July 7, 1456: an ecclesiastic court of appeal acquits Joan of Arc of all and any ‘crimes’.
Only hitch: she’d been burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. Some French folks maintain that Jeanne d’Arc was the last thing the English cooked properly.
George Bernard Shaw, who wrote Saint Joan (she was canonised in 1920), called her “the most notable Warrior Saint in the Christian calendar, and the queerest fish among the eccentric worthies of the Middle Ages.”
In GBS’s play, the final scene has King Charles VII of France encounter Joan in a dream, circa her successful appeal. He tells her: “The sentence on you is broken, annihilated, annulled, null, non-existent, without value or effect.” To which Joan says: “I was burned, all the same. Can they unburn me?”
“Oh! never did thine eye
Through the green haunts of happy infancy
Wander again, Joanne! Too much of fame
Had shed its radiance on thy peasant name;
And bought alone by gifts beyond all price –
The trusting heart’s repose, the paradise
Of home, with all its loves – doth fate allow
The crown of glory unto woman’s brow.”[Felecia Hemans, Joan of Arc in Rheims]