19 May 1536 – Anne Boleyn’s Execution

Posted By on May 19, 2011

Anne Boleyn PortraitToday is one of mourning and tragedy, our Queen is no more, having been brutally slain earlier today. Executed as a traitor within the confines of the Tower of London’s wall. Everybody is in shock, nobody is saying anything and the world is a darker and sadder place.

Sir William Kingston was ordered by Thomas Cromwell to clear the Tower of London of foreigners and reporters who may be sympathetic to Queen Anne Boleyn’s cause, so our roving reporter, Sir Tim Ridgway, was unable to attend. Those that did attend spoke of Queen Anne Boleyn’s poise, dignity and courage, and we are proud to have called her our Queen.

The following mysterious eye witness account was handed in to our office just a few minutes ago by a hooded figure who refused to give his name. We are not sure of what to make of it…

The Execution of Queen Anne Boleyn

From my newly acquired vantage point, I see her emerge from the west side of the White Tower. She is accompanied by Kingston and 4 serving ladies. An English hood covers her dark hair, which is pulled up as not to impede the effectiveness of the sword. Her dark gown is lined in royal ermine fur and cut low. In true Anne fashion, her unsaid statement is in the form of a bright red underskirt that peeks through her cloak as she walks.

The morning sun is shining a spotlight on her as she makes her way across the green, toward the newly erected scaffold. Upon reaching the stairs, she pauses for a moment and looks up at the sky as if she were mapping her path to Heaven. I smile at her, even though I know that she cannot see me.

Hundreds have gathered to watch her die; some to mourn…some to celebrate. I can see Suffolk and Richmond, and Cromwell, of course.

Standing proud, she addresses those gathered: “Good Christian people”, she began, “I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law, I am judged to death; and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I come hither to accuse no man, nor speak anything of that wherof I am accused and condemned to die; but I pray God save the king, and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler, or more merciful prince was there never; and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and a sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus, I take my leave of the world, and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me! To God I commend my soul.”

I wipe the tears from my eyes, as do many others in the crowd. The silence echoes as she removes her cloak and hood, and then kneels. Her lips move in a silent prayer that rings loudly in my ears, repeating “Jesus receive my soul, O Lord, God, have pity on my soul.”
Without hesitation, the slayer reaches for his sword and then she is Queen no more.

She is beside me now, and we watch together as her ladies cover her and carry her toward the chapel. She begins to cry when she realizes that no one made preparations for a proper burial. Her ladies take care to undress her, clean her body as best they can and then place her in a salvaged elm chest. We remain there together and watch as the chest is lowered into the ground…then covered and left unmarked.

It is only then that she turns to me and says, “I knew I would see you again, dear brother.” I take her hand as we turn and walk quietly into eternity.

Back to 2011

Congratulations to our Anne Boleyn Day Competition winner, Memory Gargiulo, who wrote the above eye-witness account. The judges loved the twist at the end and we all found it very moving and a fitting tribute to our favourite historical character.

Memory wins either a $30 Amazon voucher or a $30 Anne Boleyn Files voucher for use on The Anne Boleyn Files shop and, as she is on The Executed Queens Tour, I will make sure that she gets a round of applause! Memory used the following sources:-

  • The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives, Chapter 24 “Finale”, p357-359
  • Anne Boleyn: In Her Own Words & the Words of Those Who Knew Her, Elizabeth Norton, p208-270

The judges were impressed with all of the entries we received and it was really hard choosing one winner so a big thank you to all of you who entered. We would like to give a second prize of a $10 Amazon voucher or Anne Boleyn Files voucher to Katherine Stinson as the judges also raved about her article on Thomas Cromwell – congratulations, Katherine!

I must also mention Nasim who wrote hers in old English just like the Chronicles and contemporary sources – great idea! You can read all of the entries at Anne Boleyn’s Execution – Competition Articles 2011. Again, it was so hard to choose a winner so thanks to everyone for their amazing articles and hard work, the judges commented on how well the articles brought that day in May 1536 to life.

Further Reading

For a detailed account of the events of the 19th May 1536, you can read my article 19th May 1536 – I Have a Little Neck: The Execution of Anne Bolyen.

25 thoughts on “19 May 1536 – Anne Boleyn’s Execution”

  1. Eliza says:

    RIP Anne… Queen of our hearts..

    Congratulations, Memory!! The ending was breathtaking, I loved your idea! And congratulations to everybody who wrote about Anne.

  2. BoleynBlue says:

    Such a sad day.

