15 May 1536 – The Trials of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn

Posted By on May 15, 2013

Anne BoleynOn the morning of 15th May 1536, while Anne Boleyn prepared herself for her trial, Jane Seymour received a message from the King telling her that “he would send her news at 3 o’clock of the condemnation of the putain.”1 Obviously there was no need for a trial, really, when the King already knew that Anne would be condemned!

Queen Anne Boleyn was tried in the King’s Hall of the Tower of London in front of an estimated 2,000 spectators. A great platform2 had been erected in the hall so that everybody could see. The Lord High Steward, the Duke of Norfolk, who was representing the King, sat on a special throne underneath the canopy of estate. In his hand was the white staff of office and at his feet sat his son, the Earl of Surrey, holding, on his father’s behalf, the golden staff of the Earl Marshal of England.3 Sir Thomas Audley, the Lord Chancellor, and Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, were on either side of the Duke.

As Queen, Anne Boleyn was given the privilege, if it can be called that, of being tried by a jury of her peers, rather than by the commission of oyer and terminer who sat in judgement on Norris, Weston, Smeaton and Brereton. In reality, this was no privilege. Her trial had already been prejudiced by the guilty verdicts of the four men, and her jury was made up of her enemies. Here are just a few of them:4

  • Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk – Henry VIII’s brother-in-law and good friend. A man who disliked the Queen and who would, of course, support the King and do the King’s will.
  • Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, and his cousin Henry Pole, Baron Montague – Both men were supporters of the Lady Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Chapuys had also linked them to Sir Nicholas Carew and the plotting to replace Anne with Jane Seymour.
  • John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford – Oxford bore the crown at Queen Anne’s coronation in 1533, but he was a good friend of the King’s.
  • Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland – The Earl had once been in love with Anne Boleyn, but that love seemed to have turned into bitterness and hatred.
  • Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland – A loyal servant to the King in the North.
  • Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester – It was rumoured that his wife, Elizabeth Browne, the Countess of Worcester, gave evidence against the Queen to Cromwell and was the prosecution’s key witness.
  • Thomas Manners, the Earl of Rutland, George Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon – Both men were related to the King and were royal favourites.
  • Robert Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex – One of the King’s best friends.
  • Henry Parker, Lord Morley – Father of Jane Boleyn (George Boleyn’s wife), one time servant to Lady Margaret Beaufort (Henry VIII’s grandmother), staunch conservative and a supporter of the Lady Mary.
  • Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre – A man with a rather colourful past who needed to please the King.
  • George Brooke, Lord Cobham – Brother-in-law of Thomas Wyatt, close friend of Henry VIII and husband of Anne Braye (Nan Cobham), one of the Queen’s ladies who is thought to have given evidence against the Queen.
  • Edward Grey, Baron Grey of Powys, and Thomas Stanley, Lord Monteagle – Both were son-in-laws of the Duke of Suffolk, so their allegiance lay with him and, of course, with the King.
  • Edward Clinton (Fiennes), Lord Clinton – Husband of Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount and stepfather of the King’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Richmond.
  • William, Lord Sandys – A great friend of the King and also Lord Chamberlain. Sandys was one of the men who escorted the Queen to the Tower of London on the 2nd May.
  • Andrew, Lord Windsor – Another friend of the King.
  • Thomas, Lord Wentworth – A cousin of Lady Jane Seymour, the King’s new flame.

Lancelot de Carles, secretary to the French ambassador, described Queen Anne Boleyn as she entered the hall, commenting on her grace, her beauty, her lack of fear and how she entered the court “with the bearing of one coming to great honour”, “comme venant a l’honneur d’un grant bien”.5 Other witnesses described that she was wearing a black velvet gown, a scarlet damask petticoat and a cap decorated with a black and white feather.6 She looked every inch a queen and the proceedings did not seem to faze her. She defended her honour “soberly” and although she said little, her face showed that she was not guilty of the crimes she was accused of.7 Anne pleaded “not guilty”, after which the Attorney General, Sir Christopher Hales, put forward the case against her. He accused the Queen of incest, adultery, plotting the King’s death, promising to marry Sir Henry Norris after the King’s death, and of making fun of the King and his dress. Chapuys also reported that Anne and George had laughed at “certain ballads that the King has composed”.8 No witnesses gave evidence against her.

