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14 May 1536 – The rise of the phoenix, Jane Seymour

Posted By on May 14, 2019

On this day in 1536, 14th May, while her predecessor and former mistress was in the Tower of London waiting for her trial, Jane Seymour was moved to be closer to the king and was treated like a queen.

Find out more about this, and Eustace Chapuys’ rather unflattering description, in today’s video.

I’m doing these “Fall of Anne Boleyn” videos daily until 19th May and I started on 24th April. You can catch up with them on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Youtube Channel.

You can find out more about my book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown at http://getbook.at/fallanneboleyn.

You can click here to read more.

15 thoughts on “14 May 1536 – The rise of the phoenix, Jane Seymour”

  1. Christine says:

    Henry V111s behaviour at this stage was naive as he was making a great show of keeping his relationship with Jane Seymour secret, known only to his closest friends and hers, yet barely two weeks after his queens death his stood beside her at the alter and said his marriage vows, he only stalled the gossip he could not prevent it, really he should have waited a year which would have been acceptable before marrying again, but as we know Henry was an impatient King and he needed a son, that it was done over the body of his queen was despicable, and what did Jane make of all this, to me is is a mystery she was either hard hearted and her quiet demure character hid a steely ambition, or she was a half wit who merely did what her family told her because she thought she had to, we have no evidence of her feelings regarding the fall of her former mistress only that she was loyal to the lady Mary so there was sympathy there for her and Katherine, her former mistress also, and the Seymours were Catholic another fact, again we can see how religion always played a part in the Tudor court, they disliked Anne Boleyn because she had brought reform with her stole the Catholic queens husband, and created turmoil in the kingdom, so many aristocratic families and those of the gentry were Catholic and when the Seymours noted the Kings interest in their Jane, they saw this as an opportunity for glory and doing what’s right for the kingdom, Sir Nicholas Carewe for one was a supporter of Jane and he was the gentleman Henry entrusted to bring his sweetheart to Chelsea with him, where we are told she dined in great state, Jane I think was flattered by the Kings attention and probably told herself if he were to ask her to marry him, she would accept as she had a duty to help the Lady Mary in her relations with her father, and help restore Catholism to England again, she wanted to help others which was admirable of her and this she tried to do later in the destruction of the monasteries, she knew she was no beauty and had no suitor seeking her hand, therefore she did what Anne Boleyn did years before and threw her lot in with the King, and for that she has been condemned as the woman who cold heartedly stepped over her former mistresse’s body to marry her husband, but we have to allow Jane licence for not being responsible for the actions of the King, and not being in a position to help Anne if she could, that was all down to him and Cromwell and Henry would not brook any interference, Jane was there to pass the pleasant hours with, she was not to embroil herself in his marital affairs and political affairs, and so Jane kept her mouth shut and listened to her brothers and whilst the forsaken queen was in the Tower Jane entertained her husband a few miles up the river, and the musicians played and there were feasting and the sounds of the music wafted down the Thames and the citizens of London heard it and thought of their King out merrymaking, and of their queen in her Tower, discontent was circling amongst the court circles and the cobbled alleyways of the city, for there was a ballad made about the King and Jane which angered him, and he wrote to Jane as he did not wish her to worry and if the fellow were to be caught, he assured her he would suffer for it, he never was and we can see how Henry V111s behaviour was deemed odd as he was not acting like the betrayed husband at all, and it was this that people grumbled at rich and poor, and like the fictional Bluebeard who imprisoned one wife in the lower chamber whilst he wedded another, he became to his people and to history the King who discarded his wives at the drop of a hat, but out of all his marital history there was no scene more repugnant than that of Anne Boleyn awaiting death in the Tower whilst he made wedding plans with his next, the month of May in the year 1536 witnessed the fall and death of a queen and her faction and the rising of a new one, it saw a new queen at the Kings side and the hope for yet again, for a new prince and heir for the country.

    1. Michael Wright says:

      Well said. Irony of ironies Henry played the victim to save his reputation but his actions are helping to save Anne’s and have destroyed his

      1. Christine says:

        Thank you Michael.

    2. Anyanka says:

      But…but…but Poor poor Henry had to be begged by Parliament to consider re-marrying..

      The poor man had to be forced to venture back into the snares of matrimony.

