On this day in Tudor history, 4th June 1536, Whitsun, Jane Seymour was officially proclaimed queen at Greenwich.

Jane was Henry VIII’s third wife and this proclamation took place just over two weeks after the execution of her predecessor, Anne Boleyn.

Find out more about what happened on this day in 1536 in this video:

If you’re interested in my book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, you can find out more at http://getbook.at/fallanneboleyn. It’s available as a paperback, kindle e-book and audiobook.

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5 thoughts on “4 June 1536 – A new queen is proclaimed”
  1. John Russell reported how Jane had been shown around to the population on 2nd June, so this was really her full coming out party, her official proclamation as Queen on Whit Sunday, 4th June, 1536. Was this calculated as Anne was crowned on Whit Sunday, 1st June, 1533?

    Jane processed in regalia and with a great train of ladies, many of whom had served Anne and was presented to the entire Court as Queen. Jane would never be crowned, but she would in the coming days receive a River Pageant, many entertainments and become more worthy in the eyes of the people. Jane wasn’t universally accepted because of the fact that she had stepped into Anne’s shoes the day after her execution. Henry had become betrothed to Jane the very next day and married eleven days later. The people in London murmured against her marriage with the Queen but as Jane was seen more and more with her crown and regalia as the new Queen, the more people were won over. People love a spectacle and Henry gave them one. Jane was triumphant and crowds came out to watch and rejoice. She certainly didn’t seem phased at all, although we have no record of how she felt. Either she was cold hearted and felt nothing about the fate of the woman she had replaced or she felt a rush and mix of emotions. Jane may have felt joy, trepidation, uncertainty, elation, concern, relief that it was now her day and of course triumph. However, now she was Queen and would rule her household strictly, replacing the French hood with the English gable hood. Apparently Jane could be a hard task master and she had a mission. But for now as the couple departed for a honeymoon and hunting, Jane’s speciality, she was gifted with 105 hunting lodges and houses as part of her marriage portion.

    Jane has been unfairly treated by those who favour Anne Boleyn because it was in order to marry her that Henry had Anne executed. I do believe Jane may have gone along with the manipulation of the situation by her family, but she wasn’t a pawn. Jane saw her way to the crown in the same way Anne did, a holy calling. Jane reminded Henry that his marriage to Anne was unpopular, she reached out to Princess Mary and asked for her to come to Court. Henry told her she was a fool and she should look to their own children. Jane’s recorded response was anything but foolish. She pacified the King by telling him she only had his happiness and that of his people in mind, which the return of Mary would bring. Jane was carefully coached by Sir Nicholas Carew, who cared for her during Anne’s imprisonment and her family and supporters favoured Mary, but Jane was also cautious. Henry would only reconcile with his eldest daughter if she accepted that his marriage to her mother wasn’t lawful and his title as Head of the Church. Threatened by his men on a visit to enforce compliance, Mary submitted with the help of Cromwell and Chapuys. Jane was then able to write to her stepdaughter and she organised a visit with her father. In July Mary came to Court and was welcomed back again. Jane also decided it was her mission to do all she could to try and stop the Reformation, to keep Henry as Catholic as possible and to try and save the religious houses. However, she was shrewd enough to adopt a humble attitude and she didn’t act at first. She had observed Henry long enough to know the time wasn’t right. Jane may later miscalculate the King’s commitment to the Dissolution but she took the risk anyway. The real Henry emerged. Jane was sharply warned not to interfere and remember the fate of her predecessor. Anne had been executed for acting less like a wife and Queen Consort, she was acting like a haughty mistress or Queen Regnant. Well she was crowned with Saint Edward ‘s crown. What did he expect?

