Shall I Die Without Justice?
Posted By Claire on May 7, 2011
On entering the Tower on the 2nd May 1536, after her arrest, Queen Anne Boleyn asked Sir William Kingston “Shall I die without justice?”, to which Sir William Kingston responded “The poorest subject the King has, has justice”. But is this true? Will Queen Anne receive justice? Here at The Anne Boleyn Files, we’re not so sure.
Although Archbishop of Cranmer has shown his shock at Queen Anne’s arrest in a letter to the King, as has Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, in a letter today (“God forbid it should be true”1), others seem to have accepted the Queen’s guilt without question. For example, in a letter to his son, Thomas Wyatt, who is at the moment imprisoned in the Tower of London, Sir Henry Wyatt is said to have referred to “the false traitors” who have caused danger to the King and who will “be punished according to justice”2, although he believes in his son’s innocence.
Are these men going to be given a fair trial? Will Queen Anne Boleyn? No, we now believe that this whole affair is going to end badly and that the removal of the Queen from power is a foregone conclusion, we only hope that she will escape with her life.
You can read more about the letters of Rowland Lee and Sir Henry Wyatt in my article “A Foregone Conclusion”, along with a list of the reasons why I believe that Anne Boleyn, and the five men executed for adultery with her, had no hope of any real justice.
- LP x. 820, Letter from Roland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, to Cromwell, 7th May 1536
- LP x. 819, Letter from Sir Henry Wyatt to his son Thomas Wyatt, 7th May 1536
5 thoughts on “Shall I Die Without Justice?”
Then again, Henry Wyatt may have just been desperate to exhibit his loyalty to the King to save his son’s live, irrespective of what he may personally have believed.
Did Anne and her co-defendants have justice? Not a scrap of it.
I don’t consider it incidental that Anne specifies in her scafold speech: “for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it..”
Was Anne’s trial and execution legal? Of course it was. Henry VIII’s absolute power made it so. However, law and justice are not always the same thing.
Anne recognized her execution was legal, not that it was just.
Regarding Wyatt’s letter to his son, the wording seems quite prudent to me. Wyatt had no reason to doubt his letters might be intercepted and read by others besides Thomas Wyatt. Letters like this could be regarded as defensive propaganda.
Yes, these were Anne’s words to her jailor William Kyngston as she entered the Tower and was within the precinct walls. How sad it is just thinking about it, about this.
Yes George Wyatt the father of Thomas Wyatt was just trying to save his son by writing to Cromwell when he did just like Francis Weston’s family was and were trying to do with him with a money bribe. It is just a shame that Anne’s and the other men’s families did not step up and stand up for them. This just shows that Wyatt’s and Weston’s family cared about them but the other families of the other people convicted did not, they either did not or they were too scared to intervene in any way.
Her trial was legal but not just. What a bloody mess–I’m always glad when I get to Cromwell’s execution after Anne of Cleves–what goes around comes around–same with Jane Rochford. Their characters doomed them from the start. Maybe the same could be said of Anne–but she was more the victim of a plot.I guess Catherine’s supporters did think it fair, though.
at the end of the day and when alls said and done it was henry that had the final say