Friday, May 3, 2013

3 May, 1536: Anne Boleyn's first full day in the Tower of London

On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn endured her first full day in the Tower of London. The women who had been assigned to wait on her include bitter family members who were devout supporters of Catherine of Aragon and Lady Mary, and thus no friends of hers. They were ordered to spy on her, and Lady Kingston, wife of the Constable of the Tower, had to be present at all times whenever someone conversed with the queen so that she could report everything Anne said to her husband, William Kingston. The only woman who waited on Anne, in the Tower, who seemed to have a good relationship with her, was her childhood governess, Mrs. Orchard. Mrs. Orchard is famous for crying out when Anne was sentenced to death at her May 15 trial.

The range of emotions displayed by the queen while she was in the Tower included moments of almost hysterical good humor followed by a quiet, calm grace and sometimes extreme paranoia, fear, and sadness. Her spirit, however, followed her to the death.

For a wonderful article on The Anne Boleyn Files regarding the fateful and emotional letter of Archbishop Cranmer in which he reacts to the queen's arrest, click here.

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