      Poor bullied Henry…/sarcasm.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Hi Anyanka, don’t you just feel sorry for poor old Henry. Oh the poor man, shall we take up a collection for the poor depressed old chap? Sarcasm! Sarcasm! Sarcasm!

        Can you actually imagine the scene as these councillors begged the powerful King to venture into marriage?

        I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that one!

        Poor Anne! Today is her trial and she doesn’t stand a chance. She gave a good account as did George in front of 2000 people but she must have known in her heart that she was already condemned.

        But alas! Poor Henry, forced into domestic tyranny once more, sorry matrimony.

  2. Michael Wright says:

    I don’t think Jane had any more in involvement in Anne’s demise than as a girlfriend replacing the wife. Henry most likely was not completely honest with Jane and only told her that he would be rid of Anne and they could be together. Tough position to be in.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes Jane for all we know could have been quiet distressed at Anne’s demise, they were after all second cousins but it appears they were not close, I doubt if Anne actually had a lot of women friends, there were a few she was close to but to me she comes across as a mans woman, I think she probably preferred the company of men more than women, we have to remember many thought of Anne as a wicked woman and Jane was possibly one of these, she was devoted to Mary and no doubt had been devoted to Katherine who was said to have been a kind queen, a lot of women’s sympathy would have been for Henry’s discarded queen and so the newcomer was reviled because of it, of course Anne created enemies because of her arrogant behaviour and her interest in reform, she was seen as dangerous and as said, her behaviour did not help, but when she fell and because of how she fell she garnered a lot of sympathy because of it, after his hasty marriage to Jane there could not have been many who thought Anne was sacrificed merely so the king would be free to marry her, without complications a divorce or an annulment.

      1. Christine says:

        I meant who did not think Anne was sacrificed, my apologies. Sometimes errors are made when your typing letters in.

        1. Esther says:

          I doubt that Jane would have been disturbed at Anne’s death. Henry would have told her that Anne was guilty, and, Jane (who had been taught all her life that Henry was divinely anointed) would have believed him.

  3. Michael Wright says:

    Just heard Tim Conway died this morning. Wonder who number 3 will be.

  4. Banditqueen says:

    I am sorry but I have to disagree that Jane Seymour did nothing to help reconcile Mary to her father because she wrote to Mary and she pleaded for her. That’s what the evidence says so I am sorry it’s not a myth and Mary wrote to Jane to thank her for her letters and to offer to do her service and to wait upon her. Jane raised the subject of Mary before she married Henry and was rebuffed. She tried three times, actually, but Henry was having none of it. Mary wrote to her father, who then sent a delegation to his disobedient daughter who we have to remember was only twenty at this time, a very young woman and they used threats, which were obviously meant to frighten her into submission. Henry would only accept her back at Court with her total surrender of her rights as heir, the acknowledgement of himself as the Supreme Head of the Church, the admission that the marriage between her parents was invalid and that she was illegitimate. It was ultimately Thomas Cromwell, to whom she wrote and who advised her how to frame her letters of submission and Eustace Chapuys who, fearing for her life persuaded Mary to sign the articles her father sent to her. He told her she must sign or her life may be in danger and that she could make what is called “A Protest Apart” that is she could appeal to Rome for absolution and protest that she made the submission to save her life only, under duress and this wasn’t really what she accepted. So in reality it was a combination of Jane, Cromwell and Chapuys who helped Mary to reconcile with her father, although it was Jane who encouraged Henry to meet with Mary and bring her back to Court. The fact that Jane was rebuffed by the King doesn’t change the fact, for which we have ample evidence that she attempted on more than one occasion to reconcile Henry with his daughter.

