On this day in history, 19th May 1536, the feast day of St Dunstan, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed at the Tower of London.

Here at the Anne Boleyn Files and on our Facebook page, we are commemorating the 481st anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution with a special Anne Boleyn Day of events in association with MadeGlobal Publishing and the Tudor Society. Please do get involved.

I’ve already shared two live talks on Facebook about Alexander Alesius’s terrifying vision in the early hours of 19th May 1536 and about Anne’s execution, so do catch up with those on the Anne Boleyn Files Facebook page. I’m over on the Facebook page right now (9am-10am UK time) to answer your questions and to have a chat. One lucky person joining in the chat there will be picked to win an Anne Boleyn Bottle cap necklace.

You can click here to read primary source accounts of Anne Boleyn’s execution, but I’d like to share with you the video I made for last year’s Anne Boleyn Day as I go into detail on Anne’s execution and also her resting place. I’ve also done a special video talk over at the Tudor Society on primary sources for Anne Boleyn’s fall and how you can access them yourself – click here to head over there and view it now.

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12 thoughts on “19 May 1536 – Queen Anne Boleyn is executed”
  1. Today I and many others pay homage to she, who on the anniversary of this day in 1536 went from Queen of England to a queen in heaven. The woman who was and is Queen Anne Boleyn.
    One only can hope she would find comfort in the fact that nowadays she is a much loved figure and a source for endless fascination for so many: a stark contrast of when she lived and was queen and so few loved her. RIP Queen Anne Boleyn.

  2. In memory of Queen Anne Boleyn whose life was taken for the want of others.

    None of her aggressors could ever have realised the impact throughout time the execution of this Lady would have, or the the legacy she would leave behind through her daughter Queen Elizabeth.
    In creating Anne’s downfall they all played a major part in creating her Reascention too…how that would grieve them

  3. Anne died bravely, Thomas Cromwell himself her sworn enemy said of her afterwards, she was a woman of intelligence spirit and courage, a fitting epitaph for a woman he had helped to topple from her exalted position of queen, Alexander Ales was told of her death by Thomas Cranmer who remarked, ‘she who was queen on earth is now queen in heaven’, he wept at her death, there were many who mourned her, when her head lay in the straw that fateful morning the shocked onlookers noted that her eyes and lips moved, in that superstitious age it no doubt was a sign that her troubled spirit had not left her body, her ladies who were weak and faint with the horror of it all somehow forced themselves to carry her body and head to St. Peter Ad. Vincula and put her in an old arrow chest, later that day a little ceremony was conducted for her and she was interred deep in the ground, she would later be joined by others of her family, Lady Rochford and Henrys fifth queen, the young and rather heedless Catherine Howard, thus ended the life of one who has been called the most fascinating queen out of all Henry V111’s wives, she had a short but brilliant life she had been endowed with the qualities that make people strive for the top, she was intelligent brave and tenacious, though not delicately pretty she possessed striking looks with her oval face and distinctive dark eyes, she had magnificent long hair that reached down to her knees and was small boned and elegant, she was graceful and witty, she had a beautiful singing voice which was so haunting in its beauty it was said to make people weep, at first she appears almost not quite real, fey like not quite human, she had dominated the English court for ten long years and when she fell on the scaffold she had left behind a country completely changed from when she first stepped on the soil at Dover years before, she had ousted a much loved queen of twenty years from her position and effectively changed the religion of the country, she had been the cause behind the break with Rome and in retrospect unknowingly that break had allowed Henry licence to do whatever he wanted, Henry when he first met Anne had been of an amiable disposition, when she died his personality had changed into a much darker version caused by the frustration of the quest for the divorce, years of obstacles put in their path had left them not the cheery lovers they had once been, but emotionally exhausted and Anne had turned from a charming young woman into a bad tempered harridan, few loved her but her courage was never in question, her legacy she left to England was not just in the changed religious structure but in a sharp eyed little girl of not more than two safe in her nursery, quite unaware of the dreadful events that took place that day on May 19th, she would grow up to look very like her, she was tall and slender and had inherited her mothers features and flirtatious nature, the spirit of Anne was very much alive in Elizabeth and in fact would help to see her through her own dark troubled future in the years ahead, RIP Queen Anne Boleyn.

  4. I’ve been reading about Anne Boleyn since the age of 10. I’m now 53. I hope that she would be pleased that we are as fascinated by her as Henry VIII once was. Also, as the mother of Elizabeth I, who is my personal heroine, she has a permanent place in my heart. Even her joking that they would now call her Queen Anne sans tete shows how courageous and witty she really was. RIP Dear Lady.

    1. This is so beautiful to say! I too am just fascinated by Queen Anne ans her daughter Queen Elizabeth the first. It is nice to meet you!

    1. In the live chat or video? You can replay both. The letter from Alexander Alesius is from Calendar of State Papers, Foreign, Elizabeth I, Volume I. Let me know which bit you’re referring to and I can let you know.

  5. Hi Claire,

    Thank you for this post. You mentioned in the video the Victorian Dr.’s notation of Anne’s remains (particularly her skull) being similar to that of a Holbein painting owned by the Earl of Warwick. Is there any record of whatever became of that painting? I am sure we can never know, but it would be nice to think there is a private collector that has a life size portrait of Anne!

    1. Lord Lumley owned a full-length portrait of Anne Boleyn in 1590 and we know it existed as late as 1773 so I suspect it is in a private collection somewhere. The owner might not even be aware that they have it. I’d love for it to be found.

  6. Although the level of necessary insight would have been impossible at the time she wrote Le Temps Viendra in her Book of Hours, I can’t help but smile when I think of how Queen Anne has a large and international following of remembrance, support and admiration. The time will come indeed!
    Thank you Claire, for all of your continued hard work!

  7. Today we recall and pray for Anne Boleyn innocently put to death for the vanity of the King, her husband. She must have been fearful, but kept her fear from the crowds and she stood and had a calm countenance and delivered her last speach bravely to those watching, some of whom may have been her enemies, in which she agreed she had been brought by law to die, prayed for the King and did nothing contrary to that required of her. She covered her hair, took her leave, knelt down and committed her soul to her Lord and there with one stroke of the sword she died. Her ladies, devastated and weeping took her body and laid her to rest in Saint Peter ad Vincular. Anne was said by Thomas Cranmer to be that day a Queen in Heaven and so she is. Anne’s faith had sustained her to the end.

    Very lovely and interesting video. Thanks Claire. Anne Boleyn rest in peace. YNWA

  8. Her trial was an absolute farce on trumped up charges. A stain on the English Legal system of the day. But nobody could stand up to the wretched King! and to think he could do this to the mother of his own daughter. I can’t understand why her family and Thomas Cranmer could stand by and watch this happen. Rest In Eternal Peace Queen Anne.

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