record of Anne's madly indiscreet chattering after her committal to prison on 2 May, there might have been scant evidence to incriminate the Cheshire grandee, William Brereton, esquire, his ageing patron, Sir Henry Norris (the king's closest friend), the profligate Sir Francis Weston and the queen's brother, George, Lord Rochford. Only the young musician, Mark Smeaton, admitted to having had a criminal connection with Anne; Norris spurned an offer, made to him by the king himself, that his life would be spared if he confessed that he had committed adultery with the queen. Henry VIII was an inadequate lover and Anne's fatal disclosure that her husband had become impotent with her convinced the king of her guilt; his wounded vanity demanded her destruction. In this readable and well-illustrated biography of Anne Boleyn, E. W. Ives has no doubts concerning the queen's innocence of all the charges on which she was convicted and he unconvincingly attributes her sudden and unexpected overthrow to a palace coup masterminded by Thomas Cromwell, acting in the national interest. After Anne's execution, Cromwell boasted to Charles V's envoy, Eustace Chapuys, that he had been responsible for organising her removal; for obvious reasons he was bound to say that and Dr. Ives (pp. 355-57) readily believes him. When Chapuys, in obedience to the emperor's wishes, at last recognised Anne as queen of England on Easter Tuesday (18 April), her position seemed secure beyond challenge and Cromwell had no motive to conspire against her or plot her ruin. Once Catherine of Aragon's death had taken place on 8 January 1536, the king's Boleyn marriage was no longer an obstacle to an improvement in Anglo-Imperial relations; Charles V preferred Henry VIII to remain with Anne, because she could not give him the male heir that he needed (and Mary Tudor's prospects of inheriting her father's kingdom appealed to the dynastic ambitions of the Habsburgs). Cromwell cannot have wished to replace Anne Boleyn (for so long his friend and ally) by Jane Seymour (who was being sponsored at court by Cromwell's opponents). Queen Anne's catastrophe was brought about, not by Cromwell's machinations, but as a fortuitous consequence of a quarrel within the Boleyn faction at Henry VIII's court; the queen's love of gossip and tale-bearing, and her reckless conversations with courtiers precipitated her fall. Historians have attached little importance to a valuable contemporary source that soon chronicled these incredible events, the French metrical poem, written before 2 June 1536, by Lancelot de Carles (afterwards bishop of Riez), who was at that time secretary to the French ambassador in London, three of the queen's women attendants accused her of promiscuity and the chief witness against Anne was her friend, Elizabeth Browne (d. 1565), a noblewoman with royal ancestry, whose husband, Henry Somerset (d. 1549), earl of Worcester, was the most powerful magnate in south Wales. The countess of Worcester's brother, Sir Anthony Browne (d. 1548), wrongly described by Dr. Ives (pp. 381-2) as her father, was a prominent member of the royal household and his role in this crisis has been overlooked. When Elizabeth Browne was rebuked by her brother for causing scandal by her behaviour, she replied that the queen was worse than she was; her revelations led to a discreet inquiry, conducted by several of the king's councillors, and that investigation was soon followed by the arrest of the doomed Anne and her gallants. Two of the