Thursday, 21 February 2013

Arrest of a Queen

When Anne Boleyn miscarried a second son, time was running out for the young Queen. She probably knew that something was happening since her husband was courting Jane Seymour in public and rumours started circulating. When her friend, Mark Smeaton, was arrested and tortured, Anne knew that fate had turned against her.

The remarkable thing about Anne Boleyn's arrest was the manner in which it happened and the cold way in which her husband arranged it. Anne was attending the yearly May Day Joust on May 2 when her husband received news - it was most likely the confession that Mark Smeaton had given after being tortured. He then invited Sir Henry Norris to walk with him and thus the King left the celebration - and Anne.
Previously her brother, George Boleyn, had been arrested but it had been done in such a discreet manner that the Queen did not even know about - if she had known she would have known that she was next.

However, Anne Boleyn was still ignorant of the dangers she faced when she received a message that demanded her presence in front of the Privy Council immediately. The Queen had been watching a tennis match as a part of the May Day celebrations. Anne left the tournaments and made her way to the council room where she found herself face to face with what looked like a jury: the Duke of Norfolk (Anne's uncle), Sir William Fitzwilliam and Sir William Paulet. She was informed that she was accused of adultery with no less than three different men and that Mark Smeaton had already confessed. Anne - always quick in wit - stood her ground and refused to acknowledge any of the accusations - but it did not work. She was sent to her rooms where she was to wait until the tides of the River Thames could take her away.

At 2 o'clock that afternoon, Anne Boleyn was escorted down to an awaiting barge from where she was sailed to the Tower. And that was it - the reign of Anne Boleyn was over and the Queen would never come back.
Arrest of Anne Boleyn

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