queen was devastated, and the King was outraged.  He entered in her chamber with rage in his eyes and pain in his voice; Anne was barely up, screaming in pain and sorrow.  He dared to blame her for the lost, only her; and he added that “God will not grant him any male children”.   Anne had enough; and with the little strength that she had, she told Henry some facts; that he was also responsible for the lost of their son; she blamed him and Jane Seymour; and even when she was true in her words; it was a mistake, because that increased Henry’s hate towards her, and sealed her fate.  The King walked away, and Anne kept screaming in agony, alone with her loss, her frustration and her fears.

Anne’s Agony and Death

Anne spent two weeks in bed, recovering from her miscarriage; she was in silence, extremely depressed, and with the fear of being abandoned by the King, as Catherine of Aragon was.  She had the support of her mother, but she also had the torment of her father.  The Earl of Wiltshire was angry with Anne; to him, Anne’s temper and lack of control of her temper were the only causes of her miscarriage; and all seemed dark for everyone in the Boleyn family.  

The Queen only was hoping for one more chance, to fulfill her promise to the King; but every single day she was hearing rumors about how the King was acting too friendly with the Seymours, and how Thomas Cromwell was dealing with them too.  All that was turning Anne in a hurricane of rage, desperation and fear; indeed, a dangerous mixture.

 

When Queen Anne recovered and was able to show herself at court; she did it in all her glorious poise.  She returned to Hampton Court radiant; full of life, fresh and ready to be the Queen of England in all the sense of the word.   But what she did not know is that in the Castle Walls of Whitehall, The King and Thomas Cromwell, were developing the scenario of her destruction.   Henry had enough of Anne, and now he wanted Jane; not because he loved her, only because Jane offered a promise of a son; or at least a better chance.  The King wanted also to get rid of Anne but not in the same way he did with Catherine of Aragon; he could not had handle another divorce; so the blood will be the seal of his new agenda.   The King wanted to see his Queen dead, so a new one could take her place and give him the Prince that he desired.

One evening, Anne was with her ladies in her chamber, when one of them came close to her and told her that Cromwell just gave his apartments to the Seymours; Anne was alarmed with the news; but she also noticed something new on the young Jane Seymour; a beautiful necklace.  The Queen walked towards her rival and asked her who gave her that locket; Jane did not reply; Anne saw this as a defiant act, so she ripped the locket from Jane’s neck, hurting the pale girl and herself at the same time; the Queen also slapped her in the face and ordered her to leave her chambers at once.     Anne was beyond angry; and now she wanted to drop all her frustration and hate over another person; Thomas Cromwell; Anne thought she was going to show how powerful she was, but in fact, she was walking towards a dangerous and cruel enemy.

Anne arrived to Cromwell’s office; she was determined to ease her frustration by bullying and threading him.   When Cromwell noticed the presence of the Queen, he acted with all the normal protocol, hiding with perfection the dark plans that was in process for her.   Immediately Anne asked Cromwell about the reports of his dealings with the religious houses, and the fact that all the treasures and profits were directed only to the crown and of course, to Cromwell’s salary.  She reminded him that the main purpose of the reformation was not personal gain, that it was to increase the knowledge of the new religion, new monarchy and for better uses in the benefit of the People of England.   With a very gentle tone, Cromwell told the Queen that his only intention was to make England even better than Spain; Anne then decided to change the subject, and she asked about his suddenly friendship with the Seymours; and when he did not replied she went against him; she made threats to him, deadly ones.  She reminded him that she was still powerful enough to destroy him, in case he acted against her.   But as soon as she left the room, Cromwell concentrated all his strength in destroy her as soon as possible.

Anne lived in fear all the time; The King was out of her sight, and his normal attitude towards her seemed even more suspicious.   Suddenly her brother, George Boleyn lost his turn as member of the Order of the Garter; the distinguished honor was given instead to Edward Seymour.  Anne was angry about it; but she kept control of her emotions.  But her anger towards the King made her commit a long line of dangerous mistakes.  Once her sister in law, Jane Parker; came to her with complaints about her husband, George Boleyn; Anne was bored with her claims and when Jane told her about her desire to being treated by her husband, as the King treats his Queen; Anne replied was that the King was not able to satisfy a woman, that he had neither the skill nor the virility.   She said that in front of the Seymours, Jane included, and many other courtiers.  She did not care that her words reached the King; she thought she was still powerful enough to keep her place, and her existence.

Anne continued with her normal routine after that; ignoring that Cromwell was already on his way to set her destruction.   Cromwell leaded the arrest of Mark Smeaton; and with the cruel help of torture devices, he obtained the confession he needed to drag the Queen down.   He made Smeaton confessed that he was the Queen’s lover, and he added a name to that list, Sir Henry Norris, convenient for Cromwell since the gentleman was very close to the King’s ear.  In the list of the Queen’s lovers were also her own brother George Boleyn, Thomas Wyatt, William Brereton, among others.  While all this hell was developing, Anne was having a  good time in her chambers, dancing with her ladies and spending time with her family and closest friends.  Suddenly one of her maids came with the news that Mark Smeaton was arrested, and that all preparations for the selection of candidates for the hand of Princess Elizabeth were canceled.  The Queen was shocked; her fears were becoming a reality; and she needed to be ready.  She called her Chaplain, and ordered him to move Elizabeth from Hatfield to Greenwich palace, because she wanted to spend a few days with her. After that, she walked towards her guests, and she saw Sir Henry Norris among them; she needed to make sure that all the evil rumors about her were lies; so she started to argue with Norris, letting him know that he had no chances with her, and if he dared to pursue his fantasy of being with her in case Henry die unexpectedly; he would be looking for dead man shoes.   Sir Henry left humiliated; but the Queen had no idea that she had just made a prophecy.

By the evening, Henry had all he needed to destroy Anne, and open the path for Jane Seymour, and make her his third queen.  The King disguised his plans, acting as a loving and calmed husband, while Anne was suspicious of everything.  The silence, the absence of ambassadors, the cancelation of important meetings and events; all were silent sounds of a rising storm, and Anne was desperate.   While she was on Greenwich Palace, with her daughter Elizabeth, she heard about the presence of the King in the gardens; she took Elizabeth in her arms and walked fast to meet him; once she found him; she tried to persuade him in the name of her beloved Elizabeth, and begged for one more chance; with her little girl in her arms. At least that was the scene a servant witnessed from a window in the garden tower; that same servant wrote a letter to Elizabeth, telling her the story of that afternoon. Her pleas were in vain; the scenery for her downfall was set, and the clock was ticking. 

