2 June 1536 – Queen Jane Seymour’s first public appearance

Posted By on June 2, 2016

On Friday 2nd June 1536, according to Sir John Russell, Queen Jane Seymour made her first public appearance since her marriage to King Henry VIII on 30th May. She appeared at Greenwich Palace. Here is an extract from Sir John Russell’s letter to Lord Lisle, Lord Deputy of Calais:

“On Friday last [2nd June] the Queen sat abroad as Queen, and was served by her own servants, who were sworn that same day. The King came in his great boat to Greenwich that day with his privy chamber, and the Queen and the ladies in the great barge. I assure you she is as gentle a lady as ever I knew, and as fair a Queen as any in Christendom. ‘The King hath come out of hell into heaven for the gentleness in this and the cursedness and the unhappiness in the other.’ You would do well to write to the King again that you rejoice he is so well matched with so gracious a woman as is reported. This will please the King.”1

Chronicler Edward Hall simply states that Jane was “openlye shewed as Quene” at Whitsuntide, Whitsun being 4th June that year.2 Charles Wriothesley, chronicler and Windsor Herald, states that Jane was officially proclaimed queen at Greenwich on 4th June 1536.3

I wonder what the common people thought of the events of May 1536, with one queen being executed on 19th May and another queen being shown in public on 2nd June.

Notes and Sources

  1. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume X, 1047.
  2. Hall, Edward (d. 1547) Hall’s chronicle : containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, this edition published in 1809, J Johnson, p. 819.
  3. Wriothesley, Charles (1875) A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559 Volume 1, Camden Society, p. 43-44.

15 thoughts on “2 June 1536 – Queen Jane Seymour’s first public appearance”

  1. Globerose says:

    Enter… Queen Jane and a sigh of relief goes up all around. After noble-born, war-like Katharine and witty, clever, feisty Anne, here comes Queen Mouse, she who will bring no trouble to anyone and may even produce the long-awaited heir!
    For conservatives, her job is to re-unite Henry with Mary: for everyone else, to produce Edward and finally grant Henry what he wants most in the world – a legitimate male heir. So much Jane does and then, tragically, she dies! But her job is half done, there is no spare. Henry is condemned to wed again. The sags continues.

    1. sascha11 says:

      War like Catherine of Aragon ?? Bit much don’t you think ?

      1. Cassie says:

        I can understand the reference of Catherine being ‘war like’. Her mother was the warrior queen Isabella of Castile, Catherine practically won the battle of Flodden for Henry, and she was a thorn in Henry’s side during their divorce battle, she was relentless and wouldn’t back down. I think it’s a very apt description of her.

        1. Lisa says:

          Catherine was NOT war like.

    2. Banditqueen says:

      I think Katherine of Aragon was warlike in that she was fiercely protective of her daughter’s rights and her own rights as Queen and she defied Henry til the very end. She was like a lioness defending her cubs and nobody could move her from her holy purpose. The ironic thing is that she was Henry’s perfect counter balance and partner. The two of them were as stubborn as anything and obstinate and neither of them backed down on the legality of the marriage. She was also warlike in that she led the country to victory against the invading Scottish army by organising the command of the Earl of Surrey and she organised the production of badges and banners to encourage the troops and organised the supply lines. She also headed a second army and marched North. When the King of Scots was killed Katherine wanted to cut his head off and send it to Henry in France. The English Lords persuaded her to send Henry James’s bloodied coat instead. As the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand Katherine had a warriors spirit and Henry even told Chapuys that if she wanted to she could raise an army against him as great as any raised by her mother. She was a woman of great courage he told the Ambassador. Charles V and a group of English nobles even offered to invade on her orders and free her and to raise the country in her name. She bid them never to do such a thing, because her English subjects would suffer, but in fact had she wished to Katherine could have given orders for an invasion and even taken the crown as she had a better right to it than Henry, due to her ancient Plantagenet ancestors. She was a true Queen and she fought like a true warrior to defend her daughter, Mary and I believe her courage was warlike.

  2. Clara says:

    I bet it was a very exciting and nervous time for Jane, but a relief for the people of England. It seemed that overall, the people liked her, and I really love the imagery and symbolism Russell uses to juxtapose the images of Jane and Anne.

    Jane was calm, serene and gentle in comparison. She must have been a breath of fresh air at Henry’s court.

