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19 May 1536 – The Execution of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London

Posted By on May 19, 2014

Anne Boleyn Cornelli Today I will be raising a glass to Queen Anne Boleyn, a woman whose life was cut short by an awful miscarriage of justice on this day in 1536 when she was beheaded by “the Sword of Calais” at the Tower of London. She had been condemned to death for high treason on 15th May 1536, after having been found guilty of adultery, incest and conspiring to kill her husband, King Henry VIII.

To mark the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution, I want to share with you a extract from the audio book of The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown audio book about the day of her execution. The audio book is currently on offer for $5 if you want to hear more – see www.madeglobal.com/downloads/fall-anne-boleyn-countdown/. Just press play to hear my account of the 19th May.

You may be interested in the following video if you’re interested in finding out more about where Anne was imprisoned, executed and laid to rest:

19 thoughts on “19 May 1536 – The Execution of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London”

  1. steve rainbow says:

    Anne was undoubtedly innocent,however, her French manners were out of kilter with the English Court leading the increasingly Psychotic Henry to be manipulated and “persuaded” by Cromwell to look elsewhere for a Wife to bring him an heir.

  2. Masha says:

    A woman so grand that even King Henry VIII had trouble figuring out who she truly was. A powerful woman in court and even more when she became Queen of England. I wish I could understand her more. She was truly a remarkable woman.

  3. Antony says:

    It´s seems that her majesty was the Henry´s truly love. May I remember the extraordinary performance of Anne Boleyn on TV by Natalie Dormer!

  4. Mary the Quene says:

    “Good Christian people” as an opener. . . reminds all of us how her daughter, as Queen, began her speech to rally the troops with, “My loving people.” Both of these women were spun-steel strong right down to their core; had Queen Anne lived, her capacity to shape policy and her insight would have been interesting to study.

    As it is, we must be thankful for the remarkable legacy she protected with, literally, her dying breath – the amazing, the resourceful, the incomparable, the unstoppable Queen Elizabeth I.

    Just . . . wow.

  5. I pray for peace of Anne Boleyn. Cut down in her youth for no purpose other than failing to give Henry a son. It was his fault alone that Anne’s babies died. I have no pity for Henry.

    Georgina Kendrick

    1. TheDesendant says:

      well said. his genetics show that. but back then people were stupid with religion.

    2. Sigrid says:

      I feel the same way. Anne was amazing and he was an self-centered idiot, who always have to blame others for his fault. I wonder what would have happened, to Jane Seymour, if she also failed to give him a son.

  6. megan says:

    thank you so much for this site, ever since i started watching the tudors last year, i have become obbsessed with anne boleyn. i adore her and wished i could have met her. she was a wonderful woman, and i love that she was feisty and opinionated. just like myself! lol its a dream of mine to visit london and visit everywhere she graced her presence, thank you again for this site i look at it every day. im hoping queen anne is happy where she is!

  7. Sandy says:

    Thank you for the audio clip Claire. Listening to your words about Queen Anne’s execution was riveting, solemn, and respectful. I believe that her behavior on that awful day said so much about the strength of her character and her love and concern for her daughter Elizabeth. That moment was a real tragedy and Anne’s end was just about the worst possible way a woman, wife, and mother could ever be wronged. Although I am sad as I contemplate what happened so long ago on this day, I thank you for telling her true story.

  8. lorri says:

    Thank you Claire, it was very moving to hear Anne’s speech today on the day she died…… I too just can’t get enough of my Anne/Tudor obsession. I am still troubled as to why when Elizabeth was Queen she did not have her mother re buried. To think of her body put in to a trunk is so harsh. What are your feeling on this?

  9. Julie Wittman says:

    I am consumed with confusion about Anne and Henry.. Being a fan of a The Showtime The Tudors, I was persuaded that Anne was playing him, her family coached her. So all her deception was deserving of what would come.
    The Show did stick close to what historians know, of course everyone was much more attractive.. Anne did not do the horrible things she was accused of but she was not innocent in manipulation and cohere-sing an outcome.. She was to Catherine of Aragon what Jane Seymour became to her.. What goes around comes around!!

    1. Selina says:

      So what you’re trying to say is that she deserves to be executed? What’s wrong with you?

      1. JudithRex says:

        What is wrong with YOU that you cant allow for someone looking at events in the context of the time and assess what happened? I can see why she was executed, yes.

        I dont like that Carthsusian monks had their hearts ripped out of their living bodies and held in front of their faces. I dont like that More and Fisher lived starving and in their own filth for months in the tower before beheaded. i can as an ADULT see that henry did these horrible things because he was FRIGHTENED that others would rebel and he would be dethroned. the times were brutal and raw.

        Now if you dont like my posts, you are free to skip them as I will yours. Mine will remain unsentimental.