    Here today Jane has been moved to a house near Chelsea under the escort and protection of her sponsor, Sir Nicholas Carew, where she was told not to worry and was being prepared to be Queen. Jane was treated with regal honours in Chelsea as if she was already Queen and Henry was preparing for the date of their wedding. As much as Henry had tried to keep this relationship with Jane a secret, by now more people knew about it and his Council probably knew the truth as did Cromwell. The more that Henry tried to keep Jane and her family out of the mess that he was making, the more compromised they became because it was for their benefit all this hell was happening. Anne was in the Tower, partly condemned already while her husband was impatient to marry her former lady in waiting as soon as he was free. Henry had sent Jane away to keep her pure as far as this trial was concerned, to protect her and keep her from contamination, but now he was preparing her to be Queen and writing to her to reassure her everything would be fine and they would be together soon. A number of people knew Henry wanted to marry Jane and they were watching in disbelief as he deliberately planned his marriage before his wife had even been tried. People were starting to whisper behind his back and comment on his behaviour which was bizarre, he was riding out to hunt, to have dinner with his friends and with the Seymour family and he was just disappearing without notice. He was also said to be entertaining ladies, but this is probably an exaggeration, although it seems he was acting like a bachelor. Jane had nothing to do with Anne’s fall, but Anne was replaced by her less than two weeks after her execution. She was not adverse I think to her mission and didn’t seem too affected at the execution of a woman who was portrayed as guilty and living a shocking and deviant life. Jane saw helping to promote the cause of Princess Mary and even Chapuys said she was good towards her. Henry didn’t want to know anything which disturbed his peace and he told Jane she was being foolish and should think of her own children but Jane persisted saying she was only thinking of the peace and tranquillity of his kingdom and the security of his people as well as his own peace and that of their children. Very clever. Henry apparently was pacified but he still insisted on the submission of Mary who thought Anne alone was to blame for her mistreatment and she wrote to her father thinking he would welcome her with open arms. Unfortunately as already stated, that wasn’t to be easy. He only accepted her back after her total surrender and Jane did indeed welcome her back to Court and she was well treated by her father and step mother. Mary was told she had good reason to hope so we know that Anne stood no chance and this was all planned in advance. Chapuys didn’t think much of Jane, but that means nothing because he only met her briefly when he wrote that and he didn’t think much of any of the women of Henry’s Court. He actually changed his mind and called her a peacemaker. Jane was most likely just as ruthless as her predecessor, she was happy enough to accept the crown and she had a mission of her own. People were horrified at the speed of this matter and the marriage afterwards but Jane was clever enough to work hard to win people over. Now she was being treated as if she was already Queen, while Anne was without hope and languishing, alone and betrayed in the Tower. It was a dramatic turn around for both of them, but we must remember that one person has to take the ultimate responsibility for this, Henry Viii. At the end of the day, Anne was the victim of ruthless cruelty and Jane although she did have a choice, was a woman who had little say in her life, she could say no to the King, but it would be very difficult for her to do so and I believe she wanted to be Queen, just as Anne had and saw it as her duty. Henry was the master of all at Court and everyone in the country so when people condemn Jane for anything to do with Anne’s fall, remember both women were his subjects and at the end of the day it was his command and will which was law and both women had to obey as did their families. Whether Henry married Jane or someone else, he still wanted Anne gone. That is the beginning and end of the truth behind all of these events around the fall of Anne Boleyn and in that sense everything stops with Henry.

