2 May

On this day in 1536, Henry VIII’s second wife and Queen of England, Anne Boleyn is arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest and treason.

Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Anne subsequently had three miscarriages, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour.

Henry had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers – which included Henry Percy, her former betrothed, and her own uncle, Thomas Howard – and found guilty on 15 May. She was beheaded four days later. Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery, incest, and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing. Some say that Anne was accused of witchcraft but the indictments make no mention of this charge.