Deep in her heart, Anne knew she was defeated, but that does not mean she will diminish herself; she was determined to remain the Queen of England, no matter what was ahead, good or bad.   She was a proud and strong woman, and she was not ready to look weak in front of her enemies, including her own husband.   On the second day of May, Anne Boleyn’s fate changed to the worse; her uncle and other members of the Privy Council arrive to her chambers and presented a warrant for her arrest, on awful charges of High Treason.  She was told she was to be taken to the Tower of London, and be judged on the King’s pleasure.   The Queen was on the line of fire, inside she was heartbroken, afraid and devastated; but she used her natural strength, elegance and brave spirit to face her accusers and show them that she was the Queen of England, an innocent woman who had nothing to be afraid of, because she was innocent.    “If it is his Majesty’s pleasure, then I am ready to obey”.  That was her only answer, to her accusers.

With a supernatural calm, the Queen took the long and tedious travel towards the Tower of London; she survived the constant bullying of her uncle, and the judging eyes of the Londoners that were around, watching how the Queen of England was slowly and painfully diminished to a simple prisoner.

But the Queen was also a human being, with emotions and fears; and when she had to face the arid and gloomy aura of the prison that was waiting for her, all her strength faded away; she collapsed, like a simple woman in fear; she begged for mercy, she appealed to her innocence in front of Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Prison.   She knew that those who entered the Tower of London rarely left alive.

The Queen spent 5 days in prison, with no idea of what would become of her.  She wanted to be treated as the Queen of England, but many of her rights were denied to her.   Cromwell desired to show the Queen as a heretic whore, and not a martyr, so the King’s doing would ever be seen as an act of tyranny and cruelty.   Cromwell also wanted to hide any sign of her innocence; the King wanted her guilty, so guilty she would be.

 

 

Finally, her trial was set.  And she arrived to face her accusers, the courtiers and the people of England in her best style.   She arrived as the Queen of England, looking beautiful, stunning, elegant and so calmed, that she was the most pleasant view to everyone.  She showed no fear when the charges against her were read; and with conviction, faith and honor, she plead not guilty, to all the charges.  She dared to remind her accusers, that if they decide to send an innocent woman, and a Queen to her death, they would have to face another kind of judgment, in the greatest court of all.  But the King sent an order, and that had more force than the true words of the Queen; she was declared guilty of all charges; and sentenced to death by burning or decapitation, depending of the King’s pleasure.   Anne did not cry nor collapsed when she heard the sentence; she remained calmed, she held her dignity and her innocence high; her pride was her strength, and her innocence her consolation. She rose from her chair and faced everyone:  I have always been faithful to the King my lord; but perhaps I have not always shown to him such a perfect humility and reverence as his graciousness and courtesy deserved, and the honor he hath done me required. I confess that I have often had jealous fantasies against him which I had not wisdom or strength to repress. But God knows that I have not otherwise trespassed against him. 

Do not think I say this in the hope of prolonging my life, for He who saveth from death has taught me how to die, and will strengthen my faith. 

Think not, however, that I am so bewildered in mind that I do not care to vindicate my innocence. I knew that it would avail me little to defend it at the last moment if I had not maintained it all my life long, as much as ever Queen did. Still the last words out of my mouth shall justify my honor. 

As for my brother and the other gentlemen who are unjustly condemned, I would willingly die to save them; but as that is not the King’s pleasure, I shall accompany them in death. And then Afterwards, I shall live in eternal peace and joy without end, where I shall pray to God for the King and for you, my lords. 

 

After that magnificent speech, the Queen was taken back to her prison, now; she will wait for her execution day.  But Anne was closer to face something even worse than her own death; from her window in her prison room, she had a good view of the execution site; and on May 17th; she watched the bloody murder of her beloved brother George Boleyn, and other four innocent men.  Anne saw the axe hit her brother’s neck twice, and that destroyed her soul; her heart ripped in pieces, as the cruel sound of the axe were taking over the environment, as well as the screaming and laughing of the people that were enjoying the macabre event.  

It is reported that on the night of May 17th;   Anne Boleyn was in extreme silence; she did not eat, she barely moved, she was lost in her thoughts, mourning her brother and the other four men; and even when there were four ladies with her, along with her Chaplain, she acted as if she were alone.   Besides, she already was sure that her time to die would come in the next morning; but she had no idea how it would be, by fire or by decapitation; her mind was tortured by pain and fear.

At dawn, a pale and weak Anne was praying, while her ladies prepare for the day. She refused to eat again; and finally, Kingston arrived with news about her execution:  “Madame, the King have decided that you will not be burned, but to have a quicker death by decapitation; in his mercy the King grants you the wish of being executed by sword and the executioner of Calais is already on his way from Dover.  The Queen swallowed her pain when she heard Kingston’s words, and then asked calmly:  When am I to die?  The answer was: at 9 o’clock.  Anne nodded, and after that, she dismissed Kingston, so she would be able to get ready for her final walk in this life.    Anne decided to leave this world in her best fashion, with precious jewels, she wanted to look as the Queen of England, she wanted the people of England to see her as she really was, radiant, proud, vain, elegant, but most of all, innocent.   But suddenly, Kingston came with news that her execution was postponed, due to the still not arrival of the French executioner; now her execution would be at noon.  Anne was shocked by the news and worried too; she told Kingston that “she was expecting to be dead by noon, and by then pass her pain”.  Kingston reassured her that there would be no pain, that the blow, would be so fast.  When she heard that, her mind collapsed, and she replied that “she knew that the executioner was very good and that in any case she had only a little neck”.  And then she laughed; like in the past when she tried to hide her tears when she saw her King admiring and flirting with other women at court, even in her presence.

The hours passed slowly, the noon arrive and Anne was ready; looking stunning and beautiful, even when she was thinner and pale due to all the sorrow.  But once again… the execution was postponed.  For Anne, this was probably a sign that she must be pardoned; but sadly, Kingston assured her that the desire of the King was to postpone the execution until the morning of the next day.   Now, Anne had to deal with one more night of agony… her last night on earth.

By 3 am, Queen Anne was awake, saying her last prayers; and by 8 am, she was once again ready to face her death in the scaffold.  When Kingston arrive for her, she looked calmed, he was impressed by her brave spirit and commanding presence.  Finally, he leaded the way for the Queen towards her last walk on earth.

