Anne Boleyn on the Scaffold
Posted on 12th January 2021
At 8 am on 19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn was taken to a specially erected scaffold within the confines of the Tower of London for execution on charges of adultery and treason. Before placing her head upon the block she briefly addressed the crowd in a calm if sometimes hesitant voice. Her speech was remarkable for its lack of malice and its generosity of spirit which belied her reputation for petulance and excessive self-regard.
Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.
An eyewitness to the execution provided an account:
19 May 1536, 8 am.
All these being on a scaffold made there for the execution, the said Queen Anne said as follows: Masters, I here humbly submit me to the law, as the law hath judged me, and as for mine offences, God knoweth them, I remit them to God, beseeching him to have mercy on my soul; and I beseech Jesu save my Sovereign and master the King, the most goodliest, and gentlest Prince that is, and long to reign over you, which words she spoke with a smiling countenance: which done, she kneeled down on both her knees, and said, To Jesu Christ I commend my soul and with that word suddenly the hangman of Calais smote off her head at one stroke with a sword: her body with the head was buried in the choir of the Chapel in the Tower.
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