Daily Update: Friday, May 19th, 2017

05-19 - Execution of Queen Anne Boelyn

With no Saints to honor today, we note that on this date in 1536 the second wife of King Henry the Eighth, Anne Boleyn, was executed. (Being Henry’s Queen was a high-risk occupation; in 1542 he had his fifth wife, Catherine Howard (Anne’s first cousin), executed as well.)

Born about 1499 and raised in the Netherlands before becoming a maid of honor to Queen Claude of France, Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken up by Cardinal Wolsey, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon. She quickly established herself as one of the most stylish and accomplished women at the court. Early in 1523 Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, but the betrothal was broken by Cardinal Wolsey in January 1524 and Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle. In February / March 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, which her older sister Mary had been. The King proposed marriage, contingent on the annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, who had not produced any male heirs to the throne (only one daughter). In 1533 the King broke with the Catholic Church (which had refused his annulment), divorced Catherine of Aragon, and married Anne, who soon became pregnant. The child was a girl (not the boy the King had desired), and Anne suffered several miscarriages; on the day that Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Abbey in January, 1536, Anne miscarried a baby which, according to the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys, she had borne for about three and a half months, and which “seemed to be a male child”. The King had already begun courting Jane Seymour. As Anne recovered from her latest miscarriage, Henry declared that he had been seduced into the marriage by means of “sortilege”, a French term indicating either “deception” or “spells”, and Jane Seymour was quickly moved into royal quarters. On May 2nd, 1536, Anne was arrested and taken to the Tower of London by barge. On May 14th Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared Anne’s marriage to Henry null and void. The next day Anne and her brother George Boleyn were tried separately in the Tower of London, before a jury of twenty-seven peers. She was accused of adultery, incest (with her brother), and high treason (this following from the accusation of adultery of a queen, because of the implications for the succession to the throne). Convicted of all charges, her brother (with other accused men) was executed on May 17th. The King commuted Anne’s sentence from burning to beheading, and rather than have a queen beheaded with the common axe, he brought an expert swordsman from Saint-Omer in France to perform the execution. On the morning of Friday, May 19th (the anniversary of the day when Catherine of Aragon was married by proxy to Henry’s elder brother Arthur), Anne Boleyn was executed within the Tower precincts, not upon the site of the execution memorial, but rather, according to historian Eric Ives, on a scaffold erected on the north side of the White Tower, in front of what is now the Waterloo Barracks. She wore a red petticoat under a loose, dark grey gown of damask trimmed in fur and a mantle of ermine. The ermine mantle was removed and Anne lifted off her headdress, tucking her hair under a coif. After a brief farewell to her weeping ladies and a request for prayers, she kneeled, and one of her ladies tied a blindfold over her eyes. She knelt upright, in the French style of executions. Her final prayer consisted of her repeating continually, “Jesu receive my soul; O Lord God have pity on my soul.” The execution consisted of a single stroke. She was then buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, the Parish Church of the Tower of London. Her daughter, not yet three years old at the time of her mother’s death, lost her place in the royal succession, but eventually became Queen Elizabeth I in 1558. Anne’s skeleton was identified during renovations of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in 1876 in the reign of Queen Victoria, and Anne’s resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

Last night Richard arranged to have our electrical guys look at the light on the driveway side of the house on Friday. I continued reading The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault, Translated by Michael J. Miller, and continued reading The Mummy: A History of the Extraordinary Practices of Ancient Egypt by E. A. Wallis Budge. And our #6 LSU Tigers won their first game of the three-game Away College Baseball series with the #13 Mississippi State Bulldogs by the score of 3 to 1.

I did my Book Devotional Reading and ironed my casino shirt du jour; on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Ascension Novena. When we clocked in Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow; he also broke the Flop Poker table (once). I spent my day on $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack, and as usual, that table was a joy; it attracts players who do not have a clue how to play blackjack, which makes them difficult to deal to. (As a dealer, I cannot tell people if they should hit, stand, double down, or split.)

