Jane Seymour: Wikis


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Jane Seymour
Queen Consort of England
Tenure 30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537
Proclamation 4 June 1536
Spouse Henry VIII of England
Edward VI of England
Father John Seymour
Mother Margery Wentworth
Born 1508/1509
Died 24 October 1537 (age 28-29)
Hampton Court Palace
Religion Catholic

Jane Seymour (1508 – 24 October 1537) was Queen Consort of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as Queen Consort following the latter's execution in 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who briefly reigned as Edward VI.


Early life

Jane Seymour was the daughter of Sir John Seymour of Wiltshire and Margery Wentworth. Through her maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III of England and the Percy family. Because of this, she and King Henry VIII were fifth cousins three times removed.[citation needed] She was a second cousin to her predecessor Anne Boleyn, sharing a great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cheney.[1] Her exact birth date is debated; usually given as 1509 but it has been noted that at her funeral, 29 women walked in succession.[2] Since it was customary for the attendant company to mark every year of the deceased's life in numbers, this implies she was born in 1507-8.

She was not educated as highly as King Henry's previous wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She could read and write a little but was much better at needlework and household management, which were considered much more necessary for women. Jane's needlework was reported to be beautiful and elaborate; some of her work survived up to 1652, where it is recorded to have been given to the Seymour family. After her death, it was noted that Henry was an "enthusiastic embroiderer".[3]

She became a maid-of-honour in 1532 to Queen Catherine and went on to serve Queen Anne Boleyn. The first report of Henry VIII's interest in Jane Seymour was in February 1536. Jane Seymour was noted to be pale and blonde, the opposite of Anne Boleyn's dark hair and olive skin.


King Henry VIII was betrothed to Jane on the 20 May 1536, the day after Anne Boleyn's execution, and married her ten days later. She was publicly proclaimed as Queen Consort on 4 June. She was never crowned, due to a plague in London where the coronation was to take place. Henry was also reluctant to crown Jane before she had fulfilled her duty as a Queen Consort by bearing him a son and a male heir.[citation needed]

The Six Wives of
Henry VIII
Catherine aragon.jpg Catherine of Aragon
Anne boleyn.jpg Anne Boleyn
Hans Holbein d. J. 032b.jpg Jane Seymour
AnneCleves.jpg Anne of Cleves
HowardCatherine02.jpeg Catherine Howard
Catherine Parr from NPG cropped.jpg Catherine Parr
Jane Seymour's arms as queen consort[4]

As Queen Consort, Seymour was said to be strict and formal. She was close to her female relations, Anne Stanhope (her brother's wife) and her sister, Elizabeth. Jane was also close to the Lady Lisle and the Lady Beaucamp. Jane considered Lisle's daughters as ladies-in-waiting and she left many of her possessions to Beaucamp. Jane would form a very close relationship with Mary Tudor. The glittering social life and extravagance of the Queen's Household, which had reached its peak during the time of Anne Boleyn, was replaced by a strict enforcement of decorum. For example, the dress requirements for ladies of the court were detailed down to the number of pearls that were to be sewn onto each lady's skirt. The French fashions introduced by Anne Boleyn were banned. Politically, Seymour appears to have been conservative. Her only reported involvement in national affairs, in 1536, was when she asked for pardons for participants in the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion. Henry is said to have rejected this, reminding her of the fate her predecessor met with when she "meddled in his affairs".[5]

Jane was of the Roman Catholic faith, known as the "old faith". It is believed, because of this and her loyalty to her former mistress, Catherine of Aragon, Jane put forth much effort to restore Henry's first child, Mary Tudor, to court and heir to the throne behind any children that Jane would have with Henry. Jane brought up the issue of Mary's restoration both before and after she became Queen. While Jane was unable to restore Mary to the line of succession, Jane was able to reconcile Henry with his daughter Mary. Eustace Chapuys wrote to Charles V of Jane's compassion and efforts on behalf of Mary's return to favour. A letter from Mary to Jane shows that Mary was grateful to Jane. While it was Jane who first pushed for the restoration, Mary and Elizabeth were not reinstated in the succession until Henry's sixth wife, Catherine Parr, convinced him to do so. [6]

In early 1537, Jane became pregnant. During her pregnancy, she developed a craving for quail, which Henry ordered for her from Calais and Flanders. She went into confinement in September 1537 and in October she gave birth to the coveted male heir, the future King Edward VI of England on 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace.


