May 18 – Queen Anne Boleyn prepares for death

Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution was scheduled to take place on 18th May 1536 so Anne prepared herself for death.

But how did Anne prepare herself?

Why was her execution postponed?

What exactly happened on this day in 1536?

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One thought on “May 18 – Queen Anne Boleyn prepares for death”
  1. I could not post on 17th May about the men’s deaths so am including it in today’s article about how Queen Anne prepared herself for death, all these men and the queen were innocent history knows that for history has been their judge, and not only theirs but also King Henry V111 who however much he tried to convince everyone his queen was a immoral corrupt and murderous woman, his failed miserably and his reign is forever blighted by these six individuals deaths, it was also shocking for a king to condemn his own wife to death and Europe was stunned by the events that were travelling at breathtaking speed towards one of the most horrific events in English history, all these men were courtiers except for Mark Smeaton or Smeton who was the only one who had admitted his guilt, and all had been found guilty on mere hearsay, they had only two days left to prepare themselves for death for their execution was set for the 17th May, and the queens on the 19th, George Lord Rochford and the queens brother died according to rank, we have a good account of their deaths from George Constantine and he said George said a long and eloquent speech where he spoke much about his religious beliefs so that it sounded much like a sermon, and how he had been vain and proud, both sins in the eyes of his maker, he said if he had offended any to forgive him and then he asked the crowd to pray for him, his head was struck of with one blow mercifully and then one by one it was the others turn, Constantine said the rest spoke little, William Brereton was a wealthy Cheshire landowner and his family had served both Edward 1V and his successors, he was around forty nine to fifty and married with two sons, there was no evidence to link him to the queen but it was said he was targeted by Cromwell because he found him a nuisance with his political dealings in the welsh marches, his scaffold speech was brief, ‘the cause I die judge not but if ye judge, judge the best’, it was a careful declaration of his innocence, Constantine his loyal servant, said if any of the men were innocent it was he, Sir Henry Norrey’s or Norris had been married and had three children two daughters and a son, at court a long time he was by then affianced to one of the queens cousins, Madge or Margaret Shelton, he had become keeper of the privy purse and then was promoted to groom of the stool, a very prestigious position, he had been a close friend of the kings and was known to be a good jouster, also said to be handsome the king was possibly a little envious of him like he must have of towards Francis Weston,the kings girth was expanding rapidly and his legs pained him and it could not have helped having fitter younger men around him, but he had given no reason for the king not to trust him there was no evidence of adultery save for a very foolish remark of the queens which she made to him concerning the kings death, he said little on the scaffold, perhaps he was still in shock that his promising career had ended so abruptly that his old friend the kings had turned against him and his queen so savagely, Sir Francis Weston had been at court from around the age of fifteen he was only twenty five, was a member of the kings circle and was known to beat him at bowls and other sports, he had a baby son a year old, he said on the scaffold, ‘ I had thought to live in abnonmition these twenty years, I thought little it would come to this’, only three weeks before all these men were at the court of their king, laughing and drinking with the king, playing at cards riding in the hunt, then as if a shadow had suddenly shut out the light, they were accused and condemned and executed, Mark Smeaton the queens musician the youngest of them all was possibly about twenty one to twenty three, he had been in the employ of the king then he became the queens personal musician, there was no evidence on him even though a ridiculous tale about him being kept in the queens chamber behind a curtain surfaced at her trial, apparently he had his cue to service the queen when she called for marmalade by one of her women, even though none of her women were ever charged with aiding and abetting her in her adultery, there was the conversation Anne had with him about his gloomy demeanour, she told him quite snobbishly he was not a gentleman therefore she could not speak to him as such, again this quite innocent conversation was twisted, it was merely a mistress rebutting her servant yet the jury inferred her musician was enamoured of her, and they must have been sleeping together, maybe as Norah Lofts said he was sulky because he was her lover by night yet by day was treated like of no consequence, now it was his turn to die, it must have been horrific watching the men deaths in turn, now the scaffold was stained with blood and it was said he stumbled up the steps, he said ‘simply masters pray for me for I have deserved the death’, this ‘rotten twig’ as the poet Thomas Wyatt put it infuriated Anne when she was informed of his death, she had hoped he would clear her of the shame he had brought to her, ‘alas she said I fear his soul will suffer for it’,now today the 18th of May was the day Anne herself was told to prepare for death, yet it was not to be, I agree with Claire how does one hold it together to prepare oneself to die only to be told the agony that it was postponed, with her sheer nerve and resolve she once more turned to prayer she had her dearest friend Archbishop Cranmer with her, she swore on the sacrament she was innocent of any wrongdoing toward the king in front of William Kingston her jailor, so she knew he would report back to the king, she now had another day to live through, it’s nice to think her ladies were now more sympathetic towards her, for they would accompany her to her end, and it must have filled them with terror to, her almoner was with her and William Kingston tried to soothe her by telling her the pain will be little, the swordsman was an expert and she then laughed maybe with a touch of hysteria, and said she will be known as Anne Sans Tête Queen Lackhead, I feel now she wanted to die her beloved brother was dead, her name was associated with infamy, rather like Queen Jezebel from the bible, the little time left to her she must have spent in quiet reflective contemplation.

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