Posted By Claire on May 14, 2021
On this day in Tudor history, 14th May 1536, one day after Queen Anne Boleyn’s royal household was broken up, the king had his new flame, Jane Seymour, brought closer to him and there were reports that she was being treated like a queen.
Anne Boleyn was still a prisoner in the Tower and hadn’t even been tried yet, but King Henry VIII had already replaced her.
Here’s the transcript:
On this day in 1536, Sunday 14th May, just twelve days after the arrest of Queen Anne Boleyn and the beginning of her imprisonment at the Tower of London, and the day before her trial for high treason, King Henry VIII sent Sir Nicholas Carew to collect his sweetheart Jane Seymour from Carew’s country home and to bring her to Chelsea.
Jane, who had served as one of Queen Anne’s ladies, had been sent away from court to prevent gossip about the king’s relationship with her. However, now the king wanted her close to him, and the property at Chelsea was very close, being within a mile of his lodgings.
At Chelsea, Jane was treated as queen. Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, described how Jane was “most richly dressed” and “splendidly served by the King’s cook and other officers”.
I wonder what Jane thought of it all and how much she knew about what was going on.
Interestingly, Chapuys was not that impressed with the woman who was replacing the queen, who he had referred to as the concubine. On 18th May 1536, he described Jane as “of middle stature and no great beauty, so fair that one would call her rather pale than otherwise”. He also said that she was inclined “to be proud and haughty”, that he doubted that she was a virgin, and that she was “not a woman of great wit”. But there was a plus point, he thought that she did bear “great love and reverence to the Princess [Mary]”.
Also on 14th May 1536, Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s righthand man and the man in charge of the investigation into Queen Anne Boleyn, wrote to Stephen Gardiner and Sir John Wallop, Henry VIII’s ambassadors at the French court, to update them on the situation in London. In his letter, he wrote of “The Queen’s incontinent living” which “was so rank and common that the ladies of her privy chamber could not conceal it”. He also said that the crimes of the queen and the men were so abominable that he thought “the like was never heard”. It was shocking news for these ambassadors to receive. Here’s a link to read Cromwell’s letter – https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/14-may-1536-queens-incontinent-living-rank-common/