May 19th 1536 - Anne Boleyn was unjustly executed at the Tower of London. It has been 477 years, my Queen. Resquiecat in Pace.
“And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best.”
I will confess to crying on and off today, as I do feel heart-ache for her, though she has long since passed. She was a truly remarkable woman.
Two years ago, I paid a visit the Tower of London and it was upon Tower Green that I had felt something that I could not find anywhere else - an overwhelming connection. For the first time, I ceased myself from distancing what I knew by fact to how it must have felt and I let myself experience it; how death must have looked from Tower Green.
From the memorial, where supposedly scaffolds were placed for private execution, I looked to the White Tower and begun reciting Anne Boleyn’s final speech. It was in that moment that I had felt closer to this woman than ever - appreciating her despicable aspects and folly, translating her passion and rage to the vulnerability of a woman surviving in a man’s world and her tenacity and her ambitious pursuits that played a significant role towards catalysing the England reformation. Her love and compassion as both a friend, a sister and a mother. She is as much of a woman as I am - a product of her experiences and environment.
My Queen, you lay amongst the stars and we shall never cease remembering you.
Your grace’s displeasure and my imprisonment are things so strange to me, that what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether ignorant. Whereas you send to me (willing me to confess a truth and so obtain your favor), by such a one, whom you know to be mine ancient professed enemy, I no sooner received this message by him, than I rightly conceived your meaning; and if, as you say, confessing a truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all willingness and duty, perform your duty. But let not your grace ever imagine that your poor wife will be brought to acknowledge a fault, where not so much as a thought ever proceeded. And to speak a truth, never a prince had wife more loyal in all duty, and in all true affection, than you have ever found in Anne Bulen - with which name and place I could willingly have contented myself, if God and your grace’s pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forget myself in my exaltation or received queenship, but that I always looked for such alteration as I now find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer foundation than your grace’s fancy, the least alteration was fit and sufficient (I knew) to draw that fancy to some other subject.
You have chosen me from low estate to be your queen and companion, far beyond my desert or desire; if, then, you found me worthy of such honor, good your grace, let not any light fancy or bad counsel of my enemies withdraw your princely favor from me; neither let that stain - that unworthy stain - of a disloyal heart towards your good grace ever cast so foul a blot on me, and on the infant princess your daughter.
Try me, good king, but let me have a lawful trial, and let not my sworn enemies sit as my accusers and as my judges; yea, let me receive an open trial, for my truth shall fear no open shame. Then you shall see either my innocency cleared, your suspicions and conscience satisfied, the ignominy and slander of the world stopped, or my guilt openly declared. So that, whatever God and you may determine of, your grace may be freed from an open censure; and my offense being so lawfully proved, your grace may be at liberty, both before God and man, not only to execute worthy punishment on me as an unfaithful wife but to follow your affection already settled on that party for whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I could some while since have pointed unto - your grace being not ignorant of my suspicions therein. But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring your the joying of your desired happiness, then I desire of God that he will pardon your great sin herein, and likewise my enemies, the instruments thereof; and that he will not call you to a strait account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me at his general judgment-seat, where both you and myself must shortly appear; and in whose just judgment, I doubt not (whatsoever the world may think of me), mine innocency shall be openly known and sufficiently cleared.
My last and only request shall be, that myself only bear the burden of your grace’s displeasure, and that it may not touch the innocent souls of those poor gentlemen, whom, as I understand, are likewise in strait imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favor in your sight - if ever the name of Anne Bulen have been pleasing in your ears - then let me obtain this request; and so I will leave to trouble your grace any further, with mine earnest prayer to the Trinity to have your grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your actions.
From my doleful prison in the Tower, the 6th May.