Custom dictated that the Queen did not participate in her children's christening. (New mothers needed bedrest and children had to be christened quickly, in case they died, so they did not end up in Limbo.) Consequently, Prince Edward was christened without his mother on 15 October 1537. Both of the King's daughters, Mary (daughter of Catherine of Aragon) and Elizabeth (daughter of Anne Boleyn) were present and carried the infant's train during the ceremony.[7] After the christening, it had become clear that Jane Seymour was seriously ill.

Jane Seymour's labour had been difficult, lasting two days and three nights, most likely because the baby was not well positioned[8]. Rumours circulated that she died following an emergency Caesarean section, after Henry ordered the baby to be cut from her to prevent a stillbirth but caesarean births on live mothers were not possible at the time. According to Edward's biographer, Jennifer Loach, Jane Seymour's death may have been due to an infection from a retained placenta. According to Weir, death could have also been caused by puerperal fever due to a bacterial infection contracted during the birth or a tear in her perineum which became infected.

Jane Seymour died on 24 October 1537 at Hampton Court.


Jane Seymour was buried in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after a funeral in which her stepdaughter, Lady Mary (later Queen Mary I), acted as chief mourner. Jane Seymour was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a Queen's funeral.

The following inscription was above her grave for a time:

Here lieth a Phoenix, by whose death
Another Phoenix life gave breath:
It is to be lamented much
The world at once ne'er knew two such.

After her death, Henry wore black for the next three months and did not remarry for three years, although marriage negotiations were tentatively started soon after her death. She was Henry's favourite wife because, historians have speculated, she gave birth to a male heir. When he died in 1547, Henry was buried beside her.


Two of Jane's brothers, Thomas and Edward, used her memory to improve their own fortunes.[citation needed] Thomas was rumoured to have been pursuing Princess Elizabeth, but married Catherine Parr instead after King Henry died. In the reign of the young King Edward VI, Edward Seymour set himself up as protector and de facto ruler of the Kingdom. Both brothers eventually fell from power, and were executed.

In film

Jane Seymour first portrayed in film in the 1920 German film Anne Boleyn by Aud Edege Nissen.

In books

  • Jane appears in a background role in The Dark Rose, Volume 2 of The Morland Dynasty, a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, where, seen through the eyes of Anne Boleyn, she is given a less than sympathetic portrayal.

In song

  • The English ballad "The Death of Queen Jane" (Child #170) is about the death of Jane Seymour following the birth of Prince Edward. The story as related in the ballad is historically inaccurate, but apparently reflects the popular view at the time of the events surrounding her death. The historical fact is that Prince Edward was born naturally, and that his mother succumbed to infection and died 12 days later.

Most versions of the song end with the contrast between the joy of the birth of the Prince and the grief of the death of the Queen.

From version 170A:

The baby was christened with joy and much mirth,
Whilst poor Queen Jane's body lay cold under earth:
There was ringing and singing and mourning all day,
The Princess Elizabeth went weeping away
  • The song Lady Jane by The Rolling Stones is rumoured to be about Jane Seymour and her relationship with Henry VIII.
  • The song Jane Seymour featured on Rick Wakeman's album The Six Wives of Henry VIII is devoted to the homonymous queen.


Books solely on Jane Seymour are scarce, but two biographies of the queen have recently been published. The first, a scholarly biography, is by Pamela Gross, while the second by Elizabeth Norton is more accessible to the average reader. . A third book, William Seymour's Ordeal by Ambition, is in part a biography of Jane.

Jane was widely praised as "the fairest, the most discreet, and the most meritous of all Henry VIII's wives" in the centuries after her passing away. One historian, however, took serious umbrage to this view in the 19th century. Victorian author Agnes Strickland, who wrote multi-volume anthologies of French, Scottish, and English royal women, said that the story of Anne Boleyn's last agonised hours and Henry VIII's swift remarriage to Jane Seymour "is repulsive enough, but it becomes tenfold more abhorrent when the woman who caused the whole tragedy is loaded with panegyric." Hester W. Chapman and Eric Ives resurrected Strickland's view of Jane Seymour, and believe she played a crucial and conscious role in the cold-blooded plot to bring Anne Boleyn to the executioner's block. Joanna Denny, Marie Louise Bruce and Carolly Erickson have also refrained from giving overly sympathetic accounts of Jane's life and career. It should be noted that Ives, Bruce, and Denny are biographers of Anne Boleyn.

