Jane Seymour by Lucas Horenbout
Jane Seymour by Lucas Horenbout
On 14th May 1536 Sir Nicholas Carew was sent by Henry VIII to collect Jane Seymour from Carew’s country home outside of London, where she had been sent earlier in the month to prevent gossip about her relationship with the King, and to install her in a house in Chelsea.1

Up until now, Henry VIII had been careful to distance himself from Jane, going so far as to even spend time with other women. Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, reported that Henry VIII had “been going about banqueting with ladies, sometimes remaining after midnight, and returning by the river” and that he had also “supped lately with several ladies in the house of the bishop of Carlisle, and showed an extravagant joy”, but everything had changed now.2 It was the day before Anne Boleyn’s trial and the King was obviously confident enough to bring his relationship with Jane out into the open and to have her close to him.

Chapuys wrote to his master Charles V that Jane was “most richly dressed” and “splendidly served by the King’s cook and other officers”.3 Like Anne Boleyn before her, Jane was queen in all but name.

The Queen’s Incontinent Living

Also on 14th May 1536, Thomas Cromwell wrote to Stephen Gardiner and John Wallop, the King’s ambassadors in France, to inform Gardiner and Wallop of recent events in England. In it, he wrote of the Queen’s “incontinent living”, “incontinent” meaning lacking in self-control, and referred to the “abominable” offences committed by the Queen and “certain men”. Click here to read Cromwell’s letter.

Notes and Sources

  1. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 10 – January-June 1536, 908
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.

Related Post

13 thoughts on “14 May 1536 – Jane Seymour moves nearer the King”
  1. Would love to know what Jane thought of all this – though I imagine her brothers were telling her the Tudor equivalent of “This is our big chance! Don’t blow it!” and so she was careful not to say anything.

  2. I’m wondering, Annalucia, would Jane Seymour have remained silent or did she too point the finger at her mistress?

    1. I wonder how much pointing she would have to do. Jane was known to be a Katherine supporter who preferred the Church the way it was prior to the changes being enacted.
      My guess is she was of the view that Anne’s behavior was immoral going back to 1527 and she would have had to be a mute not to voice any support to Henry over his desire to look into a way to undo at the least his marriage, even if she were not in line for the job.
      The bigger picture for her was perhaps a return to the Roman fold.

  3. Notice that she is wearing a half cross as a brooch similar if not the same as the one that princess Mary wears but as a necklace! 🙂

  4. Reading Agnes Strickland 40 years ago altered my vies of Jane Seymour as the upright, devout, and noble young woman portrayed in The Six Wives of Henry VIII on PBS. Strickland pointed out how grotesque it had to have been that Jane was planning her wedding before Anne was executed. I tell my students Jane Seymour did two things which endeared her to Henry: she produced a male heir and then died before he could get tired of her as he did with the other five wives.

    1. Pamela, Okay now I may offend you with my response to what I read. Stop here if you are not open to my thoughts.

      Nah. i dont agree. If she saw Anne as the tormentor of Katherine and Mary who were revered friends of hers and her father’s, and instigator of Henry’s split from the Christian Churches across Europe as well as a treasonous, scandalous harlot, I don’t think she was wrong to plan for life after her if indeed she actually even did. She didn’t have a big wedding nor did she have the expensive coronation like Anne did, so not sure what big planning she was doing anyway.

      Lastly. if Anne had given Henry a son she would have been safe to do whatever she wanted except treason.

      And I am no defender of Jane at all, there is very little information about her any way. but I bristle at the idea of you saying such biased and unfounded comments to children you are teaching rather than showing them the alternative interpretations.

    2. Jane was safe, if she had a son and lived, Henry would not have abandoned her. She was also a lady who learned how to handle Henry and submit to his will while being a template. Unfortunately Jane did not live which is why Henry floated through three more wives. He did not marry for three years after Jane’s death. He shut himself away for months after her death. Had Katherine of Aragon had a living son Henry would not have divorced her and no matter what Henry now thought of Anne Boleyn a son would have secured her reign as well. We have been given a coloured view of Henry and his wives because of the subsequent marriage history, but sons would have made things quite different for Henry and his wives.

  5. Yes and Norah Lofts says that the idea that the wedding feast was being prepared for Henrys forthcoming nuptials whilst his previous wife was preparing herself for death has a sort of macabre fascination, this is what makes Henry appear as the Bluebeard of legend, and It doesn’t show Jane in a very good light either wether or not she had any say in the matter it’s interesting to consider what she really thought of the way Anne was treated, did she believe she was this immoral creature, she was her lady in waiting so she must have been aware how difficult it was to commit adultery when your constantly surrounded with courtiers and servants, she probably convinced herself the accusations were true as she was not a friend of hers, albeit a second cousin, but the way she comes across is rather chilling she seems to show no emotion whatsoever for her tragic predecessor, this is probably what Agnes Strickland thought , and I must say although I don’t like Jane much I think she was incredibly brave to agree to marry the old Bluebeard!

  6. Jane must have been aware that she was now being expected to prepare to become Queen and I assume was both delighted to be marrying the King as she may have thought of herself as on a mission of mercy to help the Lady Mary and persuade Henry to recover his allegiance for the Church of Rome. She served both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn but was loyal to the former and to Lady Mary, as well as to the old faith; she may have seen this as her motherly and Christian duty. Katherine Parr believed that she had a God given mission to marry Henry Viii; perhaps Jane had some sense of this destiny as well. Her family had been moving into the positions of power and into the inner circle of the King over several months; Jane now literally moved closer to the King to Chelsea; she had been kept out of the way for a couple of weeks; to keep her innocent of these events. I now believe she saw herself as queen and busied herself not really giving attention to anything but her preparations for her royal wedding. I doubt that she had anything to do with the fall of Anne, or that she pointed the finger at anyone; she may even have had some shock and sympathy for her; but now all she could do was to accept what was and to look to the future.

    1. I think that your answer, Bandit Queen, is very right.
      Jane Seymour was known as a very devout catholic.
      Her modest behavior was also much praised – it indeed was priceless for a king anxious for his own image of almighty sovereign.
      I he had not been in his private life, he would surely feel very insecure about that – his legitimacy had long been matter of deabtes, not to say of conspiracies
      I guess – it is just a feeling of mine of course – that a woman who would have “pointed at” her past mistress (ie the queen chosen by her husband to-be), would have lacked of these qualitiés so much seeked after by the king.
      To affirm that, I remember (hope I remeber well 😉 ) Chapuys’ word on her being perfect virginal and so on – her absence of ambition (not a common lot in her falmily if we think of her terrible brothers) was crucial in her being chosen as a queen to H VIII.
      Jane also known as “not very pretty” (Chapuys, again), was aware of her exceptional luck and greedy to please her husband.
      It is normal then that she did what she could to better Mary’s position, but we can consider her heroic when considering she paid some attention tto little princess Elizabeth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *