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Anne Boleyn- The Falcon Falls In May, page 1

 

Anne Boleyn- The Falcon Falls In May
 


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Anne Boleyn- The Falcon Falls In May


  Anne Boleyn: The Falcon Falls In May

  Elizabeth Andrews

  The Last Days

  Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Andrews

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the author or publisher.

  Table of Contents

  TWO GREAT DEALS

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  Chapter 1– May 1st, 1536: Greenwich Palace

  Chapter 2 – May 2nd, 1536

  Chapter 3 – May 3rd, 1536: The King’s Court

  Chapter 4 – May 4th, 1536: The Tower of London

  Chapter 5 – May 5th, 1536: The Tower of London

  Chapter 6 – May 6th, 1536: The King’s Court

  Chapter 7 – May 7th - 8th, 1536: Beddington

  Chapter 8 – May 9th, 1536: Court Hampton Palace

  Chapter 9 – May 10th, 1536: Westminster

  Chapter 10 – May 11th, 1536: Westminster

  Chapter 11 – May 12th, 1536: The King’s Court

  Chapter 12 – May 13th, 1536: Cromwell’s Quarters

  Chapter 13 – May 14th, 1536: France

  Chapter 14 – May 15th, 1536: The King’s Hall in the Tower of London

  Chapter 15 – May 16th, 1536: The Tower of London

  Chapter 16 – May 17th, 1536: Tower Hill

  Chapter 17 – May 18th, 1536

  Chapter 18 – May 19th, 1536: The Execution of Anne Boleyn

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  Chapter 1– May 1st, 1536: Greenwich Palace

  The sun beat down with a heavy hand over the grounds of Greenwich Palace, causing the young Anne Boleyn to cool herself with a small paper fan. The delicate white lace cutout shifted back and forth in the air, offering her small relief from the heat of the day.

  She put her hand on her stomach, thinking of the hot flashes she still endured since the loss of her child a few months before. A male child—the only thing her husband, the king, truly wanted in life, she had come so close to giving him.

  But, pregnancies were hard, and Anne was a thin and beautiful woman, increasing the risks she faced. In spite of her greatest efforts to remain strong and healthy, she had lost the child—and, she feared, the affection of her husband in the process.

  A shout on the other side of the field caught her attention. It was the first day in the month of May, and the biggest jousting battle of the year was about to take place. Anne’s husband, Henry the VIII, loved his sports. He often partook in wrestling matches, archery, and tennis, but jousting was certainly his favorite of all.

  He rode out onto the field, his full suite of metal armor glinting in the sunlight. His horse, a dusky black creature, was also covered in a full suit of armor. The sight of the man on his beast took her breath away, and she fanned herself faster.

  Henry’s attractive appearance was no secret in the kingdom, with many of his subjects marveling at both his height and his manly physique. It was only through unparalleled beauty of her own that she had been able to catch his eye in the first place, and she now worried that she had lost her position of grace.

  He rode around the arena a few times, showing off for the immense crowd that had gathered. She cheered as loudly as she could, but he didn’t pay her any attention. Instead, he was too busy exciting his horse, causing the animal to stomp and snort in anticipation of what was about to come.

  Within minutes his adversary would appear. Henry Norris, a member of the king’s court, would be joining him on the field today. Anne had to admit to herself that though she had once been close to Norris, they had fallen out of each other’s good graces, and the idea of the joust was rather unsettling.

  Though she firmly believed in the skills of her husband, there was a chance Norris could get the upper hand. Henry hated being given the advantage, since he was the king, and would often threaten his nobleman with high charges if they didn’t fight him with every skill they had.

  Anne knew this, and knew that Norris was excellent in the saddle. On the other hand, if her husband were to strike him, she could potentially lose an old friend this afternoon.

  She didn’t know how much she would be upset by the loss of Norris herself, but she knew he was still a close friend of the king, and he would feel the loss greater than anyone else.

  Norris’s wife was also present, and as Anne sat in her high seat, she couldn’t help but look critically down at the young woman. There were many people in the king’s court these days whom Anne didn’t trust, and for some reason, that woman was one of them. Her gaze was unmet, however, and with the announcement of Norris arriving on the field, Anne turned her attention back to the event in front of her.

  Both men galloped around the center fence, meeting in the center. After a brief introduction, they each turned their horses and ran to the far end of the field. The signal was then given, and both horses plunged down the fence line with their riders posed in position.

  Anne held her breath as the loud crack filled the air. Henry had landed an excellent blow on Norris, but Norris had been ready with his shield, and though he was knocked back, he managed to stay in his saddle. Henry had hit his friend with such force, his joust had broken in the process.

