Camelot International > Tower of London
The Ghost of Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn, the most celebrated of the wives of Henry VIII was beheaded on Tower Green in 1536. Her ghost has frequently been seen both on the Green and more spectacularly in the Chapel Royal situated in the White Tower. It was in the Chapel that a Captain of the Guard saw a light burning in the locked Chapel late at night. Finding a ladder, he was able to look down on the strange scene being enacted within. A nineteenth century account described it thus:
Slowly down the aisle moved a stately procession of Knights and Ladies, attired in ancient costumes; and in front walked an elegant female whose face was averted from him, but whose figure greatly resembled the one he had seen in reputed portraits of Anne Boleyn. After having repeatedly paced the chapel, the entire procession together with the light disappeared. (excerpt from Ghostly Visitors by "Spectre Stricken", London 1882.)
Another account of this same story tells of how the procession always occurs on the anniversary of the terrible execution of Margaret Pole the Countess of Salisbury, in 1541. This brave old lady (she was over seventy when she was killed) suffered because of her son's (Cardinal Pole) vilification of the King Henry VIII's religious doctrines, something the Cardinal did from the safety of France. So when Henry realised that the Cardinal was out of his reach his mother was brought to the block instead as an act of vengeance. Instead of submitting weekly to the axeman however she refused to lie down and was pursued by the axeman around the scaffold. Swinging wildly he inflicted the most hideous wounds on her till at last she died.
Another sighting of Anne Boleyn is alledged in 1864 by a sentry standing guard at the Queen's house. The guard saw and challenged a white shape that appeared suddenly veiled in mist. When the challenge went unanswered the sentry put his bayonet into the figure but he was overcome with shock when it went straight through the figure without meeting any resistance. This story was corroborated by two onlookers who saw the whole event from a window of the Bloody Tower. It is not known what made the sentry and the onlookers believe that this was the ghost of Anne Boleyn but we can only accept that after 100 years of tradition it must be so.