In week ten of our folk tales from the five Olympic London Boroughs, Ruairidh Anderson tells the story of Anne Boleyn, former Queen and former Greenwich resident.
“Of all the residents of Greenwich perhaps the most famous is King Henry VIII. Many happy days were spent in the area with his court and whichever wife he had on his arm at the time’
Watch the video and enjoy the London song inspired by this tale, ‘Maytime Flowers’.
Of all the one-time residents of Greenwich perhaps the most famous is King Henry VIII, his palace standing in Greenwich Park. Many happy times were spent in these areas with his court and which ever wife he had on his arm at the time. And of all the fine days, what better one than May Day? To go ‘A-Maying’ was a great event. Heading off to Shooters Hill, perhaps collecting flowers on the way and squeezing in a spot of jousting. Such a pleasant day in fact that it can only just be put in the shade by the death of Henry’s first wife Catherine, which was claimed by him and wife to be Anne Boleyn, to be a ‘joyful occasion’, until she herself miscarried on the day of the funeral.
Three years later and and Boleyn is hanging on by her fingernails. Henry has got his eye on another -Jane Seymour, and is itching for a way out. But it’s May 1536 and surely these things can wait? Whilst out in the sunshine enjoying the day Anne Boleyn drops a handkerchief in front of Sir Henry Norris, and there it was. Proof. She was obviously having an affair. And so while King Henry rode off in a huff, Anne was dragged to the tower and accused of adultery. Just to prove the King’s theory correct, five other poor souls were dragged out of nowhere and accused of improper relations with the Queen.
19 days later and Anne Boleyn was beheaded with Henry VIII tactfully marrying Jane Seymour .. the next day.
So who were these sorry cretins deemed so expendable, so worthless that the King had no hesitation in executing them? Oh just a couple of court hangers-on, a toilet cleaner, the Queens own brother, and the lowest of the low… Mark Smeaton, court instrumentalist. So you tell me – where’s the Musicians Union when you really need them?