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Why do you think the king killed Henry Norris, Francis Weston & William Brereton?
October 10, 2009
4:56 pm
Gina
Lindenhurst, USA
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I have read, watched and researched a lot about Anne Boleyn and have been completely stumped as to why the king chose to put these three men to death along with her.

I can understand her brother and Mark Smeaton, but when it comes to these fine gentleman, I am stymied! Especially Henry Norris who was a very close friend to the king!! The Weston family offered tons of money and property to have their son spared (and we all know how greedy Henry and Cromwell were,) yet they were refused.  I know the least about William Brereton, so I can't really comment on him.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this subject?

-Gina

October 12, 2009
8:16 pm
Melissa
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Eric Ives was apparently one of the first to suggest that Anne's fall had little to do with the breakdown of her marriage or any evidence of witchcraft but was part of a total political coup against her faction.  As you mention, Weston, Brereton, George Boleyn, and especially Henry Norris were high-ranking courtiers with noble families backing them up.  They were all partisans of Queen Anne, so Cromwell knew he couldn't orchestrate a divorce or even an execution of Anne without her supporters coming to her aid or at the very least making more trouble for Henry.  Anne was also in favor of a French alliance, whereas Cromwell was starting to see the value of a Spanish alliance, and what better way to silence those with differing political opinions than to have them judicially murdered?  Cromwell definitely took Macchiavelli to heart and did what he thought he had to do to survive.  I can't judge him because he got what was coming to him.

I'm curious as to why you think Smeaton's death was understandable?  Because he was a commoner?  That was why he was allowed to be tortured and the other men weren't, but it doesn't answer \"why him?\"  There is no information out there about him, so you have to wonder why he got caught up in all this.  Smeaton is portrayed on The Tudors as Anne's gay confidante, so it made sense to have him out of the way because they were close.  In the book The Other Boleyn Girl, Smeaton is portrayed as a young boy who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I think the only answer I can extricate from the lack of historical facts is that Smeaton had a crush on Anne (and boy, did she shoot him down! \"You may not look to have me speak to you as I should do to a nobleman, because you are an inferior person.\") and Cromwell knew he could get him to confess to sleeping with her with a little torture.  It makes me so sad to think of him-Cromwell invited him over to play music and instead arrested him and had him tortured.  That's f*ed up!  In any case, Alison Weir said Anne didn't even notice he was missing, so I don't know how close they could have been. 

And regarding Norris, it seems to me that Henry was more concerned about him than Anne.  He had already decided to get rid of Anne, which meant she was dead in his eyes anyway.  At the May Day jousts of 1536, Henry got up and left, taking Norris and about 5 other men with him.  It was famously the last time Anne laid eyes on her husband, but Henry didn't care about her by then.  He was more concerned that his friend Norris had betrayed him, and apparently spent the time leading to Norris' arrest trying to convince him to admit to adultury.  Of course Norris denied it, but he probably would have lived had he admitted it.

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.
October 14, 2009
12:12 pm
Rochie
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Great discussion. Really interesting.

October 14, 2009
5:49 pm
Gina
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Melissa, a fellow NY-er! How wonderful that was to my eyes!

What I meant when I said that Smeaton's death was understandable, it was not meant that I felt he was a disposable human being in any way. I believe that since he had no one to speak on his behalf, was a commoner and was in the Queens privy chamber on a regular basis it was easy to make him a scape goat. Possibly musicians were painted then as they are now as \"romantic woo-ers?\" Perhaps he may have overstepped his station towards the queen in front of her ladies with his courtly love?

I also wonder why Thomas Wyatt was released. He actually did have love poetry about the queen, yet he was freed. Any ideas?

The Henry Norris murder was most intreresting to me since he was friends with Henry for so many years prior to Anne's arrival and as you pointed out was more upsetting to the king than the allegations against Anne's.

One thing seems to be obvious, to make an enemy of Cromwell, certainly spelled death!

October 14, 2009
8:51 pm
Belle
New York City, USA
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I've often wondered the same thing. 

Does anyone even believe that Anne was guilty of the things she was accused of?  I will admitt that after \"watching\" her/reading about her she is a little irrating because of how ambitious/strong willed she was, I think she did some harmless firlting nothing more.  I agree that it was more of a political thing than something that really happened.  Although they admitted to it, but who wouldn't to stop the torture?

October 15, 2009
11:42 pm
Melissa
New York City
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Hi fellow New Yorkers!  Lindenhurst-I think that's the town that has like 5 optical shops visible from the LIRR stop.  Haha.

Anyway, I wonder about Wyatt too.  He seems to have gotten off because of his family connections, but his connections were no better than Weston's.  And Belle, there is one modern historian (Claire prolly knows his name but I don't) who believes Anne was guilty of adultery, but the majority of people from the time of Elizabeth on (arguable from the time of Anne's execution, but the primary sources are of the recusant tradition and painted her as guilty as hell so we have no way of knowing) knew the allegations were false.

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.
October 16, 2009
12:46 am
Belle
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Too bad we couldn't travel back in time and find out for ourselves!  Where's a time machine when you need one!

