20 May 1536 – The Betrothal of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour

May20,2011 #Henry VIII #Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour

We can’t quite believe the news this morning – King Henry VIII became officially betrothed to the Lady Jane Seymour at 9am, just 24 hours after the execution of his former wife and queen, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn’s body isn’t cold in the ground yet and he is planning his next wedding, which is due to take place at the end of the month.

We are sickened by this news, which we heard from Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador. Chapuys said:-
“Mrs. Semel [Seymour] came secretly by river this morning to the King’s lodging, and… the promise and betrothal (desponsacion) was made at 9 o’clock. The King means it to be kept secret till Whitsuntide; but everybody begins already to murmur by suspicion, and several affirm that long before the death of the other there was some arrangement which sounds ill in the ears of the people; who will certainly be displeased at what has been told me, if it be true, viz., that yesterday the King, immediately on receiving news of the decapitation of the putain entered his barge and went to the said Semel, whom he has lodged a mile from him, in a house by the river.”1

We can confirm that there is definitely lots of muttering going on at court about the Lady Jane and the King and how he had arranged to marry her before Anne Boleyn was even tried and found guilty. Some are even saying that the French executioner was ordered before her trial and that rings true if we consider how long his journey must have been from Calais. There seems to be sympathy now for Anne Boleyn, albeit rather too late, and horror at the King’s actions.


  1. LP x.926, Chapuys to Granvelle, dated 20 May 1536

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24 thoughts on “20 May 1536 – The Betrothal of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour”
    1. What’s Henry vii got to do with anything? The article is about Henry Viii and Jane Seymour, not his father.

  1. -throws stuff frantically- King Henry was such a….. Oi. Calm yourself… I’m okay(: Well I believe that he loved Anne the most but was influenced by others that she was an adultress. Also in the last episode of The Tudors Season 2 when Henry is eating the one of two swans I think that symbolizes his child-ness and him trying to ‘eat away’ his love for Anne.

    1. ‘The Tudors’ made a plethora of mistakes, historically speaking, but this happens to be an event they got right. Henry had given Anne a pair of royal swans to symbolize their everlasting love – swans mate for life, you see. When their marriage went down the drain, he had one of the swans butchered and served to him, as a symbol of the destruction of their “everlasting love.”
      I’d say he was bitter, no?

  2. I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that he’s already going to get married again. He couldn’t even wait a few months out of respect of his (in my opinion better) wife. He really had it out for her. Is it true that while the execution was going on he was playing tennis? How can he consider himself a proper husband or King. I know Anne had enemies but even they had to be shocked at this latest news right? No one can be that heartless can they?

  3. What Henry VIII did NOT okay! Could´nt he have waited at least two of three months to show some respect to his former wife, before getting engaged to Jane seymour!


  4. Although people may have been horrified and disapproving (and rightly so,) I’m doubtful many people were shocked. Henry’s null marriage to Anne Boleyn occurred while Henry was still wed to Katherine of Aragon. At least he waited to be properly widowed before publicly enganging himself and marrying Jane instead of parading Jane as his new Queen Consort before Anne’s death. .

  5. King Henry VIII showed yet again that he wasn’t a kind man( almost heartless) who would have his way at any cost. Charles Dickens seemed to be so right about him. The purpose of this marriage with Jane Seymour and the other three child less ones proved to be so futile. It was Queen Anne who won in the end, with Elizabeth:)

  6. All I would be thinking was how long did I have to produce a male heir before I was killed. And if I was a lady at Henry’s court and he ever looked at me, I would have taken a nice long trip to France.

    1. I agree. I think Henry must have been an extremely glib, charismatic man (most sociopaths are.) His position and status as an annointed king (answerable only to God) meant that anything “wrong” with his marriages had to be his wives’ fault.

      It amazes me that Jane, a court veteran who had an up close and personal view of Henry’s two previous marriagesk had the courage to marry Henry. She had to realize her life and happiness hung in the balance.

      1. Please keep in mind the wives Henry got rid of, one way or the other, in a hurry were all commoners, and therefore, his subjects; there was no question that their fate was entirely in his hands. He never would have considered executing KoA, or Anne of Cleves, as they were foreign princesses.

  7. This is truly abhorent behavior on the part of the king and Jane. She is a culpable as he is. I can’t figure out what must have been going on in his mind those final days. What must he have felt–or did he feel anything? Remorse, guilt? Righteous indignation? Regret? Or just anticipation of his new wife and her pleasures.
    This is the beginning of his tyranny.

