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Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Second wife of Henry VIII., Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and 1st Earl of Ormonde, and his beautiful wife Lady Elizabeth Boleyn (Lady Elizabeth Howard), daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. (later Viscount Rochford and Earl of Wiltshire).

Anne lived in France for about three years, in the royal court. After return to England, she was courted by Lord Henry Percy and by King Henry VIII., who showered honor and wealth upon her father. Long before Archbishop Cranmer declared the marriage between Henry and Catherine dissolved (May 23, 1533), they were secretly united in matrimony.

Anne received the crown in Westminster Hall on Whitsunday, and in September 1533, gave birth to Henry's daughter, who later became Queen.

On May 2, 1536, Queen Anne was imprisoned in a Tower on charges of adultery and incest with her brother, Lord Rochford, and Sir Francis Weston, Henry Norris, and William Brereton, all gentlemen to the privy chamber, along with a musician, Mark Smeaton who gave the only confession of guilt.

On May 12 the four men were tried followed by Anne and her brother, on May 15, and convicted of high treason. Anne's own father and uncle, Duke of Norfolk, who sat over the twenty-six peers serving as her judges, were instrumental in achieving her death sentence. No vestige of evidence remains.

On May 17th, Smeaton was hanged and the other four beheaded, followed by Anne, who was also beheaded two days later upon Tower Green. The following day King Henry betrothed himself to Jane Seymour.

References

  • Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia, ©1950