  But, with countless attendants at the sidelines, Henry had a new joust within seconds, and at once they were at it again. Riding to opposite ends of the field, both men dug their heels into the sides of their horses and picked up a large amount of speed before meeting in the center once more.

  This time, Norris had the upper hand, and with a sickening thud, his joust slammed into the center of Henry’s chest. His metal armor protected him from being impaled, but the force was enough to knock him off the back of his horse. To Anne’s horror, her husband’s leg caught in the reins as he fell, causing the thrashing animal to fall right on top of him.

  There was a brief moment of silence in the court, then all at once dozens of attendants ran to the king. They pulled the horse off him, but the king lay motionless in the field. Anne glanced over to Norris, but he stood at a distance, pulling his helmet from his head and tossing it to the ground.

  He jumped off the back of his horse, but the sea of men that surrounded the king made it impossible for him to get any closer. As the king’s Groom of the Stool, Norris had more intimate knowledge than many of the other attendants present, but he knew when to keep his distance.

  Walking into the crowd, Anne lost sight of him.

  Anne spent the next two hours in a traumatized state. Henry had remained unresponsive, and several of the court’s attendants had informed her they believed the king to be fatally injured.

  Without a male heir to the throne, great uncertainty would befall the kingdom, and with such men as Thomas Cromwell involved, Anne knew things would become increasingly difficult for her.

  It was Cromwell who had planted rumors into her husband’s head of her having an affair, and she suspected he was fueling more tension between the two of them. Though she and Cromwell hadn’t ever gotten along well, she was beginning to sense something
more serious taking place against her.

  “What do you mean, he left?” Anne asked incredulously.

  “He says he has pressing matters to speak about with Lord Norris.” The messenger shifted nervously from one foot to the other, and Anne shook her head. If there was one thing she knew for sure about her husband, it was that he never knew when to stop.

  She had no idea what he could possibly wish to speak with Norris about, but also knew there would be no way for her to get any answers from the servant. With an exasperated sigh, Anne sat down in her padded chair.

  Her husband clearly had a mind of his own, but she would be lying if she said it didn’t bother her that he shut her out of everything he did. All she could do now was sit and wait for his return.

  Chapter 2 – May 2nd, 1536

  Anne spent a restless night in her chambers, tossing back and forth and unable to sleep. She thought of what her husband could possibly be speaking to Henry Norris about, though she did have her suspicions. Though Henry and the king were close, and though she had enjoyed her own close friendship with Henry until recently, she knew there were some who speculated that Henry hovered around her quarters out of interest in her.

  Anne had always admired Henry Norris for his service to her husband, as well as his treatment of her. Since she had arrived in the castle, he had been one of the guiding hands who had helped her settle in and achieve the grace and dignity she had.

  However, there were others in the courts who were hungry for their own selfish gain, and so she kept a close eye on the lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. He clearly had his own intentions when it came to the crown, and her husband was either too lazy or too blind to see it.

  Cromwell was in high standing with the king, and Anne knew she must be careful when she addressed the issue. It was far easier to tend to things herself than to get her husband involved, but she couldn’t help but wonder what it was Cromwell was saying to him when she wasn’t around.

  He had nearly exclusive access to the king’s innermost chambers—to the extent he could request an audience with the king alone. Anne tossed and turned, trying to remind herself that she was the queen and not some lawyer in the court.

  After all, what could he do?

  ***

  “Are you quite certain? There are some horrid rumors circulating through the courts these days. How do you know that this isn’t just another one of those?” Anne stood in shock in her quarters.

  It was shortly past seven in the morning, and she had just received word that Henry Norris had been arrested and escorted to a cell in the Tower of London. In spite of all her inquiries, however, she was unable to uncover a reason for his arrest.

  It was clear that the servant who had been sent to inform her of the incident had been given only minimal information himself, and though she desperately wanted to know what the charges were, there would be no way for her to do so—unless she spoke to the king himself.

  “That is inadvisable at this time, Your Excellency. He is suffering from fits this morning, and we feel it best he calms down before you see him. You were going to attend the tennis match, so please allow me to help you get ready for that.” The servant motioned to several of the other servants who stood present, and they hurriedly surrounded the queen.

  Removing her sleeping gown, they helped her dress in one of her best dresses, then sent her on her way. The queen was used to all the attendants surrounding her each morning, but she had to admit that it was frustrating when she suspected they knew something she didn’t, and they wouldn’t share it with her.

