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My Life: Anne Boleyn

Anne BoleynMy name is Anne Boleyn, and I was born in 1501 to parents: Sir Thomas Boleyn, who would become Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde and Lady Elizabeth Howard at Blickling Hall in Norfolk.

Much of my early years, I lived within the house of Louis XII of France, who was married to King Henry VIII’s sister Mary.  Upon the death of Louis, I remained in France, becoming a lady in attendance to Claude, the new French Queen, for the next six years.

Whilst my sister Mary Boleyn already in attendance to the French Queen, but when Louis XII died, returned to England with Mary Tudor.

In 1521, I returned to England, and took up the position as maid of honour to Katherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII, as arrangements were being made for my marriage to the heir of Ormonde, sadly that marriage never took place.

On the rebound, took up with Henry Percy, but Cardinal Wolsey put a stop to our romance; can’t a girl have any fun.  I went on to make a close friend of Sir Thomas Wyatt the poet, at a time when he and his wife were separated.

In 1526, I had a secret affair with King Henry VIII, as my sister had done, many years earlier.  I told him, if he wanted more of me, I would no longer be his mistress; I wanted his hand in marriage and the title of Queen.  It was that or nothing.

In 1527, Henry my Henry started down the long road, to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled … then I would become his new wife and Queen.

In 1528 I was permitted to attend court in my own right, gaining favour and hatred among some members of court, based on my suggestions of religious reforms.

Henry proved to be head over heels in love with me, and it was plain to see, as he lavished me with fine clothes and jewellery.  I knew this was done to humour me, as the legal wrangling’s continued in his quest for annulment from Catherine.

On the 1st September 1532, Henry VIII made me the Marquess of Pembroke, and in October I attended meetings between Henry and the French King at Calais.

Although I had resisted Henry romantic requests, how could I say no to my king, and in December of 1532, I told him I was with child.  On the 25th January 1533 we were secretly married.

On the 23rd May the marriage between Henry and Catherine was officially proclaimed as invalid by the Archbishop.  For Henry had broken his ties with the Catholic Church by passing an Act of Supremacy, declaring himself the head of the “Church of England” which so outraged the Pope.

On the 1st June 1533, I was crowned Queen of England by the then Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas Cranmer at Westminster Abbey.

On the 7th September 1533, Princess Elizabeth was born, not the son he desired, his future heir.  I was pregnant in January 1534 and again in 1535, but neither child survived.

I could see it in his eyes, he was not pleased, no son, no heir, and I wondered how long it would be before I was to be replaced.

On the 30th April 1536, my friend of many years Mark Smeaton was arrested and tortured.  Then Sir Henry Norris was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, then my own brother George Boleyn; Lord Rochford was arrested.

Fear ran through my veins, wondering when they would come for me.  On the 2nd May 1536, I was arrested and charged with adultery, incest and plotting to murder my husband … and sent to the Tower.

It didn’t stop there, Sir Francis Weston and William Bereton were arrested and charged with adultery, and found guilty on 12th May 1536.  For their supposed crime they were hanged at Tyburn, cut down whilst barely alive; disembowelled and quartered.

On the 15th May 1536, myself and my brother George were put on trial at the Great Hall in the Tower of London … found guilty on trumped up charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the King.

On the 17th May 1536 George was executed on Tower Hill and on the 19th May 1536, I was executed.

The bodily remains and head of Anne Boleyn were placed in an arrow chest, and buried in the Chapel of St.Peter ad Vincula adjoining Tower Green.

In 1864, a sentry at the Tower of London challenged a headless figure, believed to have been Anne Boleyn, and his bayonet passed right through her; the sentry fainted in shock.

At another time, the Captain of the Guard, observed a light source radiating from the locked Chapel Royal in the White Tower.  He peered down into the chapel, witnessing a procession, with Anne Boleyn at the head.

There have been many sightings of Anne Boleyn in the vicinity of the White Tower and the Chapel of St.Peter ad Vincula, within the walls of the Tower of London … her final resting place.

Anne Boleyn’s ghost, has been seen dressed in white, carrying her severed head and arriving by coach, driven by headless horsemen and headless horses to Blickling Hall on the anniversary of her execution: 19th May each and every year.

Her ghost is said to glide around the halls and rooms of Blickling Hall by night and fade by daybreak.

Her ghost also appears at Hever Castle each and every Christmas Eve, drifting across the gardens.

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