Petition to give Anne Boleyn a Royal Pardon – Why I’m not signing

Posted By on March 17, 2015

Anne Boleyn NPG You may well have heard that an e-petition has been set up calling on HM Government to “Grant Anne Boleyn a royal pardon for the crimes she was wrongly accused of. Let her be re buried in Westminster Abbey with her daughter Elizabeth I. Grant her a royal funeral as she rightly deserved.”

This follows on from the campaign by Commander George Melville-Jackson who, in 2005, called on Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary at the time, to pardon Anne Boleyn and to have her remains laid to rest alongside her daughter Elizabeth I. The Wing-Commander worked tirelessly on his campaign, writing to the Queen and historians, consulting a barrister etc. but it was all in vain and sadly he died without completing his mission.

People keep asking me to share the petition and to spread the word and I’m happy to mention it but I will not be signing it or supporting it – sorry.

How can I, a person who runs an Anne Boleyn site and who spends every day reading and writing about the Boleyns, not support this petition? Don’t I care about Anne? Well, yes, I do. I care about her a great deal. Here are the reasons I won’t be signing:

  1. I feel that it’s a fruitless endeavour – As I said before in a previous article about this, a barrister told the Wing Commander back in 2005 that it is impossible to go to court and get a judicial review when there is no new evidence. We may believe that Anne was innocent and that it was a tragic miscarriage of justice and we can point out that the dates on the indictments don’t make sense, but we cannot prove her innocence after so long. Also a pardon still suggests that she did something to be pardoned for. No new evidence has come to light since the 2005 campaign.
  2. What about George Boleyn? Norris? Smeaton? Brereton? Weston? Margaret Pole? Lady Jane Grey? Archbishop Cranmer? – I’m sure you can add to that list – Why just Anne? Where do we draw the line?
  3. Westminster Abbey is full – Unless Anne is put in the same vault as Elizabeth I and Mary I there just isn’t room for her.
  4. Anne is buried as queen – Anne may not have had a fitting burial at the time of her death, but the Victorians who carried out restoration work on the chancel at St Peter ad Vincula buried the remains they thought to be Anne as queen. The remains were “soldered up in thick leaden coffers, and then fastened down with copper screws in boxes made of oak plank, one inch in thickness. Each box bore a leaden escutcheon, on which was engraved the name of the person whose supposed remains were thus enclosed, together with the dates of death, and of the year (1877) of the reinterment.” A beautiful memorial tile marks the spot where they buried her remains and it reads “Queen Anne Boleyn”. The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula is a beautiful place and is a place of worship. I would hate to see the chancel desecrated to exhume Anne when I find it much more peaceful than Westminster Abbey. That tile speaks of Anne’s story and she is remembered with a basket of roses and flowers from visitors every 19 May. I don’t feel that that could happen at Westminster.
  5. Education is better – For me, it is more important to spend my time educating people about the story of Anne and the men who fell with her in 1536 rather than campaigning for a pardon for her. I’m not criticising those who feel a pardon is important, it just isn’t my priority.
  6. It doesn’t change anything – A pardon and moving Anne’s remains will not change anything. We cannot rewrite history and some people will still think she was guilty anyway. Anne is long gone, as is her daughter, and as someone who shares the faith they held I believe that they are in Heaven and have no need for Anne to be pardoned or her remains to be moved.
  7. Fight injustice today instead – Let’s campaign for justice for those suffering miscarriages of justice today instead. I know that signing this petition doesn’t prevent us from signing others too and it doesn’t mean we don’t care about what’s happening today, but if we’re going to spend a lot of time campaigning for something then let it be something that we can actually change. Support human rights organisations like Amnesty International – https://www.amnesty.org/en/ – or take a stand about something that’s unfair or abusive in your local community. Anne Boleyn, along with Thomas Cromwell, cared about poor relief, she supported education, she was a charitable woman. While I cannot speak for Anne and say how she’d feel about this petition, I know from her actions in her lifetime that she’d be encouraging of people supporting charities.
  8. There are better things to spend money on – This petition calls for a royal funeral for Anne, something that will costs an awful lot of money. Even if the money was raised through donations I can still think of better ways to spend that sort of money in Anne’s name.

I know some people will not be happy about the stand I’m taking on this. These reasons are, of course, personal to me, but I feel strongly about them and when I am being asked to spread the news about the petition I feel that I need to tell people where I stand on this issue and why I’m saying “no”. I’m certainly not going to try and stop people signing it – it can be signed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/75670. We all feel differently about things and I’m respectful of other people’s views, this just isn’t for me.

105 thoughts on “Petition to give Anne Boleyn a Royal Pardon – Why I’m not signing”

  1. Cheryl says:

    I read about this petition earlier in the week and thought for sure you would have signed it. In fact, I probably thought it was you who set it up. I was all for signing and still may do but your reasoning has given me food for thought.

    1. Alexandria says:

      I have to agree that Anne should not be moved, and time and money not spent on this. Apart from any other consideration, without DNA testing (which may not be possible) we can’t be sure which bones really are hers. The Victorians are believed to have confused the remains, and what is in each casket may not even be from one person, never mind being the one named on it. There have been persistent stories that Anne was removed from the tower and buried in Norfolk not long after her death. There are many deserving cases for such a pardon, perhaps we should work through the execution book? This modern tendency to act as if you can change the past (along with treating historical characters as if they were modern ones and expecting them to have thought and behaved by modern moral standards) is getting a bit annoying.

  2. richard says:

    Well ….. I would love it if she would be declared innocent, but I believe I would prefer a beautiful statue of Anne Boleyn in the Tower.

  3. Kim Rushworth says:

    I agree with you. Also, what about Katherine Howard? I never believed her guilty of anything other than being young

    1. kathryn says:

      The only thing, is that Katherine Howard was actually guilty. Young or not, those were the days she lived in.

      1. ‘…..those were the days she lived in.’

        What do you mean?

  4. Edwina Abrook says:

    I entirely agree. In truth and whatever we might choose to believe, nobody knows if she was guilty as charged. Whatever really happened we will never know, so let’s not try to change history and let the lady rest in peace.

    1. Vylynn says:

      I agree that she needs to be left in peace, especially if we are unsure those are actually her remains. The clearest way to do that would be to disturb Elizabeth I in order to do a DNA comparison, which I would rather not happen because those establishments are lovely and don’t need to be desecrated.

      On another note, I agree that a “pardon” is the wrong way to go when so many people agree that Anne, the other that fell with her and other victims of the Tudor Court who may very well have been innocent did not commit a crime. If there was no crime there is nothing to pardon. Instead there should be petitions for exoneration.

  5. Debbie says:

    I was surprised that you had not signed the petition until I read your reasons, but now I fully understand why. I think it is enough that the majority of people, including myself, believe her innocence, I would not like to think that she would be exhumed especially as the Chapel of St Peter and Vinicula is such a beautiful and peaceful place and close to where she died. The only sad thing is that she is not with her Elizabeth.

  6. Helen says:

    Thanks Claire for a well argued response. I agree that she should be left to rest in peace where she is. I think her story is more poignant as she lies near where she died.

  7. Melissa Lindsey says:

    When I first started to read this I was like some others, wondering why you of all people wouldn’t want to sign this petition until I read the entire article. You have made some very good reasons. I now understand why you won’t sign it and completely 100% agree with you. There is no new evidence in pardoning her. Pardoning her and not everyone else that was put to death in her case is not fair. Justice should be put down for all of them, not just her. We will never know if what she did was true or not, yet I still love her story as well as her daughters and all King Henry VIII’s other wives as well. Thank you for such a wonderful website and all the posts of things that took place on this day!

  8. Margaret says:

    I support this! But why Elizabeth I didn’t re buried Anne?

    1. This is a valid point. Elizabeth had good reasons and every opportunity to have had her mother given a grander memorial more suited to the mother of the Queen. But she didn’t. She did wear a ring with a tiny portrait of her mother (or assumed to be her mother) hidden within. She may have heard enough as she grew up, to think that it was best to keep quiet about her mother. Elizabeth did keep in touch with her two cousins, children of Anne’s sister Mary, and both held trusted positions at her court. In fact they have many posh and famous descendants, which include current Royals so Mary Boleyn, not Anne, was the founder of a great dynasty and ancestor of the future King of England.

