Henry VIII’s Character
Second Verse, ... a Little Bit Worse
Ann got pregnant, and there was much rejoicing. She had a baby, and they named it Elizabeth. At that point, barring another pregnancy, Ann’s days were numbered. She did get pregnant, but failed to carry the child to term. So Cromwell stepped in once more. He arrested a few people, one of them a young lutenist, and tortured them into admitting to having an affair with Ann. She denied it, but her fate was pretty much sealed. Apparently, Henry offered to let her live if she agreed to an annulment; she refused, because that would have made Elizabeth illegitimate and thus ineligible for the throne. So she was condemned to be executed. Ann requested that a French headsman do the job. There were two reasons for this. First, English headsmen were not professionals—one was the town butcher, for example—and they had a very bad track record in terms of accuracy. What you don’t want to happen when you’re being beheaded is for the headsman to miss. Second, the French used swords rather than axes. This meant that you knelt with your head high, and the swordsman took your head off with a single horizontal swipe. With an axe, you put your head down on a chopping block. Ann wasn’t about to bow her head to anyone, so she decided to go with the sword instead.
For the book: http://www.amazon.com/Reformation-Armchair-Theologians-Glenn-Sunshine/dp/0664228151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328539232&sr=8-1
For the audio book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Reformation-for-Armchair-Theologians/dp/B002V0FH5K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328539232&sr=8-2