On 29th April 1536, three days before her arrest, Queen Anne Boleyn had encounters with two courtiers who would eventually be executed for allegedly sleeping with her and plotting with her to kill her husband, King Henry VIII.

Find out about Sir Henry Norris, the king’s groom of the stool and friend, and musician Mark Smeaton, and what happened when Anne encountered them on this day in 1536…

Also on this day in Tudor history…

29th April 1567 (some sources suggest 26th), James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had recently abducted and allegedly “ravished” Mary, Queen of Scots, made preparations to marry the Scottish queen…

And on this day in Sir Dru Drury died at the age of around 85 at his home, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk.

He may have died in the Stuart period, in 1617, a man who was prominent in Elizabeth I’s reign, Sir Dru Drury, died at the age of around 85 at his home, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk. What is interesting is that Drury went from being a prisoner to being Lieutenant of the Tower of London!

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One thought on “April 29 – Queen Anne Boleyn, a musician and a groom of the stool”
  1. I agree it is strange that Anne’s conversations were not brought up in court, the one especially with Norris and her foolish dead men’s shoes remark, for it would have made the charge of conspiring to kill the king with her alleged lovers stick more, regarding Mark Smeaton really I cannot see any harm done there because all Anne was doing was reprimanding him, he was young and inferior, he knew that, everyone at court had their place, it could not however have been much fun mingling with the aristocracy when you know you are seen as lowly in their eyes, with youth comes sensitivity, so it could be that Anne’s snobbish comment did upset him, but not enough surely to make him incriminate her in the dangerous act of adultery which he knew would have earn’t him certain death, it was said that Thomas Cromwell lowly born himself, was irked by the snobbish comments and the way the kings courtiers looked on him with contempt, they did not like any favouritism bestowed on those they considered beneath them, it was an age of huge snobbery and the great class divide exists today, I think Mark was chosen by Cromwell because he was a nobody without a noble name, no powerful family and his position was just the queens court musician, he was an easy target young and easily frightened, also we have to remember that he had been treated very well by the queen, she had given him gifts of money and bought him saddles for his horses and new clothes to wear, why should he turn on her just because of one barbed remark, he had a good career at court, it was said however that with the queens favour he became a bit arrogant, and the courtiers disliked him, he was invited to Cromwells house one day, and the poor unsuspecting lad must have thought he was going to be rewarded, the Spanish chronicle which really was the equivalent of today’s daily rag, said he had been tortured with a rope bound round his head so tight he cried in pain, till he confessed his carnal knowledge of the queen, thus was set in motion the tragedy that befell a Queen of England, Cromwell would not have dared intimidate Norris a mature man and the kings good friend of many years standing, I can just see Norris facing the corpulent figure of Henry’s chief minister in his house in Stepney and being asked about certain allegations about himself and the queen, Norris would have scoffed at him and no doubt have used his aristocratic blood to make him feel rather worthless, Cromwell was like the archetypal school bully, intimidating the much smaller timorous new pupil, the truth is we will never know what did happen at Thomas Cromwells lodgings that day, all we know is Smeaton was sent to the Tower after confessing to adultery with the queen his mistress, and so all we can ascertain is that a huge amount of pressure must have been put on this poor young lad whose only crime really, was to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was doomed as was the queen whom he betrayed, do we know if he mentioned Norris or was it Cromwell who having heard of the fatal conversation he had with the queen previously, decided to use it against him? Whatever went on in Cromwells devious mind left the court and England and the world in a state of shock in the weeks that followed.

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