20th May 1536 – The Queen’s Replacement

Posted By on May 20, 2012

The 19th May 1536 saw a queen of England executed, it was a day that shook the world, but it was followed the next day by another shocking event: the betrothal of King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour! Talk about moving fast!

You can read more information in my article on The Fall of Anne Boleyn timeline – click here

22 thoughts on “20th May 1536 – The Queen’s Replacement”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I think he was a callous man who like others who are self serving can always cast themselves as the wronged party and weep tears of self pity. This just demonstrates how easily he was able to divorce himself from the reality of his actions and yes, I do believe he had Jane as Anne’s replacement long before Anne was executed. One only has to look at how he treated Katherine and Mary, who truly did not deserve it. Ironically, I think Anne indirectly contributed to her own downfall in as much as this: As a result of his liaison with Anne, Henry turned from someone who was reasonably ‘law abiding’ and proud of his chivalric values into someone who realised e could bend the rules and break them with little consequence to himself (when he broke links with Rome, set himself up as head of England in all matters spiritual and temporal etc). Once he had crossed the line and realised he was absolute master in his own realm to dispose of people as he wished, it was only a matter of time before she herself would fall victim and she knew it. She was playing a game with high stakes and she lost and paid a terrible price. The only thing that would have saved her was delivering a son and keeping her mouth shut about Henry’s liaisons with other women. What he did to Anne was awful and I can’t imagine her anguish at leaving her baby daughter in a world where she was reviled. One also has to ask what kind of a woman was Jane Seymour? She sounds to me as though she was a cold, calculating fish who was quite happy to get engaged when Anne’s body was not even cold. Certainly not the meek and mild woman we have been led to believe. I think Jane was a bitch. Some might say Anne deserved it and that what goes around comes around but I think Anne’s behaviour Katherine and Mary stemmed from deep insecurity and even jealousy but Jane’s behaviour I find much harder to excuse as it was all planned out. It is as well she died giving birth as who knows what would have happened to her too when the day came that Henry was bored or she displeased him!

    1. miladyblue says:

      Jane DID displease Henry, when she begged him to restore the monastaries – apparently, he lost his temper with her, and told her to remember her place, or she would end up like the one before her or something like that.

      Henry was a spoiled, selfish brat, period. A very dangerous trait coupled with the absolute power of the crown.

    2. Elyssa says:

      Honestly, this being a website dedicated to the memory of Anne Boleyn I understand sometimes that we become passionate about the events leading up to her death and of course Henrys actions afterwards. Remember we are discussing events that happened with royalty nearly 500 years ago therefore, I can’t help but feel offended that you would call Jane a “Bitch”! Thats is a terrible way to talk about a long dead historical figure. Like it or not, not everyone who admires Anne Boleyn automatically hates Jane. ALL of Henry’s wives deserve our respect for being married to a monster, despite our differences in opinion over character traits.

      1. Claire says:

        I agree with Elyssa. We don’t have to take sides, Team Anne versus Team Jane. I don’t think that Jane had any more choice in what happened to her than Anne did. Yes, Jane knew that a lady-in-waiting could capture a King’s heart and become queen, because Anne had already done it, but I don’t see that it was her idea to go after the King. It appears that her brothers, Bryan and Carew coached her and used her, and she was a lowly woman with no choice but to do what her family and elders were telling her to.

        1. Elyssa says:

          You said exactly as I was thinking. I don’t think Jane was all mild and meek but I also don’t think she was cold and calculating either. Everyone at that point must have known how Anne captured the king and she was coached to do the same, I also find Jane somewhat interesting cause there is so little evidence about her, seriously I do wonder how she felt about stepping into anne’s shoes since at that point Henry was becoming the tyrant of legend. How scary!! I also agree with Emma, If Jane did not produce Edward and died, Henry would have come up with some excuse to get rid of her and her whole family and blaming everyone else for his marital problems and lack of heirs. I wonder sometimes why he just did not give up and marry off Mary to some courtier of his choice to produce a grandson to inherit the throne just in case? In the end I blame Henry for all the tragedy that occured because of his selfish desire to have his way! Anywho Charles and Camilla are in my city today and they are not far from my house so I am gonna go try to catch a peek:)

        2. Baroness Von Reis says:

          Claire,I so agree with you,as Henry would have gotten rid of Quee Jane,I can see it right now,if Edward 1 died when Henry was alive then died ,omg Henry would have gone bolistic on Jane .I don’t have sides with any of them,we want to know everything about all.I do so admire Queen Katherine Parr a kind Queen and new how, to leave with her head still on her person.I really think she was a kind genial Queen.Thank God henry did not take anymore wives.

      2. Elizabeth says:

        I did not mean Jane was a bitch as in a personal insult rather that her behaviour was that of someone who could be described as such. Perhaps I did not express it better. I think any woman who was quite happy to get engaged whilst another woman’s blood had not yet dried on a scaffold block without at least trying to show some restraint or asking for a period of time to elapse was not all that. It isn’t that I am vehemently on Anne’s side as I think Anne’s treatment of Katherine was awful and showed a not very nice side but I have read that Jane was awfully smug following Anne’s death/betrothal to Henry. Given her sympathies, I have no doubt that she was secretly glad Anne was dead. I also agree with the comments below that Jane’s fate could have been similar if she hadn’t produced a son because Henry did express disappointment that she was not pregnant soon after marriage. It was a bloody age and executions would have been commonplace so perhaps the gore factor did not bother Jane but I do have a feeling she was rather pitiless once her star was in the ascendancy as Anne had been before her.

