24 October 1537 – Death of Queen Jane Seymour

Just twelve days after giving birth to a baby boy, Prince Edward and the future Edward VI, Queen Jane Seymour died of suspected puerperal fever (childbed fever) at Hampton Court Palace. She had done her duty as queen, but it had cost her her life.

Jane had seemed fine after the birth even though it had been a long and arduous labour, but shortly after Edward’s christening on 15th October fever and delirium set in. The fever reached crisis point on 17th October and it was hoped that she had beaten it, but it returned and this time she couldn’t fight it. She died on the night of 24th October 1537.

On 13th November 1537, Jane Seymour was laid to rest in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, to be joined by her husband, Henry VIII, in 1547. Legend has it that her body was buried there but that her heart was buried in the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace. RIP Jane.

You can read more about Jane in the following articles:

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14 thoughts on “24 October 1537 – Death of Queen Jane Seymour”
  1. Rumors circulated around Europe for years that Henry had let her die from neglect, or in exchange for Edward, but there is no evidence of that at all. Apparently everything medicine could do (admittedly not a lot) was done.

  2. It breaks my heart to read about how Jane died giving birth to her beloved son who lived for almost 16 years. Did H8 and her family truly mourn her and did her son remember his mother with respect through out his life.I have a feeling that Jane would choose her son’s life over hers regarsless of the consequences.

  3. Poor Jane, how heartbreaking to die before you get to know your own child. I suppose my only comfort is that she was probably so delirious with fever that she wouldn’t have known she was dying and it would have been painless.

    RIP Jane xxx

  4. I have always felt a great deal of sympathy for Jane Seymour. Some see her as the other woman who encouraged Henry to rid himself of Anne Boleyn and prehaps she did; but what choice did she have once he turned his attention to her? A woman might be able to refuse to bed with him but she would be foolish to refuse his attention and decline a marriage proposal. Once Henry was crossed he did not forgive and forget and if Jane wanted out of the relationship it would have been at the expense of her family’s well being and prosperity. Henry would have found an excuse to “punish” the Seymours somehow,some way. If she did not love him – and I must say I doubt that she did simply because of the way he treated his prior queens would make her more afraid than loving – she lived a life of tremendous stress in always having to act the part. Once she gave birth to her son,she must have felt a great relief to know he was healthy and that finally, Henry had the heir he desired above all else. How sad she could not then reap the rewards of being the heir’s mother; Henry would have set her on a pedestal – at least for awhile until he remembered he should have a spare and if she could not give him another son, I wonder what her fate would have been then? What ifs – I love them!

    1. Yes, of course she had a choice – I’m so tired of the excuse that Jane – or any woman- couldn’t refuse herself to Henry. Anne and Jane both knew what they were doing. If there’s one thing all historians agree on, it’s that Henry was unfailingly chivalrous, and was never a brute when it came to women. He was King, and lived in a time when men could beat their wives with impunity. For all the aggravation he thought KoA and Anne heaped on him, he NEVER once struck them. They lived their lives in public, we would know if this happened. Henry was a romantic fool; I don’t know about the other wives, but Anne and Jane played him like virtuosos. They became what he wanted, at the time he wanted it, and he fell for it.

  5. It’s true, what Shoshana says, once Henry set his sights on a lady there wasn’t a lot she could do about it but hope for the best, even though she or her family may have encouraged it. It was a game of Russia roulette, and out of the six of them only one seems to have faired well, Anne of Cleeves.
    It is such a shame that over the years that these ‘Ladies’ have been portrayed by historians as one dimensional beings.
    Katherine of Aragon as a paragon of goodness
    Anne Boleyn as the dark, attractive intelligent lady of all things bad
    Jane Seymore as a sweet ‘Doormat’ elevated above all others because she died giving Henry his much wanted son.
    Anne of Cleeves the ‘ugly’ unrefind one
    Catherine Howard the silly sexually promiscuous girl
    Catherine Parr who mothered his children and nursed the aging King.
    To me there is a small element of truth in these basic suppositions, but in reality all of these ladies had a lot more hidden depths to them, which are at last becoming recognised, by better research and sites such as this, rather just being a good or bad wife of Henry.
    I too think it was a great pity that Jane didn’t live to benefit from giving birth to Edward, as I feel she worked hard along with her family to get where she did, and it is also a great pity that yet another child of Henry’s became motherless.
    But even in death she didn’t escape him, as he was buried beside her, poor thing :), and their burial site has been ‘interfered’ with, neglected, and badly damaged in the past, so even in death there seems to be no rest when Henry’s involved….

