So many people were happy to see me die on that scaffold the 19th of May, 1536. Especially Thomas Cromwell, who not only arranged my marriage to Henry, but also planned my death.
Some people even felt sorry for me. I felt bewildered, betrayed, belittled, and utterly defeated. How I prayed before the guards came in to escort me to the scaffold, that the Lord would take my soul into Heaven to be with Him. At last, I would be free; free from the demands of Henry, who insisted my daughter Elizabeth would never succeed to the throne of England. Free from the filthy, horrendous lies told by Cromwell, whose end was met in terror, and I was there in spirit to witness it! The cocky, high-and-mighty Cromwell: butchers’ cleaver-man, right-hand SNIVELER to Henry… as long as everything went Cromwell’s way, he was glad to let on how he willingly served the King.
I remember how he sneered at me as I stepped up on the scaffold. The silent jeer, the sardonic smile, the cocky ‘I knew I’d succeed in my plot against you’ look.
I remember setting foot out of the Chapel, where I was allowed to say my last words to God before being executed by the sword. Terrified, yet complacent in my heart, I was content to die and let the King have his way. Where was his Grace when I died? Out on horseback, with new ‘friends’, hunting… waiting for the grand signal that his Queen… Anne… ME – was dead. Then, he would set off to the Seymour house to collect his newest lover, Jane. Oh yes, I saw it all, clearly. There Hal sat, weighing down his poor horse because of his girth; contemplating what to kill next. He had no concern for me whatsoever; his only concern was to wait for the signal that I was finally dead.
Then, Hal married Jane. She bore him a son, naming him Edward, as Hal always thought that to be a good name for English kings.
She died shortly after Edward’s birth, due to complications from the emergency surgery she had to deliver him. But did Hal show her any concern either? No. I was there, and heard him say, “SAVE the child; I can always get myself another wife!”
My father, Thomas Boleyn, was beside himself, crying in private because of my dear brother George being executed, and now me. My sister Mary, of no further use to Henry, was distraught over our deaths, as was my mother, Elizabeth, after whom I named our daughter. And my Elizabeth… barely two and a half years old, left in the care of one of my ladies-in-waiting, wandered the courtyard, not even knowing I was being executed for crimes I did not commit.
ALL because of Henry and Cromwell. All because of their vicious plot against me, because Hal was angry at my son being stillborn.
Cromwell… how I HATED him! Cromwell… he cowered his way into Henry’s court as his personal and legal adviser, but when he died July 28, 1540, I was there in spirit to see it.
The cowardly, cringing little swine, Cromwell: little did he know he would soon be begging for his life, as he so wickedly arranged to have mine taken!
I finally ascended the top step of the scaffold. My ladies-in-waiting carefully removed my cloak. I knelt before the priest as he gave me my final blessing from the Church. Then, as I knelt, waiting for the sword-stroke that would take my life, I looked at the executioner. He was aghast, saying I needed to be distracted. As soon as his assistant got me to turn and look at him, the deed was done.
When my head was removed from my body, I hardly felt it. Suddenly, I felt my head being lifted up. The crowd gasped in horror as I opened my eyes, and saw them staring at me; some were laughing and cheering at my demise, whilst others were shocked and crying. Especially now. I was staring right at them. My mouth was also moving, I heard some say. Yes, it was. I was vowing my vengeance against Cromwell. I refused to rest until Cromwell had been paid his due, and my Elizabeth would be crowned Queen. Henry had his way in having me killed. But I was going to have my way as well. MY Elizabeth was going to be crowned, whether Henry approved or otherwise. Suddenly a loud explosion was heard; the signal to Hal that I was dead.
They laid my body in the rough-box; one of my ladies-in-waiting was now holding my head, and she placed it gently inside the coffin, crying hysterically as she did so. The men ushered her and the other ladies-in-waiting away, telling them ‘it was over, so get back to work’.
My spirit flew over to Cromwell’s side… there, I whispered in his ear that I was going to see him repaid for his lies against my brother and I.
I could swear Cromwell even heard what I said, seeing him suddenly flinch, eyes staring coldly ahead, yet frightened.
Cromwell, the cowardly bastard; I know well his history.
Entering Henry’s service in 1530, he was chiefly responsible for establishing the renouncement of England from papal affiliation.
Cromwell was the bastard behind the despoiling of the monasteries, and for strengthening King Henry VIIIth’s royal administration. He eventually wormed his way into obtaining complete control of the government, all the while feigning to be acting on the king’s authority and behalf. In 1539 he made the fatal error of inducing Henry to marry Anne of Cleves, an ugly, fat, UN-marriageble woman to be suitable for Hal’s tastes! After literally being forced to accede to the wishes that the marriage take place, Henry flatly refused to consummate this marriage; then he quickly sent her back from whence she came, and his wrath against Cromwell burned. Poor Cromwell! But he would receive no pity from me!
That escapade led to Cromwell’s fall. Cromwell had made many enemies during his time in Henry’s court, who not only hated him for his cunning, but for his cowardice, self-ambition, and skullduggery in serving the King .
But all his efforts backfired on him. He was found out; denied even a trial, he was imprisoned, awaiting his own execution, the BASTARD. I relished seeing his agony as he pleaded for his miserable, rotten life!
Before Cromwell knew it, he was summarily executed.
A little more history of my cowardly enemy:
After Cromwell entered Henry VIIIth’s service, he rose rapidly in Henry’s favour and court responsibilities.
By late 1530 Cromwell was sworn into the King’s Council. But in a short time, Wolsey’s old rivals soon began to plague him. Rivals such as Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Gardiner had worked with Wolsey, and hated Cromwell with a great passion. They were all jealous of Cromwell, and wanted him out of their way. Tongues wagged, and plots began to thicken.