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        I always thought Elizabeth as shrewd, maybe she saw that stirring up the past concerning her Mother could outrage many at home and abroad, bringing to the fore again that many thought of Elizabeth as a bastard and a heretic, kicking off all sorts of unnecessary problems..a case of letting sleeping dogs lie perhaps.
        Being a female monarch in a mans world, she had so much to contend with. so may have kept her private desires, which would have been seen as feminine weaknesses behind her mask of ‘the heart and stomach of a King’ I think she was wise to leave her Mum where she was.
        Elizabeth is quoted to have said ‘The past cannot be cured’…and she was spot on there.

  9. Jonathan Blackmore says:

    I would like to support this petition to have Queen Anne pardoned. Anne was totally innocent of any wrong doing. I would also support a reburial too because I don’t she would have been given a ceremonial send off, just thrown in a hole in the ground in the Chapel.

  10. Jordan Moore says:

    I completely agree and haven’t signed for many of those reasons. When I visited her resting place, I found it a much more peaceful spot than Westminster Abbey. I also believe that Anne would want to see the required funds spent on charitable purposes. It is enough that many modern historians have chosen to meddle in her case and judge it for the best as she requested.

    1. Tidus says:

      Jordan Moore.

      I love your post. The wording is perfect.

  11. Carlyn says:

    Claire,
    When I first heard about this my knee-jerk reaction was – Sure I will sign. But you present such a cogent argument for not supporting it that I do see why this could be problematic. Mostly, I agree with you that there are too many injustices against humans struggling today whose bones have not become dust. Anne is buried in a beautiful chapel and I was truly moved when I visited her there. I will sign any petition that supports her innocence but digging up her bones is another story.

    thank you for the post.

  12. kirstin says:

    I completely agree with you,I think the chapel in the tower grounds is a vert fitting place for Anne. The tower is where she started her journey to being queen and where it ended. The chapel is so peaceful a perfect place for people to reflect on Anne’s life. The dead are kept alive by our memories and speaking about them not where they are hurried or a lavish funeral.

  13. Bart says:

    Your opion is your opion , I think you have some points in this, removing will not change anything , leave her in peace she sufferd enough…………..

  14. I heartily agree with you Claire! It would be wise to spend the money on trying to right injustices that are taking place today.

  15. Patricie Slauf says:

    Well, my feelings about this case of the petition and re burial are confused. My only wish is to discover, if it’s really her under the ground of the chappel in the tower. Because no one certainly knows if the body belongs to Anne, and I think that’s the main shame for her. She deserves to have her identity back. I’m for examination of the skeleton. I know many of you will not agree with me, or will not understand, but I find it more right than the replacement of the ‘body’.

    PS

  16. Yvonne Parmenter says:

    Let her be. Continue to argue her case. I am a member of Amnesty International and prefer to help cases that we can make a difference to and prevent further injustices.

  17. Lina says:

    I agree that she deserves, more than some, a royal pardon. I have always believed the charges against her were lies and given by poor people enduring malicious torture. She doesn’t need to be moved, she needs peace. A pardon would very likely bring her spirit peace and finally put her to a much deserved rest.

  18. Globerose says:

    Eight wise reasons – calm, considered, rational and practical, but oh how very unromantic of you, Claire! I love that this Queen had a modern day BofB Knight in Flying Armour to champion her cause. I like to think of him signing off with a victory roll over the ToL, leaving behind a vapour trail reading, “I thought the best: I did the best I could. Adieu!” I think he had a glorious quest and I rather love him for it!

  19. carly says:

    I think everyone is entitled to their opinions and after reading this I now understand yours.i think it would be lovely to pardon Anne but I agree that she should be left where she is. Maybe donations that would be raised for a riyal funeral could be given to a modern charity that would be in line of something Anne would have put money too, like a children’s charity or something for struggling families. Thanks for a very interesting read

  20. Stacy says:

    The thought of signing the petition did not sit right with me and you have perfectly articulated why when I could not. I entirely agree with all you’ve said here.

  21. Ceri C says:

    I agree, Claire. Whereas it’s good to see how many people care about Anne, better to tell her story than to campaign fruitlessly for something that won’t happen.
    I suppose this was inspired by the pending burial of Richard III but the two cases are not similar. Anne has a resting place, whereas Richard did not.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Richard iii did have a resting place. He did not have the full ceremonies, but he was buried on holy ground, in Greyfriars priory in Leicester. He was buried in the place of honour, the centre of the choir, the monks had a Christian duty to pray for his soul, he had a simple burial service, the grave was too small, but there is nothing else wrong with the original site or manner of burial. He would have been buried with a mass and prayers for the dead, possibly hastily, as Henry Tudor was moving on, and having been reposed to the public for three days in the August heat, his body smelled. Ten years later Henry raised a tomb over the site. Prayers for his soul would have continued until the day that the friary was dissolved. He rested in peace until 2012. The site that he laid in was no longer holy ground, but it was still his Christian resting place. The service to bury Richard as King is not a funeral service, but a reburial service. However, as Richard was denied the full ceremonies and a public tomb, this will be a proper service to honour him as King. Anne Boleyn was buried as queen, she was buried in holy ground, she is there still.

      1. Bess Chilver says:

        Hear hear. So nice to hear someone pointing out that Richard III DID have a proper burial AND mention the monument and tomb erected by the man people like to view as some villain for killing Richard.

        He wasn’t buried in a car park. He was buried properly on holy ground. It was Henry VIII which “destroyed” (inadvertently) that burial place when the priory was dissolved.

        As for Anne, she is best left where she is. As you say, she too is on holy ground, its a place for those of us who remember her can go to give our respects. She was not a queen in her own right (Regnant) so has no real right to be buried in Westminster Abbey anyway. Even Henry isn’t there.

  22. Hannele says:

    Good points, Claire. I like to add one.

    Usually the rehabilitation as well as re-burial of the political victims are connected with the revolutionary change of the government or at least with the policy of the government.

    Thus, the remnants of the last Czar and his family were re-buried in 1998 when they also got the burial rites of the Greek Orthodox Church.

    When Mary became Queen, she made Parliament declare the marriage of her parents legal which meant that she was no bastard. However. Elizabeth did not do that, nor did she nullify of the judgment of her mother or rebury her in honor.

    One must ask why as her bastard status made her position as Queen vulnerable, at least in the eyes of the Catholics.

    Either she knew some damning evidence of the trial that is later lost, or she came to the conclusion that there was no purpose to open the case because even if the judgment was officially declared null or void (though I cannot know if this was possible in England), it would have made no difference to those who believed her mother guilty so it was better let the past be past.

    Either way, I think that we should honor her decision as she was the one who most suffered of Anne’s death, along with the families of the accused men.

    1. Mrsfiennes says:

      I’m in agreement with you on Elizabeth’s decision of the situation.While I would like to see her pardoned of any wrong doing and perhaps let more people know of her story I think if Elizabeth chose to let the past be the past we should too.

    2. Bess Chilver says:

      Actually I think it was simpler than that.

      Elizabeth was acutely aware that her birth heralded the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in England and its rebirth as an English version. Which of course would offend those who preferred the old status quo, even though the “new” church in Henry’s reign was no different except for the non-acceptance of the pope as head of the church.

      There is a lot of evidence that Elizabeth probably leant more to the Catholic church faith than to the new Protestant one. However, even is she did want to be a true Catholic, she could never have taken the country back to the old religion because of the circumstances of her birth.

      Therefore, she chooses a more middle way – we get High Church anglican developing (sometimes its deemed almost more Catholic than Catholic..having been to HC services and proper RC services they are VERY similar) whilst not overtly banning the simpler more Low Church rituals for the more obviously Protestant faith. It is known that Elizabeth really didn’t like the Puritan attitudes that were appearing and tried very hard to prevent persecution of Roman Catholics until forced to.

