Boleyn play opens at Tower

A play about Anne Boleyn's life and death opens today at the Tower of London - the site of her trial, execution and final resting place. Fallen in Love starts just days before the anniversary of Anne's death on Sunday.

Anne Boleyn and the Tower of London

Anne became the first Queen to be publicly executed Credit: Tony Harris/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Anne was born between 1501 and 1507, daughter of courtier and diplomat Sir Thomas Boleyn and Elizabeth - daughter ofthe Duke of Norfolk.

In 1522 Anne became lady in waiting to Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon. Henry was tired of his wife - she hadn't produced a male heir - and he showered Anne's family with gifts and titles and asked the Pope to annul his marriage but the Pope refused.

Henry's hand was forced when Anne becamepregnant in 1533. Henry turned his back on the Catholic church, passed the Actof Supremacy and declared himself head of the English Church and the pair weremarried in a secret ceremony. Anne gave birth to Elizabeth - the future Queen.

Queen Elizabeth I (1533 -1603), daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Credit: PA

Anne had two subsequent miscarriages - one aboy - and Henry, desperate for a male heir decided their marriage was cursedand moved on to Anne's lady in waiting, Jane Seymour.

Three years after their marriage, Anne wasaccused of witchcraft and arrested on adultery charges with 5 men - one her ownbrother, Lord George Rochford - and sent to the Tower of London.

Just weeks later, on 19th May, Anne wasbeheaded by a French swordsman, having been spared the axe. She became the firstQueen to be publicly executed.

Her final words, rather than deny her guilt,were in praise of King Henry VIII, stating that, "a more merciful princewas there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord."

Play tells story of Anne Boleyn's 'incestuous' relationship with brother

Suffolk theatre company Red Rose Chain bring Fallen in Love; the story of Anne Boleyn's apparently incestuous relationship with her brother to the site of Anne's trial, execution and final resting place: the Tower of London.

Emma Connell plays Anne Boleyn

The unique theatrical event runs from today to June 16 and will be performed in the Banqueting Suite of the New Armouries.

Jim Malarkey, Head of Visitor and Commercial Services at the Tower of London says:

"Historic Royal Palaces are pleased to welcome Red Rose Chain Theatre Company to the Tower of London for their acclaimed production of Fallen in Love.

The Tower is, of course, the place where Anne Boleyn spent her final days and her bones still rest at the Tower, buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

Her love life was in part her downfall, presenting Henry VIII with a convenient and almost certainly contrived reason to persecute his Queen. Could there be a more appropriate setting for this wonderful play?"

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