  2. Anne’s household must have felt they were living in a surreal world where one day they were serving one queen, and the next another one, the arrest trial and execution of Anne Boleyn had happened with lightening speed before anyone had the chance to draw breath, and I should imagine they felt absolutely disgusted with their king and his bride, Jane had been in the late queens household to and was so quiet she faded into the walls, of no great beauty wit or talent, somehow this plain Jane managed to snare the king away from his dazzling tempestuous wife, whom he had loved for so long, they had become engaged the day after Anne’s execution whilst her body was still warm in its grave, and she had appeared as queen a few days before at Greenwich, now she was officially queen and those who had served the late queen, now curtseyed and bowed before her, it was a strange set of affairs, there is often loyalty to the cast aside wife and the manner of how she was treated, culminating in her shocking death would not have endeared Jane to them, Chapyus had called her haughty and it seems her only saving Grace was her deep love for the Lady Mary and that she was a Catholic, however it was Henry V111 who determined when they should marry, Jane may have been content to wait a year for convention and decency’s sake, but once determined on anything the king wished to hurry it through, and I think his urgency was more to do with his last accident when it was feared he would die, he had no son still and then Anne sadly and tragically miscarried, now he was desperate to marry Jane and get a son on her, those poor unfortunate wives of Henry V111, they were merely breeding machines, no different than cows in a field, Lady Jane Viscountess Rochford was the late queens sister in law, there must have been some resentment towards the woman who had supplanted her and whose death had occurred with her husbands so she could step into her shoes, there was Anne’s aunt uncle and cousin, Sir James Boleyn who had served as her chancellor, his wife had attended Anne in the Tower and had been with her at her death, Madge or Mary Shelton the daughter of Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Boleyn’s sister, had been engaged to Sir Henry Norris, now he was also dead and her future ruined, so many lives blighted in the kings quest for a son, Sir Thomas Boleyn had probably asked leave to return to Hever, and so was spared the farce of the kings third marriage, he grieved with his wife at home, the Boleyn family were no more, now it was the Seymours who were the power behind the throne, the falcon, atop the red and white roses Anne’s own personal emblem had fallen, it was the Phoenix bursting forth out of the flames that now reigned supreme.

  3. The household of Anne Boleyn was broken up about the 13th May, six days before her execution. It wasn’t customary to do so until afterwards and after a short period of morning, a few weeks after her funeral. Although it wasn’t unusual for the same people to migrate to the household of a new King or Queen, they didn’t usually have to face the prospect of their mistress dying on the scaffold. Most Queens died of illness or in childbirth, they weren’t executed. This was a very strange situation. A new Queen might appoint ladies recommended to her of her own age with some older ladies to oversee the morals and dignity of the younger ones. Experience was highly prized, as was status, morality and family status. So they came normally from the best families, whose fathers were already at Court for example. They were also chosen from her relatives. If a foreign woman her ladies came with her, remaining until her husband sent her a list of English ladies to choose from. Nobody had banked on the Queen being executed and her love rival replacing her. This was a very unique and strange situation but a number did move to the household of Jane Seymour who laid down exacting requirements.

    I agree, they must have felt very weird about the circumstances which led to them seeking employment in the household of Queen Jane. Yhe core list of names included several of Anne’s friends and her relatives. The woman who had the hardest time of it was the widowed, Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford. She did very badly because of George’s death and it was Thomas Cromwell who helped her to get her marriage portion and some property and a settlement as everything had gone to the crown. Now she had to swallow her pride, come to the woman who had replaced her Queen and sister in law and seek a place in her household. It must have been very hard for her. Did she resent Jane Seymour, for example? It was out of necessity and duty that those who had served Anne moved seamlessly from one mistress to the next. But that was the way of it. Very few people didn’t have a master or mistress and most people served someone higher up. This was their world and they were lost without it. It was what these high born ladies did, they served the Queen. There was little else they could do and so they moved from Anne to Jane, smiled and got on with life.

    I don’t know much about how the others felt but Jane Boleyn was made very welcome and given assurance that what had happened wasn’t her fault. She was especially kind to her and made her one of her most important ladies. Essentially Jane Seymour promoted her. I can imagine this might seem as if she was being rewarded for services rendered, that is anything she had done to bring her husband down. However, of course, there isn’t any evidence that Jane Boleyn did anything in the downfall of Anne Boleyn. She wasn’t even mentioned in the Court records or Judge Spellman’s report. Anyone who does name her wrote many decades later and George Leto was a fraud when he published her scaffold speech in which she had confessed to betraying George. At best she passed some gossip about the King’s alleged impotency to Anne or George and at best she had said very little. Poor Lady Rochford has gone down in history as a bawd and a Jezabel who betrayed her husband. She didn’t do any of it. Queen Jane took pity on her and Lady Rochford slid right into the new regime.

    I have always been sceptical about the words of Eustace Chapuys on Jane when she was betrothed to Henry on her having very little wit and low virtue. He hadn’t as yet met her and was repeating gossip. He called her a peacemaker when he did meet her and soon became more positive about Jane. He knew by then of her wish to bring Mary to Court and that must have pleased him. However, yes, I agree its a complete mystery as to how Jane, being of little wit and talents lured Henry Viii into her web so quickly. It shows that there was a lot more about her which we have yet to discover.

