After Henry took his abrupt leave from the Mayday jousting tournament the day before, Anne had settled in for the night at Greenwich while her husband went to Whitehall - furious as a result of Mark Smeaton's confession of adultery with the Queen, and the subsequent questioning and arrest of Sir Henry Norris, one of the King's closest companions. Both Smeaton and Norris had already been taken to the Tower, which Anne would have been unaware of, and the King made himself scarce, so as not to allow Anne to beg for his mercy and forgiveness once she was made known of the charges against her. We can assume now that Henry knew very well what was going to happen to her, and he ordered her arrest for May 2, 1536.
Anne was enjoying a tennis match at Greenwich Palace, completely unaware of the goings-on until a messenger came to her to inform her that she was to appear in front of the Privy Council at the King's pleasure. Based on the events that had led up to this, as well as the sudden departure of the King from the joust, Anne must have been concerned about the meaning behind her meeting with the Council, but she went with them and stood before her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, as well as Sir William Fitzwilliam and Sir William Paulet. She was informed that she was to be charged with adultery against the King with at least three different men, and that Smeaton had already confessed. Although Anne attempted to speak on her own behalf and deny the accusations, her words had no effect and her arrest was ordered. She was taken to her apartments to wait until the tide was right on the River Thames, and at two o'clock in the afternoon she was escorted by barge to the Tower of London. She had been given no opportunity to pack her clothes and belongings, and was sent with only a few of her maids to attend her.
When I read The Lady in the Tower by Alison Weir, all about Anne's downfall and execution, I was surprised to read this, and Weir asks the question - Why would Anne say that her lodgings were too good for her, if she was innocent of the charges against her? I admit it is peculiar that she said such a thing, but I do not in any way believe it was a confession of guilt. I think she was just so shocked at everything that was happening to her, and this was one of many hysterical outbursts she would have during her time in the Tower - many of which would start as tears and end in laughter, as Kingston reported.
Also on this day, and before Anne's arrest, her brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford was arrested at Whitehall Palace under suspicion of having carnal knowledge of his sister the Queen. He had been brought to the Tower roughly three hours before Anne, after some of Anne's maids had reported seeing George hugging and kissing Anne in her apartments. More likely than not, (in fact completely likely, in my opinion), the "hugging and kissing" was brotherly affection and nothing else. It is well-known that during Anne's Queenship, she and her brother were extremely close, and the best of friends. He frequently visited her rooms to talk with her, and certainly during the most troubling times of her marriage she would ask to see him. I do not believe this can be attributed to anything other than sibling love, and if anyone has seen The Other Boleyn Girl, I ask that you completely disregard the scene where Anne and George contemplate an incestuous relationship in order to get her with child and produce a son for the King. There is absolutely NO record of anything like this happening, and it was Philippa Gregory's creativity when writing the story that was the cause of this scene.
Anne would live for only seventeen more days, and she would never see her husband the King again.
Here is a video clip from "The Tudors" depicting Anne's arrest. Although slightly inaccurate, I think it is a good portrayal of this incredible scary and sad time in Anne's life.