Anne Boleyn’s Last Journey to the Tower - 2018

Thames Alive were asked by Historic Royal Palaces to assist with the making of a film of the last journey of Queen Anne Boleyn from Greenwich to HM Tower of London. The film was to be shown at the Tower during the Anne Boleyn summer celebrations of 2018 when playlets were performed in the grounds on a daily basis.

The re-enactment was to be of actors in period costume in a traditional style rowing boat but with the twist of the modern-day river traffic going on around them as usual during the journey up river.

Following much discussion over a period of months the decision was made to utilise one of the newer style of traditional boats, a skerry, to carry Anne Boleyn and her Yeoman guard.

The eight oared boat was to be rowed by six oarsman with a coxswain allowing space for Anne and her escort. The crew were from Richmond Bridge Boat Club and Dittons Skiff & Punting Club and the skerry was ‘Merlin’ owned by The Great River Race.

After an interesting rehearsal (the skerry was swamped by the combined wash from two Clippers!) the filming took place on a beautiful sunny spring day.

Anne Boleyn originally thought this was to be a normal trip upstream to the City but as she left Greenwich Palace she was approached by Yeoman guards who arrested her on the instruction of Henry VIII. They then escorted her to the boat with one boarding with her for the journey to the Tower of London.

As can be seen during the filming the Thames was busy with all manner of craft; a cruise ship moored at Greenwich, Clippers and commercial passenger boats, a Thames sailing barge on its way down stream, high speed ribs and finally a French frigate moored below Tower Bridge – a typical day on the modern-day River Thames!

On arrival Anne Boleyn was assisted ashore stepping on to the stool provided and then with grace she ascended the steps to be met by the retinue from the Tower, she was escorted in and taken to her cell.

Thames Alive were honoured to be involved in this modern day re enactment of this historic occasion.

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