When the doors opened, Anne faced her fate, many came to see her die; and she was determined to give her best in her last performance as Queen of England; while she walked, she never showed fear, she did not cry, she was calmed, with a peaceful shine in her eyes.  She was innocent, and with every step she proved that to everyone.  When she arrived to the first steps of the scaffold, she was nervous, she saw the executioner, the straw that would absorb her blood and with fearful eyes she tried to find the sword that would end with her life, but she did not find it.  She climbed and finally, she was at the center of the scaffold.  With elegance, she asked Kingston not to give the signal to her death until she says a few words to the crowd.  Kingston agreed, and then…Anne gave her final speech:

Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best.

 

After that, her ladies, in total distress and with tears in their eyes, approached her and helped to take off her necklace, earrings, to hide her beautiful black hair in a bonnet.  When they finished, Anne looked at them with kindness, she asked forgiveness if she acted harsh at some point, and beg for a good treatments of her remains after her death.  Her ladies nodded positively, and showed her in their tears that they will guard her body until the end of the trail.   Finally, they abandoned the scaffold, leaving the Queen alone with her executioner; who also approached her, with respect, kindness and chivalry, something unusual in events like the execution of a prisoner for high treason.   This man was drained by the beauty, elegance, courage and dignity of Anne Boleyn; he bowed, and gently he said to her:  Madame, forgive me for what I must do.  With a sweet smile, Anne replied:  Gladly, and here is your purse.  Following the protocol of executions, Anne paid the swordsman, buying a quick and merciful death.  After that, the executioner took his place behind the young and brave Queen, whose gentle but strong presence, took over the environment on her last moments, a silence, dominated the surroundings, everyone was captivated by her, they had tears in their eyes, in her last hours, Anne earned their love and respect.   Suddenly, the sound of one of the Tower Bells ended the silence, and Anne knew it was time to say goodbye to life.:

“And Thus I take my leave of the world, and of you, I heartily desire you all to pray for me”

With that, every single soul that was there on that morning kneeled before their Queen, supporting her, showing her respect and sympathy.   Anne took a deep breath and kneeled too; reconciled with her fate, she started to pray:  Lord Jesus receive my soul, to Christ I commend my soul, Jesus receive my soul,  To Christ I commend my soul… As human, Anne feared the blow, and death.  She kept looking behind her, fearing that the executioner would kill her before she was ready to go.  But the executioner was determined to give Anne a merciful death, and he told a white lie to calm her fears… “Boy, Fetch my sword!  Anne looked forward, and when she saw that there was not a boy in front of her… she knew the time was near…she looked up, to the sky, where her brother, her friends, and the babies she lost were waiting for her to arrive; she kept her eyes on the sky, and finally, a single blow finished her magnificent life.

With her death, a legend would live on, because Anne Boleyn was a woman ahead of her time.  She was the equal of a King; she was independent, brave, determined, wise, elegant and a Queen, in every sense of the word.

 

 

 

~~The State of Anne Boleyn~~The Queen’s Pregnancy in 1533

June 25, 2012 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, Tudor Y Writer's Group by Queen Anne Tudory

The State of Anne Boleyn

The Queen’s Pregnancy in 1533

                When Anne Boleyn-Tudor was crowned Queen Consort of England on June 1st, 1533, it was beginning to be well-known that she was with child. The announcement was made in May and her figure was showing that this was to be true. Yet, her vanity suffered. Anne had to add another panel to her skirts thus she “complained bitterly about the loss of her figure, but her father told her bluntly to thank God she found herself in such a condition,” (Weir, 256). Overall, Anne’s pregnancy had progressed well. She managed to survive the procession and ceremony of her coronation with poise and gracefulness that a Queen ought to.

In July, it was reported that Anne Boleyn was in good spirits and health.  The King, who usually prepared to go on progress during this time, stayed near to her in case he was needed with the birth. He hunted in London and ordered prayers in the churches to ask for the safe delivery of his son. Astrologers and seers were summoned to consult what the baby’s sex would be. Only one dared to predict it was not a boy, William Glover. He stated that he had a vision of the Queen “bearing a ‘woman child and a prince of the land’ (Weir, 256). Naturally, this was very unpopular.

By August, things were changing in Anne and Henry’s relationship. The Queen was preparing herself for the birth of her child and was regularly in prayer for the safe arrival of him. Henry was at a point in the marriage, where he was unfaithful to Anne. Henry would not have been receiving such sexual attention from Anne in order to protect her and the baby. As well, the King would have become very satisfied in his relationship that he could readily seek comfort in another woman’s bed. This was a bizarre idea, but he was the King of England and his needs had to be fulfilled in his mind.  This unknown woman was reported to be very beautiful, according to Chapuys, but truthfully these rumours would have been spread to upset the Queen, regardless. When Anne found out, she was not meek or mild, as Henry would expect his wife to be. Anne made a fuss and was greatly angry with his actions. He told her that “she must shut her eyes and endure as more worthy persons” (Weir, 256). Truthfully, this would have been a hard for Anne to take considering what the former Queen, Catherine of Aragon was like. Henry cruelly was making a comparison between her and his former wife.  The king avoided Anne for three days and then there was much coldness and grumbling between them. This was new dimension in their relationship. Anne was used to being in power in their relationship for over seven years and now as a wife, she was expected to act as a good, quiet and faithful wife. This would have been a great challenge and realization to Anne. Their relationship was far from over or even on the rocks. They both truly loved each other. However, It is safe to say that Henry, although still madly in love with Anne, was finding her arrogance and outspoken nature trying. This was something, in his mind, that would have to be remedied.

In the middle of August, the King and Queen headed to Greenwich. At this palace, Anne took her place in confinement. The chambers were readily prepared for the Queen. They had rich tapestries of gold and silver threads and lovely, lush carpets.  The curtains were left loose at only one spot, where the Queen was able to order it left open a bit to let some fresh air in. This, however, was not advised. There was a fear that light and fresh air could harm the baby, during this time period. There were also precautions taken to watch the design of the tapestries. Animals and human figures were not allowed because it was believed that they could trigger ideas in the Queen’s mind that would cause her child to be deformed. As a result, simple, repetitive patterns were chosen. Anne had a lovely canopy bed that matched the rest of the interior design in the room. There were also gold and silver plates, cups, and bowls in the room. They brought in crucifixes, candlesticks, and images to create an altar. Her room was lovely and ornate, but one could argue that it was a glorified “dungeon.”

