On this day in history, 16th May 1536, the condemned and imprisoned Queen Anne Boleyn’s spirits seemed to have lifted and she was hoping for mercy.

Why? What could have made her so hopeful?

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  1. Anne could have been grasping at straws it was said by Kingston she alternated between sorrow and despair to wild optimism, one minute she is resigned to death, then the opposite, but she had been condemned the day before to a horrible death so it is possible that Cranmer hinted without meaning to mislead her, into thinking she might be offered a reprieve if she signed the document, Cranmer would have been ordered to say this to her yet it is very very cruel of the king and Cromwell to use this as a means of getting her signature, if the intention was to still execute her anyway, but we know these two men were brutal, yet Cromwell would not have dared to overstep his authority by promising the queen life without the kings permission, Cranmer himself could have been misled, he was both the king and queens dear friend and had worked hard to bring this much debated marriage about, Anne had waited so long yet with a quick swirl of the quill her marriage her position as consort and her daughters status were undone, the marriage which many claimed never was in the first place, which had shocked England and Europe which was kept a closely guarded secret for several months, had disintegrated in seconds, yet Anne was joyous as well one might when death had stared you in the face then life was offered, yet it was like offering a rope to a drowning man only to snatch it away, one wonders why with her marriage now annulled was the king still hell bent on executing Anne? We know he wanted his third marriage and any heirs born of that to be undisputedly legal, yet had Anne been banished from court and chose to live out her days in a nunnery what harm could she have done, we know Katherine his first queen had remained a thorn in Henry’s side for years, yet she had the might of Spain behind her, her nephew the Emperor Charles and Catholic Europe as well as many followers in England, Anne would have merely been a disgraced ex Queen consort without power and therefore what trouble could she have given to Henry ? Many had disputed the legality of her marriage to the king and really Henry V111 was a bigamist it was Elizabeth who was the bastard not Mary, so she would have have had little hope even amongst her friends of anyone raising their voices in protest at her banishment, it was the king who bullied Parliament into passing laws like when he made himself head of the church, if anyone dared say anything in Anne’s defence he would have had them committed to the Tower, Anne would have been merely tending the herbs in the kitchen gardens, doing needlework with her fellow nuns praying at vespers, it would have been a calm peaceful existence, yet its something which would have irked her over time, she like her brother was used to being the centre of attention, one when is used to life at the glittering court how can one adjust to a deeply spiritual almost joyless one, yet Anne would initially been grateful she was alive, had Anne been allowed to live maybe some of the fascination she exerts over us would have faded a little, she would have become in history just like any other banished queen, and it is interesting to ponder how long she would have lived, had her life not been cut short so violently, this day also in other parts of the Tower her so called fellow lovers and adulterers were spending their time in prayer, Weston write a poignant letter to his family and George was full of anxiety over his many debts, Norris must have been agonising over his fiancée Madge the queens cousin and his sons, what would become of them? George also must have worried about his wife who had in the early days of his arrest had sent him a letter to comfort him and told him she would petition the king on his behalf, we have no records that tell us she did, but that is not say she never tried, she contrary to what we have been led to believe about this much slandered woman, did mourn her husband most sincerely for she never wore anything but black for the rest of her life, he may not have been marriage material, he was very arrogant and proud and possibly a womaniser, yet he was still her husband and when his life ended, there must have been left a huge gap in her heart, it is very sad that these six innocent people and innocent they were, were merely scapegoats caught up in a plot created by a tyrannical king and his bully boy, to rid himself of a queen whom he considered now useless to him.

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