On the other hand, historical writers like Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser paint a favourable portrait of a woman of discretion and good sense - "a strong-minded matriarch in the making," says Weir. David Starkey and Karen Lindsey are relatively dismissive of Jane's importance in comparison to that of Henry's other major queens (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr), though they refrain from claiming that she was the cause of the unfair trial. They further state that it was unlikely Jane could accomplish as much as her predecessors or her successors because her reign had been relatively short and spent mainly pregnant or unwell. Another consideration is that in this period of history, most queen consorts had little say in decision making and as such Henry may logically be seen as the decision maker in Anne Boleyn's downfall. While it is believed that the Seymour brothers, Edward and Thomas, had coached Jane on how to gain the king's favor, historians consider it unlikely that Henry allowed himself to be led.



  1. ^ Ancestors of Jane Seymour(see bottom of page)
  2. ^ Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
  3. ^ "Henry VIII - the Embroiderer King". Royal School of Needlework. http://www.royal-needlework.co.uk/Henry_VIII_-_the_Embroiderer_King_.html. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  4. ^ Boutell, Charles (1863), A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular, London: Winsor & Newton, pp. 278 
  5. ^ The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  6. ^ Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.72. Penguin Books, New York. ISBN 0739420259.
  7. ^ All Color Book of Henry VIII, by John Walder, Octopus Books Limited ©1973 pp.47
  8. ^ http://tudorstuff.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/the-death-of-jane-seymour-a-midwifes-view/
  9. ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10151.htm#i101505, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  10. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p333.htm#i3330, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  11. ^ Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p334.htm#i3331, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  12. ^ a b c d e Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10151.htm#i101506, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  13. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p334.htm#i3338, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  14. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p334.htm#i3339, retrieved 2007-10-27 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p334.htm#i3337, retrieved 2007-10-27 


External links

English royalty
Title last held by
Anne Boleyn
Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland

30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537
Title next held by
Anne of Cleves

Simple English

Jane Seymour
File:Hans Holbein d. J.
Queen Consort of England
Tenure 30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537
Proclamation 4 June 1536
Spouse Henry VIII of England
Edward VI of England
Father John Seymour(1474-1536)
Mother Margery Wentworth
Born 1508/1509
Died 24 October 1537 (age 28-29)
Hampton Court Palace
Signature File:Jane Seynour
Religion Catholic

Jane Seymour (1508 – 24 October 1537) was the third wife of King Henry VIII of England and queen consort from 1536 until 1537. She was the mother of Edward VI of England, and died a natural death less than two weeks after his birth.


Jane Seymour was the child of John Seymour and Margaret Wentworth. She was not educated as much as King Henry's wives before her, for example, Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn. She could read and write a little but was much better at needlework and managing the house. These were considered much more necessary for women. Jane's needlework was said to be beautiful and complex. Some of her work was kept till 1652, where it is recorded to have been given to the Seymour family. After her death, it was noted that Henry was an "enthusiastic embroiderer".[1]

She was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. When Henry divorced his first wife and married Anne Boleyn, Jane continued to be a lady-in-waiting. Henry VIII noticed Jane at court and had already fallen in love with her by the time Anne Boleyn was executed. He became engaged to Jane on the day after the execution, and they were married ten days later, on May 30 1536. When Jane became queen, she ran the royal court in a strict and formal way, and her only close friends were Anne Stanhope and Elizabeth Seymour.

In early 1537, Jane became pregnant and developed a craving for quail. In October of 1537, she gave birth to the son that Henry VIII wanted so much. They named him Edward and he was later to be King Edward VI of England. Soon, Jane became very ill with fever, and she died on October 24, 1537. Jane never had a coronation, and was married to Henry for only a year and a half before she died (May 30th 1536-October 24th 1537). Henry had loved Jane the most of all his wives, because she was the one who gave him a son. Even though he was married another three times after Jane's death, he always grieved for her. When Henry died, he asked to be buried next to Jane.


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