When we clocked out at 11:00 am, I picked up a pack of dice for Liz Ellen, and we went over to the Pharmacy, where Richard picked up a prescription. On our way home I continued reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet. At Wal-Mart Richard purchased my salad supplies, and then we got gas for the truck at Valero. When we got home our electrical guys had replaced the side light for us . I made my lunch salads for today and Sunday and ate today’s salad while reading the morning paper. I then came to the computer and did Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. At 3:00 pm Richard went to bed, and I watched MST3K Episode 111 Moon Zero Two, which was a “space western” (gad). I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed. Our #19 LSU Lady Tigers will be playing the Fairfield Lady Stags -at the NCAA College Softball Regional in Baton Rouge. and our #6 LSU Tigers (37-17, 19-9) will play the second game of their three-game Away College Baseball series with the #13 Mississippi State Bulldogs (34-20, 17-11).

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest (died 1444). Tomorrow is Armed Forces Day (so I will be putting the flag out), and also the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the second leg of the Triple Crown, will be run tomorrow (with the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Always Dreaming, in the race). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and in the afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Our #6 LSU Tigers will play the last game of their Away College Baseball series with the #13 Mississippi State Bulldogs to end their regular season, and our #19 Lady Tigers will either play the UL-Lafayette Lady Ragin Cajuns or the McNeese State Lady Cowboys.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Morley Safer, Canadian born American journalist. Born in 1931 in Toronto, Ontario, his family was Austrian-Jewish, and his father was an upholsterer. After he finished high school, he briefly attended the University of Western Ontario. Safer began his journalism career as a reporter for various newspapers in Canada (Woodstock Sentinel-Review, London Free Press, and Toronto Telegram) and England (Reuters and Oxford Mail). Later, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a correspondent and producer. In 1964 Safer joined CBS News as a London-based correspondent. In 1965 he opened the CBS News bureau in Saigon. That year he followed a group of United States Marines to the village of Cam Ne, for what was described as a “search and destroy” mission. When the Marines arrived, they gave orders in English to the inhabitants to evacuate the village. When the homes were cleared, the Marines burned their thatched roofs with flamethrowers and Zippo lighters. Safer’s report on this event was broadcast on CBS News on August 5th, 1965, and was among the first reports to paint a bleak picture of the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Baines Johnson reacted to this report angrily, calling CBS’s president and accusing Safer and his colleagues of having “shat on the American flag.” Certain that Safer was a communist, Johnson also ordered a security check; upon being told that Safer “wasn’t a communist, just a Canadian”, he responded: “Well, I knew he wasn’t an American.” In 1967 Safer was named the London bureau chief, a post he held for three years. Safer was also a CBS reporter during the Nigerian Civil War. In 1970 he left London to replace Harry Reasoner on 60 Minutes, after Reasoner left to anchor the ABC Evening News (although Reasoner would return to 60 Minutes in 1978, alongside Safer). In 1989 Safer returned to Vietnam and interviewed known and less-well-known Vietnamese people, most of them veterans of the war. These included General Vo Nguyen Giap, Duong Quynh Hoa, Pham Xuan An, Major Nguyen Be, and others. He also visited the Caravelle Hotel, the Marble Mountains (Vietnam) air field, China Beach, Huế, Quảng Trị City, a Cham museum, an old wrecking yard full of American artifacts, and several other locations. His trip was the basis of a 60 Minutes show in 1989, which Safer said got a reaction of annoyance from some veterans, and a positive reaction from others. The trip was the basis of his bestselling book Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam (1990); the book also contained reflections on Bill Moyers (regarding the Cam Ne affair), Barry Goldwater, and General William Westmoreland. During his career he was a twelve-time Emmy Award winner, a three-time Overseas Press Award winner and a three-time George Foster Peabody Award winner, and was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995. Safer set the record for 60 Minutes‘ longest-serving correspondent, announcing his retirement on May 11th, 2016 after forty-six years. On May 18th, CBS aired a special 60 Minutes episode covering Safer’s 61-year journalism career (died 2016): “The helicopter is a fine way to travel, but it induces a view of the world that only God and CEOs share on a regular basis.”

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