      So, in the light of all that, it made perfect sense to publically emphasise her right to rule through her father – a King in his own right and to privately remember her mother. That ring was on her finger when she died. Along with the coronation ring. It says more about her views of her mother than any public monument could.

      Elizabeth also strikes me as a very pragmatic person. She knew that every action would be analysed to an nth degree (and we think it only happens now??). Not mentioning her mother publically means that its not in the public eye and therefore is not commented on which therefore does not mean her rule is challenged on the basis of her mother’s life.

      Keeping her father in the public eye and comparing herself to him as often as possible means that people’s focus is on her as the absolute inheritor of Royal Power. And it worked. She was viewed as the rightful inheritor and despite all the plots and intrigues and the Pope giving permission for those who were RC to feel no guilt at murdering her if they had the chance (this was not something that they were jumping at the bit to do!), she was accepted and loved as Queen.

      Anne was remembered and I think loved by Elizabeth. That ring proves it. Nothing else was needed.

      1. Rowan says:

        I think that when considering how “Catholic” Elizabeth was there’s a tendency to judge too much by the more extreme forms of Protestantism. While Anglican services can be quite similar to Catholic services, so can Lutheran ones. Indeed, I’d say that in some ways Lutherans are more “Catholic” than Anglicans; and all three of those denominations can have services in high or low forms.

        Re how Elizabeth regarded Anne, there is, in addition to the ring, something I ran across the other day and which I described in a comment on the recent Mothering Sunday post. In 1557 (which is while Mary was Queen), Venetian ambassador Giovanni Michiel wrote that Elizabeth defended her mother’s marriage, claiming that Anne Boleyn ‘wanted nothing but marriage with the King, with the authority of the Church and its Archbishop. Therefore if she was deceived, she acted in good faith which may not have compromised her marriage or her own (i.e. Elizabeth’s) birth, for she was born in the same faith.’

        That’s from the recent biography, Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince, by Lisa Hilton, p 84. However, Hilton explained that “Michiel is not quoting a specific incident or a conversation held directly with Elizabeth; he is citing what he heard about the court.”

        1. Tidus says:

          Rowan, The only problem with that, is that
          I see it as Elizabeth trying to prove she had
          a right to rule. Not as a defense of Anne.

  23. Esther says:

    Thank you for this post. I agree that pardoning Anne would logically dictate pardons for all those who were executed, despite being innocent of the charged crimes — not only the men executed with Anne, but also Margaret Pole, and both More and Cromwell.

  24. Phil says:

    I agree. As with others, my immediate response was ‘let’s do it’ but your arguments have persuaded me otherwise. I’m reading a book about her fall at the moment and it is clear that the charges don’t add up or make logical sense. Still, Tudor treason trials weren’t famed for their fairness and she was tried by the standards of her own time. If we can’t now prove she is innocent, there is no point in this. Plus, the expense is unjustifiable. Leave her in St Peter ad Vincula I say.

  25. Christine says:

    All the people buried in St Peter were the victims of miscarriages of justice, they were harshly treated by our standards therefore if Anne is to be pardoned then I say pardon them all, no it’s not logical to try to get this done for Anne and as I said in another post, history has been her judge, the Queen is her great neice many generations removed anyway and if she thinks her resting place is suitable then I say let her be, I believe Jane Grey shouldn’t have been executed she was chosen by Edward as her heir which he had a right to do so, and she didn’t have no say in the matter, it was Mary who ursuped her throne not the other way around and Margaret Pole was just executed because Henry couldn’t get her son, so those two deserve to be declared innocent as theirs is more a cut and dried case, as Claire says a pardon means the person did something and she’s being forgiven, so in fact she wouldn’t be proved innocent, it’s two different things, all it means is you have been naughty but were sweeping it under the carpet, whearas what Anne deserves is a re trial and then her innocence will be seen , but it’s too long ago and a re trial would be impractical, we remember Anne in these files today our very discussions about her and everything she did, we revere her daughter Elizabeth for being the greatest monarch this country has ever produced and I believe she would be satisfied with that.

    1. Hannele says:

      Christine

      Edward had no right to name his successor, first because he was not of age and second because Parliament had not given him the right to do so. And if somebody is seen fit to rule, then he or she must also capable to refuse the crown, even if pressured by his or her family. Probably Jane Grey was as ambitious as Mary and Elizabeth. And if she had won the crown, she would have also let Mary and Elizabeth executed

      Before all, I find quite odd that only royals and nobles who after all took voluntarily the risk to achieve their ambitious goals but then failed are seen as offers of injustice, forgetting all the nameless offers who suffered horrible death for little offences.

      1. Christine says:

        Just because Jane was Queen doesn’t mean she would have had Mary and Elizabeth executed, those are the actions of a tyrant not of a young girl still in her teens who was more interested in her studies than ruling a kingdom, both Mary and Elizabeth were popular with the people and I doubt very much that her council, namely Northumberland would have pressurised her to have them executed, maybe Edward had to have parliaments permission to reverse his fathers will I don’t know about that side of it, but Jane didn’t do anything wrong in accepting it it was her parents and father in law who forced her to it and the poor girl paid with her life, Eric Ives called her the true Queen of England and she was, she was named Edwards heir by an anointed monarch, besides this is transgressing from the subject I was merely using Jane as an example to highlight the injustices that many of the Chapels victims suffered from.

  26. Banditqueen says:

    To give a royal pardon to me suggests that they are guilty and are being pardoned. I would prefer a reexamination of the evidence, not a trial as this would be a waste of public money, but the criminal justice board or whatever it is called, can look at the so called evidence and set aside her conviction. This would be more satisfactory. We would need give most people a royal pardon, as the trials of these times were farcical. Personally I would love to see a public expert trial on television, with experts and debates based on the sources and witnesses, with a public jury, as was done for Richard iii in 1984. I am confident that a board would set aside a conviction and we would learn more about the evidence as well.

    As to reburial, that has been problematic, but not impossible. After all we are honouring a notorious King next week, with all of the ceremonial the Tudors denied him, without clearing his name one way or another. Personally I believe Richard iii was innocent of the murder of the princes, but he did kill others unjustly in order to secure the throne. If we have to give a royal pardon to Anne Boleyn, we need one for William Lord Hastings, Sir Anthony Grey, Lord Rivers and Thomas Vaughan. There are a host of others, many hundreds in fact who deserve a pardon or declaration of innocence.

    Anne Boleyn was examined with other royal women, executed, but it is not clear which bones are hers and several bodies need to be exhumed to test for her DNA. This may be contaminated and there is a resistance today about exhuming bodies still buried in holy grounds. Where would she be buried? Westminster Abbey is out, there is no room, Windsor the same. Is the burial place at Hever good enough for a former queen of England? There are probably alternatives, but are they suitable? There are many good places that she visited, which would suit, either because of a family or personal connection. Canterbury may be suitable, being the Cathedral of the county of Kent, her family have connection to Norwich Cathedral, she appeared to like Gloucester on her visit, and so on, many will have other ideas. However, the kindest thing to do would be to let her rest in peace, with maybe a new memorial raised over or close to her burial place, which is honoured every year, that also declares she was innocent of the charges against her.

    For these reasons I don’t believe a royal pardon to be appropriate or sufficient and will not be signing the petition.

    1. Tidus says:

      quote:
      “ However the kindest thing to do would be to let her rest in peace,
      with maybe a new memorial raised over or close to her burial
      place, which is honored every year, that also declares she was
      innocent of the charges against her”.

      I think that is a great idea.

  27. Leslie says:

    The petition closes at the end of March and it only has 189 e-signatures. It looks like many agree with you, Claire.

  28. Michelle says:

    Well said Claire, and I completely agree. You are right on all points you make. Thanks for standing up for Anne Boleyn, Queen of England.

  29. Gail Marie says:

    I agree with you Claire and your reasoning is quite logical. I feel that Anne is honored by all who visit her burial place in the Chapel. I think she and Elizabeth are together forever and the earthly remains should stay where they are.

    1. Lisa says:

      I agree with both you and Claire. Maybe someday new evidence will come to light and Anne and the men killed with her will be exonerated. In some way maybe justice has been done because so many know her story and visit her grave, two things Henry would hate.