On August 26th, Anne had a special mass to pray for the safe delivery of her child.  After this, Anne and her ladies returned to the outer chamber. The Queen’s chamberlain prayed for the safe delivery of the child. They enjoyed wine and some spices before Anne and her select ladies went into her bedchamber, also known as the inner chamber. The Queen would be confined in her room, free from all males, until her child was born.

Anne was not kept in her chambers for too long, but still confined none-the-less. On September 7th 1533, shortly after 3 o’clock in the afternoon, a healthy baby girl was born. They named her Elizabeth after Henry’s and Anne’s mothers. It was obvious that both Anne and Henry were disappointed with the sex of the baby. Yet, Elizabeth was strong and healthy “with Tudor red hair and her mother’s features” (Weir, 258). When Henry came to see the baby for the first time, Anne apologized to him. He carefully replied saying, “You and I are both young and by God’s grace, boys will follow.” (Weir, 258).

Anne Boleyn-Tudor had delivered her first child and it was a girl. While this was a disappointment, she still truly loved her child.  God only knew what troublesome years that would follow at this time, but one thing was for sure, Elizabeth Tudor would have an amazing life ahead of her.

 

Sources:

The Anne Boleyn Files: The Birth of Elizabeth I http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/6500/the-birth-of-elizabeth-i/

Weir, Allison. The Six Wives of Henry VIII.  London: The Bodley Head Ltd. 1991.

Meyer, G.J The Tudors. New York: Random House Publishing Group. 2011.

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn. Part II

May 17, 2012 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

May 7th 1536: First Sunday in Prison.

The first Sunday of Anne Boleyn in the Tower was as hard as the previous days; she spent the first days of captivity in the company of ladies she did not trust and displeasing servants. Her temper was extremely erratic; she went from anger towards sadness in very short periods of time.  She even dared to say  that it would not rain in England again until she was released.  Kingston avoided visiting her and she was terribly alone with her thoughts and fears.

Anne wanted to have the Sacraments in the Oratory on her room, but Cromwell refused. He knew that if that were given to Anne, she would be start to appear as a matyr and a heroine by those around her, and his plan was to keep Anne as the unrepentant harlot. But later, her insistence won, and she was allowed to have the Oratory in her room, with all the elements needed. Of course, this caused some goverment issues.

When Kingston finally decided to visit her; they sat by the fireplace and started to talk  “shaking her head three or four times,” she thought back on the dark events of the last few days: “I to be a Queen and as cruelly handled as was never seen!” She again repeated her shock that she had never been formally questioned or allowed to plead her innocence before the Privy Council. They could not prove anything against her, she explained, because “they can bring no witnesses,”since is evident truth that one cannot bring witnesses for something that did not occur”.

Evidently deciding that she was being treated unjustly, the Queen brightened up and began to talk of pleasanter things, but it was a temporary. In the end, her mind wandered back to religion. “I think the most part of England prays for me,” she said; and that was probably an exaggeration, even when she was certainly popular in parts of London and the south, there were other parts of the country where she was profoundly hated. Still, she drew great comfort from their prayers, real or imagined. She told Kingston if she were to die, she would not be afraid. “I shall be in Heaven, for I have done many good deeds in my days.”

 

May 15th 1536; The Trial.

On May 15th 1536, twenty-six peers of the realm congregated in the King’s Hall of the Tower of London to serve as judges in the trial of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England. Presiding, in his role as Lord High Steward, was the Duke of Norfolk, representing the King, who had chosen to absent himself.   In the centre of the Hall, a chair had been placed on a raised platform before a bar. Nearby, glistening in the light was the Queen’s crown; probably the one made of gold and decorated with sapphires, rubies and pearls with crosses and fleurs-de-lis around the rim, which the Queen had ordered for her coronation three years earlier. In the specially constructed stands placed all around the Hall, two thousand of the citizenry of London had gathered to watch. Finally, the Duke of Norfolk announced, “Gentleman Galore of the Tower, bring in your prisoner.”

 

The Queen entered the room, accompanied by the ladies she was forced to have and the Yeoman Galore of the Tower, carrying his axe, with its blade turned away from her face to signify that she had not yet been condemned. Dressed elegantly in a gown of black velvet with a crimson damask petticoat, and small cap with black and white feathers, the Queen bore all the hallmarks of her education;  elegant,  imperious and very grand.  The French Bishop of Riez,  was impressed by the Queen’s behavior: “She walked forth in fearful beauty,” he wrote later, “and seemed unmoved. She came not as one who had to defend her cause, but with the bearing of one coming to great honor.”

 The official charges against her were incest, adultery and High Treason. Contrary to popular belief, witchcraft was never included in the indictments, nor was it implied that Lord Rochford had been the biological father of the prince his royal sister had miscarried earlier that year. Neither was the allegation that the Queen had poisoned the King’s first wife and attempted to poison his two children, Lady Mary and the Duke of Richmond, although both were widely reported by the Queen’s enemies at the time, after three years of rumor-mongering by the Spanish ambassador on the subject. The expected charges of adultery with Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Richard Page had been dropped, very possibly due to Thomas Cromwell’s friendships with the two men.

Throughout the reading of the indictment, in all its explicit and excruciating detail, the Queen did not “exhibit any token of impatience, or grief, or cowardice,” according to another eyewitness. As each separate charge was put to her, she entered a plea of not guilty. Denied a defense counsel since she was accused of treason, the Queen then had a chance at rebuttal. Her answers were generally short, sober and, according to the Spanish ambassador, “plausible.”