  8. Eveline, yes I always thought that was a beautiful outfit. I would not mind if someone made a copy of it for me!

  9. I think it is ovious, by now,that the king had a fully developed sociapathic personality, which carries no remorse for their actions or the consequences that they cause, can justify their behaviour however extreme,and have serious problems with others not seeing their ways as the correct ones. A lot of serial killers have this personality dis-order!!! Kind of fits the bill, what do you think?

  10. Jane was probably like a lot of other people … blaming Anne for changing “Bluff King Hal” into a monster, and thinking that with Anne gone, they would have the “old king” back. I can’t help wondering if her feelings changed when she realized that the religious changes (and the mistreatment of Mary) was Henry’s decision, not Anne’s fault.

  11. Next to Anne, I think I feel the most sympathy for Jane. Can you imagine standing by a man who just approved of his wife’s beheading and vowing to love, honor, and obey him? What must she have been thinking of standing there? We know he once put her in her place for even suggesting he do something he did not want to do, telling her to remember those who went before her. She must have felt a jolt throughout her body when he said that. Imagine living day to day, censoring each word and gesture; praying someone doesn’t tell your husband lies about you. Maybe when she was dying of childbed fever she even felt a little relieved to be going. Jane must have had nerves of steel to endure that kind of stress for as long as she did without running through the court screaming in terror. I once spent the last 2 months of a marriage gone bad wondering when I would be attacked verbally or physically and it takes a serious toll on a person both mentally and physically. The day I came home from work to find him packed and gone I literally felt the stress pour out of me; it only took me about an hour to get a locksmith to change the locks so he couldn’t get back in. To think that Jane – in fact all of Henry’s wives – lived in fear and stress is just unreal in that one man could cause such heartache without self acknowledge or accountability. Unbelievable, and yet his type of abuse – short of executions and inprisoments – happens even today. We really haven’t come very far in some areas where women are concerned have we? Many women are still living in that type of fear; makes you wonder if mankind will ever truly become a species of peace and love.We can only hope and pray.

    1. Most of what I have read about Jane, portray her as being a sweet, demur, butter wouldn’t melt, woman personified,but there are a few books that give a different perspective on her, and I tend to lean on their way of thinking. I think she was as scheming and conniving as her father and brothers, and knew what she was about. But, yes I agree she must have had a hard time making sure she didnt upset His Majesty, and her stress levels must have been through the roof, because I dont think even she realized the might of Henry’s temper, mood swings and power, until it was too late. If she thought she could change a man with a personality disorder like his she was greatly mistaken. Glad to hear that you are also shut of a bully of a man. Hope things look up for you. Regards.

      1. Dawn, I agree in your assessment of Jane’s personality; but she could have been a woman of remarkable strength and still she would have lived in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing or of someone telling lies about her. If she had lived and given Henry another daughter instead of a son, I shutter to think of what fear she would have had to live in.

        Anjd yes, my life now is absolutely wonderful. A husband who, next to my Dad, is the most loving and respectful man I’ve ever met, two stepdaughters who love me as a second mother, and 3 grandchildren who run to greet me with hugs and kisses – it just doesn’t get any better than this. Today I broke a tooth, and as it’s a holiday, no dentist so I took a pain pill and on waking found that my husband had cancelled his plans (made weeks ago) to stay home and do all the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, all the house work that had been ignored due to a hectic schedule last week so that I would not have to worry about it tomorrow. I am blessed, so who cares about a broken tooth!

        1. Hi Shoshana

          ITs a shame she didnt live long enough for us to find out. Maybe it was some kind of devine intervension her dying after the birth of Edward, to save her from the grief that would have come eventually with being married to a tyrant.

          As for the ‘new’ hubby could I borrow him!!! Only joking mines pretty ok too.

  12. Jane was a strong woman, she knew her interests. I think she knew how to stay alive and when she forgot, Henry reminded her (remember the occassion when he reminded her of the fate of those before her…the only time he made a reference to Anne at all). She died tragically in my opinion and it was unfortunate that Edward didn’t live to be the king his father dreamed of. Things would have been very different, as they would have been for Anne if she had her baby boy alive..

  13. So, the executioner could have been on his way before her trial? Just when I thought I couldn’t be more upset by Anne’s execution…

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