      1. Hannele says:

        To Lisa

        How on the earth new evidence could come to the light? This is not a murder case where there is physical evidence but all is based on words. We have no possibility to interrogate Mark Smeaton or Lady Rochford, and even if we had, we had no means to check their stories.

        1. Lisa says:

          I don’t know where the evidence would come from. I was just conjecturing. And I shouldn’t write when tired.

        2. Rowan says:

          It’s conceivable, though unlikely, that there are documents that would be relevant new evidence, if they existed and were found.

  30. Clare says:

    As a lot of people have already said a pardon is given to the guilty who have been given a pardon because they are exonerated of the crime for a specific reason. So Anne could be given a pardon on the basis that she committed the crime but can be exonerated on the basis that her husband was an impotent….person and she was desperate. The alternative is an appeal against conviction/sentence. Sadly Anne’s appeal should have been in by 29th May 1536 (in exceptional circumstances by 12th June) which means she is 479 late. I think an application to appeal out of time is bound to fail. I could file the necessary paperwork but I am not prepared to work pro bono. If anyone is prepared to pay money on account in the sum of £100,00 then I’ll take it on.

  31. krystal says:

    I’m glad you aren’t supporting the petition. I love Anne but as a person who has been granted access to the akashic records I can tell you with absolute certainty.that she was guilty of adultery. It was a desperate moment but the fact remains she was guilty and.paid the price for it.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      The what records? Well that’s just you and one other person who thinks she was guilty, even though a proper assessment of the sources and dates, sparse as they are shows that the charges make no sense, the dates are invented and Anne or the men elsewhere than stated, plus she swore to be innocent on the Blessed Sacrament and even Chapyus stated he did not believe the charges. Are these akashic records something from the spirit world, giving you some weird message that numerous scholars have missed, all of whom point to Anne being innocent? You are entitled to your misinformed opinion but that does not make you right. Anne Boleyn was innocent, the men were innocent, she rests in holy ground, has a lovely memorial, that is why she should be left, not because she was guilty.

      1. Claire says:

        From Wikipedia:
        “In theosophy and anthroposophy, the Akashic records (a term coined in the late 1800s from akasha or ākāśa, the Sanskrit word for “sky”, “space”, “luminous”, or “æther”) are a compendium of thoughts, events, and emotions believed by Theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the astral plane. There is no scientific evidence for existence of the Akashic records.”

        From Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment:
        “The Akashic Records or “The Book of Life” can be equated to the universe’s super computer system. It is this system that acts as the central storehouse of all information for every individual who has ever lived upon the earth. More than just a reservoir of events, the Akashic Records contain every deed, word, feeling, thought, and intent that has ever occurred at any time in the history of the world. Much more than simply a memory storehouse, however, these Akashic Records are interactive in that they have a tremendous influence upon our everyday lives, our relationships, Akashic body our feelings and belief systems, and the potential realities we draw toward us.”

        I prefer to go for the cold, hard facts and they point to Anne being innocent.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Thanks Claire for the explanation. I recently read your excellent article on the various dates and inditements, asking if they make sense, and I agree, the facts, not the Astral Ancestors, speak for themselves, Anne was innocent, and most historians agree. I love the idea that she is remembered every May at the Tower by someone whose family clearly cared very much for the wellbeing of Anne that they send flowers on her anniversary and have done for hundreds of years. I too found her memorial and the grave site in St Peter special and peaceful.

        2. Christine says:

          Well said Claire the Akashic Records sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

  32. Dawn says:

    Oh lord–can you just imagine Mary I’s reaction to having Anne Boleyn re-interred with her? Sharing space with Elizabeth is (probably) bad enough, in her eyes!

  33. Susan says:

    I feel In my heart Ann was clearly innocent and those poor men who died with her ! But leave her well alone don’t mess around with the past its been and gone it’s history no one has the right today do this !!!

  34. Shelly Van Winkle RN says:

    I agree with you, and I doubt Queen Anne would want to be buried with Queen Mary. I doubt Queen Mary would have wanted to be buried with Queen Anne. The only bones I can think of that should be identified and buried are the ones that might be of the lost princes that Queen Elizabeth II has said to leave alone. I firmly believe in Anne’s innocence. I even think she may have been pregnant when she went to execution, but not far enough along for any fetal remains to be found. That would be another reason to keep her where she is, because in some way, if that is true, she does have a child with her in her final rest.

    1. Zulema Riggs says:

      Pregnant by who? Someone said earlier that Henry VIII was impotent and she was desperate to give him a son as Henry’s wandering eye was on Jane Seymour.
      Where does the claim that he was impotent come from? Because he went onto marry other women. What has Elizabeth II got to do with the princes bones? Have they been found? Where and when? I live in England and this is news to me.

      1. Claire says:

        The skeletons of two children were found in 1674 when workmen were carrying out work on a staircase leading from the King’s Lodgings to the White Tower. As they were found close to where Sir Thomas More believed the Princes’ bodies to have been hidden they were thought to be the Princes in the Tower and their remains were interred in an urn designed by Sir Christopher Wren in Westminster Abbey. An examination of the remains in 1933 concluded that the remains were the Princes, but doubt has always been cast on this. A further examination has never been allowed. Visitors to the Abbey can see the urn.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          May I ask how Anne was pregnant at the time of her execution? There is no evidence that she was pregnant, she could have pleaded her belly had she been. Henry may have accused her, but that was not even in the inditements and I know of no source that has her with child at this time. Even a condemned woman could not be executed if she suspected she was with child as the baby was.considered innocent. Do you have a source for this child?

        2. Claire says:

          This was something that Alison Weir argued in her book “Henry VIII: King and Court” and that book is still out there being bought so I do receive a lot of emails asking me if I agree with Weir that Anne was pregnant at her execution. However, Weir retracts this in “The Lady in the Tower”. I think her previous view was based on the misreading of a date on an historical document.

      2. Christine says:

        I think they are the little Princes as it’s to much of a coincidence as no other children have been reported as dying in the Tower, and the bones were said to date from that time and the age of the bones also coincide with the age of Edward V and his brother, also shreds of velvet were found attached to the skeletons and only Royalty wore velvet, I think the fact that they are children which is really tragic means that they should be left to rest in dignity, it was shocking in the 15c to murder children and that was in a violent age they were so young and so innocent, lambs to the slaughter I believe Queen Elizabeth is right when she said she doesn’t want them disturbed, I saw the programme last night on Richard 111 and believe Starkeys view that he had them murdered, he had the means and the motive had they lived they would always have been a thorn in his side therefore it was safer to kill them, Richard 111 was no different from other monarchs who had a threat to the throne removed, it’s happened throughout history, if only Edward had disappeared then murder could be ruled out but they both did, which is very suspicious and points to them both being murdered, murder is wrong except in the case of self defence and these two little boys were completely at the mercy of their uncle when they should have been protected, il be watching the burial of Richard tonight but I won’t shed no tears for him.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Christine, I find your remarks disrespectful especially at this time. There is no evidence that the boys were either killed or not. All we can say for certain is that Edward and Richard disappeared, assumed killed sometime in the late summer of 1483, that two skeletons believed to be the boys were found in 1674, examination was untaken to identity them and their deaths, but doubt remains over identity, cause of death, or even that they are male. The boys were accepted, however, and placed in the before mentioned urn in Westminster Abbey. Yes I agree murder, especially that of two young children, is terrible, it was horrific even then, but it cannot be proven as yet that the boys were murdered, let alone that Richard killed them. Dr Starkey is correct, Richard had a motive, rival claimants, even children, because children grow up, were considered dangerous, perverse as that may be, but it is not proof. It fact in 1483, Richard does not have a motive, he has a father with a living heir, a son, he had declared the King and his brother illegitimate, deposed them publicly and followed this via a legal process, and the boys were secured. Richard found this difficult as he was betrayed by Buckinghams rebellion just a few months after his coronation. This is were some people believe that an alternative killer, Buckingham, who did have means, motive and opportunity. He supported Henry Tudor, but his rebellion failed, but Buckingham had a better claim than Henry Tudor. Did he believe Richard would reward him for this service? Whatever the truth we can never prove who killed the boys, we can only identify the boys in Westminster Abbey, and perhaps how they died. There are other things that could have happened to the princes, they don’t make as much sense as murder, but are very possible. All we know today is the boys vanished, yes, possibly they were killed, that does not prove Richard iii killed them.

