Virgin bride, murderous groom…another marriage for Henry VIII

30th May 1536 - Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour

480 years ago today Henry VIII, that well known devoted husband, married his third wife, the lovely, Jane Seymour. Jane was everything her predecessor was not. Blonde, meek and crucially in the end, soon to be carrying a boy. It has often been said that if Elizabeth I had been born male, her mother, the ill-fated Anne Bolyen, may not have ended her life on the scaffold just 11 days before Jane’s wedding. I believe the reverse may have been true of Jane for Henry VIII was heartily fond of all his wives, until they failed to provide an heir. If little Prince Edward had been born a Princess, the same revoking of favour may have passed over onto Jane Seymour. 

800px-Hans Holbein the Younger - Jane Seymour, Queen of England - Google Art Project

A portrait of Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein the Younger
public domain via wikimedia commons

Most women who die of child birth related illness are grievously pitied but with regards to Jane Seymour perhaps she was lucky, for she never got to see her beloved husband's face turn foul as he bored of her, she never saw her son die, tragically young, and she was never forced to watch as little by little the power and trappings of the Queen of England were removed from her as friends and family were marched, one by one, to the tower. This awful fate, which befell most of Henry’s queens, Jane was spared of. 

Henry VIII's wives, circle of R.Burchett (1854–1860, Parliamentary Art Collection)

Six wives of Henry VIII by Richard Burchett
(L-R) - Katherine of Aragon, Anne Bolyen, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, Katherine Parr

Instead, in her death, Jane became the only one of Henry’s wives to receive a proper Queen’s funeral. She was revered and beloved over all, even Henry’s future Queens and it was she that Henry desired to be buried next to. Not much comfort to her perhaps but certainly of great use to her family. Her brother’s, Thomas and Edward, did not linger to press their advantage and ensured themselves close to the crown throughout the rest of Henry’s life and then on into the reign of Jane’s son, Edward VI with Edward Seymour serving as Lord Protector. 

800px-Family of Henry VIII c 1545

Jane Seymour seen seated to the right of Henry VIII, long after her death, as Henry's queen and mother of his dynasty. I recently used this portrait in a blog about Jane’s stepdaughter, Princess Mary
(L-R) Princess Mary, Prince Edward, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Princess Elizabeth


© Isla Robertson 2017