  In spite of her high regard in the king’s courts, there were times Anne felt like an attendant as much as any of the servants were. She often felt she was the last to learn something, if she was ever told the truth at all. With a twisted feeling in her stomach, Anne squared her shoulders.

  If they weren’t going to tell her why her dear friend Norris had been arrested, she was going to behave indifferently. The king had been known to behave in irrational ways before, and Anne told herself the chances it had anything to do with her were slim.

  Powdering her face and selecting one of her many paper fans, she gathered her skirts and walked outside. She was going to the tennis match.

  ***

  “Come now! Put on a real show! Ugh!” Anne muttered. In public, she knew she must maintain a proper and quiet attitude, especially when her husband was not present, but with the tension she felt about the morning’s events, it was difficult for her to remain calm, especially when the players were clearly playing poorly.

  Suddenly, an official from the court pushed through the stands, approaching where Anne sat. At first, she attempted to ignore him, but he stopped directly in front of her, blocking the game from her view.

  “Your Majesty. His Majesty, the King, wishes to see you in the privy council, immediately. Come with me.” He reached down and took her arm, but Anne protested and pulled it away.

  “Excuse me, but do you know who you are putting your hands on? How dare you!” She rose, but refused to allow him to touch her.

  “Please, Madam. It would be much easier if you would simply come with me without a fuss. It is the king’s orders.” He gave her a stern look, and Anne straightened her skirts.

  “I will accompany you, but I am the queen, and simply because my lord the king is not present, it certainly doesn’t mean I am going to put up with any of your nonsense.” She crossed her arms, and with a defeated look on his face, the man turned to lead the way. Anne lifted her skirt slightly to keep up with him, but she maintained her dignity with each step she took.

  She accepted his hand as he helped her into the carriage, but refused to speak with him further as they road back to the king’s privy council. They didn’t have far to go, but Anne felt insulted by this man’s actions, and wondered how he dared to treat her in such a way.

  Upon arrival, he instructed the servant to stop in front of the main doors, then he climbed out of the carriage and walked around to the other side. Anne hesitated as he offered her his hand once more, then reluctantly took it, letting go of him as soon as she landed on the ground.

  He motioned for her to follow, so Anne squared her shoulders and set her jaw as she walked up the steps behind him. Servants parted both of the large sets of doors, and her shoes left a clicking noise with each step she took. Finally, they were outside the privy council, and the servant opened the door.

  ***

  “On what charges!?” Anne cried out, her hands being bound in shackles. The king was sitting on his throne, and rose to his feet.

  “As though I need to explain them! You have betrayed me in more ways than one. You have destroyed my trust, and you have attempted to make me out to be the fool. Anne Boleyn, I am afraid you have made a grave mistake. I do not handle infidelity lightly.” He turned, his long robe swooping behind him, as he sat back on the throne.

  “Infidelity? With whom? I would never betray my lord the king!” Anne cried out, part of her angry and another part of her deeply afraid. But, the king was unmoved by her words, and refused to answer any of her questions. Giving the command to the guards, he then turned his attention to other things.

  Anne continued to protest, but her words fell on deaf ears. The guards half dragged and half carried her out into the courtyard, then into the terrible Tower of London. She was escorted up the long stairwell and into her own private chambers, where the door was closed and locked quickly behind her.

  Anne paced back and forth in the room a few times. What was the meaning of this? How could her husband think such a thing of her? How was she going to prove her innocence?

  It wasn’t long before another scuffle was heard in the hall, and Anne hurried over to the door. Though she was sealed in by a thick and heavy barricade, she could see through a small crack near the lock. To her horror, she instantly recognized the new prisoner who was being dragged through the hall and pushed into a cell of his own.

  George Boleyn, her dearest brother. Anne turned a
way from the door, her heart racing.

  What was happening?

  Chapter 3 – May 3rd, 1536: The King’s Court

  The carriage rolled steadily over the cobblestone, and the sound of the horse’s hooves was almost relaxing. Thomas Cranmer held in his hand a brief message, detailing the events that had taken place in the palace over the past few days.

  As the Archbishop of Canterbury, his relationship with the King of England wasn’t on the best terms. Ever since Henry the VIII had split with the Church, their relationship remained strained. Though Cranmer had helped form the annulment between Henry and his wife, Catherine of Aragon, Thomas Cranmer was still associated with the Church, which Henry had proved time and time again he had no respect for.

  Now, as Archbishop Cranmer rode in silence in the back of his carriage, he watched the rain clouds forming in the western part of the sky. It rained often, but today the rain matched Thomas’s dismal mood.

 
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