The chronicler Charles Wriothesley, recorded that after her indictment was read out, Anne “made so wise and discreet aunsweres to all thinges layde against her, excusing herselfe with her wordes so clearlie, as thoughe she had never bene faultie to the same”.9

The Queen defended herself admirably, denying all of these preposterous charges and admitting only to giving money to Sir Francis Weston, just as she gave money to many young gentlemen at court. Notwithstanding, the jury were unanimous in their verdict: “guilty”. The Queen was then stripped of her crown and her titles, all except that of “Queen”. With tears running down his cheeks, Anne’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, pronounced the sentence:

“Because thou hast offended against our sovereign the King’s Grace in committing treason against his person, and here attainted of the same, the law of the realm is this, that thou hast deserved death, and thy judgment is tis: that thou shalt be burned here within the Tower of London on the Green, else to have thy head smitten off, as the King’s pleasure shall be further known of the same.”10

The shock was too much for the Earl of Northumberland, who collapsed and had to be taken out of the hall, and also for Mrs Orchard, a lady who had cared for the Queen when she was a child, who “shrieked out dreadfully”.11 The Queen kept her composure. Although she did not argue against the sentence, she said that she “believed there was some other reason for which she was condemned than the cause alleged”.12 Lancelot de Carles recorded that Anne then addressed the court, saying:

“I do not say that I have been as humble towards the King as he deserved, considering the humanity and kindness he showed me, and the great honour he has always paid me; I know that my fantasies have led me to be jealous… but God knows that I have never done him any other wrong.”13

Victorian historian Agnes Strickland records another speech by Anne Boleyn at court that day, recorded by Crispin, Lord of Milherve:-

“My lords, I will not say your sentence is unjust, nor presume that my reasons can prevail against your convictions. I am willing to believe that you have sufficient reasons for what you have done, but then they must be other than those which have been produced in court, for I am clear of all the offences which you then laid to my charge. I have ever been a faithful wife to the king, though I do not say I have always shown him that humility which his goodness to me and the honour to which he raised me merited. I confess I have had jealous fancies and suspicions of him which I had not discretion and wisdom enough to conceal at all times. But God knows, and is my witness, that I never sinned against him in any other way. Think not I say this in the hope to prolong my life, God hath taught me how to die, and he will strengthen my faith. Think not that I am so bewildered in my mind as not to lay the honour of my chastity to heart now in mine extremity, when I have maintained it all my life long, much as ever queen did. I know these my last words will avail me nothing but for the justification of my chastity and honour. As for my brother and those others who are unjustly condemned, I would willingly suffer many deaths to deliver them; but since I see it so pleases the king, I shall willingly accompany them in death, with this assurance, that I shall lead an endless life with them in peace.”14

Similarities can be seen between this speech and the words recorded by Lancelot de Carles and this is because, as historian John Guy has pointed out, Crispin de Milherve is actually a ‘phantom’ and his poem was written by Lancelot de Carles.15

Anne Boleyn was then escorted out of the court by her gaoler, Sir William Kingston, with the axe turned against her to show that she had been sentenced to death. It was now her brother’s turn to face the hostile panel.

While Anne Boleyn was taken back to her lodgings in the Tower of London, her brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, was taken to the King’s Hall to stand before the same jury. George’s trial is mentioned briefly in Letters and Papers:

“The same day, lord Rocheford is brought before the High Steward in the custody of Sir Will. Kingston, and pleads not guilty. The peers are charged, with the exception of the earl of Northumberland, who was suddenly taken ill, and each of them severally saith that he is guilty.
Judgment: – To be taken to prison in the Tower, and then drawn through the city of London, to the gallows at Tyburn, &c., as usual in high treason.”16

