Never before had a more beautiful person stood before me. I have traveled many places in my life, seen many things, but never a woman as beautiful as she who stood here now, with her mesmerizing, jet black eyes and calm, stoic manner. Her long black hair tucked under a linen cap, she cautiously eyed me as I openly stared. The only problem was that I was to behead her in a matter of minutes.
They had told me that Queen Anne of England was a witch, a whore, but never did they tell me of her beauty and courage. Here this woman was, standing on the scaffold, minutes from her death, and she had dignity and grace like a true queen. As she made her final speech, so carefully thought through , finely worded, and so, so brave, I hung on her every word.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill a woman like Anne Boleyn, who had so much to live for. Her daughter, I hear, is a most remarkable little girl, and I hope she lives to be so like her mother. If only she had borne a son, poor woman, I thought. Things could be so different for her. She could have changed England forever, though I suspect she already has. In her short time as Queen, she left behind a legacy which will burn strong long after the sword has struck.
I kneel at her feet. “Madam, please forgive me for what I must do.” I fight to keep my voice from shaking. She looks me right in the eye, through the holes in my executioner’s mask, and says “Gladly,” as if I were asking her for a dance, or to accompany me on an afternoon ride. I marvel at this woman, who can maintain such a dignified, cool façade while staring death straight on. If the King who has sentenced her to this death had half the courage and dignity as she, England would not be the mess it is now. How could any man in his right mind cast aside a woman so magnificent?
She kneels down, repeats over and over “Lord Jesus receive my soul, O Lord God have pity on my soul.” Oh Lord God, please do have pity on Queen Anne’s soul, I think. She was a woman who dedicated her life, her soul, her everything to a man who’s affections shift as quickly as the tide. She put everything on the line for the love of a king; played with fire and was badly burned.
I need to distract her somehow. I must give her a quick, painless death; it is the only thing I can do for her now. I scan the crowd, who, with the Lady’s speech, has quieted respectfully. I am biding my time when I see a young boy in the front row. I realize that since my sword is hidden under the tarp that covers the scaffold, Queen Anne does not know where it is. This is it. I have to do my duty or face death myself. But even though the Queen herself can forgive me, I will never forgive myself.
“Boy! Fetch my sword!” I call out. The Lady turns toward the steps, looking for the boy who will never come. I swiftly remove the sword from its hiding place and go through the motions that I have done dozens of times over. But this time, it is different. When the sword hits her flesh, my heart is pained. Her head falls, and a pool of blood immediately follows. I turn away. I am disgusted with myself for what I have done, and filled with sorrow for the fallen Queen. I have ended one of the greatest lives in England. The woman who was once “The Most Happy” has met a most devestating end.
As I walk down the scaffold steps, I think of the legacy of the once-glorious Queen who met a most tragic ending. I only hope history does not forget Anne Boleyn. She was not without flaw, but she did not deserve to die this way. Her life was taken away from her so cruelly. She had admirers and enemies, but it surely cannot be denied Anne Boleyn had a profound impact on history. Through this, she will be immortal, even if her time on this Earth was short.
Anne Boleyn will not be easily forgotten, of this I am sure.