        2. Christine says:

          There’s no proof that Richard 111 had them murdered but I think it’s highly likely that he did the Tower then as now was a highly guarded fortress and only Richard and those closest to him had access to the Princes, they were seen playing in the grounds for several months then late summer they were seen no more and rumours began to circulate, Richard 111 heard these rumours yet he did nothing to dispel them he never produced the Princes to show they were indeed alive and well, in fact he kept silent and didn’t even mention their names, this behaviour is odd if you believe he hadn’t harmed them and any person would be willing to prove otherwise, he was said to be extremely loyal to his brother Edward 1V yet I can’t help but think this was just as act to gain his trust so he would be declared Lord Protector as his actions afterwards prove, having his nephews and nieces declared bastards and himself taking the throne, I think that all along he meant to take the throne and had plotted for years, as soon as Edward was dead he waylaid the young King and took him to the Tower, the speed with which he took the throne and had Hastings executed without a fair trial declaring his nephews illigitemate and naming his son as his heir all point to the fact that this was planned beforehand, when I was younger I read a fictional account of Richard by Jean Plaidy and she was of the view that Henry V11 had murdered the Princes and after reading her book I too believe Richard had had a bad press, yet I thought surely Princess Elizabeth wouldn’t have married a man who she suspected had killed her brothers? I then read a biography on the Princes and the evidence was quite overwhelming as the historian quoted sources taken from Mores account of the fate of Edward V and his brother and the unjust execution of Hastings without a fair trial, there were other acts of tyranny that occurred during Richards reign also that caused the Barons and the London populace to turn against him, he was no doubt a brave soldier and could well have been a devoted husband and father but was he a child murderer? Tho we can’t say for sure I think it’s more likely that he was than he wasn’t. By the way my comments wernt meant to sound disrespectful I only meant that my sympathy lies with the two innocents lying in the urn in Westminster.

    2. Christine says:

      I can’t see how Anne could have been pregnant after her last miscarriage she and Henry were not exactly on speaking terms, I should imagine he was so disappointed in her he ignored her altogether, and found solace in Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard could well have been pregnant but by whom is anyone’s guess.

  35. Karen Gray says:

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see what a “pardon” will do. It can’t right the wrongs that were done.

    I’m with Claire that we can’t use hindsight to re-try a case almost 500 years after the fact.

    I would be more interested, maybe, in having a Mass said for her, a proper Christian service for her without disturbing her remains.

  36. Renita says:

    I can understand not relocating Anne’s remains, but I think she deserves a pardon and a proper funeral service. It also wouldn’t hurt to pardon those accused with her.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Why does Anne Boleyn deserve a pardon anymore than any other person executed on trumped up charges of treason? As a pardon implies guilt and the person is normally being spared punishment in this case it is useless. Anne Boleyn was innocent, full stop. It’s not a pardon the General should be asking for but to overturn or set aside her conviction. It’s the latter, quashing a conviction that is difficult as no new evidence or legal grounds technically exist to allow this. Even the setting aside by the criminal justice trial board, without the court of appeal, or need for a retrial needs solid legal grounds to do so. Anne was found guilty of 21 accounts of adultery plus a number of other crimes such as plotting with her lover to kill the King, and put her own bastard child on the throne. The first charges against her are not even criminal offences, the church courts which still existed, should have been called to hear the case and adultery was not made a sin punished by death until the benelevant reign of William and Mary. It’s the second crimes, clearly added as presumptive treason, were made so as Anne et al, could be executed. Please note that the damming evidence of her stupid conversations with Henry Norris was not included in the evidence or inditements. Cromwell was being clever here, it could be implied that Anne and her lovers plotted the Kings death during one of their numerous meetings, and as she was alleged to have been trying to or actually gotten a child by one of those innocent men, namely Norris, then to the court it followed they intended to either pass the child off as the King’s or to do away with Henry and Anne plus lover to rule through child. It’s happened before, Isabella and lover Roger Mortimer allegedly killed Edward ll, although Isabella eas cleared, and ruled while her son was a minor.

      For these latter criminal charges to be set aside new evidence has to be provided. It’s not enough for Anne Boleyn fans to say we believe that she is innocent. The legal system is more sophisticated in the rules and how it works than the belief in innocence or guilt. It’s not even enough that most experts see Anne as innocent. Yes, the inditements can be torn apart, unfortunately these are a list of charges, not evidence. The dates can be disputed, Anne or the men were not there, we know today that pregnancy does not make sex out of the question, back then it was considered dangerous, plus childbirth and confinement exclusively were female affairs. Experts can confirm that Anne Boleyn would be unlikely to have sex at such times. However, this is not enough to throw out all of the charges. Today each count is considered separately and for five or more dates Anne does not have a defense. In the context of the case as a whole they fall flat but you cannot guarantee a jury would have found her not guilty of every single incitement. You only have to look at recent historical sex abuse trials in which people have been found guilty on some points and not on others, for the reasons, you cannot prove or disprove most of these things, memory is not trusted, time has passed, the dates and events don’t match or witnesses imagine things or don’t recall them, or the accused cannot give a good account of the alleged dates or times. The same can be seen in Ann’s case, in many cases there is no evidence, no witness, and nothing to assist a modern jury or judge either way. No evidence can be proven to have been excluded, as we don’t have the trial transcripts, the testimony or full details of the investigation and witnesses.

      If you can argue that evidence is excluded from the court, you can argue for a fresh trial. One thing a modern court would have done is to scrutinize the dates, where the men were, the so called evidence, the character of witnesses, even if the accused was honest, eeven the queen, hearsay would not be allowed, most of the crimes would fall down, the rest should be, but they are not clear, or they could be dismissed today as sins not criminal charges. Anne would make a credible witness. Today the defense would be allowed rights, then you did not, but we cannot apply legal standards to historical cases. No contemporary case can match modern legal assessments as they did not have the same rights or rigour of modern times and thinking. No contemporary case can claim that a witness or evidence was excluded from the original court as we don’t have the information to support this. A new case cannot be presented because we don’t have the original sources to give a full picture of the evidence against Anne Boleyn. All we have are the inditements, not a full transcript. This is not enough for a modern court to go on, nor does any new evidence exist to have a new trial or appeal. Sad and terribly wrong that this is, we will never see the wrongful conviction of Anne overturned as this is legally impossible. Now I know that some of the less well informed of you will find this post annoying but I am trained and know exactly how the legal system works and what you need to overturn a conviction. Being emotionally connected to Anne Boleyn or a historian who can rationally argue that she is innocent is going to change that cruel reality. Anne was innocent, but other than declaring it in black and white, there is nothing more to be done about it.

      I feel a royal pardon is futile, Anne is not here to have the benefit of this. It also is meant to exclude a guilty person from further punishment. There are some potential arguments as way of rehabilitation to turn the convictions of people charged with ridiculous crimes that are not offenses today, but this is limited to issues of moral code or other things that can be dismissed by reason of the circumstances or their mental health. Men killed for cowardly acts in the first world war suffered from mental illness known about at the time, and ignored by courts and commanders, plus the medical and religious people from the time. The case for a royal pardon for men punished for being gay also may have merit, although in reality they should have their cases overturned as the law that convicted them no longer exists and was without merit to begin with. It’s also sufficiently recent to examine in detail. The case of Anne Boleyn is too far distant, the law did have merit, and most of the evidence is missing.

      I personally believe that the charges against her are rubbish, Anne Boleyn and the five men were innocent. All we can do is repeat this as a fact. Most historians say that these people were innocent. History, the greatest judge of all has declared Anne innocent. Few people believe otherwise. A royal pardon to me says different and is not enough. There is no reason why a monument to Anne cannot be made in the Tower or a public place, in Hever Castle, elsewhere stating that she is innocent. This would have more impact than anything else, would honour her, and draw more people to her resting place.