 

The Attorney General then rose to make the case for the prosecution. No witnesses were brought against her, nor were she permitted to call any in her own defense. After a relatively short period, the aristocratic judges were asked to reach a decision. To a man, they returned a verdict of guilty on all charges and with the verdict returned, the process of sentencing could begin. Firstly, she was stripped of all her titles; barring that of queen and she was asked to relinquish the crown into the hands of her judges, which she did so with apparent calm. With or without the actual crown, Anne’s boast a few days earlier that nothing and no-one could stop her dying a queen was to be fulfilled. Then, it fell upon the Duke of Norfolk to pass the death penalty upon her and she was sentenced to be burned or beheaded, depending on the King’s pleasure.  The Queen heard this ruling without any sign of distress, but this was not a reaction echoed in the rest of the courtroom. Norfolk himself had been unexpectedly weeping as he delivered the sentence and from the gallery the Queen’s childhood governess, Mrs. Orchard, “shrieked out dreadfully” and became hysterical; one of the judges, the Earl of Northumberland, collapsed and had to be carried from the hall. Some of the jury was unhappy at the sentence being handed down in the disjunctive and the Lord Mayor of London broke rank by subsequently asserting that the whole thing had been a charade to “get rid of the Queen at any price.” In all this scandal, the Queen rose from her chair once more, she looked at the judges with pride and serenity, and said:

“My lords, I do not say that my opinion ought to be preferred to your judgment; but if you have reasons to justify it, they must be other than those which have been produced in court, for I am wholly innocent of all matters of which I have been accused, so that I cannot call upon God to pardon me. 

I have always been faithful to the King my lord; but perhaps I have not always shown to him such a perfect humility and reverence as his graciousness and courtesy deserved, and the honor he hath done me required. I confess that I have often had jealous fantasies against him which I had not wisdom or strength to repress. But God knows that I have not otherwise trespassed against him. 

Do not think I say this in the hope of prolonging my life, for He who saveth from death has taught me how to die, and will strengthen my faith. 

Think not, however, that I am so bewildered in mind that I do not care to vindicate my innocence. I knew that it would avail me little to defend it at the last moment if I had not maintained it all my life long, as much as ever Queen did. Still the last words out of my mouth shall justify my honor. 

As for my brother and the other gentlemen who are unjustly condemned, I would willingly die to save them; but as that is not the King’s pleasure, I shall accompany them in death. And then Afterwards, I shall live in eternal peace and joy without end, where I shall pray to God for the King and for you, my lords. 

The judge of the entire world, in whom abounds justice and truth knows all, and through His love I beseech that He will have compassion on those who have condemned me to this death.”

 With that, she  left the room, accompanied by the same delegation with which she had entered. This time, the Yeoman’s axe was turned towards her.

May 17th 1536: These Bloody Days……

The queen was already aware of her fate; a fate that she knew was unfair, cruel and undeserved. But in the morning of May 17th, she was not ready to endure the fate of her beloved brother and of those who will die unjustly.

For some years, there has been confusion about whether or not Anne did actually witness the executions as the legend states but the Spanish ambassador was quite insistent that she saw the five men die.  What is certainly false in the points of that legend is the idea that the Queen was forced to witness the butchery of her brother and her friends. To have force her across the Tower from her rooms to the Byward or the Bell Tower would have required significant strength and she would had created a scene that neither Cromwell nor Kingston wanted.  Therefore seems clear that Anne wanted to watch or, perhaps more accurately, felt that she should watch. Nothing in her life had prepared her for what she was about to witness.Executed in order of rank, it was the Queen’s brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, George Boleyn addressed crowd in a loud, clear, confident voice that carried across the crowd for the duration of his fairly lengthy speech:  “Christian men,” he began, “I am born under the law, and judged under the law, and die under the law, and the law has condemned me. Men do common say that I have been a setter forth of the Word of God, and one that have favored the Gospel of Christ; and because I would not that God’s word should be slandered by me, I say unto you all, that if I had followed God’s word in deed as I did read it and set it forth to my power, I had not come to this. I did read the Gospel of Christ, but I did not follow it. If I had, I had been a live man among you. Therefore, I pray you; masters all, for God’s sake stick to the Truth and follow it, for one good follower is worth three readers, as God knoweth.”  Then kneeling down by the block, he positioned himself and prepared to die. The axe-man, seemed nervous at the moment, he failed in the task of give a quick death and it took three strokes of the axe to severe Lord Rochford’s head from his shoulders. The Queen, his friends and those waiting to come after him on the scaffold saw it all.   Can you imagine the pain in the Queen’s heart?  For sure her heart was breaking in pieces; Anne Boleyn was no longer the proud Queen of England; she was a sister who just witnessed the brutal death of her beloved brother; without being executed yet, Anne Boleyn was already dying.

There are no reports of how Anne spent the rest of that dreadful day; but it is reported by her ladies, that during the night; she was in a deep spiritual meditation, praying and silently weeping; now; her hours were counted, and all that was left for her, was to wait.

 

May 18th 1536:  Execution Delayed

Anne woke up almost at 3:00 a.m. on May 18th 1536; totally sure that this was her last day on earth.  Her ladies, who at first did not show compassion for her; now were really close and understanding to her, they watched her during all her days in prison;  and they learned more about a Queen who was suffering, than all they already know thanks to rumors and of course, the “facts” that were placed upon her.  They started to saw the woman, more than the proud queen; and that woman was showing true pain, true sadness, a very stoic spirituality, closer to a martyr; too closer to entire innocence.

 

At times, Anne seemed anxious  to die and those around her saw that as a sign that she despised God’s gift of life and she rather piously informed some of her ladies that this was not so, simply that she had every confidence that God would give her the courage to die bravely. Had she had any possibility of living with honor, she would undoubtedly have taken it. After all, she was still young and she had a mother and a daughter whose lives were about to be destroyed by the events of  her death.  Seeing her in this mindset, her galore wrote admiringly: “I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death.”

 

There had been some distress when the Queen realized she had incorrectly assumed she was to be executed later in the day. She began by asking Sir William why she was still alive, when she had hoped to be dead and past her pain by noon. He attempted to comfort the Queen by informing her that there would be no pain, since the executioner from France was a skilled expert in the art of execution by the sword. The Queen looked upon the ruffled Constable with amusement: “Yes, I heard say the executioner is very good, and I have a little neck.” With that, she put her hands around the tiny, swan-like neck  and laughed.  Her emotions were erratic, but in the rest of the day she was calmed; she had no more to expect, only wait for the inevitable.

Even when Anne and one of her ladies in the Tower; The constable’s wife, Lady Kingston were not close at all; the Queen knew the woman was on very friendly terms with the Lady Mary; before mass she asked Lady Kingston to come to her and talk privately.  She asked Lady Kingston to go to the Lady Mary, and asked her if, out of charity, she would convey a private message from her to Mary, asking her stepdaughter’s forgiveness for any acts of cruelty or unkindness she had inflicted upon her in days gone-by. Lady Kingston was surprised by this and perhaps knew that the apology was not much use, since there is no sign that Mary ever accepted it. Indeed, quite the contrary. Three recent scholars, G.W. Bernard (a biographer of Anne’s) and David Loades and Linda Porter (biographers of Mary), have both insisted that the oft-told stories of Anne “persecuting” Mary are more or less nonsense; Bernard argues that any mishandling of Mary from 1532 – 1536 was ordered by the King, not the Queen, whilst both Loades and the usually-sympathetic Porter argue either that Mary exaggerated the whole thing under the malign, hyperbolic influence of her confidante and mentor, Eustace Chapuys, the ferociously anti-Boleyn Spanish ambassador.