        1. margaret says:

          no doubt jane would have ended up the same way as for katherine parr she came very close to “upsetting “henry at one stage and was clever enough to get herself out of trouble quickly and also didnt she outlive henry

        2. Claire says:

          Yes, Katherine Parr died in September 1548 so outlived Henry VIII, who died in January 1547. I do wonder if Elizabeth Norton was write when she claimed that Henry might have been testing Katherine and that he allowed her to survive the plot against her when she passed his test and submitted to him. Hmmm…

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Ah yes but that was still early on when he hadn’t had chance to be annoyed by her in other ways. I mean when the shine had worn off so to speak. She didn’t really live long enough to be much of a drag as far as Henry was concerned and still held the promise of begetting a male heir.

  3. Emma H says:

    I think you have summed it up nicely Elizabeth. Shortly after his marriage to Jane when she had not fallen pregnant,(which both Catherine & Anne had done quickly despite their inability to produce an heir) Henry was reported to have become bored with Jane. There are reports of him complimenting two ladies by saying they were so pretty he wished he had met them before he married and that he was now looking to grandchildren to supply his heir. I wonder what excuse Henry would use to get rid of Jane if she had failed to produce a son ? I can see a scenario where Jane and her family were blamed for tricking Henry into executing Anne and her family and coming to the same end. Or Henry becoming bethrothed to a new lady before Jane had finished packing for the nunnnery.

  4. linda saether says:

    Claire’s new book brings the speed of Anne Boleyn’s fall into alarming clarity. How Henry could justify his betrothal to Jane Seymour within 24 hours of Anne’s death is also incomprehensible. Henry was a complex man, but how he justified what happened in May of 1536 will always be a mystery. We will never know how he really felt, although his actions speak for themselves.

  5. Aynne says:

    What an interesting twist, Emma. Yes, I can see him displeased with Jane in a short time as she did not have the electric spirit of Anne which had kept him interested over time. I like the strategy you suggest that he had an easy and immediate out if Jane hadn’t produced the heir by blaming the Seymours for tricking him for Anne — because this would have given him complete justification to make it up to the Howards by marrying Catherine Howard!!

  6. Esther says:

    IMO, Jane Seymour may well have faced an unpleasant fate if she did not have a boy … she shared with Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn the Scriptural view that “G-d is G-d”, instead of the king’s view, which seems to have been “Henry is G-d” (or, at least, “G-d’s will is whatever Henry says it is”. Also, like Anne, Jane had no influential foreign relatives/allies. That Charles “backed” the Seymour faction to bring down Anne doesn’t mean that Charles wouldn’t have turned on Jane if it suited his policies to do so …. Jane, after all, wasn’t a close relative, as Catherine was.

    1. Missy says:

      Ive always agreed that Henry only admired Jane “the most” because she had a son and SHE died, henry was grieving more over his loss of control than the actual loss of Jane. She didnt shine anymore than the others. Anne was his Passion.

      1. mrsratcliff3 says:

        I agree with you whole heartedly. Anne was his passion.

  7. Elyssa says:

    I have to agree with Missy,Emma. Henry was grieving over his loss of control instead of losing Jane as a wife, lover etc. Whenever I read about these events of 1536 it makes my blood boil over how obvious an injustice it was to put 6 people to death at the whim of a spoiled man-child. Obviously we have different opinions about specific events and people but thats what makes this so much more interesting!

  8. Dawn 1st says:

    Her son would have kept Jane on the throne beside Henry until the end, and have saved her from any dangers, how ever bored he became with her, and her dying in childbirth saved her from having to bear the downside of life with Henry as a husband. And even though I don’t think she was an ‘innocent by-stander’ on her climb to become Queen, living a long life with Henry with his moods and behavior or dying in childbirth are not the best of choices to have.

  9. margaret says:

    did jane like anne have a choice when henry eye fell upon her or did she have no choice whatsoever like the rest of them

    1. Claire says:

      I don’t think Jane had much of a choice. She was coached by Sir Nicholas Carew to appeal to Henry VIII and would have been encouraged by her brothers.

      1. epiphany says:

        This supposes Henry noticed Jane first, then everything else happened. But what if Jane, coached by Carew and her family went about making herself into what they knew Henry wanted most (at that moment) – that exact opposite of Anne – for the specific purpose of attracting him? Henry may not have known Jane was even alive until then. Jane doesn’t seem so much like the innocent pawn, then, does she?
        My personal opinion of Jane is that she was a plain, uptight girl who never received any attention from boys/men, and was quite bitter about it. When the chance presented itself for her to go from no suitors to the ultimate suitor, her chance to “one up” all the pretty girls that surrounded her was too much to resist.
        Henry absolutely would have grown bored with her, and in fact, probably was shortly after their marriage. What he really wanted was a somewhat less caustic Anne Boleyn who could give him a passel of sons, not a dull mouse like Jane. If Jane had survived Edward’s birth, he certainly would have kept her as his Queen, but he would have a string of mistresses, sure that Jane would know enough to look the other way.

  10. wendy says:

    Who really knows what Jane was thinking. For a long time I didn’t care for the woman who replaced Anne in Henry’s heart, but after reading how women were treated during this time, I changed my opinion. Jane had to do as her family wanted, she didn’t have a choice, men ruled all especially women who weren’t treated any better than cattle. I am sure Henry made sure that Jane believed the lies about Anne so if Jane appeared to be haughty then it is surely understandable. I agree with those who say Henry would have tired of Jane had she lived, son or not. I do not believe Henry loved Jane. He may have cared for her, but the ONLY thing Henry cared about or loved was having a son and he was determined to get one any way he could. No woman was going to stand in his way of that happening. It became his passion and obsession; love was not going to interfere in any way, shape, or form.

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