On this day in history, the 20th May 1536, Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, wrote to Seigneur de Granvelle informing him of the latest developments in London:-

“Has just been informed, the bearer of this having already mounted, that Mrs. Semel [Seymour] came secretly by river this morning to the King’s lodging, and that 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.”

From this one letter we know that as soon as the King heard that Anne Boleyn was dead he was on his way to see his new love and that at 9am on the 20th May, just one day after the execution of his previous wife, Henry VIII and Jane Seymour became officially betrothed. Talk about moving fast! Chapuys also makes the point that there was gossip about the King’s relationship long before Anne’s death, which, although Anne was not the most popular of people, caused ill feeling and sympathy for Anne’s plight.

I suspect that Henry VIII saw nothing wrong with his actions as, after all, he was acting in the best interest of his country by providing England with a new Queen to give him a son and heir. What did it matter that he was planning a wedding while his actual wife was in the Tower condemned to die? Henry had probably convinced himself that his marriage to Anne Boleyn was as cursed as his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and that he was doing the world a favour by getting rid of her. Henry could move on to a new love and a new life, but Anne had been denied that chance. It is no wonder that Henry neglected his daughter Elizabeth for a time, how could he look into those dark eyes and not think of the woman he had fought so hard to possess but had ended up killing?


L&P x.926

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9 thoughts on “20th May 1536 – Anne Replaced by Jane”
  1. That says it all doesn’t it? Like a schoolyard bully Henry finally got what he wanted, chase/game over, on to the next. It was sickening and I’m sure quite disheartening to the people living in England at the time. Another example of Henry’s barbarity.

  2. Although I feel sympathy for Anne in most respects, this action just seems outragous. Jane probably had no choice, I am sure – but really, he was publicly shaming Anne! Poor girl. I’m sure that she would have guessed, though, that she would be forgotten and replaced much more swiftly in her husbands’ eyes than everyone else’s.

  3. There came day when Henry was tiring of Jane, when she tried to do a Queen Phillippa, to intercede with Henry about the Pilgrimage of Faith victims – she was not yet pregnant and he growled at her to “mind her place”! It was only when she gave him his beloved son that re-elevated her and she was not well -treated in childbirth or after. That sickly and revoltingly over-pious youth was Jane’s raison d’etre, in Henry’s eyes

  4. Hi!

    I have enjoy reading your daily posts on the subject of Annes execution, especially about people knowing of Henrys relationship toJane. I didn’t know that people in common objected to what happened to Anne and I would love to read more on the reactions on the kings swift wedding. These last few days have made me think more and more on what made Henry choose Jane after having had to stong and intelligent wifes. I find it hard to believe that Henry would fall for a woman – that he would make his wife – if there wasn’t something special about her. I havn’t found out what’s so special about Jane (yet?) and It puzzles me.

    Thanks for posting photos of your AB experience. It sounds fantastic.

  5. There was something special about Jane. She kept her opinions to herself. After two intelligent wives, probably more intelligent than him, Henry wanted a submissive wife. Jane was the perfect choice.
    The way he did it though…Going to Jane on the day he executed Anne?…That was as cold as it gets.

  6. Jane Seymour was more docile on the surface but she worked behind the scenes to help Elizabeth and Mary with much needed clothing and to become close to their father again. To King Henry she was just an incubator for his much desired son.

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