Did anyone else cry when they watched the execution scene in The Tudors? I know I did, and it still makes me cry now. Whatever your thoughts on Anne Boleyn, history shows that she was courageous, noble and loyal to the King even in the face of death.

A Brave and Bloody End

For those of you who missed Natalie Dormer’s excellent performance, here it is:-

Even though her marriage to Henry VIII had been annulled, Anne Boleyn was still executed as an adultress and still she accepted it, sending only a note to Henry which said:-

“Commend me to his Majesty, and tell him that he has ever been constant in his career of advancing me. From a private gentlewoman he made me a marchioness, from a marchioness a Queen; and now that he has no higher degree of honour left, he gives my innocence the crown of martyrdom as a saint in heaven.” From Ecclesiastical Memorials, London 1820-40, John Strype, quoted in “Anne Boleyn”, Joanna Denny.

Anne did not want to cause trouble and put the life of her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in danger by fighting her execution. Due to the marriage being annulled, Elizabeth was now classed as a bastard and Princess Mary was now seen as the legitimate heir to the throne.

Although Anne co-operated with Henry and Cranmer by signing away Elizabeth’s right of succession, she was not banished to the country like Catherine of Aragon (which Henry could have easily allowed seeing as she was no longer guilty of adultery) because Henry knew that Anne was far too dangerous an opponent to leave alive. Cranmer and Anne were betrayed, she was still executed.

The Speech of a True Gentlewoman

Instead of arguing and pleading her case, Anne Boleyn spent her time praying, and it is said that her dignified behaviour impressed her jailor, Sir William Kingston. I doubt that I could have given the following speech before having my head chopped off!:-

“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die, for according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof 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 nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and 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.” (Quoted from “Anne Boleyn”, Joana Denny, and taken from “The Triumphant Reigne of King Henry the VIII” by Edward Hall, 1904).

I’m sure that I would have gone kicking and screaming, especially as the only “evidence” of her “crimes” was the words of a man under torture!

After taking off her jewellery and headress, Anne paid and forgave her executioner, a French swordsman, and knelt praying “Oh Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul. To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu receive my soul.”

As Anne’s head was removed with one skilled stoke of the sword, Henry VIII readied himself for his marriage to Jane Seymour.

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13 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Execution Speech and Death”
  1. Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of Anne’s death was the best I have ever seen and like you every time I watch it I cry. No matter what anyone thought of her she did know how to die bravely.

  2. I cried, too… This scene was really moving and Natalie Dormer was amazing! Anne was so courageous even in these last moments!

  3. Natalie truly embodied the essence of anne in this heart touching scene. Everytime i watch i cry while softly whispering her epic speech. Natalie did her justice in this one scene that i will always remember from the tudors. May Anne’s courage and strength live on through the years!

  4. I agree most wholeheartedly with the above comments. I read a biography on Anne Boleyn (when there were not that many out on her life), and I remember also that her speech was taiilored in a most interpretive way when read between the lines. That she did not admit to any cirmes nor implicate any others in her demise (although I also realize that her speech was in an almost total part to benefit Elizabeth,, and thank my stars she did so, etc. I could go on and on, but that is not the point of this comment) , whatsoever.

    “God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord.” Makiing this a statement on that this tyrant and what he has done to many, will have “to long reign over you” for them to suffer many more years of his tyranny.

    “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.” This was “meant” for others to dig into her innocence, and that she hope and prayed that they would.”

    Whether the speech is what I read or not. We are doing it, and I, for one, do pray, and have defended her innocence even through my undergraduate and graduate, and post graduate studies.

    She died a “lady.” She was braver up there and had more dignity than than anyone I’ve ever read or studied, and, yes, Natalie Dormer did a magnificent job. It made me cry, too.

    I am honored to be a memebr of this site, and hope to be for a long, long time! Thank you! WilesWales

  5. Anne didn’t deserve to dye RIP grate queen Anne she not a wich just because she had or migt of had a 6th finger or a 3rd nipple she is not a wich ;(

    1. You are toatally right! If the guiness book of world records had been invented, she would have been in it! Anne Boley was never a witch!

  6. Having just completed season 2 in this very interesting slice of English history, I
    thought the speech was well written but very much out of character.
    If in true life Ann was indeed the conniving queen that was portrayed in this series
    I would agree that she had a hidden agenda in presenting herself
    as she did during her death speech. Yes,Natalie Dormers acting was superb throughout.
    However, because of the Ann’s cruel and manipulative character I had difficulty feeling sympathetic in regards to her demise. I had much more sympathy all those innocents who died because of Ann’s guile, Henry’s narcissistic dictums and for the generous and kind Catherine of Aragon.

  7. as a little girl I would love to watch the films about the royals but my favourite was always the story of Anne Boleyn. I agree with the comments on this page Natalie Dormer’s acting ability was defiantly the best. I am doing the death speech of Anne Boleyn in my Drama class and I hope and pray I do it justice. Queen Anne Boleyn was a gutsy strong woman and if I had a hat I would take if off for the memory of her.

  8. I know I’m really late. But I’ve just started watching The Tudors and just finished season 2. I must say it was a very very sad scene watching Anne die. So sad to think this happened, especially when you see how madly in love her and Henry were. Great acting throughout. God bless Anne Boleyn and those other poor innocent men who were fitted up! And it was hard to see her dad walk free and selfishly celebrate being released when his 2 children were to die, he was the real bad guy coz he manipulated his daughter and abused her love

  9. Sadly I think Anne died because she didn’t give the king a male child,if she had things would have been different.she was a woman ahead of her time,clever, opinionated,strong,an incredible person who should be much admired,she is my favourite Tudor.

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