    2. Claire says:

      The show was close to history in some aspects but very far from history in others. There is absolutely NO evidence that Anne’s family coached her at all, and actually evidence that Thomas Boleyn did not want his daughter involved with the King. When Henry VIII started writing “chasing” Anne, it is clear from what he says in his love letters to her that she rebuffed him and he had to persuade her to be involved with him. She did not deceive him, there was no deception, and there was no manipulation, he kept chasing her until she caved in. Anne would not become his mistress, so he offered her marriage. Once marriage was offered and Henry had convinced Anne that his marriage to Catherine was invalid, which he truly believed, then she and Henry fought for the annulment.

    3. BanditQueen says:

      Anne was not the most lovely person in the world but she was a good Queen in many respects, she was menat to be good to the poor, a woman who had compassion, generous to her friends and those who knew her, and by the same token no doubt ruthless to her enemies; but she was also remarked on for being a promotor of the Gospels and very pius; genuninely so. And I think that even if she was not any of these things; you do not invent a load of rubbish charges and execute an innocent woman and five innocent men. Henry could have found grounds to divorce, exile or even put Anne into confinement; he did not need to go down this path. I do not believe in Karma; Anne may have made some enemies; the Duke of Suffolk for one; and if you look closely at the lists of peers at her trial, many of them and others involved in her fall were connected to him or the Seymours or each other through marriage, family ties or patronage. Whether or not they had a direct hand in her fall; plotted against her; they all were placed as her jury because they would consent to her guilt; Suffolk and Cromwell et al would have made sure they did. Anne was set up good and proper; innocent and did not deserve to die. RIP YNWA

  10. Anne says:

    Thank you Claire for all of the work and research you have put into this website! I have been a passionate follower of all things Anne Boleyn since 1970 when I was 12 yrs old and had to depend on the library qnd encyclopedias for my information. There was a bargain bookstore where I could go and search for books about Anne, and I still own those books today. I have only had a computer for about one year now and was so pleased to find your website. I am making up for lost time! I am now a Tudor fan and have an interest in all of the wives, Henry’s sisters, and of course his children. It’s wonderful to have the books on George Boleyn and I look forward to this new addition to my passion. Thank you!!!

  11. Linda Crane says:

    Claire, I appreciate how Anne is your passion and you have dedicated your time and life to enlightening the rest of us. I am finally taking a trip to Great Britain next week and will be at the Tower of London June 8. I am so in hopes I can visit the St. Peter ad Vincula chapel to pay my respects to Queen Anne. The last day of my trip is dedicated to getting to Hever Castle. Do you plan to ever offer tours again?
    Thanks again for all your hard work,
    Linda from Louisiana, USA

  12. BanditQueen says:

    Yesterday and today I have had many thoughts about Anne and her last moments and last couple of days. It was so extraordinary for a Queen to be put to death (herod the great killed his of course) it must have been a total shock around the international scene. Innocent or guilty a Queen accused of such crimes would have normally have faced exile, prison or being sent to live a life of penance in a convent. As a public statement they may have been divorced or forced to live a seperate life away from court. One of two French Medieval Queens who did have lovers even got away with doing so as their husbands were distracted by war or did not care. In the case of Isabella of France, her husband was even deposed and murdered by her lover Roger Mortimer, her son taking revenge on Mortimer but forgiving his mother, although he did control her living and forturne and pension rights and kept an eye on her, allowing her an honourable retirement. A few Duchesses were put in prison and even one or two left to starve to death for adultery, witchcraft and a few other crimes; even when they could have been killed for the accusation of witchcraft they escaped by doing penance and being imprisoned. The execution of a Queen was very rare indeed: but for some reason Henry did it twice. There is an excellent link on twitter to Susan Bordo who has eight views on why Henry had her executed.

    The video was very interesting as in 2009 when we went to the Tower it had just been explained in a series on the Tower that the places associated with old tours about were Anne was were not there now and the room in Queens House is not part of the apartments that Anne was in. The room is still in there; but is pointed out as a construct on the series and is not now open to the public as the govenor lives there. The series also had a beautiful 3D reconstruction made of the old royal apartments showing how it could have looked as a palace in the time of Anne Boleyn and it was very different to today. So going to the White Tower in 2009 to see the collection of Henry VIII’s armour, weapons and football boots; from the stairs you can see the ruins and it is pointed out this was were the apartments stood over the other side. We were also told when we asked that the memorial is not the correct place and that it was actually as on your video in the big courtyard in front of the huge jewel house and old barracks pictured.

    However, I think the memorial is in a more appropriate place as it is set aside and quiet in that area. It is right opposite the site of Anne’s last resting place St Peter ad Vincula (In Chains) and is I think a lovely memorial. The older plaque with the rope was also very good but the cyrstal sculpture has something of Anne’s grace about it. It is also better here as it is by the grass and the garden and does not have lots of people coming and going. It is somehow seperate and more personal than it would be in that courtyard with that heavy looking fortress building looking down and around it. I think that may-be they chose this as the traditional site as it is more secluded and it is set aside and a better place for a memorial.

    Anne Boleyn; Lady in the Tower: rest in peace.

  13. Drina says:

    Claire,
    I follow your work and read everything with interest. Your passion for Anne is wonderful,
    I feel for myself i am somehow related to her. I wonder, have you ever heard about any different or even crazy theory about her not been executed?

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