20 May 1536 – Henry VIII moves on

May20,2017 #Jane Seymour

I’ve written about this many times but it still gets to me every time! I still get very cross.

On the day after the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, his second wife, Henry VIII became betrothed to Jane Seymour, sister of Edward and Thomas Seymour. The dispensation for their marriage had even been issued on the day of Anne’s execution. Can you believe it?

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22 thoughts on “20 May 1536 – Henry VIII moves on”
    1. Because I wrote it after the madness of Anne Boleyn Day! I don’t think anything I say, write or do today is going to make sense!

      Thank you!

      1. Very understandable, Claire, after the emotional time of remembrance of Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn and the other innocent people killed in this great miscarriage of justice, especially after all that effort you put in yesterday from so early in the morning till late evening, and still bringing us more articles, it is amazing you keep going. When Anne started out, to Henry she was his first wife and then all of a sudden she was never his wife. Katherine of Aragon was his first wife and then not his wife. Now Jane Seymour will be his first wife. The people of England must have wondered if they and their King had gone slightly insane. The story even 481 years later is emotionally draining and always effects me too. Henry was obviously cold towards her now and didn’t even show any signs of mourning. He was almost delighted in his wife’s death, although I feel he showed regret over all of this. Even now it is difficult to understand the why of these events and I feel for you, Claire, because you are connected to Anne and to restoring her maligned reputation and helping people access the real story. This must be very difficult times for you. Take care.
        ☺☺☺x LynMarie

    2. King Henry was a Nutbar anyway.batshit crazy.if you look at his history of bad and weird behaviour he was nuts!and very arrogant.have to be to become his own church!lol wow

      1. Henry Viii was many things but he wasn’t a nut job. I suggest you study him through the original sources and try to form a balanced view of history, rather than making ridiculous statements. Henry had a very genuine need for a son and much contributed to his odd and troubled behaviour, his ruthless decisions in May 1536 and his paranoid reactions afterwards. You can understand him better from reading the sources or even watching David Starkey on Henry Viii Mind of A Tyrant, a four part series showing his long journey from a handsome and well rounded, fair and balanced popular monarch into the tyrant of his last years. It is available on DVD and is often on Yesterday.

    3. It does not say that Queen Anne Boleyn is Henry the VIII first wife. Katherine of Aragon was his first wife.

  1. On the day his second wife took her last breath Henry was given the dispensation allowing him to marry his third wife, as her life blood ebbed on the scaffold beside the broken body that had harboured it he was making preparations for his betrothal to her lady in waiting, and in just twenty four hours he was engaged, Henry did not believe in hanging about, he was oblivious to the grumblings of his subjects he cared not what his behaviour looked like in the eyes of the world, he had told the Pope to go to hell and he was now supreme ruler of his kingdom, he had successfully succeeded in putting his wife to death by a sham of a trial and whilst it was all done legal and above board, his very behaviour did not win him any respect or sympathy as many thought she had been treated unfairly, the deaths of the four courtiers all loyal subjects of his and her servant had made the people suspicious, how many husbands had a nag of a wife they were weary of, did they all murder them, it was not done and they would be called to account for it, yet here was their king who set the example in his realm, and he had just had his wife publicly executed, what caused more outrage was his flippant behaviour and to rub salt in the wounds, he became engaged to the woman he had been conducting a love affair with, Anne had been a controversial queen, she had her fair share of detractors for splitting the church and on the other side of the coin, there were those who saw her as their champion for freeing England from Rome, but to any decent fair minded citizen then as now, did she and five men deserve death when her husband was making it quite plain he was involved with another woman, as Chapyus noted, it looks il in the minds of the people as well it might! Decency allowed at leat a year for a widower before becoming engaged again, yet while Annes body was still decomposing Henry became betrothed to his next queen to be, Jane Seymour was residing just up the river and soon they would be together, and barely two weeks later they were married and England had a new queen, in just thirty five years she had known three queens and would would go on to have another three, another three women were destined to take their place in Henrys bed and get to know all the fears and insecurities of their predecessors, this much married most talked about King of ours is very alive and just as fascinating as he was to his contemporaries nearly half a century ago, his first marriage had been a full blown celebration to the princess from Aragon, his brothers widow who was the dowager Princess Of Wales, they had been married with much pomp and ceremony and his second was furtive and held in the utmost secrecy, now his third wedding was stained with the memory of the blood of his second, and whilst his courtiers and ambassadors from around the world bowed deep to his new queen, and whilst the King Of France may write to congratulate him on his nuptials they all knew as did the humblest peasant in Henrys kingdom that his second queen had died just so he could marry his new one, little by little his reputation at home and abroad was becoming tarnished and it would continue to do so, for now he was enjoying the May sunshine with Jane Seymour and five people were rotting in their graves.

