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Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn in the Tower
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Having got his way, Henry married Anne, and she was crowned Queen of England in the summer of 1533. Henry and Anne were jubilant. Not only were they now King and Queen, but Anne was pregnant. She and Henry were convinced that the baby was a boy, as were philosophers and soothsayers, and the baby was going to be called Edward. However, it was not a boy that Anne gave birth to on the 7th of September 1533. It was a girl, the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry and Anne were bitterly disappointed and things were never quite the same between them again. Henry began to wonder if his second marriage displeased God too, especially when Anne started to have miscarriages, and he slowly fell out of love with her. When his first wife died in the January of 1536, meaning he would not face petitions to take her back if he cast off Anne, Henry decided to get rid of Anne.

Anne knew her position was in danger, especially when she miscarried of a boy the same month that Catherine died, but not even she could have imagined what was to come. Not satisfied with having the marriage annulled, as he would have been with Catherine, Henry wanted Anne dead. In the weeks that followed, Anne was falsely accused of having committed adultery with many men, including her own brother, was put on trial, found guilty, and condemned to death. On the 19th of May 1536, in the Tower of London where she was being held a prisoner, Anne was beheaded. In what he considered to be an act of mercy, Henry allowed Anne to be executed by a sword rather than an axe. As there was no executioner with the expertise in England, Henry had a swordsman brought in from France.

Anne, who weeks earlier had been the second most important person in the land, was buried without ceremony in a wooden chest in the Tower’s Church of St Peter Ad Vincula. Henry was glad to be free of her and within days married his new love, Anne’s former lady in waiting, Jane Seymour.

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