From 1529 to about 1533, they enjoyed the King’s confidences and benefits, but still, Cromwell succeeded in surpassing them all through his treachery.
His career progressed to include being given such titles as member of the privy council, Master of Court of Wards, Master of Jewel House, Chancellor of the Exchequer, King’s Secretary and Master of the Rolls, Vicar-General, Lord Privy Seal and Baron Cromwell of Oakham, Knight of the Garter and Dean of Wells. In 1539 Cromwell was named Lord Great Chamberlain, and in 1540 he was granted the title of Earl of Essex. Of course, each succeeding title made his confidence swell, and he became so haughty that he became careless where the trusts of the King were concerned. By then, he concluded (in error) that he do and get away with anything.
Before Henry and I came together formally, Cromwell knew Hal wanted to be rid of his ‘Spanish Cow’ as he called her… Katherine of Aragon… my rival.
She was thrown aside for me, and Wolsey ended up disgraced, banished, and replaced by Cromwell, who feigned supporting me until I (like Wolsey) became a liability to his own interests. Under command by Hal, he arranged the false accusations against me, being responsible for the torture and executions of my brother, George, a number of Hal’s closest friends, and a simple court singer.
But now, the tables were turning against Cromwell.
He was arrested on June 10th, 1540.
Cromwell’s enemies were diligently searching for scapegoats for the marriage arrangement between Hal and Anne of Cleves . Henry, in one of his many fits of temper, I had often witnessed. He loudly moaned that his trusted minister had betrayed him while trying to further his own influence; and the trembling nobility were only too happy to agree with his Grace on such thoughts against Cromwell. They urged Henry to arrest him. Henry quickly agreed.
Soon the captain of the guard arrived at the council chamber and arrested Cromwell. Norfolk and Southampton quickly stripped his decorations from his robe of state and Cromwell was then escorted to a barge, and taken to the Tower, entering through Traitor’s Gates! The same as I was: disgraced, defeated, suspected; locked up, cast aside, to await his fate! The coward. The LIAR. Now he would receive his just reward, and I knew then that my death was not in vain.
Elizabeth was growing into more and more a special Princess every day, even though I could not contact her. But I could SEE how she was developing into the great Monarch she later proved herself to be. MY daughter; MY ELIZABETH. I told Henry she would be Queen some day. He should have listened to me.
Cromwell wrote two desperate, whining, sniveling letters from the Tower; he pleaded with Hal that he was a good, trustworthy servant and a faithful Christian who had always served his Grace with never-ending loyalty. But Henry was now surrounded by Cromwell’s enemies and – was infatuated with Norfolk’s niece, Catherine Howard As it stood, Hal refused to hear anything from Cromwell. His fate was sealed.
Hah! Cromwell had fallen into the very same trap he had set out for me! Only he was not confined in as comfortable a surroundings as I was. Comfortable, considering it was my last place of residence before the swordsman arrived from Calais… but a prison, nonetheless. But Cromwell was in a dungeon.
An Act of Attainder had been used against him in place of legal proceedings.
Cromwell was accused of misuse of funds, theft, taking bribes, overstepping his authority in relation to the King. As well, his long list of charges included releasing favoured prisoners without his Majesty’s consent, making appointments without his Grace’s approval, heresy, treason against his Majesty, and denier of the Faith’s doctrines.
Cromwell, coward that he was, insisted upon his innocence, but to no avail. Poor, poor Cromwell! Knowing (as a commoner) he could face the ultimate penalty, execution by hanging, drawing and quartering, caused him tremendous anguish. The once cocky, arrogant replacement for Cardinal Wolsey was now reduced to nothing. But Henry did decide to show the swine some clemency.
His Majesty lessened the sentence to death by simple beheading, and on July 28th, 1540,
Cromwell was executed privately on Tower Green, still protesting his innocence. He died with some dignity – but talk concerning his accusations would not rest. After his execution, Cromwell’s head was boiled, tarred, and then set upon a spike on London Bridge, facing away from the City of London.
By placing his head in the position of facing away, it was the King’s way of saying Cromwell had been totally disgraced and discarded. Half of my task after my demise had now been completed. The remainder was to see my Elizabeth crowned Queen of England.
Since my death, and Hal’s marriage to Jane Seymour, parliament had passed a new Act of Succession declaring that the children of this marriage would be Henry´s heirs: like Mary, Elizabeth was now regarded as being illegitimate.
That I would NOT stand for. I vowed in life that MY Elizabeth would be Queen. Now, I was going to ensure she received her rightful crown.
After Hal finally died, Mary, the daughter of my rival, Katherine of Aragon, was crowned Queen. She was outraged over Hal’s replacement of the Church of Rome with his Church of England. Mary immediately set about forcing England, and all her subjects back to the Roman Catholic faith. Anyone refusing to follow her directives were dealt with barbarically, burned at the stake as heretics. She soon became known as Bloody Mary. She also felt threatened by my Elizabeth, and had her imprisoned in the Tower for a time.
This was something else I would avenge before I would finally rest. On November 17th of 1558, Mary died. But before she drew her last breath, she reluctantly agreed Elizabeth should succeed as Queen. Elizabeth had survived and was finally Queen of England, crowned on January 14th of 1559. Elizabeth I was crowned by Owen Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle. The more senior prelates did not recognize Elizabeth as their Sovereign, and, apart from the archbishopric of Canterbury, no less than eight sees were vacant. Of the remainder, Bishop White of Winchester had been confined to his house by royal command for his sermon at Cardinal Pole’s funeral; and the Queen had an especial enmity toward Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London. With a touch of irony, she had ordered Bonner to lend his richest vestments to Oglethorpe for the coronation.
My task was complete; MY ELIZABETH HAD BEEN CROWNED QUEEN OF ENGLAND, and now, I could finally rest.