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

1934 – Bonnie and Clyde’s criminal career ends in a hail of gunfire

After a killing, shooting and robbing spree that had lasted for more than two years by that time, Bonnie parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed not far from their hideout in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, by a posse of six police officers. Only two of the police were Louisiana officers, the remaining four were Texas officers who been tracking the couple for some time. Two nights before the event, they had learned of the couple’s likely whereabouts while in nearby Shreveport, and had set up the ambush on the 22nd, lying in wait.

In the space of less than fifteen minutes, the variously armed sextet of police fired over 130 rounds into the car. Parker and Barrow were each hit at least 25 times, and died before firing halted. There was consierable controversy about this at the time, not least since the couple were folk heroes of a sort. In particular, there were no warrants in Bonnie’s name for any violent crime (although Clyde was a suspect in ten murders, in addition to numerous other crimes).

Referenced in:

B&C – Utada Hikaru
Bonnie & Clyde – Big Japan
’97 Bonnie and Clyde – Eminem
’97 Bonnie and Clyde – Tori Amos
Bonnie and Clyde – Belinda Carlisle
Bonnie and Clyde – Martina Sorbara
Bonnie Und Clyde – Die Toten Hosen
Demolition Lovers – My Chemical Romance
Bonnie Parker’s 115th Dream – Johnny Boy
Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – Merle Haggard
Bonnie and Clyde – Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde – Georgie Fame and His Blue Flames