On Tuesday 30th May 1536, King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, daughter of Sir John Seymour, soldier and courtier, and of Margery Wentworth, in the Queen’s Closet at York Place (Whitehall).
Henry and Jane had become betrothed on 20th May, the day after the execution of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and chronicler Charles Wriothesley actually dates their marriage to the 20th:
“Also the 20th daie of Maie d the King was maried secreetlie at Chelsey, in Middlesex, to one Jane Seymor, daughter to Sir John Seymor, knight, in the countie of Wilshire, late departed from this lief, which Jane was first a way ting gentlewoman to Queene Katherin, and after to Anne Bolleine, late Queene, also; and she was brought to White Hall, by Westminster, the 30th daie of Maie, and their sett in the Queene’s seate under the canapie of estate royall.”1
However, John Husee wrote to Lord Lisle on 31st May informing him that “The King was married yesterday in the Queen’s closet at York Place or Manor”.2 Edward Hall just writes that the couple married “the weke before Whitsontyde”.3
David Starkey believes that Henry VIII didn’t marry Jane immediately after their betrothal on the 20th “because the precipitance of his union ‘sounded ill in the ears of the people'” and that Jane had probably been kept in seclusion at Chelsea after their betrothal.4 Eustace Chapuys had reported on the day of Anne Boleyn’s execution:
“Although everybody rejoices at the execution of the putain, there are some who murmur at the mode of procedure against her and the others, and people speak variously of the King; and it will not pacify the world when it is known what has passed and is passing between him and Mrs. Jane Semel. Already it sounds ill in the ears of the people, that the King, having received such ignominy, has shown himself more glad than ever since the arrest of the putain […]”5
It was now time for Jane to take her place at Henry VIII’s side as his queen consort. Sir John Russell wrote to Lord Lisle:
“On Friday last [2nd June] the Queen sat abroad as Queen, and was served by her own servants, who were sworn that same day. The King came in his great boat to Greenwich that day with his privy chamber, and the Queen and the ladies in the great barge.”6
And Charles Wriothesley wrote of how, on the 4th June, Whitsunday, “the said Jane Seymor was proclaymed Queene at Greenewych, and went in procession, after the King, with a great traine of ladies followinge after her, and also ofred at masse as Queen, and began her howsehold that daie, dyning in her chamber of presence under the cloath of estate.”7
Also on this day in history…
- 1533 – On the night of 30th/31st May 1533 eighteen men were created Knights of the Bath at the Tower of London as part of Anne Boleyn’s coronation celebrations. Click here to read more.
Notes and Sources
- Wriothesley, Charles, A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559 Volume 1, p. 43.
- Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume X. 1000.
- Hall, Edward, Hall’s Chronicle, p. 819.
- Starkey, David (2003) Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, p. 591.
- LP X. 908.
- Ibid., 1047.
- Wriothesley, p. 44.