In The End: Anna Bolina, Part II

Author: Mel Brownlee /

A little story I have been working on about Anne Boleyn, her last days in the Tower and what I would like to imagine happened...

Enjoy,

M





I wondered now, how life was dealing with my Father. Uncle would not be the slightest phased by his, what had proved to be through speculation, troublesome niece, but Father had already lost Mary after forcing her in and out of the Kings bed, and now it seemed he could be losing another child. He always had George, but my brother showed more of a talent for winning over the ladies of court rather than the King and other men of noble birth and importance.

I had not heard word from any one of my family, for the first time in my life it seemed I had been spared their judgement and harsh words. Though now, under so much disgrace and worry, I never so much longed for the embrace of my brother and a few small, comforting words and perhaps a little humour to lighten these most dire of times.
It was around this time that a knock on the door broke my thoughts and forced me to push my pitiful letter to one side. One of my ladies stepped in accompanied by a guard, he spoke, "Another maid for your services, m'Lady."

"Your Majesty." I was quick to correct him and in no hurry to forsake my place and position.
He bowed ever so slightly, as if he were not bowing at all and took his leave of us.
I turned to the new lady that had been given unto me, "Speak, Kate, tell me all what you know, spare no details but please tell me you bare good news for your Queen."

"Ma'am, I wish for nothing more than to put your mind at ease and to bring forth good news, but I'm afraid the situation at present has much worsened."
"What is it? What have they said now?" I pleaded, surely, just surely it could get no worse than being locked in the Tower under charges of treason and adultery.
"It's George, your brother. He has been arrested." Kate looked to the floor in despair.
"Whatever for? What could George possibly have done wrong in all of this?"
"They say, you and Lord Rochford had an improper relationship, and that you touched each other, unnaturally, in such a way that you did so commit incest with each other and often had incestuous relations with one another, even, one occasion, after your Majesty's great loss of his Majesty's child so that you may conceive in secret your brothers own son."

I could not help but drop to floor, "Oh God help me, dear God deliver me from this. God, God, God, help me."

Kate ran to me and knelt down at my side. I looked up to meet her large, hazel eyes, full of sorrow for me, knowing that now there certainly was no hope.

"Your Majesty," she spoke softly, "you must stay calm, you must keep your most admirable dignity."
"What will become of George?"
"He has been found guilty, Ma'am, he is to be executed at dawn."

I began to weep, "My dear, sweet brother, even if the axe did not claim him, the very thought of actually committing the crimes he has been thus charged with would cause him to perish. My poor brother, how I have failed him. It is incredulous to me that any respectable man could believe such lies, such loosely based stories, no one could ever confirm them to be true and lay down any sort of evidence against us. How can this be happening, Kate?"

"It was the Lady Rochford."
"That snake of a girl? What could she possibly have to do with all of this apart from being the unfortunate widow of my beloved brother?"
"She was the eye-witness, she told Cromwell she saw the two of you, in bed, touching one another and - "
"That's enough, I cannot bare to hear anymore. Jane Parker ought to hope that my brother and I do not somehow get pardoned, it will be her head on a stick before she even has the chance to beg for our forgiveness."

I could not fathom it, I so wanted to fall asleep, hoping that I would wake up in the Kings arms with the rest of our lives ahead of us. Me, the Queen, unchallenged for Henry's affections and Elizabeth, surrounded by her brothers and all the love in the world.

“Your Majesty,” Kate implored after quite some time had passed in silence, “what will you do?”

I fixed my gaze on her but didn’t see her; I did not see a thing, “What can be done? I can write to the King, but I cannot see what good that will do me. I fear things are already too far gone.”

“Would you like a confessor?”

She did not ask me in a way as to say that I had to confess my sins, confess the crimes I had been charged with, but to say that it might be one small thing left that may help my cause or, failing that, put my mind and my conscience at ease.

“I think that may be my last hope, Kate. Fetch Cranmer, make haste and make clear the urgent nature of my matter.”

One hour later, still having not finished my letter to Henry, Archbishop Cranmer arrived at my cell, carrying with him nothing but a morbid expression and eyes full of sorrow.

Before I even had the chance to stand, he was at my feet.

“My Lady, my good and gracious Lady. How is it that you do?”
“Considering my situation, I am quite well. Never before have I so longed for sleep, to sleep eternally, even.”
“Oh,” he sighed heavily, “do not say such things, to see you so defeated is a thing that breaks my heart.”
“It should not! Besides, I am in no way defeated, I am just tired – the end is in sight and it comes as a relief to me. Please do not fear for me, or ache for me for I do not fear for myself.”

He nodded gingerly, “Yes my child. Now, tell me all you have to say. Spare nothing.”

“I shall not”.

I let him take a seat next to me and he started at me intently.

“I must confess that not only did I fail to commit the crimes I have been unlawfully charged with in deed but also in thought. My eyes never touched another man, nor did my hands and sir, I most ardently must tell you that I never had relations with my brother, George. My supposed sins are so disgusting and vile to me that you must know I would never even think such things, let alone do them.
The pain I feel at my brothers’ imminent execution is such that I cannot speak of. He is an innocent man and I an innocent woman. The love I bear for his Majesty is so great that no other man exists in my eyes; he is the moon and the sun, the sunrise and sunset. I cannot express enough the ways in which I love him and that I would never betray him or forsake his princely love.
But it is my understanding that I am to die because of such misgivings and in truth, I am willing to accept this as my fate.”

My Chaplin already had tears in his eyes, but he knew as well as I that now was no time for weeping.

“My lady,” he began, “is there anything else you wish to say?”
“Yes, I want you to tell the King that he knows the truth and my blood is on his hands, my death hangs over his head. I am his wife and no other and he should be in no hurry to forget this.”

He nodded, “I shall do my best to get this message to his Majesty.”

“No, you must. Whether it is before my death or not, you must tell him what I have said.”
“Ma’am, how are you so certain that you will die? You doubt the Kings good graces and mercy.”
“I do not doubt the Kings mercy, I just know Henry. He knows there is no other way to lawfully leave me and marry another, to which he would hope to father sons with, and that is what is most important to him. After years of knowing and loving the King, all I have learnt is that a Queen must keep quiet and endure, she must never question the King and above all, she must provide a male heir. I have not done any these things and so I fear mercy is not a quality Henry will bear towards me now.”
“Very well, I shall take my leave of you now, having heard your final and most honest confession and will pass on your message to his Majesty.”

He took my hand, gently pressing his cold lips against it, “God bless you, Anne.”

As he reached the door to leave, I called to him, “Do you think it will hurt?” Holding my neck, I needn’t have said what I was referring to.

“I think not, Ma’am, it will all be over very quickly.” He tried to smile but I could see in his eyes he was forcing it, after all, there was not much to smile about and he was not one for pretending.

I bowed my head and he left. I watched him walk down the hall through the bars in the door, knowing that this was the last I would see of him, thinking maybe I should have said more, or perhaps less?

That night I had a mind to finish off my letter, but exhaustion crept over me and I lay in my bed, hoping that when I woke things would be as there were, but, being no fool, I did not keep my hopes up for long.

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