May 2 – Queen Anne Boleyn and her brother, Lord Rochford, are arrested, a Protestant is burnt, and Mary, Queen of Scots escapes

On this day in Tudor history, 2nd May 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn was called before the king’s council at Greenwich Palace, arrested and taken to the Tower of London.

On that very same day, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, Anne’s brother, was arrested at Whitehall and also taken to the Tower.

Let me tell you exactly what happened on this day in 1536, including a meeting King Henry VIII had with his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy…

And on this day in 1550, Anabaptist, Joan Bocher, was burnt to death at Smithfield for her belief in Christ’s celestial flesh.

But how did a Protestant end up being executed in Edward VI’s reign and what did she mean by Christ having celestial flesh?

Find out more about Joan Bocher, or Joan of Kent, her beliefs and her links to Protestant martyr Anne Askew…

And on this day in 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had recently been forced to abdicate in favour of her son, King James VI, successfully escaped from Lochleven Castle.

How did she end up a prisoner at Lochleven? How did she escape? And what happened next?

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  1. Anne had been expecting the king to discard her for some months now, her last miscarriage sounded the death knell in her marriage and there were weeks where the king barely spoke to her, outwardly he was still supporting her and a trip to Calais had been planned then cancelled, he was enamoured of her quiet and unobtrusive lady in waiting Jane Seymour and Anne’s enemies were supporting her faction, as the days turned into weeks then months, and the grey of January turned into spring and then the warm bountifulness of May, she had turned increasingly desperate, her conversation with her almoner and chaplain must have told him of her fears for her baby daughter, with the instinct of something awful about to happen, she had sought him out we not know the words, but many years afterwards Mathew Parker honoured the conversation he had with Anne Boleyn and became her daughters spiritual chaplain and Archbishop, Anne had been edgy and nervous the king once that adoring lover was now heartily displeased with her, they argued and probably did not sleep together anymore, the day before the king had suddenly left the May Day celebration’s and Anne had heard nothing from him, the day before that they had been arguing in the garden, or it seemed to Aless that Anne was trying to plead with Henry, the latter looking very angry, although as he observed, he hid it very well, the atmosphere between the couple was strained and Anne realised she could do nothing but carry on as usual, she was watching a game of tennis so it is said something so normal and she must have been enjoying it, then a messenger arrived to inform her she had to present herself to the council, this was unprecedented she was the queen, she did not answer summons, she made them but she must have steeled herself and made her way to the council where several of them were residing, the words they spoke to her must have shocked her for all what she had been dreading, ever since she had lost the kings love, would not have prepared her for this, she must have thought the king would divorce her banish her to a nunnery maybe, she could never in her wildest nightmares have thought she would be charged with adultery, she said afterwards she had been ‘cruelly handled with my Lord of Norfolk saying tut tut at her’, it was well known they did not get on, once he had called her a great wh*re and told the king she had used words to him that he would not have used to a dog, he was obviously enjoying his nieces discomfiture, there was Lord Audley Henry’s Chancellor who was to officiate at her trial and William FitzWilliam who appeared as in a dream, rather strange! First of all she must have thought it was a joke albeit one of extremely bad taste, as when one receives shocking news then as the dreadful words sunk in she began to be very frightened, she was told to prepare herself to travel to the Tower whilst they waited for the tide to turn, then she climbed into the barge and some reports say Cromwell was with her, but unless he was at the council chamber he would not arrived to escort the queen to her prison or would he? But we can assume the company was soulless and rather grim, according to Alison Weir, as she arrived in daylight to the Tower a cannon boomed to announce the arrival of an important state prisoner, her barge must have looked strange on the Thames that May Day as she floated towards the grim fortress, there was no merriment no joyful chatter coming from behind the draped curtains, elsewhere in Whitehall Lord Rochford her brother was also being informed of his wicked sisters horrendous crime and he was charged with misprision of treason, he to was taken to the Tower despite his protests of innocence, Anne was told both Henry Norris and her musician were also in the Tower having confessed to adultery with her, with the resolve of the innocent she knew this to be false and yet she now knew the reason for her husbands odd behaviour the day of the joust, and why he and Norris had both left so abruptly, as the grey towers of William the Conqueror’s fortress loomed before her she stepped out onto the cold stone and sank to her knees weeping and crying, she knew what happened to those who displeased the king, he had loved Sir Thomas More and had condemned him to death, he had sent Bishop Fisher to his death he had treated Katherine of Aragon with the utmost cruelty, he was indifferent to his daughter Mary’s suffering, now Sir Henry Norris was now in the Tower and he was the kings dear friend, one he had known for many years and must have known he could trust, what hope was there for her?, she had failed to give him a son the one reason for him marrying her, she had no powerful country behind her as Katherine of Aragon had, she had no one who could plead her cause for her no one who could or would intervene, she was all alone and that grim day when she arrived at the Tower of London the 2nd of May in the year 1536, any hope any dream of a reconciliation with her husband the king must have vanished as abruptly as the sun being hidden behind the scurrying grey clouds.

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