I got up extremely early on both days. The first was to see the procession of the King and this Nan Bullen and the second was to see her execution.
I got up early that Saturday to get a good place near the procession. It was supposed to start in the afternoon, but it running was late. By the time I saw it, I was hot and tired. The crowds were respectful but some did not remove their caps in her honor. The King’s coach stopped in front of me momentarily and I saw the King and his new Queen. She was not that young and pretty but she was elegant and striking. She appeared large with child. Although uncomfortable in the heat, she maintained her dignity. She turned slightly and looked right at me. The King took her hand in a loving gesture but in her eyes I saw a wild, elegant horse that had been broken. The King’s coach then proceeded on.
I got up early that Friday to get a good place near the platform before the crowds got too bad. It is three years later and Nan Bullen hasn’t given the King his male heir but only a girl instead. The King’s people said that she had bewitched him and that’s why no male babies had lived. Because of this, she had to die.
I got as close as I could to the platform. It was as tall as I was, covered with some kind of black cloth and straw, with four or 5 steps to climb up it. The swordsman and his man were the first to climb onto the platform. After a few minutes, Nan Bullen appeared, escorted by an older gentleman and four ladies. The older gentleman helped her up the steps. She had dark circles under her eyes-like she hadn’t slept in a long time, but she looked even more striking and elegant than before. She then spoke to the crowd. I don’t remember the exact words, only that she did not proclaim her innocence or guilt but asked that the people continue to pray for the King. Her ladies helped her with her clothes but she removed her own headdress. The swordsman knelt before her and I saw her nod her head. He then stood up and she knelt down in prayer and preparation for death. All of the people around the platform kneeled except for a couple men. The swordsman called out and when she heard him, turned to look in the direction he had called out to. At the same time, she happened to look at me. When I looked into her eyes, I saw that same wild, elegant horse I had seen three years earlier now galloping free. In an instant, the swordsman withdrew his sword from its hiding place in the straw and took off her head.
By Nita Pitts