    1. Christine says:

      I agree about Henry acting like a bachelor one would not think he already had a wife the way he was carrying on, stepping out wining and dining with another woman, what made it far far worse was his queen was imprisoned and the lady he wined and dined was her lady in waiting, people are always sympathetic towards the underdog, and Anne had their sympathy as never before, it just was not right the way their King was carrying on, Mary was advised by Chapyus to sign the act of supremacy document as he did rightly so fear for her life, and Jane broached the subject of reinstating Mary to the succession, but here she was treading on very dangerous ground for she was seen to be meddling in politics and Henry was irate, he called her a fool and she should seek the advancement of the children they would have together not others, Henry was very sensitive about the succession issue and he stated as he had for years that his first two marriages had been no marriages at all, and that was why they had been annulled, I feel in this he was being unfair to Mary as a child born to a couple who had wed in good faith was considered legally legitimate, Mary being a girl would be after her father’s child if he had a son anyway, and there was every possibility that son would have a child himself so Mary would have been far down the pecking order, she had been raised as her father’s heir and had been sent to Wales as every heir to the throne had done so since the time of Edward 1st, she had been educated in the Renaissance style with the finest tutors and was an intelligent cultured young woman, she was no dullard and really we know Hemry V111 loved her very much and was very proud of her, her only fault was she was female. there was also Henry Fitzroy who was also an intelligent young man he had also been educated and had shared the nursery sometimes with Mary, Henry was said to be very proud of him also, of course all parents love their offspring but I believe at one time he was a serious contender for the throne, what did it matter if not being gifted with a legitimate son he left his kingdom to his illegitimate one? The safety of the realm was surely more important than the legal status of his heir, his own father had won the crown by right of conquest but his share of
      Beaufort blood was tenous and it was an illegitimate claim anyway, if Anne had not come along than there’s every possibility that Henry would have chosen to go down that route and have Fitzroy put in the succession, as for Mary she would have been placed after him but at least she would have still been there, as it was Fitzroy succumbed to a fatal illness and died young not long after Anne Boleyns execution, Henry was not blessed to have sons with long life, even though little Edward was perfectly healthy he too was to succumb to the grim reaper before he had reached his seventeenth birthday, it was a time when people died much younger than today, either through sickness which for most ailments there was no cure, the plague was fatal, there was death in battle, and many infants died young, Kings fared not much better than their poorer counterparts and when young they were often whisked off to the country where the air was much cleaner, with his elder brothers death in mind at so young an age we can understand Henrys genuine need to produce a male heir for England, the rival claimants to the throne also the old Plantaganet families such as the Poles were a constant thorn in his side, what if the people were to rise up against Mary if she had the throne, all these issues were very real in Henrys mind so we can undertand his urgent desire for a son, but it obsessed him to the point where he deserted one wife and murdered another, and caused such trauma to his eldest daughter that it is doubtful if she ever recovered from it.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    Thomas Cromwell in his letters to Wallop and Gardiner and the Ambassadors abroad, he doesn’t beat about the bush. We hear some more shocking and scandalous behaviour that is too deviant to give details off. Anyone reading Cromwell’s letter about Anne’s incontinent living would be horrified. She is the worst criminal there has ever been if these letters are to be believed. Cromwell really rubbed it in and now everyone is being let know what will happen and that the Queen in reality is already condemned for adultery at least. The fact that Anne’s lovers have been condemned means that by default the Queen will also be found guilty and her trial was prejudiced by their guilty findings. Anne and George were going to be found guilty. Cromwell tells them about the conspiracy between Anne and these men, her lovers to plan the death of the King, the good King who had protected her and raised her up, the real victim in all of these terrible events was King Henry whose kindness and love have been repaid with treason and murder and adultery. Anne and the men are being painted as out of control, as vicious, as having no regard for the King to whom they owed everything and they had chosen instead of loyalty and devotion to their King to live licentious lives and to act with disregard for his station and to then plot his death. Everyone had to know how dangerous this conspiracy was, the national scandal it had caused and the international community must now learn the shocking truth. It is like something from a Tabloid newspaper but it is a tragically true story. Anne and her co accused are being painted in the worst possible terms and her reputation was being deliberately sullied to those outside of the Court. Cromwell is now putting the official spin on what was going on to the officials abroad and around the country and here the news is being given to two prominent Ambassadors. It could not be any worse and everything was now being spun to gain sympathy for the King and to show how evil Queen Anne really had turned out to be. We know it was all nonsense but we know that with hindsight and exploring the evidence but anyone reading this letter would only have the word of the King and his prime minister and they may not have questioned the guilt because they would be questioning the honour and honesty of the King. As shocking as this news was, the mere quantity of the indictments could easily have been believed as they may appear incredible.

  6. Michael Wright says:

    This campaign of destruction against Anne and her ‘lovers’ might have worked a whole lot better if the king had actually shown some kind of shock and actually acted like he was hurt but his actions with Jane show otherwise. People may have believed that the queen and these men did something bad but when Henry marries again only 11 days after Anne’s murder I think most know that all is not as they were left to believe. With all the effort Cromwell put into this on behalf of the king Henry sure didn’t help.

    1. Francia says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more and you put it perfectly! Henry’s actions showed he “got rid of” (murdered) Anne because she didn’t give him a son and he had already decided he wanted to marry Jane because he though Jane would give him a son. It was probably very obvious to all the courtiers what Henry was up to! Wonder what would have become of Jane if SHE hadn’t given him a son??? Guess that’s a moot point because she did, then died shortly afterwards. PS I believe Anne was innocent of all the charges against her. I think the only thing she was guilty of was flirting a bit too much.

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