    1. There was no reason for a dispensation, as King Henry the VIII was the head of the Church of England and did not see go by what The Catholic Church taught.

      1. There was still a need for a dispensation. Henry was the secular head of the Church in England, not the spiritual. He still deferred to the English Church. The dispensation was not issued from Rome but by Archbishop Cranmer as the Primate of England. Henry couldn’t issue his own dispensation. He wasn’t a clergyman. He still recognised the authority of the Church proper and this is evident when he had Cranmer call a Commission to examine his first marriage in May 1533. This special court declared his first marriage null and void and his marriage to Anne good. This new dispensation cleared the way to marry Jane Seymour.

        Henry Viii remained mostly Catholic, even if he broke from Rome. Most of the services and liturgical ceremonies and the sacramental beliefs of the Church in England remained Catholic at their heart.

  2. Henry must have had everything in place as Thomas Cranmer did in hours what should take at least a few weeks issued a dispensation. Henry was obviously making certain he could marry Jane as soon as he was able by observing only the bare minimum days before he can marry. To Henry he was never married before but there were still regulated times on marriage. There were rogation days to observe connected to religious festivals and also he had to wait to observe a sense of mourning. Anne and the men were not yet cold in their graves but Henry had her replacement waiting in the wings. Cranmer had been upset the day before, yet here he is making it easier for Henry to move on. The whole thing is unreal. We have no idea what Jane really thought but she now stepped out of the shadows to prepare to be Queen. Henry’s subjects must have felt this was very unseemly and his courtiers may have even been surprised. However, some did support his new decision, for Anne did have enemies and men like Suffolk, John Russell, the family Seymour and Nicholas Carew moved on with him without scruples. They were joined in a strange ability to act as if nothing terrible had just happened by Thomas Cromwell, Audley and the other architects of Anne’s fall. They were even joined by the entire court and Anne’s ladies once Jane and Henry were married eleven days later. Even King Francis congratulated them. I don’t blame Jane for although she probably wanted to marry Henry, she didn’t have anything to do with these events and no control over the timing of her wedding. She also had undue pressure on her from the supporters of Mary, around whom a dangerous faction gathered, including Jane Boleyn and some major players at court, all hoping she would bring Henry back to the true faith and restore Mary to her father’s affection and the succession. They were to be disappointed for Henry would not undo the political and religious changes which had made him more powerful, no matter which faith his wife followed and he would only accept Mary back once she submitted to him. Even then Mary was only restored to the succession in 1544 when Henry went to war in France and was married to Katherine Parr.

  3. Why do people blame Jane? She had nothing to do with it, and I am pretty certain that, in the same situation, none of Henry’s wives would have behaved any differently. Anne Boleyn, I’m sure, would have married Henry a day after Katherine of Aragon had been disposed of; likewise for Katherine Howard after the removal of Anne of Cleves. Jane Seymour had very little choice in the matter, and it seems strange to me that she is attacked for becoming Henry’s wife.

