Anne Boleyn & St Peter Ad Vincula

The Tower of London contains many grim secrets. One is the burial place of Queen Anne Boleyn. Outside the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula, under the pavement on which tourists carelessly tread, lies the first victim of Henry VIII’s conjugal murders. Although not a model queen, I believe she was an evangelical Christian who supported Reform in her thousand-day reign. Her last words on the block were ‘To Christ I commend my soul’, a distinctly protestant formula, bypassing the saints and Christ’s mother.


The pavement by the chapel under which Anne’s body was dumped

A witness described her final minutes: 

She gracefully addressed the people from the scaffold with a voice somewhat overcome by weakness, but which gathered strength as she went on. She begged her hearers to forgive her if she had not used them all with becoming gentleness, and asked for their prayers. It was needless, she said, to relate why she was there, but she prayed the Judge of all the world to have compassion on those who had condemned her, and she begged them to pray for the King, in whom she had always found great kindness, fear of God, and love of his subjects. The spectators could not refrain from tears.


The site of her departure from this world

On the day of her execution, Archbishop Cranmer was weeping for her in his garden, sharing his confidence that she was in heaven.


The block and axe on display in the White Tower

A queen of England dumped in an unmarked grave; a child of God thoughtlessly interred with little dignity. At the resurrection, this chapel will be smashed to rubble as this blood-washed saint tears through it, meeting her Lord in the air.