The 1536 May Day Joust

Posted By on May 1, 2018

The 1st May was and is May Day, a day to celebrate the beginning of summer. At the royal court, it was celebrated with a special May Day joust and in 1536 this took place at Greenwich Palace.

Henry VIII and his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, attended the joust just as they had in previous years, but this one ended with the king abandoning his queen unexpectedly. If Anne hadn’t figured out that something was going on before this point, she surely must have been suspicious at the king’s sudden departure.

We know that court musician Mark Smeaton had been arrested the previous day and that within 24 hours he’d confessed to sleeping with the queen. However, Anne was in the dark. Bad things were happening around her, but she did not know what was going on.

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