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Edward’s Untimely Death Series: Entry #5

180px-Anne_boleyn.jpgAnne Boleyn (1507-1536) secretly became the second wife of Henry VIII, king of England, in January 1533, several months before Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, pronounced Henry’s divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragón. The chief reason for the divorce was that Catherine had failed to produce a male heir. Anne should have taken that as a bad omen! The daughter of Thomas Boleyn (1477-1539), Anne spent the years 1519-1521 at the French court, before returning to England where she was courted by the heir to the earldom of Northumberland and the king himself. Anne was at that time a young and beautiful lady-in-waiting of the queen.

Anne was crowned in June 1533 and gave birth to the future queen Elizabeth I in September of that year. On May 2, 1536, Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London on charges of adultery with her brother, three gentlemen of the privy chamber, and a musician of the court and of conspiring with these men against the King’s life. The four commoners were tried on May 12, and Anne and her brother on May 15; all of the accused were convicted of high treason. Whether Anne was guilty of these crimes has never been determined. Anne’s uncle, Thomas Howard, 3rd duke of Norfolk, presided over the judges who condemned her to death. On May 17, the musician was hanged, and the other four beheaded. Two days later, Anne was beheaded.

One day later, Henry became engaged to Jane Seymour, and he married her 10 days later.


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