I just finished reading “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” by Eric Ives and there’s a sentence that annoys me a little,p359: “There the clothes were removed-the Tower claimed its perquisites even from a queen” . I don’t really understand why Anne’s clothes were removed ? But also if the Tower claimed them as “perquisites”,what did they do of Anne’s clothes,did they keep them or destroyed them ? Sorry if my questions appears quite trivial and morbid but I can’t imagine a Queen being buried without clothes but also without proper burial,it’s just so disrespectful !

It was perfectly normal for a body to be stripped and, in the case of a normal everyday death (rather than execution), be washed and laid out, and embalmed and sealed in a lead coffin if the family were wealthy. Poorer people would be put in a re-usable wooden coffin for the funeral and then be buried in just a sheet. In Anne's case, we know that she was stripped of her clothing, wrapped in white cloth and then placed in an elm chest before being buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. She was buried as a traitor because she was executed as one. I'm sure that her ladies would have made sure that her body was treated with respect.

As far as her clothing is concerned, I would expect that any cloth that was not tainted with blood would have been re-used and the rest destroyed.

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4 thoughts on “I just finished reading “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” by Eric Ives and there’s a sentence that annoys me a little,p359: “There the clothes were removed-the Tower claimed its perquisites even from a queen” . I don’t really understand why Anne’s clothes were removed ? But also if the Tower claimed them as “perquisites”,what did they do of Anne’s clothes,did they keep them or destroyed them ? Sorry if my questions appears quite trivial and morbid but I can’t imagine a Queen being buried without clothes but also without proper burial,it’s just so disrespectful !”

  1. Shoshana says:

    Actually I have read in several books that Anne’s clothes were bought by Henry from those in the Tower who laid claim to them as partial payment for her execution. He did not want any “relics” of Anne’s floating around, prehaps being venerated by the people. I am sorry that I can’t remember just what books I found that referenced in; but probably Alison Weir is one. When Mary of Scots was executed, she too was stripped but her clothes were burned for the same reason.

  2. Shoshana says:

    I would imagine that once stripped and washed, Anne’s body was wrapped in a shroud before also being wrapped in a sheet. As a convicted traitor that was probably the only object her Ladies were given as she was not looked upon as a Queen deserving of more but only a criminal. One interesting note is that when Queen Katherine Parr’s coffin was found in the 18th century (I think) resting in a rabbit warren when the chapel had fallen down around it over time, the finder of the coffin opened it to see a remarkably well preserved body that immediately started to decompose in the air. It is said she was wearing a beautiful black velvet gown so I would assume had Anne died in a state of grace with Henry, she would have been clothed in a gown befitting her station as Queen.

    As a side note. I recently purchase a Anne Boleyn headdress – the copy of the famous pearl French hood – and out of curiosity wore it all one day to see how the women of Tudor times tolerated a head piece. At first it was very uncomfortable and hot but as the day wore on and I got use to it I found I forgot I even had it on. The veil got in my way once in a while but on the whole it was not an unpleasant experience and I tolerated it well. Once I was use to it, it wasn’t even that hot and this was on a very warm day. My next experience is to wear it with a Tudor style dress, petticoats, kirtle and all as soon as I can gather pieces together that have been made as they were in Tudor times. Now that they have discovered “underwear”, I probably will have to wait until some interprising seamtress makes a pattern and sells them!

  3. How incredibly sad that this was the end result of a Queen!!! And so
    heartless and disrespectful. She probably assumed, too, that this would be
    the way her body was interred.

  4. Lauren Graham says:

    I can’t help but feel sorry for Anne’s ladies, whom probably cared a great deal about their mistress. I couldn’t imagine having to strip the body of any executed person, much less one whom I’d probably grown to love.

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