    1. Just because a woman is quiet and plain does not mean she is dull and not very clever, I agree Chapyus was just looking at Jane and making his own assessment from what he saw, she was probably shy and felt ill at ease amongst the other more attractive ladies, Anne on the other hand was centre stage and charmed many with her lively wit and intelligent debate, but if Jane was shy she seemed to be able to step into the late queens shoes easily enough, of course we don’t know what qualms she had, but she must have been quite brave to follow in the footsteps of Henry’s first two queens, one had been repudiated, treated disgracefully and died a miserable death, the second had been brutally beheaded on trumped up charges, if I were Jane I would be quite anxious to pledge my troth to Henry V111, Jane did some changes to her new household, for one her ladies were instructed to wear the gable hood instead of the French hood, that had been favoured by Anne Boleyn, many noble families wanted their daughters and sons to succeed at court and Lady Lisle tried to get her daughters into Jane’s household, she had tried with Anne and had bribed her with some dotterels and a linnet bird, Jane chose Lady Lisles youngest daughter and she also sent Jane baskets of quails eggs knowing she had a craving for them when pregnant, Jane did not become pregnant for about a year but king settled happily into a comfortable married life, those who had loved Anne had to button their lips and say nothing, her father was back at court during little Prince Edwards christening and it must have been dreadful for him to pay homage to the woman who had supplanted his daughter, and even more so to be in attendance of the celebrations of her son, if Anne had only had a son she would not be lying in her cold grave, Lady Mary however was pleased for her father and his bride and wrote to him warmly, congratulating them both wishing to only serve them, she had shed no tears for her hated stepmother, life went on and Anne’s memory faded, no one was allowed to mention her name, the king never spoke her name and it was like she had never been, her daughter was not in the kings list of priorities and was concentrating on his new wife, one contemporary noted that the king had come out of hell into heaven in his marriage to Jane Seymour, for her godliness gentleness and virtue, it Jane soon showed gentle and quiet she may be, but she had a tongue in her head which she was not afraid to use, she was a champion for the monasteries deploring the sacking of them, being from an old Roman Catholic family she was faithful to the old religion and she also spoke out for the rebels in the pilgrimage of Grace, she loved the Lady Mary and wanted her reinstated in the succession but this time Henry had had enough, he did not want his queen to dabble in politics his first marriage had been no marriage at all, and he remained Jane chillingly of what happened to her predecessor, at that moment she must have placed her hands around her neck and had a vision of the block and axe, it was enough to deter Jane though of arguing further, but how cold of Henry V111 to bring up Anne Boleyn for he was more or less warning her she would have the same fate if she did not desist, it was a dreadful thing to say to a new wife, it was not necessary and poor Jane must have been terrified, what decent man would threaten his wife with death? None but Henry V111 it seems!

      1. I keep thinking over and over if Chapuys thought Jane was haughty, you can guess what sort of woman he thought Anne was. Je called her lady, concubine, la Anna, everything but Queen and he was almost gleefully laughing at the public rows between Anne and Henry and even laughed that Henry had hardly spoken to her after her miscarriage. He didn’t take long to form a negative opinion of Henry’s new bride, even if it was misplaced. Only after Chapuys spoke with Jane did he actually compliment her and called her a peacemaker. He was also impressed by her wish to help Mary. His first opinion couldn’t be any less flattering.

        Jane may have been shy or just quiet. My school testimonial that I still have says “LynMarie is a nice quiet girl”. They didn’t know me. Of course I was quiet in class, I wanted to learn. Jane’s service under Katharine and Anne allowed her to watch and learn long and hard. It allowed her to hold her counsel and observe. She hides her secrets under her hooded eyelids and regards us as we wonder what she is about in her portrait. Jane, I think, is something of an enigma, somewhat mysterious. She learned much in her time serving two very different Queens and she stored it up.

        I think she stepped into Anne’s shoes very easily and without too many reservations but she soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy to wind Henry around her little finger as Anne had. I agree, she must have had nerves of steel, given the fate of her two predecessors, especially as Anne had only just been executed. The memories were fresh and that trial and beheading of a Queen, raw and fresh. Jane must have swallowed hard.

        Henry’s threats against Jane to remember the fate of Anne and Katharine were harsh and unjustified. She wasn’t even interfering, she was acting as an intercessor, but even that was too far for Henry, now much changed by recent events. He was impatient and he was short tempered. Henry couldn’t brook any further signs of independent thought and he made that perfectly clear. Jane had married the Henry who was morphing into the tyrant.

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