All witnesses agree that George put up a good fight in the court room that day. In his Chronicle, Charles Wriothesley recorded that after George pleaded not guilty, “he made answer so prudently and wisely to all articles laid against him, that marvel it was to hear, but never would confess anything, but made himself as clear as though he had never offended”17 and Lancelot de Carles commented on George’s good defence and his eloquence, which de Carles likened to that of Sir Thomas More.18

But George wasn’t just prudent, he was also rather spirited, as my friend Clare Cherry says in her research into George Boleyn’s life:

“Ironically, during life it was Anne who was the more tempestuous and reckless of the two siblings. Yet she faced her accusers with the quiet and restrained dignity of a true Queen. It was her brother who approached the trial with all guns blazing.”19

When the only evidence for George committing incest with Anne was that “he had been once found a long time with her”, George “replied so well that several of those present wagered 10 to 1 that he would be acquitted, especially as no witnesses were produced against either him or her”.19 And when he was handed a note regarding the King’s impotence, George recklessly read it aloud even though he had been commanded not to. Chapuys recorded this incident in a letter to Charles V:

“I must not omit, that among other things charged against him as a crime was, that his sister had told his wife that the King ‘nestoit habile en cas de soy copuler avec femme, et quil navoit ne vertu ne puissance.’ This he was not openly charged with, but it was shown him in writing, with a warning not to repeat it. But he immediately declared the matter, in great contempt of Cromwell and some others, saying he would not in this point arouse any suspicion which might prejudice the King’s issue. He was also charged with having spread reports which called in question whether his sister’s daughter was the King’s child.”20

Not only had George joked or gossiped about the King’s sexual problems, his lack of sexual prowess, he had also allegedly joked about Elizabeth not being the King’s daughter. This meant that he had unwittingly committed treason because this kind of talk impugned the King’s issue. What was worse was that George had disobeyed instructions and read out this note in court, embarrassing the King and not endearing himself to the jury.

George Wyatt, Thomas Wyatt’s grandson, wrote a few years later that “the young nobleman the Lord Rochford, by the common opinion of men of best understanding in those days, was counted and then openly spoken, condemned only upon some point of a statute of words then in force”.21 Even “the judges at first were of different opinions”.22 However, they were able to give an unanimous decision in the end. No witnesses and an eloquent defence, but George was still found guilty by a jury of his peers. His uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, then sentenced George to a traitor’s death:

“that he should goe agayne to prison in the Tower from whence he came, and to be drawne from the saide Tower of London thorowe the Cittie of London to the place of execution called Tyburne, and there to be hanged, beinge alyve cutt downe, and then his members cutt of and his bowells taken owt of his bodie and brent[burnt] before him, and then his head cutt of and his bodie to be divided into quarter peeces, and his head and bodie to be sett at suche places as the King should assigne.”23

Chapuys records George’s reaction to his sentence:

“Her brother, after his condemnation, said that since he must die, he would no longer maintain his innocence, but confessed that he had deserved death. He only begged the King that his debts, which he recounted, might be paid out of his goods.”24

Some might read Chapuys’ words and conclude that George Boleyn thought it was not worth maintaining the pretence any more and so confessed to committing incest with his sister, but I do not agree. I think that George was simply admitting to being a sinner, a sinner who deserved judgement from God. People who were convicted of a crime, even if they were innocent, “did not doubt that they deserved to die”25 and that it was a punishment from God for their sinful life. There was a strong belief in original sin.

George Boleyn was then taken back to his prison in the Tower to prepare himself for death.

(Taken from The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by Claire Ridgway)