    1. She’s not being attacked as we know she had no say in the matter, Henry wanted Anne out the way and her enemies aided in bringing her down, it’s the fact that she was a willing tool in how to behave towards the King to her and her family’s advantage, there’s something very callous about a woman who waits quietly in the wings waiting for the fall of one to who she had pledged her obedience and loyalty, maybe if it hadn’t been her it could well have been another but the fact remains she chose to go along with her family’s ambit ion to be queen and that also meant the destruction of her one time mistress, if Henry had not been King but just the kitchen lad and Jane the girl fron the dairy Annes death and their hasty betrothal and marriage would have resulted in a few knocks on the door, because he was King he got away with committing a most revolting murder not just once, but five times over.

      1. Hi Christine, apologies but my comment wasn’t in relation to this article specifically, but to other articles circulating across the web. It just baffles me that some people genuinely hold Jane Seymour responsible, at least partly, for what happened to Anne Boleyn. They seem to forget she was a sixteenth-century woman, with no power of her own. In fact, she was every bit as under Henry’s thumb as Anne was.

        I just question why people are quick to accuse and condemn Jane when her actions aren’t really that dissimilar to the ways in which Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard behaved – both were ladies-in-waiting to queens and both engaged in affairs with the king while he was married. And yet Jane is the one who seems to receive the harshest criticism. Was she any worse than these other women?

        1. Hi AB I know what you mean, it’s just the difference between Anne and Katherine was that she didn’t set out to steal Henry from her and ruin a marriage which was long since dead, and in fact did what she could to evade him, returning to her home in the country whenever she could, there was no plot to destroy her mistress and she only gave in after a year of hot pursuit by the King when it was obvious no other man would go near her as they daren’t offend him, with Anne Of Cleves and Catherine Howard, again Henry was seeking to wriggle out of his fourth marriage before he met the effervescent Catherine and the latter in fact was very fond of Anne, they became good friends and during the Christmas celebrations Henry retired to bed leaving Catherine and Anne dancing together, she also was very generous and when presented with some puppies she gave them to Anne, she was not keen on marrying Henry we have to remember she was a member of the illustrious house of Howard, she would make a good match anyway and no doubt she would have preferred a younger bridegroom, the fact that Henry noticed her and began courting her did not mean that was the end of his marriage to Anne Of Cleves as he just was so repelled by her, no doubt her ambitious relatives her uncle the Duke Of Norfolk saw a chance here to restore the family’s fortunes after Anne Boleyns fall, Henry proposed to her and Catherine herself being so young found the thought of being queen dazzling but no doubt felt some sympathy for Anne, after Henry had made clear his intentions how could his intended refuse, when the King of England proposes to you can you dare risk his displeasure by refusing this most greatest of honours? The difference with Jane is that she was like a vulture waiting to pounce, that may seem a bit harsh as she did not have any influence over Henrys actions toward his second wife, but she was unlike Anne and Catherine quite content to have an affair with him and watch the fall of her mistress whilst playing the simpering virgin, Agnes Strickland describes her behaviour as shameless, she was coached by her brothers on what to say to Henry and how to play the virtuous woman, she had to make herself look and appear more attractive than Anne, we do not know if Jane was aware if Henry was plotting to kill his wife but she had no qualms in becoming engaged to him the day after he had just had her murdered, this is why Jane out of all his wives does get more criticism than the others, she was a willing member of a nasty game to ruin a woman’s life, the fact that she was not responsible for her death does not make her look anymore attractive, in my eyes anyway.

  4. What I find to be the best vengeance is that Ann Boieyn’s beloved Elizabeth became the Second most popular and second longest reign to date. Elizabeth was proof that God knew all and saw all! I love that google recommended your page!!!!!

    1. I think you will find Elizabeth wasn’t as popular as her myth suggests because a close study of the sources show two northern rebellions which were devastating and almost successful, she was the constant target of plots, she put the country in danger from foreign attack and her refusal to marry made her government twitchy and paranoid and her nobles even more dangerous. In London and much of the South she appeared to be adored, but even here criticisms creeped in as time went on. Elizabeth was aware that she was both loved and hated in equal measure and constantly promoted her image in response. She was a great ruler, but her reign was not a golden age. It is, however, remarkable that it was Henry’s discarded daughters who were successful and built England and Wales up within a wider international setting.