      I don’t believe that Anne should be moved or see any other reason for another service. She is buried in holy ground. She has a proper burial place, she is in a beautiful chapel, she has a proper coffin, she was given a correct reburial service with the others by the Victorians, and given a memorial with her arms on. She was reburied as Queen. She was buried with care by the ladies, not just thrown in the ground. There is no evidence for this claim. Since then, as the church is a living active church, she and others are constantly prayed for, so she has had several Masses and other services for her soul. Anne Boleyn is commemorated every year at her resting place by people who love her, she has flowers placed on this site every May for the last 500 years. Anne has others with her to pray for her, Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fishet and Blessed Margaret Pole, plus I believe that she is in heaven and does not need anything else. As long as there are sites like this to speak for her, Anne Boleyn will never be forgotten. No royal pardon can do anything else for her. I don’t disrespect anyone who believes that the royal pardon is a great idea, or want to sign the petition, but it is not enough, nor can it legally clear Anne of the terrible crimes she was wrongly convicted of.

      1. Zulema Riggs says:

        Less informed or not, you are annoying and have no proof of what she did or said because you were not there in those days and did not know Anne personally.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          No but like many historians I have studied the indictments and the original documents and the dates don’t make sense. The late Eric Ives proved the case against Anne was nonsense. I really don’t care if I am annoying, that is an honour if it means standing up for historical truth. No I wasn’t there, but the evidence points to the entire thing being a set up. Every historian bar one agree with her innocence, as did Chapuys at the time and he was her enemy.

      2. Christine says:

        Did they ever find the body of Edward 11 ?

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Officially Edward ii was interred after his alleged murder firstly for one month in the chapel at Berkeley Castle, while it was prepared for burial, identified and examined. However it was guarded by one man only, the royal family did not come to view, but sent officials to confirm that Edward was dead. However a number of other people, religious and officials came to view but by special invitation only, a former enemy and servant of Edward who knew him well guarded the body, he knew others in the castle. He was embalmed immediately after death and Edward iii informed officially a week later. Within a month he oversaw a roysl funeral for his father at Gloucester, now a Cathedral, his tomb was later enlarged and made more glorious, in fact it is one of the most beautiful in England. His heart was removed and placed in a silver casket to be sent to the queen. We don’t know for certain but it would be placed in the tomb later on. Edward ii was conveyed by a black covered carriage to Gloucester on 21/10/1327 the Bishop of Llandaff remained with the former King this entire time. He was attended by royal knights and chaplains, two seargents, candle makers, his body remained unburied at the abbey for two months. It was moved to a special hearse on 21/11/1327, which had four guilded lions, and standing statues of the four Evangelists, with incense burners and more lions
          It bore his banners and a covering placed on his body had a gold lepard made from eight hundred gold leaves. His body was not shown to the public although it was coffined, a statue used at his coronation was used instead. His funeral was held on 21/12/1327 but few details remain save it cost three husbands and fifty pounds. It’s not unusual for a three months delay in a full royal funeral, the use of an effergy was, the barriers around the coffin were in thick oak and anyone who came to view, save a privaged few did not see the face of Edward ii. This has led to speculation that he was not dead, and the body being transferred to the tomb was not his. Even though the funeral was attended by the new king, Isabella of France, several royal dukes, half brothers, sisters, many other important people, doubt about the fate of Edward ii remained. Edward iii executed his father’s killer, Roger Mortimer, but from 1330 onwards he received a letter suggesting that his father was alive. Even though Edward investigated, he is believed to have suppressed evidence that supported the story, but rumours persisted that Edward ii lived in Italy. This may have been fantastic rumour, but some people today, like Karen Warner, whose biography of Edward I take the details from, believes that he may have survived, despite news of his death spreading in several sources. Not all of the sources are contemporary and only one, written forty years later supports the poker up the rectum story. Causes of death vary, but most support the idea that Edward was dead. It may seem totally bizarre to us to have a costly royal funeral if the King was not confirmed as dead. It seems reasonable therefore to assume that his son and widow were satisfied before providing this elaborate event. Yes, another royal mystery. Most historians agree that the most evidence points to Edward ii being killed in 1327 and the tomb in Gloucester Cathedral is his. Edward iii had the tomb highly elaborated and it made Gloucester a place of pilgrimage, with miracle being reported soon afterwards. It’s still here today. It was not demolished in the dissolution. Henry Viii and Anne Boleyn came here on their progress of 1535.

          Have we found the body of Edward ii? We have never lost his body, but some questions need to be answered by experts to confirm and put to bed doubt that the body in Gloucester is really his.

  37. I say leave her be. Where she lies is so peaceful and a poignant place to remember her. To bring this to fruition would “dig up” ( no pun intended all the hateful things said about her – then and now. She is with her daughter.

  38. Rowan says:

    I think some of the reasons for not signing make more sense than others.

    For instance, if you don’t want Anne reburied in Westminister Abbey, or don’t think that’s practicable, or don’t think there should be a royal funeral, those are good reasons not to sign this particular petition.

    But some points seem to be based on an assumption that signing would entail spending a lot of time campaigning — time that would be better spent in other ways. I don’t it does. Signing it would take very little time and doesn’t seem to involve a commitment to anything more.

    Re new evidence and whether a pardon “suggests that she did something to be pardoned for”, I think the recent pardon for Alan Turing may shed some light. I don’t think any new evidence was involved — the pardon was under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy — and, as an article in the Telegraph explains, “A royal pardon is rare, and usually only granted where a person has been found innocent of an offence and a request has been made by a family member.”

    Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10536246/Alan-Turing-granted-Royal-pardon-by-the-Queen.html

    So I don’t think a royal pardon of that form does imply or presuppose guilt.

    (Turing’s case is obviously different in important ways. He was, for instance, guilty under the laws of the day. But such things don’t invalidate the points I’m making, which are that a pardon doesn’t need new evidence and, since usually granted when the person is innocent, does not imply guilt.)

    Anyway, one of my reasons for not signing is one that I don’t think anyone else has given, namely that it would raise the whole issue of Anne’s guilt or innocence at a time when the idea that she is guilty (or may have been) is gaining ground. For example, G. W. Barnard’s views are having influence, and Hilary Mantel blithely dismisses the argument that the dates on the indictments don’t make sense.

    1. Claire says:

      The campaigning point was one personal to me as I’ve been asked many times if I would consider taking on the Wing Commander’s campaign and seeking a pardon. To get it in the public eye would take time and work.

      Regarding the royal pardon and implied guilt, the cases of Alan Turing and also the soldiers shot for “cowardice” are cases of those people being guilty of things that were seen as crimes at the time but those things are no longer seen as a crime today. A “royal pardon” is usually given to stop the punishment of a person accused of a crime (Cambridge Dictionary). As Matthew Parris points out in his article on Turing – http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/matthew-parris/9269791/why-im-against-posthumous-pardons-even-for-alan-turing/ – “In law it [pardon] does not overturn or reverse a court’s verdict, but is an act of royal mercy or clemency”, so it really does nothing for Anne Boleyn.

      I don’t think that G.W. Bernard’s views have had much impact. He’s been voicing them since the 1990s when he and Eric Ives argued their cases in journal articles and he does write that his view is just “a hunch”. Re Mantel, although she has dismissed Ives’s arguments re the indictments, her books and the series still make it appear that Anne was innocent – reckless, perhaps, but innocent of the crimes she was charged with.

      1. Rowan says:

        Re the pardon, is this the Cambridge dictionary entry you have in mind?

        http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/royal-pardon

        If so, it’s a bit misleading. Turing was given a free pardon by the Queen.

        I already addressed the point that Turing was guilty of something seen as a crime at the time; but that’s unusual: such a pardon normally requires innocence and does not imply or presuppose guilt.

        I haven’t said anything about the idea that a pardon would do nothing for Anne, or “doesn’t change anything”, because I’m not sure I understand it. Of course, in a sense there isn’t any way to do anything for Anne, since she’s dead (unless, perhaps, it turns out that prayers can make a difference after all); but that’s also true of such things as correcting myths about Anne, like the one that gives her six fingers, or arguing that she was innocent. Yet people still make efforts to correct those myths, or to argue she was innocent.

