Here is Tim’s diary entry for the last full day of the Executed Queen’s Tour…
Our last day trip on the Executed Queens tour was a visit to the Tower of London. Although I hadn’t thought about it at the time, this was actually the perfect ending to the tour. All week we had been learning about and visiting the places where the executed queens had lived, and now we were at the site of their executions and resting places (except Mary Queen of Scots).
The Tower is an incredible building with a 900 year history. Built by the Norman invaders in 1066 it has stood proudly ever since.
Just to the north of the Tower is Tower Hill, where the five men accused along with Anne Boleyn were executed. We spent a few moments at the site paying our respects and then moved on towards the fortress itself, retracing the steps that the men would have taken.
Our Tower visit began by standing on the wharf where both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard would have entered the tower. Today the private entrance to the Tower through which they entered is still standing, but there isn’t anything at all to show how important this entrance is.
Our tour involved the Bloody Tower, the Beauchamp Tower, seeing Traitors gate (which we keep reminding people is NOT where royalty entered the Tower) and taking a walk along the southern battlements. From that spot it is possible to look down into the courtyards of the castle and see where the great hall and Queen’s lodgings would have stood, although they have long since been removed. It is very moving to point out where, on May 19th, Anne would have made her last walk to the scaffold.
We were also able to spend a little time in St. Peter ad Vincula, the final resting place of so many who ended their lives here. I must say that the Yeoman warder was the best one we’ve had… he had obviously visited The Anne Boleyn Files at some time! One of our group (to remain nameless!) was so overcome by the experience that she burst into tears. It really was a very moving day.
The evening meal was back at Hever, and we had time to reflect on our wonderful tour and all the great things we had seen, learned and done. Then a few of us walked from the castle grounds over to the “King Henry VIII” pub (boo!) for some traditional English beer. A great time was had by all.
Sadly, as is always the case with our tours, everything was over far too quickly. After our sumptuous breakfast on day seven, we had just enough time to take another walk around to the front of the castle, to say goodbye to the two castle swans (Claire named them Anne and Henry in 2010) and then the coach came to take everyone back up to London.
A huge thank you to everyone who came on this tour. You made it a really great time!