7 June 1536 – Celebrations for a new queen

Posted By on June 7, 2017

On this day in history, 7th June 1536, there were celebrations for the new queen, Queen Jane.

Henry VIII had married Jane Seymour, daughter of Sir John Seymour of Wulfhall, Wiltshire, and former lady-in-waiting to his second wife, Anne Boleyn, on 30th May 1536. Their relationship caused a bit of a stir, with Anne Boleyn only having been executed on 19th May, but their marriage and Jane’s new status was celebrated with a river pageant on the Thames, from Greenwich to Whitehall (York Place).

Here is an account of the pageant by herald and chronicler Charles Wriothesley:

“Also, the 7th day of June, being Wednesday in Whitsun week, the King and the Queen went from Greenwich to York Place, at Westminster, by water, his lords going in barges before him, every lord in his own barge, and the King and the Queen in a barge together, following after the lords’ barges, with his guard following him in a great barge; and as he passed by the ships in the Thames every ship shot guns, and at Radcliffe the Emperor’s ambassador stood in a tent with a banner of the Emperor’s arms set in the top of his tent and diverse banners about the same, he himself being in a rich gown of purple satin, with diverse gentlemen standing about him with gowns and coats of velvet; and when the Beach King’s [the Master of Ceremonies?] barge came by him, he sent two boats of his servants to row about the King’s barge, one of them were his trumpeters, and another with shalms and sackbuts, and so made a great reverence to the King and Queen as they came by him, and then he let shot a forty great guns, and as the King came against the Tower of London there was shot above four hundred pieces of ordinance, and all the tower walls towards the water side were set with great streamers and banners; and so the King passed through London Bridge, with his trumpets blowing before him, and shalms, sackbuts, and drummers playing also in barges going before him, which was a goodly sight to behold.”

I do wonder what the people of London thought about what was going on. We know that at some point between Jane’s arrival at Chelsea on 14th May 1536 and Anne’s execution on 19th May that Henry VIII wrote to Jane and in that he mentioned some pamphlets which were being spread around London deriding their relationship: “Advertising you that there is a ballad made lately of great derision against us, which if it go much abroad and is seen by you, I pray you to pay no manner of regard to it. I am not at present informed who is the setter forth of this malignant writing, but if he is found out he shall be straitly punished for it.” I expect, though, that in the main Londoners just got on with their lives and didn’t really worry about their king’s marital choices.

This day in 1520 was the first day of the famous Field of Cloth of Gold meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I – click here to read more about it.

Notes and Sources

Picture: Portrait of Jane Seymour, unknown artist, German.

  • Wriothesley, Charles (1875) A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559, Volume 1, Camden Society, p. 44. I modernised the spelling for ease of reading.

12 thoughts on “7 June 1536 – Celebrations for a new queen”

  1. Conor Byrne says:

    I feel sorry for Anne but what happened to her was not Jane’s fault and Jane should not be held accountable for the bloody events of 1536. I have read some pretty nasty lo posts in the past that attack Jane and even some eminent historians, including Eric Ives and David Starkey, have made some derogatory remarks about Jane’s appearance. That is completely unprofessional. What do people expect Jane to have done, begged Henry not to execute his wife? Well maybe, but perhaps she didn’t know that that was going to happen until very late on in the proceedings. Maybe she genuinely believed that Anne was guilty of the charges, who knows?

    Whatever happened, I find it bewildering that people blame a woman of very little influence and status, rather than an absolutist king who broke with the Roman church and executed his friends and family to get what he wanted. Jane behaved no worse than Anne Boleyn or Katherine Howard did when their mistresses were in trouble. It is true that Jane did not retreat from court and try and make Henry lose interest, unlike Anne, but we should remember that the situation in 1536 was completely different from that of a decade earlier, when Henry first began pursuing Anne in 1526-7. If anything, the need for a male heir was even more pressing now. Henry was in his mid forties, which was regarded as the beginning of old age in the Tudor period, and in his mind he had only three bastard children. None of whom he wanted to succeed him. It is that, I think, which explains the ruthlessness and speed with which Anne was removed and Jane was installed in her place. Henry needed a son right now and it is no surprise that he became more ruthless and driven in his pursuit of one during his final decade. Thus explaining the ruthlessness with which both Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard were disposed of when they failed to bear heirs. A second son was always needed in case the firstborn died prematurely, as had happened with Arthur in 1502.

    1. Katherine says:

      I thought Anna of Cleves was removed because Henry didn’t care for her looks.
      Plus, I don’t think their marriage was ever consummated.