Notes and Sources

  1. LP x. 908
  2. Ibid., 902
  3. Wriothesley, Charles. A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559, 37.
  4. LP x. 876
  5. Ascoli, Georges. La Grande-Bretagne Devant L’opinion Française Depuis La Guerre De Cent Ans Jusqu’à La Fin Du XVIe Siècle, 261.
  6. Younghusband, George. The Tower from Within
  7. Ascoli, 261.
  8. LP x. 908
  9. Wriothesly, 37-38
  10. ed. Williams, C.H. English Historical Documents: 1485-1558, 724, and ed. Baker, J.A. The Reports of Sir John Spelman, note i.71.
  11. Weir, Alison. The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, 218.
  12. LP x. 1036
  13. Ascoli, 263
  14. Guy, John. “The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir – Sunday Times Review., November 1, 2009.
  15. LP x. 876
  16. Wriothesley, 39
  17. Ascoli, 259
  18. Cherry, Clare. “George Boleyn”, unpublished manuscript
  19. LP x. 908
  20. Ibid.
  21. Cavendish, George. The Life of Cardinal Wolsey, Volume 2, 212.
  22. LP x. 1036
  23. Wriothesley, 39
  24. LP x. 908
  25. de Lisle, Leanda. The Sisters Who Would Be Queen.

51 thoughts on “15 May 1536 – The Trials of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn”

  1. Globerose says:

    Breaking News: “King Henry predicts Queen GUILTY of Trumped Up Charges.”

  2. Bella says:

    Thank you for such an illuminating summary of the events. I was interested to read that the Duke of Norfolk passed sentence on Anne with tears. I don’t know how they both kept their composure.

    1. Bella says:

      I mean Anne and George kept their composure.

  3. Tudor rose says:

    Sad so sad but luckily they all had their sentences commuted which is one good thing in opposed to the other.

  4. Inger-Maren says:

    I’m really glad that the Duke of Norfolk cried when passing Anne’s sentence. I feel like he is always portrayed as a cold man who didn’t care if Anne lived or died.

    1. Tudor rose says:

      No. He did care and it showed.

    2. mlady says:

      I was surprised to read as well that the Duke of Norfolk read her sentence with tears. I always thought he was a cold calculating man who didn’t care. This is very sad indeed.

  5. Louise says:

    Poor Anne had no hope of defending herself bearing in mind 4 men had already been found guilty of having intercourse with her. Her only possible defence was that they had had sex with her without her knowledge. Unlikely unless she was a really really heavy sleeper.

    1. Tudor rose says:

      HAHA 🙂

  6. Denise Hansen says:

    I loved the scene in my favourite historical novel “Brief Gaudy Hour” when George reads the infamous note out loud. Check it out. Reckless maybe but I think George knew he was doomed anyway and it was really an opportunity for a little revenge.

    1. mlady says:

      Ha ha ha! Go George!

  7. margaret says:

    even though some would say George was reckless in reading aloud material he was not supposed to,i think he was right in doing so,he was condemned anyway so why not ,they all lost their lives and lands titles ect so he had nothing to lose ,another thing why not give some damning scaffold speeches and leave people with something to think about ,why did they have to “say nice things” about henrywhen all were about to die and their families were ruined anyway ,I will never understand this .

    1. Claire says:

      “why did they have to “say nice things” about henrywhen all were about to die and their families were ruined anyway ,I will never understand this”

      It was important to them to make a good end. There was a set format for speeches – accept your sentence (whether you were innocent or not), praise the King and encourage the spectators to pray for the King – it was shocking and humiliating for your surviving family if you deviated from that. The condemned person had to think about their family and friends. There was also the belief in original sin, that everybody was a sinner deserving of death, hence the acceptance of their situation.

      1. margaret says:

        would you think George was right or wrong in what he did (by reading aloud what he should not).

        1. Claire says:

          He was wrong in that he had been ordered to read it to himself, but I don’t blame him at all. It was an act of defiance from a man who knew his fate was sealed. Unlike Anne, he didn’t have any children to think about. Anne had to consider that any defiance from her may result in ill treatment of Elizabeth.

      2. margaret says:

        Claire, another question,are there any records of anyone that had been executed ,besides anne and the men,that made a speech that was not normal for the times ,and what happened to their family afterwards?

        1. Claire says:

          Hmmm… I can’t think of any offhand, but I did read somewhere that people worried that their sentence might be changed from the more merciful beheading to hanging, drawing and quartering if they didn’t ‘behave’ or that their family would suffer financially. I’ll ask on our Facebook page and see if anyone can think of a case.