    I did love the above report and the twist was unexpected. I very much hope that Anne and her brother were reunited in death.

  3. Tiffany Gargiulo says:

    Congratulations, Memory!! What an amazing essay, with an excellent twist at the end! You never cease to amaze me… Great job!! 🙂

    Tiffany

  4. Jenny says:

    I am sos ad !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What would history have done if she lived what of all the what ifs? Catherine Howard would have been spared ! Why did Anne die for adultery after Cranmer fiund the marriage invalid? None too bright, Henry was then.

  5. Louise says:

    Rest in peace, Anne

  6. Linda says:

    e this yesterday, but I really feel it resonates more today:

    Ah Anne!
    Dark Star, Bright and Shining Lady,
    Brave as a lioness to the last.
    None could defeat you,
    A King could not hold you;
    He put an end to your fire and light.
    Your red-headed Legacy will
    Rule an empire greater than his.

    Ah, Anne!
    Dark Star, Bright and Shining Lady,
    Do you know you are remembered
    All these years later? You have admirers,
    Partisans and foes, to meddle with your cause.
    Your dark eyes gaze out from your portrait
    As if daring us to continue the fight.
    We will, Dark Lady, Enigma to the last.

    God rest your soul, Queen Anne.

  7. Sharon says:

    Memory, this is beautiful. I love the thought that George was there waiting to walk with her into their next adventure together. Thank you.

  8. Tracy C says:

    Powerful article…I am at a loss. Rest in peace our beloved Queen Anne!

  9. Lilly says:

    That was such a cute little story! I loved the twist at the end, wasn’t expecting that! So sad that they had to die in such a cruel way but at least they were finally together in the end.

  10. Kate says:

    I admit being the nerd I am and an admirerer of this great woman, I had a moment of silence at 9 o’ clock this morning, remembering this woman’s death.

    May she rest in peace.

    ~Kate

  11. Aanya says:

    Wonderful essay and great posts. Touching and beautiful. Thank you so much. I have majored in History and like many others have been fascinated by Tudor history and TV shows and movies made on that era. I have followed this site for a while now though this is my first comment. I must say it’s very informative and entertaining.

    Today I had to. It’s been an emotional experience. Rest in peace Queen Anne. One great victory of hers was the glory of Queen Elizabeth. God bless. Amen.

  12. La Belle Creole says:

    The afterlife held one advantage over Tudor England. Henry VIII was not there. He would never abuse or disappoint Anne ever again.

    I loved the idea of Anne reunited with her brother George. It makes sense they two might head out together.

  13. Dominico says:

    Today is a very sad day. I spent the day watching all of my Anne movies. I have a red candle buring all day to honor and remember such an incredible woman who was way way way before her time. WE LOVE YOU ANNE.

    D.

  14. lisaannejane says:

    That was so moving. Started to tear up at the end.

  15. miladyblue says:

    Congratulations, Memory Gargiulo! You have earned that prize – a very sweet and touching reunion story, though we had no idea until that last little statement! I think no less than Anne herself would approve.

  16. Esther Sorkin says:

    Memory … wonderful article!

  17. Jeannie says:

    Way to go, Memory! Your story was very touching. Queen Anne will live forever in our hearts.

  18. Anne Barnhill says:

    Congratulations, Memory! Well-done! I, too, love the twist at the end and the descriptions. Wonderful!

  19. Katherine says:

    Wonderful wonderful wonderful!!!

    It made me both sad and happy to think that George was there waiting for her. Sad that they were gone from this life, but happy that they were reunited. Beautiful piece of work.

    Great Job!! 😀

  20. Katherine says:

    Oh, and thank you so so so much for awarding my article!! I feel very honored, thank you.

  21. Jan says:

    Kudos Memory, what a great article!
    I wonder if, in her very last moments, Anne saw George? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think that, perhaps it gave her peace. She could have focused on his smiling face, maybe heard him saying “Just look at me dear sister and don’t be afraid”.

  22. Dawn says:

    As we commemorate her coronation today, it is a bitter-sweet occasion, knowing that it will end with all that is remembered on this page. Heart wrenching when you think about it, At least for a short while she was The Most Happy, and that must count for something. Be at peace Anne.

  23. Venus says:

    Congrats Memory.
    I loved it!

  24. Susan says:

    What a terrific essay! Congratulations!

  25. jackie says:

    Such a simple and beautiful account, well done Memory! pure genius to think of her passing and her brother there waiting to take her to heaven. Very emotional and I love the photo from The other Boleyn Girl.

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