1536 – Anne Boleyn is beheaded

The second of Henry VIII of England’s six wives, Anne Boleyn is known as ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’ because that’s roughly how long she lasted as Henry’s queen. Henry was desperate for a son and heir, and married Anne hoping she would deliver them. But Anne’s first child was a daughter (future queen Elizabeth I of England), and her three successive pregnancies, although sons, resulted in one miscarriage, one stillbirth and one boy who died within minutes of his birth.

Never a patient man, Henry decided to rid himself of another wife (he had already gotten his first marriage annulled). Anne was not so lucky – her marriage too was annulled, but not before she was tried and convicted of adultery, incest and treason (adultery on the part of a queen was considered treason under law). She was sentenced to death, and beheaded in London. Upon her accession to the throne, Elizabeth took steps to restore her mother’s reputation.

Referenced in:

Talula — Tori Amos
With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm — Stanley Holloway

1995 – “Die Hard With A Vengeance” is released

The third film in Bruce Willis’ highly successful Die Hard franchise, this was the only one to actually be set in New York – which is kinda weird when you consider that John McClane is a member of the NYPD. It also famously re-united Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, even featuring a couple of call backs to their previous film together (in which they never actually shared the screen), Pulp Fiction.

Ultimately, it was the least successful film in the franchise, and it would be over a decade until the fourth (and so far, final) installment was made.

Referenced in:

Live Free Or Die Hard — Guys Nite

1568 – Mary Queen of Scots is imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth of England

Mary, Queen of Scots (or Marie Stuart, as she is known in France), was the daughter and heir of James V of Scotland. She was also a claimant to the throne of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England. The two women were frequently at odds, both politically and in religious matters – Mary was a Catholic, ELizabeth a Protestant, and the situation between the two faiths in the British Isles at that time was as divisise and violent as it remains in Northern Island.

In 1567, the Scottish nobility turned on Mary, and she was forced to abdicate in favour of her son, James (who was only a year old at the time, but became James VI just the same). She was imprisoned in Scotland, but in early May she escaped and raised a small army. Meeting with defeat in this revolt, she fled to England, seeking the aid of her cousin. Unfortunately, Mary had misjudged her cousin’s mood, and Elizabeth quickly had her thrown into prison, and eventually executed.

Later, Elizabeth herself died without issue, and James IV of Scotland became James I of England, unifying the two kingdoms.

Referenced in:

To France – Mike Oldfield