    1. So agree – I find the one dimensional characters of these ladies to irksome, as well as completely inaccurate. Yes, KoA was very intelligent, very regal, and IMO, sincerely love Henry. She was also obstinate and bull headed. It had been drummed into her head since childhood that she was destined to be Queen of England; she would have never given that up, even if it meant lying, either in 1502 with the death of Prince Arthur, or in 1531 when her marriage to Henry was annulled.
      Anne Boleyn was outspoken, candid, headstrong and an incorrigable flirt, but she wasn’t a witch, a -itch, or a murderess. She tried her best to avoid Henry; she never wanted (intitally) what her ;life turned into, and yes, she probably played henry in the beginning, and used him to exact revenge on Wolsey. She did eventually grow to love him. Her fatal mistake was promising, PROMISING Henry that she would give him a son. He had his hopes so built up that when Elizabeth was born, he felt as if he had been lied to.
      Jane was likely not the innocent piece of fluff she pretended to be. Could such a colorless, dour woman get the attention of a vital man like Henry? Not likely. The anti-Boleyn faction at court began poisoning his mind against Anne, convincing him he needed the “proper” kind of 16th century woman; meek, quiet, obedient, one who doesn’t need the adoration of the men around her. They stick mousy little Jane under his nose – voila. And she didn’t really reconcile Henry with Mary – Mary had to sign Henry’s supremacy paper first, declaring herself a bastard, THEN Henry agreed to reconcile. IMO Jane was a bitter woman who watched as the pretty girls around her were surrounded by suitors, and she was ignored. Suddenly the greatest matrimonial prize in England begins courting her – what revenge on all those pretty girls.
      Ironically, AoC was probably Henry’s best chance to get a nursery full of healthy children. Anne was a big, strapping girl who was built to have babies. Henry, unfortunately, was attracted to tiny, frail women that had a hard time birthing the undoubtedly large babies he sired. Too bad she was repulsed by him when he disguised himself and grabbed her unawares – he turned the whole thing back on her, and made her sound repulsive to protect his ego.
      Kathryn Howard was a child out of her depth, and she was made a pawn in Henry’s midlife crisis. Never in his life had he been attracted to pubescent girls – even when he was a teenager himself. Suddenly, he’s making a fool of himself with this child – can you image the court laughing behind his back? He even passed the Queen Consort Act, giving Kathryn more power and freedom that any English Queen had ever known. Like her cousin, however, Kathryn was in love with another man when she caught the king’s eye, and she wouldn’t let him go.
      Catherine Parr puts the lie to anyone who says a women had no choice if Henry wanted her; CP made Henry wait for months before she answered his proposal; she was certainly under no pressure to respond. Again, Henry was chasing after a woman who was already in love with someone else, and CP went on the marry him 4 months after Henry’s death.
      I would LOVE to see a historical work explored KoA’s politcal savvy and formidable power of dissemblng, Anne’s real effort to avoid becoming entangled with Henry, Jane’s bitterness fueled ambition, Kathryn’s childhood neglect, and CP’s dormant passions. These are sides to these women we never see explored.

  6. RIP Jane Seymour…

    As I have read more in Tudor history and the wives of Henry VIII and his children I have come to have a sympathy and admiration for Jane, and I agree with Shoshana she woudve been a fool to refuse his attentions and marriage, she knew that. She wasn’t as naivee or as “plain” as people think. it took a great deal of courage to send Lady Bryan that necklace for little Elizabeth to have clothes – come on she was Annes daughter. Jane could have ignored the child because of her mother, her father surely did but no she choose to care for Elizabeth and for Mary reuniting her with her father. I think Henry VIII loved her, surely Mary did and Elizabeth may have only been 2-3 at the time but I dont think age matters when it comes to remembering someone that kind. Jane was intelligent enough to go along with Henry, to not anger him, she handled him well. Catherine did it better, but than Catherine had 24 years of marriage and a life of training. Sorry if my rambling makes no sense, my point is I admire Jane and pray she has found her way into several more lives and that her impact on History never dies.

  7. sad as it was for jane ,it was a dangerous thing childbirth with the always dreaded puerperal fever,my great grandmother gave birth to a little son who died a week old,she then died herself 12 days after the birth ,leaving behind her young husband and a little girl,{my grandmother} at barely 2 yrs old ,all for the want of antibiotics probably.

  8. I never really liked Jane thinking of her as rather cold and emotionless as she had no pity for Anne, Elizabeth Norton says she was trying on her wedding gown as Anne was preparing for her death, how you could agree to marry some one when she knew he was about to cut his former wife’s head of il never know, she must have been very brave to go through with it, however hard I try I just can’t like the woman as she comes across rather sneaky to me, I do feel sorry for her early death tho and she was good in reconciling Henry with both his daughters.

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