The Queen’s final Mass was an emotive scene, after receiving the Sacrament, Anne swore on her innocence, repeating in all fervor that she never acted against the King, and that she was always faithful and clean in her marriage.  something which, more than anything else would have sealed the matter in her favor in the eyes of many of her equally religious contemporaries. Anne, like most of the people she knew, believed fervently in Transubstantiation and so, in effect, she had just sworn upon the Body of Our Lord that she was innocent.

As the warm summer night drew in, the Queen spent the time in prayer andcarefully re-selecting the outfit she had chosen to die in. The time of the execution was at last brought to her and doubly confirmed: nine o’clock the following morning and it would be within the walls of the fortress, not outside it, as had been the case for her brother and friends. She thanked Kingston for bringing her this news and weakly smile to him.  Now there was no turn back, or hopes of be pardoned; her fate was sealed.

 

May 19th 1536:  The Last Day of the Queen.

The dawn was near; and the Queen was awake even before that; she rose in the early hours of the morning to say her prayers; the sky was still full of summer starts, and the breeze and gentle and warmth outside.  All was quiet, like if time itself were mourning already for the imminent death of Anne Boleyn.

When it came to it, Sir William Kingston, usually so efficient and so conscientious in the execution of his duties, found the task of telling the Queen that the guards had arrived to escort her to the scaffold, unexpectedly difficult. The good Constable began to arrange over his words; the Queen, who had just finished eating a light breakfast after hearing morning Mass, calmly told him not to worry;  because she was ready. She seemed far from fear, although she kept nervously smoothing imaginary wrinkles in her outfit.

The Queen, accompanied by four young women of her own household, left the apartments where she had been both crowned and condemned, and walked down the long corridor and the flight of stairs to the outside and in to the fresh May morning air. She wore a low-cut dress of black, pinched in at that famously tiny waist, with another crimson kirtle. Black, the color of death, and crimson, the color of martyrdom;  Over her shoulders was a very beautiful robe, trimmed with ermine  a fur reserved only for members of the Royal Family. The annulment of her marriage had been carried out on the shakiest of grounds – so shaky, in fact that the government was not even sure of the legality of stripping her of her title of queen. After her death, she would still be referred to in official documents as “the late Queen,” an honor never accorded to Katherine of Aragon or Catherine Howard.

 

The doors opened to reveal a glorious morning  with the promise of the most beautiful of English summers.  It would be hard to die on a day so lovely, but the Queen stepped out with confidence, to a sea of faces perhaps about two or three thousand in number. As she appeared, some in the crowd gasped, other crossed themselves, others began to talk or whisper, but there was none of the jeering and hissing recorded in modern-day dramatizations of the execution.

Many people might have take advantage at facing such a sight, since in those moments they were free to yell and have fun with the royal misery; but the crowd actually made matters easier for the Queen. This was the environment she had always been most comfortable. She knew how to handle being stared at, being critiqued, being watched.  Never more so than now, the crowd observations meant that she must deliver a magnificent performance. And the Queen was determined to make sure that her last act in life was perfect.

She was still young, but the dramatic weight loss of the last year now seemed to endow her with an almost ethereal quality, making her large, dark eyes stand out with even more presence than usual. Her flowing brunette hair remained as lustrous as ever, swept up into a head-dress in “the English style.” Two hundred yeoman of the King’s Guard led the Queen from her lodgings to the scaffold and as she passed by the crowd, she left a lasting impression. A Portuguese merchant, who had seen her on several occasions before, remarked: “Never had the Queen looked so beautiful.” A French bishop, also amongst the spectators, wrote: “Her face and complexion never were so beautiful.” She occasionally looked behind her to where her ladies were “shedding many tears,” so much so in fact that they looked “weak with anguish,” and more than one spectator was afraid they might faint.  In contrast, the Queen seemed quite calm. “Her looks were cheerful,” recorded Lord Crispin de Milherve, who was standing near the black-clad scaffold, and he, like many, were more than impressed with her bravery.

By now, she had reached the first steps of the scaffold and she lightly lifted her skirts to walk up properly to her final earthly stage. There, she came face to face with the Swordsman, an expert in the French-style of execution with a double-edged sword. She would kneel, but remain upright.   The Queen was finally in the presence of the last man in her life. Now, at the very last, it was this complete stranger who was going to  give her a death that would buy for her an immortality that many other queens would envy. Looking at him, Anne saw a quiet, respectful angel of death.  It turned out that, in that moment, some form of sacred communion must have passed between victim and killer, for the executioner was “himself distressed” as he knelt before the Queen and went through the ritual of begging her forgiveness for the act he must carry out upon her. “Madam,” he said, head bowed, “I crave Your Majesty’s pardon, for what I am ordered to do is my duty.” She answered him in French and forgave him entirely, as was expected of her. Then, she turned to the crowd and gave a short speech:

Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.

 

Anne’s ladies in waiting were by now practically in shock as they removed the Queen’s fur-lined robe, necklace, earrings, rings and prayer book. They were shaking so badly that the Queen had to remove her headdress herself, to reveal that the long, glorious brunette tresses had been swept up beneath a net. She turned to say goodbye to her women, asking their forgiveness if she had ever been harsh to them; they protested, wept and promised to pray for her. Then, they stepped back and huddled at the far end of the scaffold, sobbing.   The crowd too, so unusually for a Tudor execution, “could not refrain from tears,” and many were now openly crying.

 For just a moment, that for many of the watchers that morning seemed a long time; Anne Boleyn remained in silence, looking at the crowd; like waiting or maybe saying good bye to life, people and the world in absolute privacy.  She looked around, for brief seconds; and everyone joined her in that tense and dramatic silence that took over the surroundings, until the sound of one of the Tower Bells broke it.

