Born: 1508, possibly Wolf Hall
Daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth
Married: Henry VIII 30th May 1536 – October 1537 (Her death)
Died: 24th October 1537, Hampton Court Palace
Jane Seymour has often been perceived as the favourite Queen of Henry VIII. After all she provided the King with his much desired son and heir, the future Edward VI. However Henry and Jane’s romance was very short lived so it is hard to know the extent of their true feelings, particularly Jane’s.
As Henry’s trust and interest diminished in Anne, the factions at court pushed Jane to the forefront. She had been at court as a Lady-in-Waiting for Queen Anne, ironically the same way Anne came to notice. Yet unlike Anne, Jane was from more humble origins. Her education had been fairly simple, only just able to read and write, but was excellent at needlework. She was considered quiet and kind natured, with a fair complexion. However, the Spanish Ambassador described her as ‘no great beauty’. Nevertheless she attracted the attention of the King.
Only a day after Anne’s beheading, Henry and Jane were betrothed. They were wed 10 days later at the Palace of Westminster. Jane was never officially crowned Queen owing to Plague in London, but a proclamation issued in July 1536 declared her Queen. She was popular due to her support of Katherine of Aragon during her trial. Anne Boleyn had not been popular, and any successor was likely to be well received. Her popularity grew greater with her pregnancy in 1537 and the joyous arrival of a son in October. Celebrations took place throughout the country and little Prince Edward was Christened at 4 days old.
Henry’s delight at finally gaining a son was short lived, as Jane became ill only a few days after giving birth. She developed a fever and died on the 24th October 1537. Henry’s grief was immense and he made sure the late Queen received a royal funeral. The only one of his wives that did.
Jane’s lasting legacy is that she provided Henry – and England with an heir. Her role as Queen was a positive one for Henry’s eldest daughter Mary, whom had her legitimacy removed by Henry on the desires of Anne. Jane has been argued by Historians as simply being a political pawn used to benefit others. She certainly helped propel her brothers to influential roles in court, whom remained in power even after Henry’s death. Henry’s love for Jane was very much apparent, shown by his deep mourning after her passing. Together, they lie in a vault in St George’s Chapel at Windsor.
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