Anne Boleyn’s Walk, KT2

Place Name

Named sometime around 1934 and is one of a cluster of streets connected with the Tudor period. Anne Boleyn (about 1501 – May 19, 1536) the second wife of King Henry VIII, was Queen of England between 1533 to 1536. Their marriage and Anne’s execution for treason made her a key figure in the political and religious drama that marked the start of the English Reformation. The connection here however is decidedly more local, if exaggerated. Richmond Palace was built by Henry’s father Henry VII on the site of the former Shene Palace which was severely damaged by fire when the king and his court were there for Christmas 1497. Henry VIII used the new palace, and it is where his first wife, Catherine of Aragon,  gave birth to a son, Henry, in 1510. Joy swiftly turned to sadness when the infant died a month later. Further up the Thames Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was having the far larger and more sumptuous palace, Hampton Court, built. When Wolsey was executed for failing to secure an agreeable divorce settlement from Catherine, the new palace became Henry’s. Anne did indeed get her prize and become queen, but not for long. The relationship soured after it failed to produce a son, she did however produce an heir, who would go on to be crowned Elizabeth I. Within three years of marriage Anne was accused of adultery, incest and treason and swiftly imprisoned, convicted and sentenced to death by beheading. As for Richmond Palace that was left for another of his former wives. Richmond Council writes: “Richmond now became a home for discarded queens – first for Catherine and her daughter Mary while Henry courted and married Anne Boleyn. Later it was given to Anne of Cleves [Henry’s third wife] as part of her divorce settlement. Both Mary and Elizabeth made more use of Richmond during their reigns. Elizabeth was particularly fond of Richmond as a winter home..” So an unusual choice since Anne was not known to use the palace.

 

 

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