        2. miladyblue says:

          I read an account of the execution of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, wherein she defied the “nice talk” tradition on the scaffold – she loudly declared that she was NOT a traitor, and should not die as one, and proceeded to fight with the axe man. According to this account, the executioner had to chase her, and hacked her to death, trying to decapitate her.

          I don’t know how true this is, because Margaret Pole was an elderly lady. Another account states that she was so old and confused (Dementia? Alzheimer’s Disease?) that she didn’t know what was happening to her.

      3. Morgan says:

        Not only what Claire says, but I seem to recall reading that if a condemned person spoke against his or her sentence while on the scaffold, he or she risked incurring the wrath of the sovereign to the point where a simple sentence such as beheading could be swiftly changed to something more intense such as burning.

        1. margaret says:

          oh goodness ,you would not want that situation at all ,it makes sense now about the speeches ect why they did what they did and not what they really felt like saying ,what a dictator henry was as for his cronies ,a bunch of “yes “men and women.

        2. Dee says:

          Not to mention, wrath/revenge might fall on their families. Granted, most of them were stripped of land, titles, and property as part of the punishment, but the people were generally untouched otherwise. So if you didn’t make nice, your family and other loved ones might suffer all the more.

        3. Esther says:

          The fear of losing the “privilege” of being beheaded (which is better than being hung drawn and quartered) would probably explain why Mark Smeaton never retracted his alleged “confession”. He was a commoner, and normally, only the higher social ranks got the more merciful beheading. For example, commoner Francis Dereham was hung drawn and quartered for his relationship with Catherine Howard before she was married; well born Thomas Culpepper, whose guilt was greater (Catherine was married when the relationship started) was beheaded.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Anne may have made some serious mistakes along the way, but she walked into that trial outclassing Henry- a lady, a queen and a believer- I greatly admire the strength of her mind and her faith at the end. It would have been so easy to just collapse and lie there sobbing or something.
    And I agree, I have always thought George took the only revenge he could by reading the note aloud.

    1. Tudor rose says:

      Who does not make mistakes? Everyone does to some degree or level do they not? And I agree that was revenge on George’s part he had nothing to win or lose so he blew caution to the wind and said what he said especially once he knew they were to pass sentence on him.

  9. Ingrid says:

    It gaves me wishes to cry.
    Anne’s composure is amazing.
    I feel more comfortable with her uncle tears and that at least some others were taken by surprise as Earl of Northumberland and the good lady Mrs Orchard.

    What a great juders no? Everyone had one reason to found her guilty. By God’s sake. That was more unfair that I have ever thought!

  10. Esther says:

    Reading about Tudor trials should make us all grateful for our modern judicial system! The “privilege” that Anne and George got in their trial was twofold: (a) a trial is considered preferable to attainder (at leaset they both got to leave some record of events for posterity) and (2) they were condemned by enemies closer to them in social rank. After all, both grand juries had been stacked with Henry’s friends or those with a grudge against Anne, and, the commission of oyer and terminer that condemned the other four men was similarly packed … the rank didn’t change anything.

    Also, wouldn’t the accused say nice things about the king to mitigate things for their families? Anne would be very careful because of Elizabeth … she was well aware from the way Catherine and Mary had been treated that Henry had no qualms about visiting on his daughters his anger at their mothers.

  11. Leslie says:

    I can actually hear the collective gasp every time I read that George read the note out loud about Henry’s sexual problems!

    George really had nothing to lose, no children to dishonor, etc. He knew he was going to be convicted since the whole thing was fixed – he just went out swinging.

    Good for him! I wish someone would make a fantastic movie based on historical facts that portrays all characters as we know them from historical references.

    Claire – any thoughts for a screenplay!!??

    1. kipper says:

      ‘I wish someone would make a fantastic movie based on historical facts that portrays all characters as we know them from historical references.’

