12 October 1537 – A Son At Last!

Edward VI HolbeinAt two o’clock in the morning on Friday 12th October 1537, St Edward’s Day, Jane Seymour finally gave birth to the future King Edward VI after a long and tiring 30 hour labour. Henry VIII had a legitimate son and heir at long last!

Church bells around London pealed in celebration, parish churches around the country sang the Te Deum, bonfires were lit, the city merchants gave out fruit and wine, German merchants gave wine and beer to the poor, and the happiest of days was ended by two thousand rounds being fired into the sky from the Tower of London. It was a day of celebration, not only for Henry and Jane, but also for the country.

Edward became King Edward VI of England on the death of his father on 28th January 1547.

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12 thoughts on “12 October 1537 – A Son At Last!”
  1. Happy Birthday little Prince Edward, your birth was a great cause for celebration. I doubt a little boy’s birth has been as much appreciated and celebrated as yours was!

  2. Happy birthday little prince…he was the most loved in whole country…but my heart aches when i think how he never saw his mother and lost his father at such a young age

  3. Recalling the scenes of the King desperately waiting and the poor Queen in more than forty hours of labour in the Tudors gave a real sense of the desperation facing both Henry and Jane, before finally early in the morning the long awaited Prince Edward was born. Two days of pain and struggle, exhaustion, prayers, waiting, restless hours and tears, fears and hope, for the King and his Queen the cries of a healthy child must have been both a shock and a joy. In the scene in the Tudors Henry cannot quite believe that he is being told he has a son, Jane is exhausted and triumphant.

    More than 26 years had passed since a Queen of England had given birth to a living son on 1st January 1511, although Henry had lived only 52 days. It was hardly surprising that Prince Edward would be welcomed by both shock and out pouring of immense joy. Jane witnessed his naming and baptism dressed in great rich robes on a great state bed, screened as she was not yet churched but received the homage of all nobles as the mother of the heir to the throne. Sadly a couple of days later Jane caught septicemia and within 12 days of her triumph Henry’s Beloved queen died of child bed fever. Francis I wrote to congratulate Henry on the birth of his son, Henry responded that God had mixed his joy with the grief of the loss of her who to him had been the greatest consolation in this world.

    Happy Birthday to Edward, but how sad that his mother was taken from him when he was so young. Sadder too that although Edward was not a sickly child as is often claimed, that a sudden change in his health during 1553 led to his death before the age of sixteen.

  4. Poor Jane struggling through such a long delivery only to die days later. I have no doubt Henry would place precedence of the baby’s survival over his wife’s and her pain from probing hands of doctors and their primitive instruments would be ignored if it meant saving the life of Henry’s son and heir.

    1. Gail, we have no evidence of this as Henry was not yet in this position. The choice was coming, but it seems Jane was able to find one last effort. However she was not the victim of doctors, but well trained midwives. Medical science and instruments were in their infancy but not primitive. The actual instruments have not changed. The one innovation in medical science was the forceps being used and more important understanding of sterile conditions. These plus the medical schools begun by Henry Viii by the nineteenth century made childbirth safer. Edward was born naturally despite myth to the contrary. Midwifery was more advanced than most branches of medicine. I am sure that if given the choice Henry would have been forced to save his wife and not a child as the sex was unknown. The church does not allow such a choice, you attempt to save both and whatever happened was God’s will. Jane may have begged for the child to be saved and Henry agree with her, but we cannot know what would happen as the boy was born before the choice had to be made. Jane died of septic shock which suggests someone was not careful about the sterile care and she caught an incurable infection. This was something that doctors fight even today and from which women still die from. The drugs to cure it only came along during the 1950s.

      1. We can’t accuse a 16th century midwife or doctor of being “not careful about sterile care”, the danger of infection from non-sterile hands and instruments was unknown at that time.
        There has never been serious dispute that Edward was born other than naturally.
        Jane’s pregnancy must have confirmed Henry’s belief that Jane was a “true wife” (unlike Katherine and Anne who had given him so much grief), and with God’s will finally satisfied the delivery of a boy was beyond dispute.
        Henry was an egotistical monster who thought nothing of beheading second-wife Anne whereas divorce could have easily been arranged.
        I have no doubt that Henry would opt for survival of a legitimate male heir over the vessel that delivered it onto him, but that’s just my opinion.

        1. What’s your well researched evidence for Henry being an egotistical monster? No one knows what choice Henry would have made. JANE DIED OF SEPTICEMIA SO SOMEONE WAS NOT CAREFUL DUE TO LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OR NEGLECT FACT.

        2. The midwives and people generally in Tudor Times were more concerned with cleaning and protection against illness especially at court to stop infection than we generally give them credit for. I have studied several texts on care at this time and Henry was paranoid about infection. The after care of Jane may have been of the best quality, but if she lost a lot of blood, then some negligence of care, plus some lack of knowledge, allowed infection to develop, hence septicemia, which could not be treated with drugs until the 1950s. Jane was precious. His child was precious. Henry would not have sacrificed one for the other and you cannot provide evidence that he could. Your opinions and claim that he was a monster who would kill his wife to have a child are just that, unsubstantiated, your opinion, I disagree, that is my experience and opinions, and we will not agree, but that is the beauty of debate, so good luck.

  5. Happy Birthday Edward, the most adored child in the Tudor reign. God bless you in heaven with your Mama and Papa.

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