A.D. 31 Ionawr 2020


Stop Comparing Brexit to the Reformation by @BrumafriendHist https://link.medium.com/qgQK48F6v3

Brexit Day is historic — only the Reformation compares


King Henry (God’s anointed sovereign), Queen Catherine (bottom) – his wife of 24 years – & Anne Boleyn, her lady-in-waiting, the king;s mistress. Stripped of her title, the Queen became Princess Dowager of Wales.

And Queen Anne? On 19 May 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, was executed by beheading within the confines of the Tower of London. She’d been queen for just three years. At 35 years old, she was found guilty of high treason.

The majority of modern historians believe that Anne Boleyn was an innocent woman framed: either by her husband, who was intent on moving onto a new wife with whom he hoped to have a surviving male heir; or by his loyal servant, Thomas Cromwell, who devised the case against Anne to remove a threat and an obstacle to his plans. Anne disagreed with Cromwell’s plans for the monasteries and her pro-French stance on diplomacy was a problem when Cromwell wanted an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. Anne’s almoner had attacked Cromwell and the advice he was giving the king in a sermon preached in the presence of the king.

In Tudor law, defendants were presumed guilty until proven innocent – similar, very often, to life today! And – echoes of a famous trial ‘across the pond,’ – no witnesses were produced against Anne and her brother George! And, the ‘Hangman of Calais’, who was renowned for his skill at beheading by sword, was sent for, before Anne had even been found guilty.

The executioner beheaded the queen with one stroke of his sword and then her distressed ladies wrapped Anne’s remains in white cloth and carried them to the nearby Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Nobody had thought to provide a coffin for her burial, so a yeoman warder had to fetch an old elm chest, which had once contained bow staves, from the Tower armoury. Anne’s head and body were placed in the chest and buried in the chancel near to the remains of her brother George (Lord Rochford)

Every year on 19 May, the anniversary of her execution, a basket of roses is delivered and laid on Queen Anne Boleyn’s memorial tile. It is not known exactly who is responsible for sending it and the card with it reads simply “Queen Anne Boleyn, 19th of May 1536”. 

Thanks to Claire Ridgway for these facts.

By the way, I never knew that Anne was the second cousin of Jane Seymour, who became the king’s third wife after her execution? Anne’s family claimed to have a family connection to Thomas à Becket, the saintly 12th-century Archbishop of Canterbury.

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