My Lady Marian
Young Marian had thrived at the court of King Henry VIII and never guessed that today she would be on the scaffold with Queen Anne Boleyn, tucking her long hair into a black cloth cap in readiness for her execution.
However, in spite of every tragedy, temptation and distraction she had encountered at court throughout twelve turbulent years, she never relinquished her dream of finding happiness with the only man she truly loved.
The execution of Queen Anne Boleyn.
The chief warder and two of his men led the way, the remaining four in the rear, the chaplain last of all.
Keeping to this formation, the men slowing their march to accommodate the gentler pace of the ladies, the party left the Queen’s lodgings and skirted the western wall of the White Tower, making their way towards the crowd gathered on Tower Green.
A low whisper of voices reached them across the grass, like the passing of a breeze through the trees in summer.
As the party slowly approached, those who had come to watch the execution fell silent and self consciously moved away to open up a pathway to the scaffold.
The yeoman warders stood to attention, their weapons held at an angle over their shoulders, while the Constable of the Tower, Sir William Kingston, bowed low, the white feathers of his helmet falling over his face. He then proffered his arm to assist her majesty to climb the steps, her ladies and the chaplain in close attendance.
The Queen walked to the edge of the platform and surveyed the waiting crowd, at the front of which the King’s men stood in defiance – Thomas Cromwell and his cohorts, among whom Marian noticed the hated Lord Bathampton.
Her eyes returned to her majesty, poised and composed, regal and beautiful as all awaited her final words – a final confession, a reiteration of her innocence, regret at the circumstances that had brought her here – what?
Without faltering, she began: “Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die.”