      As for Catherine Howard, well, she did cheat on Henry with Thomas Culpepper…

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Henry’s excuse for getting an annulment of his marriage to Anna of Cleves was that he didn’t like her. He claimed it was her body, he complained somewhat about her looks, he made every excuse under the sun and said he was unable to consummate the marriage because of smells and various other things wrong with her body. However, he was lying. He also complimented her and a number of his comments are very contradictory. In fact the only smell came from Henry’s legs, which were now covered in ulcers. Henry had failed to make a good impression on their first meeting and she didn’t go for his Courtly love routine. However, the other reports show Anna was actually not bad looking and in fact she got on with everyone. The marriage probably wasn’t consummated for a number of reasons and Henry was having problems sexually. Anna wasn’t removed, however, she agreed to a settlement and after some negotiations to an annulment which she was reluctant to do so but saw the political reality before her and made the wise choice. I believe she was the only one of Henry’s six wives blessed with wisdom and common sense. As a result of her cooperation Anna got a couple of palaces and a good income and kept her royal dignity.

        Kathryn Howard may have committed adultery with Thomas Culpeper but one would have a hard time proving it. There are in fact no witnesses to her alleged adultery and no direct evidence other than her admission of kissing, talking and holding hands. Jane Boleyn accompanied her to meet with him but she didn’t see anything which amounts to sexual contact. Jane thought she heard noises but nothing more. She even fell asleep while in the same room as Culpeper and Kathryn Howard. Yes, as the visits were in secret late at night, for hours, they are likely to be very suspicious. Culpeper and Kathryn admitted they wanted to go further and that was treason but we really don’t know for certain if they actually committed adultery. My own personal view is that they did and more than once but there isn’t any direct evidence.

  2. Conor Byrne says:

    *pretty nasty blog posts

  3. Ellen Habbershaw says:

    I wonder how she felt about all this. I’d feel downright guilty. If she was really as ‘good and pure’ as described, then why did she go through with this? Of course her family were probably wanting the best for her as we hear these stories all the time with the tudors etc. But Queen Anne was being executed so that Jane Seymour could be Queen. That does not sound like a woman who is naturally compassionate. Honestly, I believe the whole bloody thing was choreographed so Jane could be Queen. I believe she knew what she was doing, and that she was mostly responsible for Anne Boleyn’s fall and her miscarriage. Jane purposely portrayed herself as the complete opposite to Anne to make herself seem more attractive to the king. My opinion 🙂 Great Article Claire.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      I am sorry but I respectfully disagree that Jane Seymour was the person plotting behind the scenes to bring down Anne Boleyn. Firstly there is no evidence to support any suggestions that Jane caused Anne’s miscarriage. We don’t actually know what caused her miscarriage, but Henry’s fall from a horse was the prime suspect as it was said he was out for two hours and almost died (sources differ in his being unconscious but not the alarm caused by his fall). One source has a lady, assumed to be Jane Seymour, on his knee a few days later and Anne saw them. Combined both could be the cause, but so could 1000 other things. We barely understand what causes miscarriage now, let alone then, although a number of rare illnesses are known to contribute, we really only began to understand miscarriage in the last two decades.

      Yes, Jane possibly made herself the opposite of Anne, although it is more likely that she was a lot different from Anne. There is a lot more about Jane than we often assume. However, I doubt she knew the full extent of what was happening to Anne until the day before her trial when Henry told her to prepare to be Queen and that Anne would be condemned. She had been sent to Wiltshire before all this began. Jane may have talked to Henry about how happy people would be if he divorced Anne but there is no evidence that she was responsible for Anne’s fall. The chief conspirators were Cromwell, Henry and the traditional parties at court, which yes, included her brothers, but Jane was a woman with no power of her own. Henry didn’t want another political wife. Jane may or may not have felt awful about Anne’s execution, but by now she had little choice but to accept her destiny and marry the King.

