#On This Day – Executions

Monday, May 18th, 2020


Queen Anne Boleyn was tried on a Monday morning on the 15th May 1536 in the Tower of London. Anne, along with her brother George, was tried by a jury of peers. This jury was made up of eighteen men, none of whom held any love for the Queen. Anne attended her trial dressed in a black velvet gown and scarlet petticoat and pleaded not guilty to all charges laid to her, which included adultery, incest with her brother, conspiring the death of Henry VIII, and laughing at the King. It was Anne’s uncle who pronounced the court’s verdict and sentence upon his niece. Anne, ‘The Concubine’ as Chapuys described her, remained calm and addressed the court stating her innocence, but noting it would avail her of ‘nothing but for the justification of my chastity and honour’. She further stated that she regretted the deaths of her brother and the other men unjustly accused and would ‘willingly suffer many deaths to deliver them, but since it so pleases the King, I shall willingly accompany them in death…’. Henry commuted Anne’s sentence from burning to beheading and Anne was executed on 19 May by a French swordsman brought to England specially for the task by Henry.

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