Standing there in a courtyard on the other side of the world in the grounds of a castle staring at a glass pillow surrounded simultaneously by buildings that house some of the worlds most precious jewels and walls that have enclosed some of the most notorious people in history. I stood there as a tourist the voice in the headphones speaking the words it is here that the scaffold was erected and Anne Boleyn was beheaded in May of 1536. I stared at the glass pillow and felt overwhelmed with awe of where I was and sadness of what had happened there. A tear rolled down my cheek.
I have always been fascinated with history. I have absorbed documentaries and indulged my love of historical biographies and it is through this love of events and places of history that I have become addicted to people of history in particular women of history. The love of Anne Boleyn started after I had read a famous fictional account of her life…this prompted my interest and I found myself absorbing everything on Anne Boleyn.
She is a controversial figure to admire, there is talk of her being a witch who managed to seduce the king away from his wife and of course there is the whole thing about her being beheaded because of adultery and incest. What is known is that Anne was an incredibly clever woman who was charming and managed to have a king fall in love with her. By not sleeping with him she managed to maintain his interest and by power of persuasion and again intelligence she assisted the king in his creation of a new religion (Church of England anyone?). She helped the King believe he had the right to have his marriage annulled without needing the popes permission this unfortunately was part of her undoing that and her inability to provide the King with a son. Rumour has it the King grew bored and sought out other women and thus needed to no longer be married to Anne.
It is highly believed (amongst historians) that she was innocent of all the charges laid upon her at the time of her death partly because she was too intelligent and knew what she stood to lose and also because of her refusal to admit guilt at any confessions prior to her death. Regardless of innocent or not what gets me is what happens next. For starters she speaks at her execution and is humble and kind and unblaming for her death………
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
How incredible is that for surely I would at the very least be wishing him death by mosquito bites something painful or itchy and then the most amazing thing. Her daughter (the daughter the king overlooked in view of wanting a son) became Queen Elizabeth I. Whose rule was so successful it is known as the golden age. By having a voice when women were seen and not heard Anne Boleyn inspired her daughter who became a queen who never married because she was a woman who was strong enough to rule without a man.
I had no intention of this whole post being about Anne Boleyn I just wanted to speak about women in history and the differences they make but obviously I am a chatterbox and history is a subject I am passionate about. I love the idea that women have the ability to change the world and that history shows that. It makes me wonder….what will my legacy be?
Linking up with the gorgeous Josefa at Always Josefa for Conversations Over Coffee