      The problem being that most historical records would not portray the characters in the way you would wish. We simply do not know what these people were really like – we cannot even be 100% certain that the accused were not guilty. I thought ‘The Tudors’ for all it’s historical inaccuracies, was pretty sympathetic to them but again, this was purely screen writers licence. If it had been based on contemporary historical references, they would not have been, in fact they would have been portrayed as guilty as sin! It is only since those dark days that more measured views have come to light and that huge question marks have appeared regarding the question of guilt. Not even AB’s daughter, as far as I am aware, ever requested an enquiry, though I cannot believe she didn’t ask a few discreet questions.

      1. margaret says:

        I agree with you ,no one can tell for sure ,if any were guiltyor not ,I will always think it odd that Elizabeth did nothing to rehabilitate her mothers memory and give her fitting burial ,she certainly had the power so why not ,did the crown mean that much to her ? was she afraid of being toppled as queen because of her mothers reputation or supposed reputation and the fact that she was illegitimate and this would have brought the whole thing up again.

        1. Claire says:

          Elizabeth was a pragmatist who had learned lessons from the past and from her half-sister’s reign. We know that her mother’s memory was important to her, she surrounded herself with Boleyn family members and made use of Anne’s falcon badge, but it was best to keep her feelings private. She knew she’d have many challenges during her reign and it was best not to draw attention to the fact that she was illegitimate and that her mother had been executed as a traitor. She did, however, encourage William Latymer, her mother’s former chaplain, in writing his biography of Anne, the Chronickille of Anne Bulleyne, which sought to rehabilitate her memory.

      2. Leslie says:

        Of course we cannot know 100% what these people were like. My original comment stemmed from the fact that I have yet to see an actor/screenplay portray George as the intelligent diplomat he was. He is usually portrayed as some version of a philandering fool.

    2. margaret says:

      another problem I have understanding ,lancelot de carles is reported to have made reference about anne arriving for her trial with grace and beauty ect all very complimentary ,but I have read here on this site that he was the one that wrote that poem about her “carry on” and he does not do her any favours with it either ,so is this a case of a biased opinion here ,when someone speaks well of anne he or she is believed or contrary to that when in the bad poem instance he is totally denounced as nothing more than a gossip ,the same has happened with chapuys .

      1. Claire says:

        What we have to remember is that de Carles was a witness to Anne Boleyn’s trial and execution but never met her and, as Dr Susan Walters Schmid, an American independent scholar and freelance editor, pointed out in her review of G W Bernard’s Fatal Attraction:

        “he makes clear at the outset that he is repeating what he has heard from a variety of sources during the time he has been in England, but he does not name his sources, address the truth of his information, correct a number of factual errors he could have checked, or claimed to have witnessed any of the events he recounts. These circumstances combine to make it reasonable to question the reliability of the poem’s content, making it surely unwise to give this source too much credibility, especially without a greater understanding of the poem and its author.”

        His poem cannot be taken as a complete biography of Anne Boleyn, it has to be corroborated with other sources. Many historians believe that Bernard relied too heavily on de Carles and didn’t take into account other sources that challenged his information. De Carles would know about Anne’s time in France and he would know about her trial and execution, but his information about the Countess of Worcester, for example, is second-hand and he states as much. He’d be perfectly able to describe how she looked as she entered court, he was there.

        It’s the same with Chapuys, who repeats gossip and then goes back and corrects it, and with all sources, you have to use a variety of sources and look at where they overlap and corroborate each other, plus look at who the person was and whether they could know what they are writing about. Chapuys was an ambassador, de Carles was the secretary of an ambassador, it was their job to keep their masters informed of everything, hearsay, gossip, what was fed to them by those close to the King, what was going around court, everything.

        1. miladyblue says:

          Another problem I have with deCarles as a source is that he described Anne originally with the wart, extra finger, protruding tooth, and so on – “Nanny McFee” as another commenter pointed out! – then describes her great beauty while in court.

          She is either deformed with the warts, extra finger and protruding tooth, or she is a beauty – make up your mind, Lancelot!

        2. Claire says:

          That was Nicholas Sander, not de Carles. But Sander is very contradictory in that he describes her as having all those flaws but still beautiful!

  12. Anne Barnhill says:

    Reading about this once again still does not diminish the powerful effect of it…the verdict already reached before the trial, Anne’s composure and George’s courage and sense of humor, even facing death. Amazing! Thanks!

