Today is a big day, maybe the most important in my young life.. A Queen will be executed, no other than the infamous goggle-eyed whore, that woman Anne Boleyn, who -they say- destroyed the life of good Queen Katherine. Here I stand, holding the hand of my mother, who woke me up before dawn in order to secure a front-row place to watch justice being served and this evil woman die at last- that’s what she said.
The time has come, the crowd is shivering from excitement, and there she comes, the adulteress, the woman who slept with her brother, the one who defied the Pope himself. I can almost see her and my mother whispers to me: “You shall always remember this day, the first time you see a Queen -ever her- in flesh and blood”. I step on my toes to see better and here she is. Anne Boleyn. A petite, slender woman, still young and beautiful, wearing grey and crimson. She walks gracefully in steady yet light steps. How can she walk like this towards her death? Isn’t she afraid of meeting her Maker, of being judged and punished for all her horrible crimes? Her smile is bright, she seems almost happy, almost… truly innocent.
She comes up the steps on the scaffold with such pride, she faces us and starts speaking with her sweet voice: “Good Christian people,..” No remorse, no blame for the King, no proclaiming her innocence. She seems calm and ready for her fate, even joyful and at peace with her conscience. As I listen attentively to every word, I find myself warming up to her and I suddenly realize that I have forgotten everything I was told about her. This woman cannot be but innocent, no man or woman could be so brave in a moment like this, unless she knew that soon she would be in Heaven.
“… I heartily desire you all to pray for me.” She finishes her speech, tucks her beautiful black hair into a cap, forgives the executioner and kneels. For the first time she seems anxious, she wants to know when the sword will hit her. I am so close I can hear her whisper “Jesu receive my soul, to lord Jesu I commend my soul”. I pray along with her, I suffer with her..
The executioner understands her fear and shows her mercy, he hits when she least expects it. Just a tiny second, and Lady Anne is no longer with us.. The crowd gasps, some people applaud, others try to wet cloths in her blood for memorabilia. A few hastily dry their tears to hide them; after all, no one should feel sorry for a traitor. I cry as well, I don’t care if people see me, or what they will say about me. I only know that I will never indeed forget this day; the first and last day I saw a true Queen in flesh and blood, in spirit and soul.
By Eliza Nastou
- The Spanish Chronicle, p70-71
- Wriothesley’s Chronicle, p41-42
- Hall’s Chronicle, p819
- The Chronicle of Calais, p46-47
- Holinshed’s Chronicle, p796-797
- The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives, Chapter 24 “Finale”, p357-359
- The Anne Boleyn Files website