May 15, 1536: Anne Boleyn is found guilty of treason.
Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife after Catharine of Aragon and the wife for whom the king broke away from the Catholic Church, was arrested in May of 1536 and charged with adultery, incest, and treason. Her arrest took place only three years after her marriage to Henry, which had so far produced no male heirs and only one healthy child; the king had meanwhile taken Jane Seymour, who was to become his third wife just weeks after Anne Boleyn’s execution, as a mistress. Anne was, according to contemporary accounts, intelligent, witty, and anything but submissive. all traits that Henry found desirable, even exciting, in a mistress, but not in a wife; her confrontational nature combined with her failure to bear male heirs healthy enough to survive past infancy caused their marriage to crumble.
Anne Boleyn’s arrest was based on accusations of her illicit sexual relationships with a court musician, several aristocrats, and Anne’s own brother George; she was charged with both adultery (a form of treason when committed by a queen) and plotting the death of the king (another form of treason). Of her accused lovers, five were found guilty of treason, including George Boleyn, and executed by decapitation on May 17, 1536. Anne was held in the Tower of London and remained there until her own execution on May 19, 1536; her final words were reportedly a prayer:
To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul.
Anne Boleyn was survived by one child, who was the only one of her siblings to survive birth and infancy, who was declared illegitimate and deprived of her birthright not long after her mother’s execution in order to clear the way for her father’s male heirs, and who eventually became one of England’s most famous, most influential monarchs.
A pair of portraits of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon have been brought together for the first time in 500 years at the National Portrait Gallery (London).
For years it was assumed by staff at Lambeth Palace that the oil painting hanging in a private sitting room was of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife.
But when experts from the National Portrait Gallery went to the Palace - the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury - to research a portrait of an earlier archbishop, they were able to shed new light on the matter.
First, the portrait was in a frame that pre-dated the rotund monarch’s sixth wife, second; her clothes were from an earlier period, and third, well, the woman also bore a startling resemblance to Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Read more: Here
This lovely gown, created by costume designer Alexandra Byrne for the 1998 film Elizabeth, has been recycled numerous times. The gown is intended to be a reproduction of Elizabeth I’s gold coronation gown, as seen in her coronation portrait.
The gown makes its first appearance on Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in the 1998 Elizabeth, then again in 2000 on Imogen Slaughter in the David Starkey Documentary Elizabeth I: The Acclaimed Saga of England’s Virgin Queen. It makes another appearance in 2005 on Anne Marie Duff in the mini-series The Virgin Queen. It is seen on Emma Hamilton as Anne Stanhope in 2009 in Showtime’s The Tudors. Lastly, it was seen again in 2012 on Michelle Dockery in a promotional tourism commercial entitled Holidays At Home Are Great.
‘Anne Boleyn in the Tower’ (1835). Painting by Édouard Cibot