The Whitehall Mural showing Henry VIII's parents and he and the woman he believed to be his first true wife, Jane Seymour.
The Whitehall Mural showing Henry VIII’s parents and he and the woman he believed to be his first true wife, Jane Seymour.

Following their betrothal on 20th May 1536, the day after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour, on Tuesday 30th May 1536 in the Queen’s Closet at York Place (Whitehall).

We call Jane Seymour Henry VIII’s third wife, but in Henry’s eyes she was his “first true wife” because his previous marriages had been invalid. Henry had high hopes for this marriage, he believed that this time he had got it right, and when Jane gave birth to a son on 12th October 1537 he took that as a sign of God’s blessing.

Queen Jane’s first public appearance was on the 2nd June 1536 and this was recorded by Sir John Russell in a letter 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.”

Jane was then officially proclaimed Queen at Greenwich Palace on 4th June 1536, Whitsun. Of course, Whitsun three years previously had been all about another queen, it had been the day of the coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn.

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9 thoughts on “30 May 1536 – The Wedding of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour”
  1. I believe there is a painting showing Henry and Jane Seymour together with a grown up Mary, Elizabeth and Edward painted after Jane’s death supposedly showing Henry’s “perfect” family. Do you know if this painting is displayed somewhere please?

    1. There’s the one at Hampton Court Palace, with Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward, plus the royal fools – see – and then there’s The Family of Henry VIII: An Allegory of the Tudor Succession painting which is attributed to Lucas de Heere and was allegedly made for Francis Walsingham. It’s in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff – see

  2. Thank you – it is the luminarium one. I forgot about the monkey!

    My children at school are learning about Tudor England as one of their topics – they seem to be very interested!

    1. I used to be a teacher and the two history topics the children always enjoy are the Tudors and the Romans. I’m glad that they’re enjoying it.

  3. I always find it quite strange that many historians read the period that Henry was married to Jane backwards (that is, knowing that it would end in the birth of Edward in late 1537) and treat it as a period of calm and contentment after so much marital strife. While Jane may have seemed a more ‘compliant’ wife, given that she didn’t conceive until the start of 1537, this left the second half of 1536 with Henry having no legitimate heir at all (and following Henry Fitzroy’s death, not even a dubious male heir), which with the appearance of the Pilgrimage of Grace must have made for a very anxious time. Rather than turning things around, for a few months after his new marriage, it must have seemed that things had gotten even worse in the second half of 1536 than they had been before.

    1. I don’t think historians do that. Marriage-wise, Henry definitely thought that he’d got things right at long last and in his personal life it was a period of calm. Jane was definitely more ‘compliant’ than Anne and accepted Henry’s warnings re not getting involved in politics etc. However, looking at Henry’s reign, it was a difficult period for him with the Pilgrimage of Grace and Bigod’s Rebellion. He must have felt that the challenges were never going to end. Suzannah Lipscomb talks about 1536 being Henry VIII’s “annus horribilis” because of Anne’s fall, the autumn rebellion and the fact that all three of his children were illegitimate and then he lost his son in the July, all things that he saw as challenges to his masculinity and authority. 1536 was a tough year.

  4. Jane and Henry could have lived long and happy, had the poor lady not died from perpetural fever; that is septisemia in her womb, then she may well have given Henry the peaceful home life that he craved. Jane did bring his two daughters back to court,even though Mary had to sign a document that her mother’s marriage was not valid, and she provided clothes and other gifts for little Elizabeth. Jane may have been compliant and not showed her teeth or temper as Anne had done, but she was also wise and knew how to be compliant in a way that got results. She did not give up when Henry first told her that she was foolish to worry about Mary; but said that she only wanted the peace and contentment of his heart and kingdom. Jane tried to rescue some monastic houses without much success, and learnt that Henry had a temper himself. Having said this, she was what he wanted in a wife and she is described as being his first true love and Henry was said to ‘have come into heaven, out of hell’ when he married her.

    Jane gave Henry his heart’s desire. I believe that had she lived then she would have had more healthy children and reversed some of the damage that the last ten years had done to Henry while he went through the divorce and three years of hell wih Anne. That is how he saw his marriage to Anne and it was commented on at the time. Henry was to blame Anne for many of his decisions over the last few years and his personality certainly changed during this time. Jane could have given him some peace; and we do not know, but it is likely that he would have settled down, without changing into the tyrant he was to come during his last eight years of life.

  5. It seems that the wedding was quite ‘low key’, and I presume there was a wedding feast after, plus all the joviality and ceremony of putting the Bride and Groom to bed with each other, but I wonder if this merriment was a little strained and forced, considering the events of the last month, the fact it was only 11 days since Anne’s execution, even though there were those who disliked Anne and her family, it must have sent shock waves through the court on the outcome of her fall, and it must have still being hanging in the air.

    I often wonder if Jane herself felt her happiness in her marriage to Henry a bit subdued and restraint by the very recent events. She was married in the same Palace as Henry and Anne had been, it was the Palace that was re-vamped and a favourite of Henry and Anne, (have I got that right?) with the same furnishings too, I presume. Was she sat in the same chair at her wedding feast that Anne would have used, was she about to get into a bed with Henry that Anne had shared with him, both barely cold from Anne vacating them…if I had been Jane it would have made me very nervous about the yoke I had just put my neck in, as Anne was not a ‘Ghost’ easily put to rest, considering her bloody end…it actually gives me the shivers.

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