13 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn’s last Maundy Thursday

This day in history, 13th April 1536, was Maundy Thursday – as it is this year – the day which commemorates the Last Supper, that final meal that Jesus Christ had with his disciples before his arrest.

It was to be the last time that Anne Boleyn would carry out the traditional duties of a queen consort on Maundy Thursday, 

Anne could not have known that she only have had five more weeks to live.

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7 thoughts on “13 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn’s last Maundy Thursday”
  1. The ‘Pedilavum’ is not something I’d look forward to if I were in Anne’s shoes and the beggars, without theirs, lined up for my loving services! I was interested to read that these feet were washed 3 times before being presented to the royal hands, and the water was scented.

  2. Yes it’s a strange tradition I bet Anne didn’t relish that, in those days the beggars were filthy, happy Easter to you and your family Claire and everyone on the AB files.

    1. Happy Easter Christine and also to Claire, Tim and family and everyone on our happy Anne Boleyn files.

  3. The monarch has not had to wash feet for three centuries. The tradition of the money still lives on with the Queen giving £5.00 with a commemorative mark on the back. I think it depicts Isaac Newton for some reason. This year it was at Leicester Cathedral. The flowers looked nice and the Queen was actually smiling for a change. The pensioners looked pleased and there were a few people there as well. The choir sounded lovely. Although it’s not in the media photos the door for the ambulatory were open so Richard iii’s tomb was in view to everyone present.

    Did Anne feel anything was up on this last Maundy Thursday? There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of the terror to come or inkling that anything was wrong between Anne and Henry. Had they been reconciled or was Henry waiting for the right time? Did he hope Anne was still able to give him a child? Her fall would come in three weeks time. It’s not possible that any investigation didn’t take place before the end of April but that’s exactly what we know happened from the available evidence. Before this Anne will have a brief encounter with Eustace Chapyus having been invited to dinner and to kiss the Queen’s hand. He of course made an excuse not to do this, but he did attend Mass and Henry orchestrated a way for him to acknowledge Anne as Queen. Henry and Anne were upstairs in the Chapel Royal and when it came to make offerings and receive communion, they came down from the balcony chapel to walk through the congregation to give at the altar. Chapuys had been fawned over during this day Easter Monday by George Boleyn who stood with him and other guests at the stairs. What happened next has two different interpretations. Henry and Anne came past and Chapuys bowed to the royal couple but he puts a spin on this. Anne was gracious and returned his reverence, but Lauren Mackey explains that historians read too much into this incident. Traditionally it is accepted that Chapuys forced Henry in this matter to acknowledge Anne as Queen and it is certainly reported in royal sources that Anne and Henry were triumphant over this occasion and saw it as Imperial acknowledgement. Chapuys naturally saw it as good manners. Mackey believes Anne was vulnerable and may have been seeking a rapprochement with Anne. The rest of the day was also odd and this the Tudors got spot on. Chapuys dinned with George Boleyn and Henry’s councillors, but Anne wanted to know why the Imperial Ambassador didn’t dine with them and the other Ambassadors. Anne had tried to win favour by insulting the French Ambassador, but Anne was told Henry had good reasons for his behaviour.

    We know of the row that happened later on. After dinner with Seymour and Audley, he had an audience with Henry and Cromwell. Chapuys proposed a new alliance, that Mary be provided for and some recognition of her in the succession. Henry burst out laughing, turned on Cromwell, who turned pale, then baited the Ambassador, saying he had to apologise for all the hurts of the past, acknowledging his marriage to Anne, not treating Henry like a child, that the Emperor had betrayed him, every hurt for years in fact. Chapuys tried to smooth things over, but it was a disaster. In another bizarre move Henry the next day told the French King to cease his pursuit of a marriage for Mary. Some historians have interpreted all of this as a turning point for the worst for Anne, who Cromwell saw as in his way, to his foreign policy any way. All we really know is that at the end of all this everyone was totally baffled, including Anne and Cromwell.

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