|Anne Boleyn, image from Wikipedia|
Like so many other affairs of the heart, this one started in the work place. Anne was lady in waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, queen to Henry VIII. Catherine was the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. Yes, they were that Ferdinand and Isabella who completed the Reconquista, united Spain, and sent Christopher Columbus across the ocean blue. But back to Anne and Henry. Henry was smitten with Anne. But, first he had to annul his marriage to the devoutly Catholic Catherine. She was not in agreement and neither was the Pope. Henry worked his way around that by splitting from the Catholic Church, declaring himself to be Head of a new Anglican Church and then divorcing himself from Catherine. Catherine was sent to a nunnery, the Pope excommunicated Henry, and Spain spent the next 75 years trying to invade England and bring Anglican England back into the Catholic fold.
Anne enjoyed three years as the wife of Henry VIII and as Queen of England. She bore one child, Elizabeth, who would one day become Queen Regent.
By January 1536, Catherine of Aragon died, rumored by poisoning. Anne was pregnant with a male child, but the child was stillborn. This was the beginning of Anne's end. Within a few months, Henry had Anne investigated for high treason. On the 2nd of May 1536, she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried on trumped up charges of incest and adultery before a jury of peers - which included Henry Percy, her former betrothed and even her own uncle. She was convicted and sentence to death. On May 19th she was executed by beheading. To receive the blow of the blade, she knelt upright, in the French style of executions and one swift blow did the trick.
To the end Anne would maintain to Henry that she was, "Your most loyal and ever faithful wife." Others agreed including Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, and even Martin Luther.
Anne might have been a home wrecker, but Henry was certainly a philander and worse. He would marry four more times, one more time relying on execution to remove an unwanted wife. Anne's only revenge was that Elizabeth, her daughter by Henry, would become one day Queen Elizabeth I.
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, is to be celebrated in 2012. The present day Elizabeth was, by blood line, a Windsor . Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne and Henry, was the last of the Tudors.