October 16, 2009
12:03 pm
Rochie
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Although not definitive proof of AB's innocence, I still love contemplating this wonderful Holbein portrait of her companion Lady Lee - who was, of course, Tom Wyatt's sister. The connections between the Boleyn and Wyatt families were very strong for many reasons, not least of all geographically - their homes being only a short distance from each other.

http://images.google.co.uk/img.....G%26um%3D1

The medallion that Lady Lee is urging us to view at the bottom of the painting, shows the Vestal Virgin Tucia, who - the legend has it - proved her virtue and innocence by carrying water in a sieve from the Tiber to the Temple in ancient Rome - a miracle.

This is Lady Lee's message down through the ages of the status of the most important friend in her life - Anne, who gave her a book of prayer during her last moments before going to the scaffold.The inscription written inside was:

"Remember me when you do pray, that hope doth lead from day to day."

Margaret Lee did remember. She knew the truth - and went to great pains and expense to inform subsequent generations through the most enduring medium available to her at the time, the work of Holbein.

October 17, 2009
7:42 pm
Lexy
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The condamnation of Anne meant the condamnation of her lovers; not killing this four would have been illogic, just like saying: \" The Queen is guilty of adultery and high treason, but not her lovers, who slept in the King's bed and shared his wife's favor, they're not guilty at all.\" Everybody would have think that if the lovers were not guilty, Anne wasn't too. Brereton, Norris, Smeaton and Rochford were pawn on the plot to get rid of her, the had to be sacrificed. I think thaat there was no pursuit against Wyatt because the rumors of his love story with Anne were told before her royal wedding. The king ignored it at the time. Taking it in account years after would have made the king look like a stupid fool!

October 17, 2009
8:08 pm
Gina
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I agree that they had to be killed after the allegations, I just wonder why those were the men that were chosen. They were never seen as enemies to the king. In fact Henry Norris was one of his best friends for years before Anne ever came on the scene.

I think you have a great point about Sir Thomas Wyatt. If he didin't do something about it before, to do something after would make him seem silly.  Henry Percy survived too!

I often wonder if that is why Henry never acknowledged Mary Boleyn's children as his own even though Henry was a very healthy fine boy. If he had made him legitimate he would have had a perfect male heir. However, after moving the sun, moon and stars to marry Anne, he would have looked quite foolish to acknowledge his bastard child born of her sister.

XO-Gina

October 17, 2009
11:39 pm
Lexy
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A Henry Carey is concerned, At this time, children of a married woman were considered as her husband's, no matter if he was their true father or not. It's a matter of legislation. That'why, centurie later, Louis XIV had to change the law to acknowledge the children he had with Mme de Montespan, a married woman too. And if he had  acknowledged Henry as his son and successor, his reign would have been full of troubles since there would have been rumors about his true filiation. 

October 18, 2009
10:18 pm
Claire
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Alison Weir in \"The Lady in the Tower\" writes of how Cromwell' coup killed two birds with one stone - it got rid of Anne, who was a real threat to him, and it got rid of the Boleyn faction. In fact, Cromwell needed to get rid of these men because, apart from Smeaton, they were all powerful men who would have supported Anne and stood against Cromwell. If Cromwell hadn't moved against them too then these men could well have changed Henry's mind against Anne and caused Cromwell's downfall.

Weir writes:

\"Certainly, if Anne were to be removed, influential members of her faction would have to perish with her, to eliminate all opposition\"

ans she also points out that Smeaton was \"expendable\". He was someone who had been mooning after Anne and who could be used to bring her down.

All of these men were also men that could easily be implicated in that they were people that Anne spent a lot of time with and men whom she flirted with, in the courtly love tradition. All of their actions were twisted and the normal courtly love rituals made into signs of adultery. Sad.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn
October 22, 2009
1:53 am
Gina
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Here is a thought. The marriage between Anne and Henry was so iron tight that it seemed impossible to end it. To add the names of Henry's trusted friends may have been so shocking that it actually made it believable? Then the nail in the coffin was the claim of incest? If this woman was willing to sin with the kings best men, then why not her own brother?

Just a thought~!

XO-Gina

December 11, 2009
3:56 pm
Hannah
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The Boleyn Faction was this ever decreasing circle of people, courtiers abandoned Anne Boleyn like rats from a sinking ship as she had enormous talents for making enemies. In addition to that, Anne had never enjoyed support from old noble families such as the Montagues and Exeters (as Katherine of Aragon had), and these were all whispering malicious rumours about Anne around the court. Also, Henry had (by 1535), met Jane Seymour who employed the same tactics as Anne had to catch Henry`s eye, and hold his interest. The evermore powerful `Anti-Boleyn` faction were quick to realise that Henry`s infatuation with Jane Seymour could be used to effectively wipe out the Boleyn Faction. It was inevitable that other people would fall with Anne, due to the nature of the accusations that were being levelled at her. It takes two to Tango, and who else would sleep with Anne other than her own supporters?

Also, no ones` mentioned Lady Rochford in all of this. She willingly gave information to Cromwell that Her husband had slept with Anne. If Cromwell had dismissed it as spiteful gossip, and Henry had somehow found out about it anyway, Cromwell would be up to his neck in it. He had no choice but to disclose all the information he`d gathered in his investigations.

The marraige between Henry and Anne wasn`t watertight at all. Very few recognised the marraige as valid and in the event, the marraige was anulled easily enough. But Henry seemed so keen on a fresh start that only Annes death would satisfy him.

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,
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