There are certain dates that seem cursed, somehow.
One date is September 11, not just in the US, as many who read this might think.
On this date the coup d’ etat in Chile took place in 1973, the Swedish Formula 1 driver Ronnie Peterson (one of the most famous sportsman of his generation) died after a crash at the Monza track in 1977. The attack on the US took place 2001 and the Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh died in 2003 after having been attacked by an assailant armed with a knife the previous day.
But this post obviously won´t be about September 11. It will be about May 19, a date which at least in a 16th century perspective may seem just as haunted.
We all know that on this day, in 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed on the Tower green after having been convicted of treason, incest and witchcraft. I have only recently written about the events leading up to her kneeling in a scaffold as a French executioner approached her from behind, so I won´t go in to that here. One can only wonder what she was thinking those last minutes in life? Did the she hear the slight whining sound as the blade cut through the air before cutting in to her neck, which was “but little”? Could she in her wildest nightmares have imagined that 18 years later, her only child, Elizabeth would find herself imprisoned in the Tower on the order of her own sister Mary? But Elizabeth survived.
On the very same day her mother had died, Elizabeth was released from the Tower 18 years later, in 1554. I find it next to impossible to think that Elizabeth was not very conscious of the significance of the date. Even if her mother maybe no longer was talked about other than in a hushed voice, Elizabeth must have known on which day her mother died, and her thoughts most likely drifted to the memory, even if vague by now, of her mother who had entered this place and never left again. Did she think the same fate was awaiting her? Or would it have been incomprehensible to her to think that her own sister, who had loved her, and cared for her when she was a child without a mother, would really mean to cause her harm? But Elizabeth survived and she left the Tower.
But was she conscious of the date in 1568? Because on this very day Elizabeth, now a Queen herself, had another queen arrested; Mary, Queen of Scots. And Mary, as we know, would meet the same fate as Anne Boleyn. Was Elizabeth aware of the significance of the date? She was allegedly of the habit of delegating the blame when she had to make decisions she found uncomfortable, but on this particular date, it most likely wasn´t clear to her what decision she one day, due to Mary´s unceasing plotting would force her to make.