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Anne Boleyn: Arrest, Trial, Execution

About the Program

An accounting of the final days of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, from her arrest and trial to the day of her execution. A thorough hour-by-hour examination of the evidence and events, led by historian Tracy Borman, reveal what actually happened.

When to watch:

Thursday, June 23 at 10pm
Thursday, June 30 at 10pm
Thursday, July 7 at 10pm

Downton Abbey on Rhode Island PBS

Part One: Arrests
Explore Anne Boleyn’s final days of freedom, her relationships with the men she was accused of committing adultery with (including her brother), her last letter to her husband (or elaborate forgery), the confession of the musician Mark Smeaton that led to her arrest, and how her one time ally, Thomas Cromwell, led the case against her.

Part Two: Charges
Examine in detail the charges brought against Anne Boleyn: adultery, incest and conspiracy to murder the King. Biases in the jury, the structure of the Tudor legal system, and the role of the Seymour family were key factors that lead to Anne’s downfall.

Part Three: Verdicts
The final verdict is reached as Anne Boleyn is tried before a jury of her peers in the King’s Hall of the Tower of London — a public spectacle that attracted over 2,000 attendees. Was the trial an orchestrated plot or were the accusations legitimate? And why didn’t the men condemned with her support her spirited defense? The episode also looks at new evidence that indicates Anne’s execution was a foregone conclusion.

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