    2. Remember what what Anne Boleyn said in Anne of Thousand Days “My Elizabeth will become Queen and she will be the better Queen than any son that you get Jane Seymour.
      She will rule a greater England than you ever did. Ans my blood will be well spend.t”
      Well Karma is a bitch.!

      1. Yes, great line from Anne of a Thousand Days, writing with hindsight, of course as Anne couldn’t possibly know her daughter would one day be Queen. Both Mary and Elizabeth did as good a job as possible, but we don’t know what sort of King or how great a King Edward would have been, as he was cut off at a few months short of his sixteenth birthday. He was already making his own policies and his diary shows many of the latter reforms had his ideas stamped on him. His reign can’t be properly judged as most of it was when he was in his minority. What we do know is he had begun to show himself to have firm ideas and great potential.

  5. I think when Anne said Elizabeth will be queen was a bit unrealistic as she was then deemed a bastard and Anne must have despaired at that, she was somehow cajoled into agreeing to the anullment of her marriage thus effectively removing her daughter from the succession, therefore had she and Henry had a slanging match she would not have bought the subject up at all, after the anullment she must have been so depressed at the thought of her beloved little girl being barred from what Anne thought of as her rightful inheritance, the fact that she did eventually become queen must have seemed well nigh impossible at the time, but become queen she did against some very great odds.

    1. Anne may have merely hoped Elizabeth would be Queen, but I doubt she seriously ever really believed it, even at the height of her power, because she too desired a son. The conversation in Anne of a Thousand Days never happened of course, but it does make a point from hindsight that Elizabeth would be a great Queen. It is a great dramatic devise, one of those scenes you wish would happen, but of course it is so unrealistic because Anne was now under a death sentence. Henry was away with Jane Seymour and Anne had been brided with false promises to agree that Elizabeth would now be a bastard as their marriage didn’t exist. There were many prophecies to do with Anne and Henry, most of them about disasters so maybe Anne dreamt Elizabeth would be Queen, even if she knew it could not be so. Anne would never see the reality of Elizabeth but I imagine she would have been proud. If Anne had lived and her son became King I imagine Anne would have helped to negotiate a fine marriage for Elizabeth and she would have a great reign as consort somewhere. Anne loved Elizabeth and is recorded as taking her even to audiences. Her heartbreak must have been complete knowing she would never see her little daughter again. It would be wonderful if she had a vision that Elizabeth would be Queen, but I believe Anne was far more likely to be making final preparations for her death to be making prophecy about Elizabeth.

      1. Yes she would have her sit next to her on a cushion and this embarrassed some of the court officials and foreign visitors, I think it’s a charming scene to imagine, the baby princess gurgling on a huge velvet cushion and Anne looking adoringly at her whilst trying to appear interested in what her companion was saying, she did have a strong maternal streak and took great delight in spending lots of money on her, she ordered several bonnets and dresses and other sundries and Elizabeth had to be fitted several times for one item, there is a story that says Anne wanted to breast feed her but I am not sure if that’s true, as Queen, Anne knew she would be given over to a wet nurse it was not fitting for queens to do that most natural of instincts, but we know Anne was not like other queens and could well have wanted to, of course Henry would not allow that, he had not been breast fed by his mother, but I feel that was daft as after a woman gives birth her breasts are full of milk for the child and they bound them which must have been quite uncomfortable, however it was the norm for many years, had her last child lived I’m sure he would have made a most controversial being like his parents, what would he have looked like we can only imagine, he would almost certainly have saved his tragic mother from an early death and Jane would have melted into the background, but probably not as Henry did have a fancy for her, I think Henry may well have divorced Anne or just maybe annulled their marriage which he did anyway, but he would not I think have had her killed on trumped up charges, I think he would have had her banished from court and he would still have married Jane, he was heartily fed up with Anne and her barbed comments and wanted out, but had her little baby lived Henry would not have gone down the route he chose, unfortunately in the words of one contemporary ‘she miscarried of her saviour,’ history is full of what if’s but we can never stop speculating.

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