The fall of Anne Boleyn There is a lot of disagreement among historians about what really happened to cause the fall of Anne Boleyn. We know what the accusations were, but we don’t know how much truth – if any – there is in the allegations. On the one hand, historians like Eric Ives believe that Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, had quarrelled with Anne and took his revenge by falsely accusing her of committing adultery with a number of men, including her own brother. Most of the men accused of sleeping with Anne were put to death, enabling Cromwell to get rid of a number of potential enemies. Others, like George Bernard, argue that Anne may in fact have been guilty of at least some of the charges. One of the arguments put forward in support of this theory is that she was desperate to give Henry the son he wanted (she had had a daughter, Elizabeth, but her second child, a boy, was stillborn), and may have slept with other men in an attempt to become pregnant. It is true that Henry suffered periods of erectile dysfunction (that is, sexual impotence), but opponents of this theory argue that it would have been very suspicious if Anne became pregnant during one of those periods. It was also alleged that Anne and her lovers were plotting to kill the king, thus making them guilty of treason as well as adultery and (in the case of her brother) incest. However much historians disagree about the truth behind the charges, there is general agreement that the trial itself was a travesty. A number of figures of Henry’s court– Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris, Frances Weston, William Brereton, Thomas Wyatt, Richard Page and George Boleyn, Anne’s brother – were arrested. Some were tortured into making confessions and all but Thomas Wyatt (a poet) and Richard Page were found guilty. The others were beheaded on May 17, 1536. Two days later, Anne was herself beheaded. She did not protest her innocence in her dying speech, but neither did she admit her guilt. It is thought that she hoped to protect her surviving family and daughter from further persecution by peacefully accepting her fate.