        Re G. W. Bernard, I think his views have helped to create ‘room’ for a belief that Anne may have been guilty and have helped people to cast doubt on the case for her innocence. For example, in John Schofield’s biography of Cromwell, he cites Bernard when arguing against “It is sometimes claimed that some of these charges cannot be valid because either Anne or her ‘lover’ was somewhere else at the time stated”.

        Re Hilary Mantel, while the recent tv series may make it seem Anne was innocent, I don’t think that’s true of the books. From some of the things Mantel’s said, I think the books were intended to leave it open or ambiguous whether Anne was innocent; and I think they succeeded.

        1. Claire says:

          Just a quick reply as I’m heading out.

          I wasn’t arguing with you, I was agreeing with you. Re a pardon not doing anything for Anne, I meant that in Turin’s case he was punished for something that is now not a crime whereas in Anne’s case she was found guilty of treason, of plotting to kill the reigning monarch. A pardon just doesn’t seem relevant unless you are declaring that she was actually innocent, and there would need to be something solid to base that on when a trial of her peers found her guilty. Got to go now, sorry.

        2. Hannele says:

          Most happenings in history can be interpreted in different ways and we can never be 100 % sure what is the truth, only that some interpretations are more likely than others.

          As time changes, interpretations change also. History is never ending process.

          In Anne’s case, it is not only about the facts people interpret in different ways but also, and perhaps even more, about the person’s image of woman.

  39. Alan Wybrow says:

    Hi Claire,

    I commend you for your article and reasoning. I started to read your article with the thought as to how you could not support this motion and petition. As I read further , your reasoning makes complete sense. Can we really rewrite history.I think not. As you said, even if this action were to happen, there will always be those who will think otherwise….. that being, Anne was guilty…no matter what action was to take place to move her and declare her innocent. We do not have definitive proof , and we may never have the proof to declare her totally innocent or not.

    I think that it’s people and sites such as yours that will keep her memory alive and will always keep the facts in front of us to read, ascertain and decide for ourselves whether she was innocent or not. She was/is a Queen of England and made so by Henry VIII and she will always be Queen of England. Her relocation will never change that. Let her rest in the annuls of history, in the arms of God and for us to rest in her memory and accomplishments.

  40. Wendy says:

    There is something poignant about Anne being in the Tower. It’s as though she came full circle from her coronation to her execution. She is talked about every day in the Tower, would that happen in Westminster Abbey? Let her stay with George and her cousin Katherine.

  41. Bree says:

    Like so many others I too thought you would sign. I am pleased that you chose to tell all of why you chose not to. After reading your reasons I too realzed there are other things that would be better to do. While it would be great to see Anne Boleyn pardoned I belive that donating to charities and education like she did would mean more than trying to change the past. We all know what a remarkable women she was. I think that by being like her and helping others as she did would mean way more.

  42. Kristina says:

    Unfortunately… Innocence does not equal justice. As stated, those were the times. And Lack of Commissions do not cancel Omissions of Sound Judgement.

  43. thomas says:

    Unless we are speaking of the most basic common denominators, I’m not sure how much ‘faith ‘, at least in doctrine, Anne & Elizabeth the First actually would have shared. Anne’s reformist views and Elizabeth ‘s militant Protestantism are miles apart, unless huge leaps of speculation are accepted. More to the point, I am in full agreement with Claire’s position on the pardon and reburial of Anne. Innocence is innocence, despite modern gestures, locations or monuments. Honor the dead; but help the living.

    1. Rowan says:

      It’s impossible to know what beliefs Elizabeth kept in her heart, and did not reveal, but I don’t think Elizabeth was militantly protestant, or had views very far from Anne’s. Elizabeth at least followed much more of a middle way than Edward had done, and she, for instance, kept much of the ceremony, vestments, etc, that the more extreme protestants had wanted to abolish. I think it’s also significant that her Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, had been a chaplain to Anne, and that, shortly before her death, Anne had asked him to watch over Elizabeth.

      However, it’s difficult to understand now how people thought then. For example, to me the difference between what the Catholics think happens to the consecrated bread and wine in the Eucharist (transubstantiation) and what the Lutherans think (sacramental union) looks more like metaphysical hair-splitting than a fundamental disagreement (both are forms of real presence), but that’s clearly not how people felt back then.

  44. Beth says:

    Thank you, Claire, for your informative post! I agree with you 100%! Anne has been at rest for hundreds of years and I fail to see any reason to request a pardon. Whether or not she, and those executed along with her, were innocent or guilty, we cannot be judging them by 21st century criteria. In all probability, she was, indeed, not guilty of the charges leveled against her. Even by 16th century standards, I’m fairly confident that she and the men executed with her, were victims of Henry’s paranoia and propaganda told to him by those that had much to gain by removing her from the picture. The others were collateral damage. Henry already had his eye on Jane Seymour and if he had divorced her, I feel sure that she would’ve have been a constant thorn in his side. I believe he learned that lesson with Katherine of Aragon. I’m afraid Anne would not have been as accommodating as Katherine and Anne of Cleves were in their individual circumstances. In conclusion, let us remember history as it was, not as we wish it could have been. One of Anne’s greatest accomplishments was giving birth to Elizabeth, who was an exceptional woman and Queen. I’m certain that it matters little where one is buried, as long as their eternal soul is in Heaven. With that, I close my comments. Thanks for reading my personal opinion.

  45. Jenny says:

    Anne was most probably innocent of adultery.

    But if she did actually say the “looking for dead men’s shoes” comment then she is guilty of imagining the King’s death, which was treason at the time. In that context, she was guilty of one of the charges laid against her and therefore does not deserve a royal pardon.

    However, I would like to see her acquitted of the adultery charges, especially the charge of incest which is just plain insulting to Anne and even to Henry himself.

    1. Claire says:

      I don’t think she was guilty of imagining the King’s death with those words. She was reprimanding Henry Norris for looking “for dead men’s shoes” and not imagining the King’s death or plotting against the King.

      1. Christine says:

        That was a really foolish remark for Anne to say but I think she just uttered it without thinking,she was most likely upset with Henry carrying on with Jane Seymour and was enjoying flirting with Henry Norris, a bit of flirting does wonders for a woman’s esteem, it was ridiculous to lay the charge against her of plotting the Kings death as without him Anne would have had no protection from her enemy’s, she had a fright after his accident at the joust and her reaction there should have proved there was no way she wanted him dead, it was all nonsense, after she made that comment to Norris she was understandably worried it would be taken out of context, trouble was Cromwell got to hear of it and a bit of harmless flirting was turned into something much more sinister.

        1. Claire says:

          What I find interesting is that although she was accused of plotting to kill the King with the men, there does not seem to be any mention of this conversation being used as evidence against her.

          Yes, reckless and foolish, and definitely said in the heat of the moment, but it would have had to have been twisted to be used as evidence when Anne was actually reprimanding Norris.

      2. Rowan says:

        But wouldn’t the ‘dead man’ in that case be the King? To me, it does seem to be imagining the King’s death, by referring to what Norris might do if Henry died. It’s absurd for it to be considered treason, and I think the act that made it treason was a relatively recent one, but it does look like a violation. However, if it wasn’t used in the trial, it’s strange that it’s assumed so much significance in modern discussions of what happened.

        1. Claire says:

          But “imagining” at that stage did not mean “imagine” as “think” or mention, it meant to actually plot the King’s death, as John Barrell in his book on the treason laws points out. It was much later that it actually began to change on definition, although when Henry VIII was dying his advisers feared telling him he was dying in case that was twisted to be treason. A review on Barrell’s book states “These well-publicized trials [in the 1790s] revolved around the meaning of the phrase “imagining the king’s death,” words associated with the basic 14th-century Treason Statute. The original meaning of this phrase had been “to devise or intend” the king’s death, but the meaning of “imagine” began to shift in the course of the 1790s, and with it the definition of treason. Prosecutors sought to broaden the word’s legal meaning to include “merely” imagining, thus eliminating the need to show any direct intention of killing the king.”

