On this day in 1536, 28th April, Queen Anne Boleyn had just 21 days to live and something was definitely going on at King Henry VIII’s court. There were long council meetings, experts were being consulted, and the Lady Mary, Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, was being given hope for the future.

What was happening?

Find out in more in this video:

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And here’s today’s “on this day” video, which is Anne Boleyn related:

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4 thoughts on “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: Day -21”
  1. Very suspicious happenings. Chapuy, as you say in your book was a notorious gossip but his assessment here was spot on though I’m sure he was thinking divorce and/ or banishment, not the execution that actually took place.

  2. There was a lot going on. Dr Richard Sampson, another canon law expert and good friend of King Henry was in conversation with Thomas Cromwell, presumably on the orders of the King, for four days still talking about a possible annulment, but was it an after annulment or before, as in after Anne’s trial or was he still genuinely working on ending his marriage by divorce. Edmund Bonner was also consulted and acted as Henry’s agents previously in Rome working for the annulment of his divorce to Katherine of Aragon, but Dr Sampson would help Henry to end his marriage to Anne after her condemnation. We really don’t know exactly what was discussed as there are no details but rumours seem to have emerged as there was more news for Lady Lisle, Chapuys had news and even Princess Mary was being kept abreast of things.

    Chapuys may be a gossip but his sources were often close to the heart of the Court, backed up by others and he tried to be as accurate as possible. When you take away the inevitable commentary the facts can be corroborated. The Council was meeting late at night, just as they would do during the long investigation into the nocturnal adventures of Kathryn Howard, with certain people excluded, the Court was on high alert and reports from the Commissions must have painted a very bleak picture. Everyone was on edge, all kinds of rumours were probably going about and it all looks super suspicious to us looking back now, but nobody then knew what was happening, nobody but a few select people chosen by the King and Cromwell to investigate a way to get rid of his Queen.

    Nicholas Carew was also keeping busy, entertaining and preparing Jane Seymour and others of her supporters and news was taken to Princess Mary, who no doubt was being told her evil stepmother was soon to be out of the picture and Jane was a lady who favoured her. She was probably being told Jane would work on Henry to bring her back to Court, possibly to restore her to the succession. Of course we know it didn’t quite play out that way, Mary had to submit to the King’s demands before he allowed Jane to set up a meeting, but nobody foresaw that, they were all too excited about how different things might be. Carew seems to have believed Anne to have some kind of hold over the King’s mind and had bewitched him and Jane was going to lead him from hell into heaven. Exactly what Mary was told is anyone’s guess but she was certainly fed positive news. Everyone was either completely on edge, involved in some kind of intrigue or looking forward to having a new Queen very shortly. No wonder Anne and some of the others were frantic and slipped up or innocent talk was quickly jumped on as fatal evidence.

    1. Everyone wanted to blame that ‘harlot’ who forced herself on Henry and replaced the beloved KofA in his heart and was influencing him in such bad ways so what a surprise it must have been for them, especially Mary when after Anne’s death it suddenly dawned on them oh, it wasn’t Anne after all. King Henry VIII’s just a jerk! I think this really illustrates the change in Henry’s personality and demeanor from the time he began his break from Katherine until Anne’s execution that people didn’t see the changes in him but blamed it on someone else.

      1. I agree. I get the feeling most times I read most of the articles during these few weeks, that a number of these people who were now rejoicing and plotting had been quietly waiting and hoping the King’s concubine was going to mess things up and fall into the soup. They were probably rubbing their hands with delight that she had come under scrutiny and had just been waiting for a chance to quicken her demise. They didn’t see Henry as the problem, they saw Anne as changing him, realising only that he had a real hand in everything afterwards. For many of Henry’s oldest friends and the traditional families, Anne wasn’t his real wife, Katherine had been, but they went along with it because they were the King’s men, they were his loyal servants and because the alternative wasn’t very good. It was now treason to question his marriage and the succession, punishable by death, so a number of his courtiers and most of the people conformed, while in secret continuing to wait, watch, hope and these were sources for people like Chapuys. Now they had acted on the opening opportunity and placed a new Queen in front of Henry, hoping that would start the ball rolling for Anne’s fall. It had taken some time and they probably didn’t expect the terrible events which were about to unfold, but they certainly didn’t complain when everything went their way. They were of course joined by Cromwell who had his finger on the political pulse and the domestic realism and who knew how to hold onto a rising star. He had risen with the demise of Cardinal Wolsey and later Anne, of course he was going to turn his coat again and make himself indispensable to King Henry and rid himself of a Queen who was redundant. That was what indispensable servants of the crown did.

        Henry’s personality changes only quickened Anne’s fall, they probably didn’t cause it alone, many factors contributed but yes, his friends blamed just about anyone for Henry’s mistakes and poor judgement, blind to his faults or not, again, that’s what courtiers did. One simply didn’t blame the King. Anne has continued to be entirely blamed for so many things which Henry had control over or agreed to, even long after her execution, right up to the present day. These men just simply didn’t want to see him as anything but the perfect man they had once known and it was of course the woman who had changed him. I am certain they were so deluded that they actually thought he would change back after Anne died. They must have been quite shocked to find he would actually get a lot worse.

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