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Poem – The King’s Great Matter

This is Part 6 of Esther Hyams’ series of poems on the life of Anne Boleyn, written especially for The Anne Boleyn Files.

The King’s ‘Great Matter’

On 21st June 1529, at Blackfriars Parliament Chamber, the trial was finally set
Both monarchs would answer questions that the crowds would not forget.
Queen Catherine fell to her knees, in supplication to the King
There was an emotional speech that this pleading Queen would bring.

The Queen was lonely, barren, abandoned and downcast
She begged Henry to save her future in the name of their past.
Sweeping the King a respectful curtsy she slowly left the court
The usher ordered her to return, but this would come to naught.

Queen Catherine left the trial to be greeted by the people’s cheers
Friday 25th June 1529, the tribunal continued with England’s peers.
Bishop Fisher in support of the Queen made an impassioned speech
The Queen was absent, but for her justice he did nobly beseech.

Friday 23rd July, 1529 was the tribunal’s final last day
Sadly, the verdict would give Henry and Anne nothing but dismay.
Campeggio declared that the case must be taken to the Curia at Rome
This would be delayed until October, before anything could occur in Rome.

Because of this delay, Campeggio and Wolsey fell from power
It would take all Henry’s inner resolve not to put them in the Tower.
No doubt the Lady Anne was also responsible for Wolsey’s downfall
The court was transformed, with ‘Mademoiselle Anne, the head of it all.’

Henry parted with Wolsey on affable terms, like the calmest of men
Going on autumn progress the King rode away, and never saw Wolsey again.
In November 1530, Wolsey was charged with treason
On 29th November 1530, died this man of diplomacy and reason.

The autumn of 1529 brought allies for both the King and Queen
The Spanish ambassador Chapuys, the Queen’s supporter to be seen.
Then came Thomas Cranmer, who had known the Boleyn’s for a time
Transferring the argument from law to theology would be his winning rhyme.

By Esther Hyams

Click here to read the next part of the poetry series

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