          Anne’s words would have to have been twisted to be seen as plotting against the King when she was reprimanding Norris for wanting to take the King’s place.

  46. Christine says:

    The actual trial itself one observer said was all bawdy and lechery rather like women’s gossip, The Lord Mayor himself said they could find no evidence whatsoever, but that they were resolved to get rid of her, Anne it seems was convicted on hearsay, a terrible travesty of justice.

  47. Dawn 1st says:

    Its all been said above…a pardon is for someone who has committed a crime…would not an Acquittal be the more appropriate action, is that the correct term? Either/or there is no point in fighting a lost course, it’s far too late, and there would be no practical reason behind it, from what I can see.
    The many perceptions of Anne would not be changed by a legal document, or giving her a fancy tomb.

    To re-inter Anne at Westminster would achieve nothing. She would not become any more renown than she already is, gain no more respect. support and admiration that she already has from those that are drawn to her life story, and perhaps receive no more visitors to her grave side that she already does at the lovely little chapel in the Tower.

    ‘And if any person will meddle with my cause, I require them to judge the best’…I don’t think that means dig me up and give me a ‘Right Royal send off’ and a pardon for something I didn’t do…I would have thought it would be in the lines of sites such as Claire’s, and all those who participate, to be judged with a fair jury, using the facts that are known.
    Anne’s grave has already been disturbed before, leave her be with her brother to rest in peace and dignity. I also think to do something as ‘big’ as this would kick off a load of hassle and grief, as there are those that hate Anne out there too…leave well alone..
    ‘The Past Cannot Be Cured’….Elizabeth I

    Pomp and ceremony means nothing, as it did when she was alive.

    1. Rowan says:

      A free pardon from the Queen of the sort I’ve been talking about (above) is NOT for someone who has committed a crime. It is normally for the innocent.

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        Thanks. I have just looked a free pardon from the Queen, but is there that much difference between one from the Queen of the ordinary justice system? Both seemed to relate to those who have been convicted of something. As in the Alan Turing case he was convicted by the laws of that time concerning his homosexuality, thankfully now that would not happen…perhaps the best terminology in Anne’s case would be a Miscarriage of Justice, and so be exonerated from the false accusation of the crimes put against her and those accused with her.
        Still, too little too late I think.

  48. Miss Kitty says:

    Hi

    I think she is in a really beautiful place now where she is with her brother it is sad that she was convicted because she was a flirt. I don’t think she was guilty of anything but if she was here I think she would want to stay where she is. I think setting up a charity in her name and the others who died with her would be a good idea

    I wonder if Queen Elizabeth ever visited her grave

  49. Gwen says:

    While, I think this is well meaning, it seems problematic at best. Firstly, finding and positively identifying her remains would be a struggle (not an impossible one, but, serious work would be required). Plus, while the idea of putting Anne with Elizabeth is nice in theory, it should not be forgotten that Elizabeth is in with (or more accurately on top of) Mary and while I have conflicting feelings about Mary I, to put Anne in with her would definitely be an insult. So, would Mary be moved first? Seems unfair to disturb the sisters after nearly five hundred years. I don’t think Anne needs a royal pardon either, she didn’t commit a crime.

    After watching the burial of Richard III today, I’m not sure I’d fancy watching Starkey and Philippa Gregory argue about whether Anne really did commit incest while they lower her in either to be honest.

  50. Cecelia says:

    I thoroughly agree with your position re: Anne’s reburial. She lays in holy ground in a very appropriate and peaceful place. There apparently is no longer any room at Westminster Abbey. I read this is one of the reasons Richard III is not being re-buried there. The only space for him would have been a one foot square hole in the floor – not even room for a monument. So Anne would also have no room unless her bones would be placed in Elizabeth’s coffin.

    Just a few words on the two princes – we do not know that the bones found in the tower were of the two princes. The estimate of the age is approximate and close to the ages of the two princes. There was no cause of death noted in the forensic exam of 1933 and there is some doubt about gender. Queen Elizabeth is not the one objecting to any further examination of the remains – it is the dean of Westminster Abbey who has taken the position that the remains should not be disturbed any more. I suspect we shall never know what their fate was although there are some credible historians who think the younger boy died of fever. I am inclined to think that in the absence of proof even of how the boys died we should give Richard the benefit of doubt.

    There are still missing Kings – it has long been believed that Harold II is buried somewhere on the grounds of the now dissolved monastery at Waltham. I have read that there is to be an attempt to find him conducted by the same group that found Richard III. Now that would be something! Cromwell had the bones of several pre conquest Kings thrown out – but it seems Alfred the Great may have been hidden at the time and recently discovered. So we await confirmation on that.

    1. Christine says:

      They have come a long way with forensics since the thirties, they thought they found the remains of Dr Crippens wife underneath the cellar but they have since discovered they belonged to a man! Poor Dr Crippen was hung for the murder of his wife but she could have just fled the country and lived under an assumed name, nevertheless I believe the bones are of the two little Princes they were last seen alive in the Tower grounds and simply vanished without trace, therefore it’s too much of a coincidence, they were probably murdered by suffocation whilst they lay sleeping, at least this is the common view, as regards finding the burial places of lost Kings, Henry 1sts grave has also vanished so it’d be interesting to find him.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Don’t know if you are interested, but a team in Kent, having searched and researched for thirty years may be about to make a break through and dig for the lost tomb and grave of King Stephen.

        1. Christine says:

          That is interesting its as if finding Richard 111 has awakened a lot of would be Royal tomb hunters.

  51. laurie says:

    I agree that it is impossible to know whether Anne was guilty or innocent after so many centuries have passed and unless some startling new evidence is discovered in some dusty vault somewhere, we will probably never know for sure. I also agree that it is equally impossible to know if the bones buried St. Peter Ad Vincula are indeed those of Queen Anne. I believe that Anne and her daughter Elizabeth the first have been reunited in the next life as someone else also pointed out…….there is no need for a pardon for Anne, in my humble opinion. I adore Anne Boleyn, but I have to say that after many years of studying her life and times and Tudor history in general, I actually DO believe that she was GUILTY of at least SOME of what she was accused of; but, in her defence, I believe that she had no choice but to do what she did, because Anne was intelligent and shrewd enough to know that if she did not provide Henry with a son, then her days were surely numbered. I believe that she DID dabble in witchcraft, even though to the 21st century mindset this probably seems laughable, but we must remember that we are talking about the MEDIEVAL mindset here, and I think that she probably DID commit adultery to gain a son because Anne did actually tell a couple of people that Henry was somewhat lacking in the royal bedchamber; and yes, I think that she became desperate enough to commit incest with her brother to gain a son for Henry. This is just my opinion, but whatever, I don’t think she can be blamed, and she is still my heroine.

    1. Christine says:

      Laurie if I had been in Anne’s shoes I could never ever sleep with my brother just to get a son, and I don’t believe Anne did either, your forgetting George Boleyn in all this, he would have to agree also and regardless of what was said about them, they were two normal healthy adults not sexual deviants, the slander has persisted down the ages it really was a ridiculous accusation with no evidence to back it up except a statement from Lady Rochford, no doubt possibly made under duress from Cromwell and or his cronies, just because she was accused of incest does not mean she was guilty of it, it was just the most awful slander designed to bring Anne down and her brother and to make her look as vile as possible and thus showing Henry as the victim.

  52. Alex Ford says:

    I’m an American and so haven’t been raised within the English culture. Therefore my understanding of these things is vague. Each request for pardon I presume to be on a case by case basis. A. B was clearly loved and her story has inspired countless. It appears that in many ways she got a, “bum rap.” As to pardons and burials, for me, mixing of the two is a mistake. In our country laws are too complex or are mixed in with other laws all the time. Doesn’t make any sense until one understands the politics involved. Based on the above statement. I’d favor her remains being undisturbed for perpetuity. Should anyone want to champion a pardon, in my judgement those with guilt and those with innocence have been pardoned, at least in this country. Sometimes the pardon partially corrects an error that cannot be corrected and sometimes it clears the way for a particular person for their future, living or dead. Politics are always at work and I would supposed in the U. K. a much more complex set of rules exists regarding pardons.

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