The executioner stepped up behind her and bowed again, with perfect Gallic chivalry. “Your Majesty,” he whispered in French, the language of her childhood, “I beg you to kneel and say your prayers.” The Queen smiled and nodded, kneeling down upon a cushion that had already been left for her upon the sawdust-strewn ground of the scaffold. She was not bound or restrained in any way. Fastidious to the last, she carefully tucked the hem of her gown under her feet, worried that it might billow up indecorously after her body collapsed in its death throes. There was a temporary moment of nerves, when she glanced behind her, apparently worried that the executioner would strike before she was ready. He assured her, with great kindness, that he would tell her before the fatal blow was delivered. It was a generous and merciful lie.  While she was getting ready to say her final prayers, she looked once again to the crowd, and what she saw, was indeed a balm that made her misery less bitter; she saw two thousand people sink to their knees, impressed by her courage, moved by her plight or deeply respectful of the high and mighty title she still held; most likely a mixture of all three. Even Thomas Cromwell, who had helped bring her to this place, removed his cap and knelt; only the Duke of Suffolk and the King’s bastard son, the Duke of Richmond, remained obstinately and disrespectfully standing.

Quietly, deftly, the executioner removed his shoes and took out his sword from the pile of straw, where he had tactfully hidden it from the Queen’s view. Her weeping ladies in waiting sobbed at the scaffold’s edge, but steeled themselves to their pre-agreed task. They had a cloth ready, to rush forward and cover the Queen’s body and head once she had been killed; “Fearing that their mistress might be handled unworthily by inhuman men,” A Bishop wrote: “they forced themselves to do this duty.” 

Denied the comfort of a priest at the end by the government’s orders, in retaliation for her refusal to confess or accept the charges against her; the Queen started to say her prayers:  “Jesu, have pity on my soul. My God, have pity on my soul. To Jesus Christ, I commend my spirit.”   Anne kept looking over her shoulder, she was near the end and it was harder to keep composure even when she was forcing herself to remain calmed; sometimes she looked at the executioner, only to find him in his place, with his hands empty; that confused her but at the same time made her feel sure that the man would keep his word.

The executioner and Kingston exchanged looks for a few seconds, and finally, the order was given. The executioner kept his plan of being kind with his victim and shouted to a young man in the front steps of the scaffold “Boy, fetch my sword!”  Anne immediately looked forward, and stopped looking behind her; it was like a dark fairytale moment, when some kind of magic made her free from all nervous stress and reconciles her with death. The executioner stealthily picked up the sword and swung it around his head two or three times to pick up momentum in order to make a clean stroke at the royal head. He had already decided that he would not follow the custom of displaying the decapitated head to the crowd, nor would he utter the traditional, triumphalism cry of: “So perish all the King’s enemies!” He would let the ladies step forward, cover the head with a sheet and the body with another, whilst the priest was fetched and the great cannons fired out the news from Tower Wharf that the Queen of England was dead. Neither would he claim his executioner’s prerogative of being allowed to take the dead woman’s clothes and jewelry as his own; he would leave her to be buried in them and when Algernon Bertram Mitford oversaw the exhumation of Anne’s body in the 1870s, he was to find a few moldering pieces of fabric which had once been the final costume of this most unlucky and celebrated royal woman.

Finally, on a last swing, the sword descended. It sliced through her neck in one clean, merciful stroke and the head that wore the crown now rolled in the dust of the scaffold. Sic gloria transit mundi The executioner crossed himself, the ladies rushed forwards, the crowd remained silent and, high above their heads, the cannon fire roared out over London. A solicitor in the crowd wrote: “The Queen died boldly. God take her to His rest.”

 But even when the Queen received a merciful death; it was not over.  The King never settle the acquisition of a proper coffin for her remains, and her body was left on the scaffold for almost an hour, under the guard of her ladies, a priest and one of the Tower guards, until someone on the chapel could find a coffin.  Finally, an arrow chest was found, and there were no more options available.  Feeling devastated and of course disturbed; Anne’s ladies had the hard task of carry her body and head towards the Chapel, while the priest prepared himself to pray for her inside.   Finally, after a long, dramatic and tired walk, the ladies enter the chapel carrying Anne’s body and head; they were stained in her blood also; and for sure that was a moment that would haunt them forever.  With some effort, her ladies placed her body in the small arrow chest, and since there was no space to place her head when it should be; it had to be placed near her arm.

 The dark spectacle was finally over, and inside the Chapel St Peter ad Vincula; all was silence, tears and prayers for the death Queen.   Her body was covered in the narrow chest; traces of blood were staining the sheets.  And while only 4 ladies and a priest were praying for the soul of Anne Boleyn; King Henry VIII were having breakfast and elaborating plans for his engagements with Jane Seymour.  That attitude was so abominable and cruel, that even some courtiers started to see Jane with evil eyes; many at court considered disgusting that the King had a wedding almost ready when the blood of his late wife was still soaking the dark wood of the scaffold.  Just eleven days after Anne’s brutal and undeserved death (murder); the King married the pale, thin and ordinary Jane Seymour.

 A few miles away, the household of Princess Elizabeth was disbanded; the poor little girl was left behind, without a mother, without a father; with absolutely no explanation of what happened, or why.   With only two and a half years of age, Elizabeth was pushed in a cruel environment, with a father that murdered her mother; and with no idea of what her future would be.

Anne Boleyn left a legacy that marked the history of England forever; her life was intense and her death was unjust.  But she, in time, showed the world that her power, her spirit and presence would live on; because her beloved daughter took over the throne; she became the greatest monarch England ever had; Anne’s Virgin Queen, with her Golden Age of Prosperity and Wealth; gave Anne Boleyn, her peaceful rest.

Sources for this Articles:

http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.com/ ( By Garreth Russel.  Is a magnificent blog, certainly my inspiration for this artice; some of its components are based on his great job.)

http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/2670/anne-boleyn-and-bloody-mary/

www.youtube.com.  Days that Shocked the World ( May 19th 1536)

http://theloveforhistory.wordpress.com/people/anne-boleyn/

www.therudorswiki.com

http://garethrussellcidevant.blogspot.com/2010/05/may-18th-1536-threshold-of-eternity.html

www.youtube.com/EricIves ( Eric Ives)

 

 

The End of The Fairy Tale

May 16, 2012 in Historical Fact, Historical Notes On Anne Boleyn, The Final Days of Queen Anne Boleyn by Queen Anne Boleyn (QAB)

*I am in the garden tower of Greenwich Palace,  in the company of Lady Bryan; I look at the window, while I hold Elizabeth in my arms, I am dying inside, but when she looks at me I smile… She does not need to see my fear and my despair. In silence, I pray God that Henry comes… I talked to his Chaplain, he told me he would be here by noon… and he is always on time for everything. Suddenly… I see him, walking through the garden. Now is the perfect time to talk to him and bring back the reason to his mind

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~I am in no mood to deal with pleasantries nor do I care for small talk. I walk to the gardens at Greenwich palace, my face flushed with anger and resentment. I know that Anne is here with my daughter, and I know that this meeting will not go well for her. I see Anne open up the tower door and approach me I stop and look into the eyes that I once loved.

