Don’t Lose Your Head Over These Trivia Questions

On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn, wife of England's King Henry VIII, was beheaded after being convicted of adultery. Don’t lose your head over these trivia questions about the alternative to divorce for royals.

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Why Was Anne Boleyn Executed? # Anne Boleyn was the first of Henry VIII's wives to go to the executioner. The claim that she had an affair with her brother was later proved false. Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife and was executed for adultery, conspiracy, incest and witchcraft. Henry had divorced his first wife, which got him excommunicated from the Catholic Church. After tiring of Anne, he turned his attention to Jane Seymour, soon-to-be wife number three. Anne was charged with having an incestuous affair with her brother, George Boleyn, who was Lord Rochford.

She was taken to the Tower of London and imprisoned in the royal apartments. She was found guilty at trial, and her marriage to Henry was annulled. A swordsman was brought from France to perform the execution. She was beheaded on May 19, 1536, after serving as Queen of England for about three years.

Which Roman Empress Was Murdered by Her Husband? # Hans Holbein the Younger's portrait of Henry VIII, painted around 1540. King Henry was married six times. His first marriage endured almost 24 years. Claudia Octavia, wife and empress consort to Roman Emperor Nero, was murdered by him following their divorce. She had an impressive Roman lineage, being the daughter of Emperor Claudius, cousin to Caligula and great-niece of Tiberius. Nero, whose real name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, was the first cousin of her mother. Nero disliked her enough that he tried to strangle her on several occasions. He finally divorced her and banished her on a fake charge of adultery.

The people of Rome protested so much, Nero agreed to remarry her. Instead, he ordered her death. She was tied up and her veins opened as was customary in a Roman suicide. Then she was suffocated in a bath of hot, steamy water. Afterward, her head was removed and sent to Nero’s other wife, Poppaea.

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What Other Wife Did Henry VIII Have Beheaded? Catherine Howard was another of Henry VIII’s wives who was executed. At age 49, King Henry became besotted with the 15-year-old Howard, following his marriage annulment from Anne of Cleves. However, while a vivacious and pretty young girl, she had grown up in poverty and was unfamiliar with court life. Catherine Howard became Henry VIII’s fifth wife. 

However, after about 18 months, the Archbishop of Canterbury approached the king with the news that Howard was having affairs behind his back. It was confirmed after an investigation, and Howard admitted it was true. A vote by the British Parliament, supported by the king, condemned her to death early in 1542. She was beheaded on February 13, at age 17, after having practiced laying her head on the executioner’s block so that she would die with dignity.

What Roman Empress Ended Up in Hot Water? Flavia Maxima Fausta, born about 289 A.D. and daughter of the Emperor of Rome, Maximianus, was married to the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Reportedly, Flavia approached Constantine’s son Crispus, wanting to have an affair. She was rebuffed. In retribution, she told Constantine that the son had tried to attack her, so the Emperor had him executed, supposedly at her suggestion. Finally recognizing that his wife had made false allegations against his son, he had her executed by being placed in a bath of steaming water in about 326 A.D.