  3. sascha11 says:

    ‘ war like ‘ Catherine of Aragon ??? Bit much don’t you think ?

  4. Cassie says:

    Imagine being alive and living in England during 1536, depending on how you felt you potentially lived under 3 Queens in 1 year!

    I imagine the marriage to Jane would have provided a little bit of stability to the country now the debacle of the Great Matter was over, and unpopular firecracker Anne was out of the picture (even though I bet people were uneasy about how that played itself out

    And Jane probably felt the most alive she had ever felt in her life. Imagine the thrill of wielding such power and having all the attention on her. It must be an amazing feeling, however fleeting it may have been.

  5. Globerose says:

    If ‘war like’ is a bit much, what would make a better adjective for KoA, do you think?

  6. Globerose says:

    Starkey, in his Six Wives, says Katharine’s mother was ‘the warrior queen Isabella of Castile’ and on the next page (12~~) states, ‘Catherine manifestly took after her mother.’ Chapter 26 Regent begins ” Catherine’s involvement in the war preparations became common knowledge. Indeed, to one observer, she seemed the real driving force. “The King is bent on war,’ noted the merchant Lorenzo Pasquaglio of the Venetion factory or depot in London, ‘the Councils averse to it; the Queen wills it.’ On page 145, Starkey writes, ‘Catherine’s martial behaviour was widely commented on.’ On page 147, he says that the Milanese ambassador wrote that the Queen of England wrote to the King to thank him for the gift of a Duke but she hopes to surpass the King in this also, and instead of a Duke she hopes to send him a King” And so on. All of this lead me to the description of Katharine as ‘war like’. I always stand to be corrected if I have got it wrong!!

  7. Teresa says:

    Katherine of Aragon … princess, diplomatic, ambassador, political adviser, warrior and pacifist, regent, pious, clever, astute and naive, valiant, feisty, loyal, patroness, generous, charitable, friendly, sweet and strong willed, proud and humble,compassionate and resentful …. in two words, fascinating woman

  8. Banditqueen says:

    Sir John Russell I think hath no love for Queen Anne and very much supports the new Queen Jane. “The King has come out of hell into heaven”, Jane is fair and gracious and so on. Yes, Jane was more traditional as a wife, but was Anne really hell or was the strain of producing an heir just too much pressure on their marriage?

  9. Banditqueen says:

    Congregations to the new Queen Jane and may she bring the peace both hoped and desired.

  10. Jane goes down in history as certainly “a mouse”.. Pity that she died in child birth as we never really got to know her.. Sounds like a bit of a bore after Anne but of course he wanted a subservient queen.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I don’t accept that Jane was boring or a mouse and there is no contemporary evidence for either. The problem is we have snapshots of the wives of Henry Viii and we have to interpret things based on that. Anne was a passionate storm and Jane a peaceful calm afterwards, but she was conventional. I don’t believe Jane was as subservient as she appeared but was shrewd and worked out when to obey and when to chance her hand to intervene on behalf of Mary. She also learned quickly that Henry would only accept full obedience from Mary although she did help to bring the two parties together. She wasn’t here long enough to know how she would have developed as a mother or if she was a Regent while Henry was in France or for her on as a young King or how she would handle Henry as an honoured mother of his heir. All we have are flashpoints and observations, some of which are by authors who have a low opinion of Jane. Unfortunately, people put a lot of hope in Jane as a vessel for change back to orthodox ways and this was never going to be possible, especially after the rebellions in the North and Lincolnshire. That put undue pressure on Jane and it didn’t materialise, so she was not given the attention that she deserves as a Queen. Elizabeth Norton is not so dismissive of Jane and even doesn’t accept the totally innocent Jane of myth either but sees her as ambitious, even as a fanatic on a mission when it came to Mary and faith. Now, I wouldn’t go that far, but Jane did see herself as an advocate for Mary and made contact with her very early on in the marriage. She had a vision of helping to restore Mary to the succession. However, she underestimated Henry and his demands and even bringing her back to Court had strict conditions and required the help of Thomas Cromwell and the persuasive powers of Chapuys to submit to the King, so her elevation to the Succession was never going to happen, at least before a son was born. It was Queen Katherine Parr who finally brought the family together under one roof and a mellowed out ill Henry Viii who put both Mary and Elizabeth back into the Succession in 1544 when he led an invasion of France.

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