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*When I see him right in front of me, my blood freezes. I see hate in his eyes but I hope with all my heart that the love we know is still alive in him for me, make him understand, I start to walk towards him slowly, with Elizabeth in my arms* Henry; Please, Henry please listen to me, we need to talk; I beg you. *I look at him with all the love I still feel for him, even when he treats me with cruelty*

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~I see that she has my daughter in her arms. It is my daughter not hers she has lost that right with all that vileness that is her. Her very sight I used to love now sickens me. I walk closer to her standing inches in front of her face as she clutches Elizabeth in her arms tighter. I raise my hand as if to strike her, than pull it back. Clenching my jaw I look with malice intent on her~ ”Oh yes we need to talk, but your days of begging me are over, I have listened to your lies and deceit for far too long lady, and I use that term loosely, Anne

 

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*I can’t control my fear anymore, and less my tears; Henry tries to walk away but I stop him, holding Elizabeth with all my strength* No! I never lied to you! My enemies have poisoned your mind against me…. I love you… I loved you before and I love you still. Please Henry, listen to the voice of reason. You can not judge me like this… there is no reason. I am loyal and faithful to you.

King Henry y VIII (H*R)

~I feel her reach and grab my arm and I knock it away. She clinches Elizabeth with one arm and my face turns even redder. I turn to face her once more.~ ”You speak of poison, poison….. Lady you have poisoned my reign and my kingdom with your very presence, the love I bared you is withered with your vile corruption” ~I stand close to her and tears of anger swell in my eyes~ ”You made many promises and failed to deliver, need I remind you that you promised me a son, but you…..you…….gave that body that was so mine to others. Dear God Woman do you not see what you have done to this heart you so once claimed to love?”

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*I use all the force of my fear and desperation to keep him close to me so he can see I am not lying; while I struggle to keep Elizabeth safe with me, I can feel her little arms holding tight around my neck, for sure my poor little girl is afraid too* I can still give you a son Henry… I just need one more chance… one more. Henry please, after everything we have been to each other… you know I love you! There is no other man in my life; only you Henry, only you, always you! My body, my heart, and my soul belong only to you… Can’t you see that?  I do not even understand why you  have changed like this; I gave you no reason! My love if you only open your heart to me again, and come to me… you  will see that we will conceive the son you desire, that I desire to have with you

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~I watch as Elizabeth squirms in her arms and wraps her little arms around her neck. I am tired of Anne’s voice and her empty promises~ ”Lady I have waited long enough for you to give this kingdom a son, it is all your fault, I have heard you are called the great concubine, now I know why, to think I loved you, to think I trusted you. ~I bite my lip in frustration tasting blood and feeling the vein on the side of my head bulge~ ”You mean nothing to me now, nothing!!! I said Woman no more begging I grow weary of it, Nooooo more!!!! ~I shake my head and ball my fist~ ”When I look at you I see nothing more than deceit, you have ended this Anne, this is all on you and your empty promises and sins”

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*Once again he walks away, I follow him still holding Elizabeth, she is my support and my only reason to beg like this for my life, because I know that he desires my death…. he wants me death so he can move on and be with her, with her!; Finally I reach him and once again I block his path and with our daughter in my arms* Please Henry, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to you and less… please don’t do this to our child. I know you love her, please do not cause her the pain of living without a mother, without your love and care. Please, after everything we were… Henry please, I love you, just give me one more chance… just one more.  Please, For God’s sake! Look in to my eyes, you will see my truth; the truth of my love for you; please Henry, don’t do this to us.  *His eyes are so cold and empty, but I refuse to believe all is lost*  Then if not for us… please be merciful for the sake of our daughter

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~She has displeased me beyond measure and words. She blocks me and I take everything in my power not to shove her if not for Elizabeth I would have.~ ”Please do not beg I swear it does not become a Queen, enjoy that title while you may, because I assure you it wont be for long” ~I see tears in her eyes, but I cannot let them distract me from what must be done, she has been acting all of this time , as she is doing the same now. She has no shame.~ ”I am doing nothing to my child, you have wronged her more than I ever could, for what you stand accused of you know there is no repentance for in my eyes, perhaps God will but not me….Never me!!!

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*I block his way out one more time, I will not give up, I am innocent, I love him and I will not give up* I am innocent of all those vile rumors against me because they are just that! Vile words against me! I am your true wife; I was true to you in the beginning and during all our life together. Please Henry, I beg you; please.

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~She blocks my way once more and is more that I can stand; my hand goes for her throat. Her eyes widen~ ”If you value what hours you have left I will warn you not to block my path once more” ~Elizabeth starts to cry and I know I have gone to far I release Anne at once~ ”All you say is lies NO more futile pleads, ~I stare coldly at her~ ”I should have never divorced Catherine” ~I continue up the stone pat

Queen Anne Boleyn (A*R)

*I can not stop him anymore, Elizabeth is crying and I can not force her to see her parents fight like this anymore; I failed but I will not stay in silence* Your Majesty!!! *I start to cry openly* Your Majesty I beseech you!! *He does not respond, he does not look back* I fall to my knees, holding Elizabeth, giving her comfort while I try not to fall apart; God Help me; for sure he will ask for my blood; he will not try to ask me for a divorce after what happened with Catherine; I am so afraid, Now Elizabeth is my only comfort; I know he wants me dead I can feel it, because he wants her now, he wants a son but not with me; May Jesus have Mercy on me

King Henry VIII (H*R)

~I hear her last pleas but I am done believing any of what she has to say. It is all falsehoods. I stand resolute and firm, there is no going back. Anne has sealed her fate and I shall never falter in handing out the sentence and punishment of her crime. Even though it breaks my heart sometimes a King must make hard choices that are not easy. I say goodbye to my once true love, no more in my heart, soul and mind.

**************** END***************