Monday, May 19, 2014

Anne Boleyn's Execution

The queen steps up onto the scaffold, exposing a crimson kirtle beneath her gown. The color of blood. The color of martyrdom.

I realize I’m holding my breath and try to let it out slowly, but can only suck it back in again with a gulp. And another. I can’t get more than a mouthful of air into my lungs at a time.

Fitz was right. I shouldn’t be here.

If you're a Tudor nut like me or even just follow any of the Tudor history blogs, Facebook accounts and Twitter, you probably already know that today marks the 478th anniversary of the execution of Anne Boleyn.

You can read about the actual events in any Anne Boleyn biography or book of Tudor history (my favorites are The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives,  Six Wives by David Starkey and The Lady in the Tower by Alison Weir.)  You can read instantly on The Anne Boleyn Files or any other blog dedicated to true history.  And, of course, there are numerous fictional accounts--one of the best being Thomas Cromwell's account in Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies.

It's difficult not to be repetitious with so much information out there.  So why did I want to give an account from Mary Howard's perspective?

I think it's because I felt that someone who loved Anne should have been there.  She made many enemies and many courtiers wished her gone and forgotten.  Mary is known as one of her supporters, and I figured Anne needed one on this day in 1536.

And, of course, she continues to have supporters.  Including one who sends flowers to the Tower of London every year.

Whether or not you believe Anne was a traitor (or a bitch or a gold digger or a saint), she has certainly made an impression.  And I think she deserves to be remembered.


  1. It is very interesting the amount of times Anne Boleyn shows up in literature and history. I had a history teacher tell me once that Henry the VIII had 8 wives.... Cheers to the Tudor nuts who know better!

    1. You're right, Amy--something about her captures the imagination. (and I can't believe a history teacher told you that!)