On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed in the Tower Precinct of the Tower of London.
Anne was Henry VIII's second wife and was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. On September 7th 1533 she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. However, Anne subsequently had three miscarriages, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour. In order to marry Jane Seymour, Henry had to find reasons for his marriage with Anne to end.
Henry had Anne investigated for High Treason and on May 2nd 1536 she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers. She was found guilty on May 15th 1536 and was sentenced to be burnt at the stake. However, Henry VIII had her punishment reduced to beheading. He also paid for an expert swordsman from Saint-Omer in France to carry out the execution instead of having the queen beheaded with the common axe.
The execution was carried out in a single stroke and was witnessed by Thomas Cromwell, Charles Brandon, Henry Fitzroy 1st Duke of Suffolk (the King's illegitimate son, the Lord Mayor of London, aldermen, sheriffs, and representatives of the various craft guilds.
Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery, incest, witchcraft and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing.
After the coronation of her daughter, Elizabeth in 1558, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation.
This scene was built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on important events in British history. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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