    1. Claire says:

      I know, I have blogged about these events annually since 2009 and they still move me.

  13. gemma says:

    I think Anne was brave knowing this was her trial and there was no happy ending for her.she showed no fear and kept calm which is good as she is famed for having a loose temper .she must have gone through every emotion her world had been turned upside down shock of having your husband wanting a divorce would have been enough. But he also wanted her killed the whole country turned against her including some of her family I always wonder about Anne’s mother what she thought to all this .the worst part for Anne would have been never seeing Elizabeth again for any parent it s heartbreaking and I think that’s the worst part in all this and coa story is two children lost there mothers .

  14. H. Elizabeth says:

    Poor Anne and George! I don’t think that I would have that much composure at a trial decideing if I would live or die! Such brave people these Tudors were….

  15. miladyblue says:

    I don’t think Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland was necessarily an enemy, whose love for Anne had turned to bitterness and hatred – when Wolsey broke them up, he did remind Percy that he was the heir to one of the worthiest Earldoms in the realm (or words to that effect). His father was sent for, and poor Percy was chewed out thoroughly, and threatened with being disinherited. This led to being forced to marry Mary Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury’s daughter, and he bitterly resented the MARRIAGE.

    I don’t think this would necessarily turn him against Anne, who was just as upset with the breakup of their betrothal as he was. Anne did, after all, swear revenge on Wolsey, for breaking up her engagement to Percy.

    1. margaret says:

      I think henry percy was anne first love ,and she never forgot him and he never forgot her either and can understand her wanting revenge on whoever broke them up ,be it wolsey or whoever ,at the end of her life I don’t think she cared about living on in the way she had been ,ie henrys antics and the pressure of the baby making ,all had gone ,she had no one left and must have wondered why on earth she had not run far from this madman she called her husband .

  16. Nothing like having all your enemies being the judges at your trial!!!! It must have been so overwhelming for Anne. What a totally helpless feeling. Oh, my gosh!!! I cannot even begin to imagine her terror, sadness, disbelief. To have her own husband, some family, and some friends turn against her. Incredibly sad. Always will be sad.

    1. margaret says:

      patricia they were all bought and paid for by henry ,if they did not comply they were next .

  17. margaret says:

    on another note about the tower of London ,is there any sort of book or memorial that people can sign in memory of anne Boleyn and others executed,be it maybe a petition declaring one support of her being wrongly executed ,has this ever been done or can one be started ?.

    1. margaret says:

      I should have said can one be started online .

  18. Tudor rose says:

    Betrayal if they were or had been true friends anyway at the start from the beginning…

  19. mlady says:

    It’s good to see George wasn’t a blubbering coward, which, for some reason, is the picture I have of him in my head. I’m glad that, although it probably meant nothing in the end, he read out the note he was instructed not to. Get a bit of your own back George! Does anyone know of a good book on George’s life that I can read?

  20. mlady says:

    It’s good to see George wasn’t a blubbering coward, which, for some reason, is the picture I have of him in my head. I’m glad that he read out the note he was instructed not to. Get a bit of your own back George! Does anyone know of a good book on George’s life that I can read?

  21. Mary the Quene says:

    George Boleyn’s reading aloud of the note gave Henry VIII exactly what he (Henry) feared most: the reputation of a King who couldn’t always properly complete the sex act – and in that time, what a slam to his personal dignity!

    George proved the pen was mightier than the sword. Mightier than Henry VIII’s “sword,” in any case, LOL.

    1. Claire says:

      “George proved the pen was mightier than the sword. Mightier than Henry VIII’s “sword,” in any case, LOL.”

      Ha! I love that!

  22. Tara says:

    Hi Claire! A fantastically haunting article. As often happens reading about Anne I’m left awed and saddened by her and her brother’s bravery. I noticed you mentioned that the Duke of Norfolk had tears running down his cheeks. I’ve heard that (or variations on that) in lots of places but I can’t seem to find where that came from. Who recounted that?

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