(For the critics of historically inaccurate tv)
Re-watching The Tudors in preparation for the imminent final season, I’m increasingly impressed by Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn– especially at the end of season 2, when she alternates rapidly between very queenly dignity and borderline madness. One of the best examples of this is a scene in 2.10, when the famous Executioner of Calais is delayed and Anne’s beheading is postponed:
I always thought the writing there was amazing–a very good, quite literal example of “gallows humor.” And then, playing the Wikipedia Game, I come across poor Queen Anne’s page, and find this excerpt from Anthony Kingston’s (the Tower Constable) diary:
This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, ‘Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain.’ I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, ‘I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck,’ and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily.
I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o’clock.
Which only goes to show– some history’s so good that even show biz can’t improve on it.