Anne takes one tentative step out of the Queen’s Lodgings in the Tower of London, with William
Kingston, the Constable of the Tower, following her. She sees the crowd that has gathered to witness
her death. She mutters under her breath, “Idiots.” Not that she hasn’t witnessed executions before,
even pushed for them. She regrets that now. She never thought that she would end her life on the
same scaffold that Buckingham died on, Wolsey, Fisher, More.
Anne takes a deep breath and presses forward, with her sight firmly set on the scaffold just feet
in front of her. Anne knows that if she falters, she will lose her nerve, and it’s better to die a proper
and willing death than to be chased around the scaffold, as the Duke of Buckingham came close to
doing in 1521.
She reaches the bottom of the steps and suddenly jumps backward, crushing Kingston’s foot.
“Madam, is something wrong?”
Anne stands stock still, it looks to Kingston as if she’s just staring into space. Anne whispers
“George”, and takes a tiny step forward, reaching her hand out. Anne sees her brother, George, and
the others who had died for her: Francis Weston, Henry Norris, William Brereton and Mark Smeaton.
Mark steps forward, “Anne, I’m so sorry. I just wanted you to love me. I never meant for you to die. I
just deluded myself.” George steps towards her, as if to embrace her.
“It’s alright, sister. Death doesn’t hurt. It only lasts a second, and then we can be together.
Anne nods, turns away from them, mounts the scaffold and Kingston follows her, then motions
for her to step forward.
“Madam, the King has allowed you to say a few words to these people,” he says, motioning to
the crowd. He steps back and Anne steps forward.
“His Majesty, the King, has been so kind to me, raising me from low birth to the high estate of
Queen of England. I thank him most humbly.”
Anne takes a deep breath before continuing; knowing that what she is going to say has the
potential to be damaging. Not to her. Her life is already at an end. But damaging to her family: her
mother and father, her sister, Mary, and her beloved daughter, Elizabeth.
“I thank God that I was able to do so much good for so many people before this.” She takes
another breath. “I declare my innocence before God. I never offended with my body against the King,
There was a sudden intake of breath. No one had dared to defy the King in such a public manner
before. There were already members of the council heading towards her to stop her speaking, and
William Kingston took hold of her arm and pulled her backward, away from the audience.
“Madam,” he said in a terse whisper, “the King will not be amused. He will want revenge.”
Recklessly, Anne replied, “I care not. My life is already forfeit. Henry can do me no more harm. He
has already stolen my life.”
“Think of your daughter.”
“I do. Always. But with my reputation in tatters, Elizabeth will not have a life. She will be
tarnished and brushed aside. Don’t forget, I know Henry. And I know what he can do. Look at what
he did to Mary. His own daughter!”
“Madam, your words are damaging. You cannot say any more.”
“I understand. But it had to be said.”
The executioner kneels down in front of Anne. “Madame, je vous demande pardon pour ce que je
“I know your duty. Be not afraid to do it. And do not crave my pardon, for you do me this day a
greater boon than anything else. You release me from this world onto a higher plain, and for that I
am grateful.”Anne’s niece, Catherine Carey, steps forward to take her jewellery, and Anne turns to her with a
tense smile and thanks her for her service. “Catherine, thank you for all you have done. I want you to
promise me something.” Catherine nods. “Please take care of Elizabeth for me – she’s your cousin
and you and my sister will be the closest family she has.”
“Of – of course.”
Anne smiles and turns back to face her audience. “I am ready to face death in the knowledge that
no one can hurt me anymore. To God I commend my soul.” She kneels down in the straw and repeats
“To God I commend my soul.”
The executioner turns away from her with a tear in his eye, and shouts to a young boy standing
next to the scaffold, “Get me my sword.”
Anne turns her head and sees the sky; the beauty of the clouds. One shaped like a falcon – her
royal badge. An omen. The birds lift off the roofs of the Tower and Anne has a sudden remembrance.
The prophecy. A Queen of England will be burned. She laughs out loud. Everyone stares at her,
The young boy hands the executioner his sword and he swings it back over his shoulder.
Anne’s final words … “So beautiful.”
The executioner lets the sword drop and Anne’s graceful arched neck splits, severing her head
from her body. The eyes blink, before closing for the final time.
The Duke of Suffolk turns, pulling his son with him. “No one will ever forget her.”