  4. Christine says:

    I have never seen that painting of Jane before and she looks quite pretty, the dark reds and gold of her sumptuous gown suit her, Her appearance has been attacked it’s true and people have to realise that we don’t see what Henry saw when he looked at Jane and conversed with her, whilst she was not to blame for what happened to Anne she was part of the tragedy that befell her, not directly but she created a situation which made it imperative to get rid of her former mistress, Henry was tired of Anne anyway and was seeking a way out of their marriage, just as in Katherines case years before, Henry was planning to end his marriage there and Wolsley was actually in talks with the French about arraigning a French marriage for him, then Anne came along and the rest is history, in this situation Jane it appears was no different than Anne, but the hasty end and the bloody butchering of his second wife and courtiers makes it all much much worse, maybe Jane did plead with Henry not to behead her we will never know, maybe she was very sorry for the baby Elizabeth who would be motherless and would have preferred Henry to banish her to a nunnery, I must admit iv never liked Henrys third queen very much as she appears rather cold but we have no knowledge of her feelings, all we know is she was meeting Henry whilst her mistress was being condemned and had no problem in stepping into her shoes, perhaps some are guilty of condemning Jane rather unfairly, Henry was the ultimate master in his kingdom he did what he wanted, if he decided Anne had to die then Jane would not have any say in the matter, once he decided he wanted Jane what could she do? It was her family who impressed upon her the need to show herself willing to do Henrys bidding, to act virtuously, to show herself as complete the opposite as Anne, this to me sounds sneaky and false, yet she has been described as very meek in the past and maybe she was virtuous, she has never been linked to another man, she must have been a dutiful daughter and her family were delighted when they saw the King liked her, so really Jane was just doing what her family wanted, we have to remember also she had witnessed the fall of Katherine who also had been her mistress and the misery of both her and her daughter, Jane was Annes second cousin but they had nothing in common, they also had different religious beliefs, Jane like many, saw Anne as the ruin of a good queen and creating upheaval in the kingdom, she married Henry over Annes dead body, but really Anne years before had not considered Katherine either so maybe it’s time for a more sympathetic view of this third queen of Henry V111, we do not know if Jane loved Henry personally I don’t think she did, she was a willing tool of her family’s ambition, what noble family in the land would not want the King to marry one of their daughters? But I think Jane was thinking more of what she could do for Mary for whom she pleaded her cause, she also was distressed over the monasteries and the poor people begging around the country because they had no where to go, this angered Henry when she brought it up and he told her not to meddle in his affairs, some people have called her meek and colourless but I don’t think she actually was, i think her meekness hid a strength of character after all, as iv said before, she seemed to have no qualms in becoming Henrys third queen.

  5. Ana Gomez says:

    Neither saint nor martyr ! I think people are what circumstances makes them .Besides it was not the WOMEN who decided .It was Henry the VIII .He got what he wanted and his ministers made it possible for him to get what he needed at every point of his life ,for personal or political needs .So what could those women do ? Katherine of Aragon ,discarded …..no male son…..Anne Boleyn ,discarded ….no male son ….very cruel indeed but no male son….besides his desire and passion was over ….Jane Seymour did not need to be discarded …..she died but gave a male son….it is and sorry if i mention Napoleon Bonaparte who when he divorced Josephine to marry Marie Louise said :i am marrying a womb !so i think the wives of Henry the VIII were all women who were living in a one man world ” Henry the VIII “

  6. Banditqueen says:

    Henry Viii wanted to move from one woman to another until they dropped a son, but I also believe he wanted a lady who was totally different to Anne or Katherine. He didn’t quite expect Jane to have a mission of her own, to help bring Mary back to court. Henry obviously wanted his daughter back with him, but only if she accepted his demands, recognising him as Supreme Head and her parents marriage as null and void. He dissuaded Jane when she raised the subject of Mary saying she was a fool but she was shrewd and clever to handle him and say she advanced Mary’s cause for the peace and tranquillity of the King and his people. Jane is often dumbed down by those who think a clever Anne was the norm in the sixteenth century, because she probably didn’t have a formal education. Few women did, most were taught at home and there is evidence she had a standard education for a young noblewoman at least. She may have been tutured in her approach to Henry prior to her marriage but it was her own idea to speak to Henry about Mary. She didn’t give up either, although it was only after Mary submitted to her father that she returned to court.

    Something I recently learned about Jane from Elizabeth Norton’s biography was that Jane was an experienced and skillful huntress which makes sense as she was raised in the countryside. She and Henry are recorded as hunting and personally shooting or killing several animals. Now I am not promoting hunting, but it was a passtime of Henry’s and both Anne and Katherine are known to have shared this interest with him. Jane’s interest seems almost overlooked. It was good to imagine Jane and Henry riding out together, makes her have more presence and to appear more alive.

    Jane was expected to produce a son, but she also appears to have given Henry some peace and the comfort of a domicile setting. He didn’t bank on her taking up the cause of the rebels in the northern rebellions either, although this was very much in her role as intercessor as a Queen. Henry saw Jane as interfering as he believed Anne had done and sharply warned her off, remembering what had happened to her predecessor. This Henry was showing signs of being unpredictable, having dangerous mood swings and of someone you just didn’t argue with. Henry wasn’t mollified as he had been in 1517 when dealing with the May Day riots in London. However, this time his throne and government were at risk, which added to his tension and temper and need to deal harshly with the rebels but Jane just saw people defending their faith and old way of life. She took the hint, though and remained silent.

    I believe Jane was far from the pale little mouse of legends. I think she was shrewd and careful. She learned to handle Henry by watching her two predecessors. She took the lesson to heart and adapted accordingly. She appears to have made him happy and merry and been a foil to his dark world. She was a comfort and as a wife should be in these times. That was all he asked. He needed a son and a pliable wife and in Jane he got both, but he also got a lady with genuine caring. It is a little sad that she didn’t take to little Elizabeth, but maybe she didn’t take to small children and it has to be remembered that Elizabeth was still a direct threat to her own children. The Second Act of Succession changed all that, no doubt to Jane’s relief and satisfaction. Jane was just what Henry needed and in return Jane gave him his hearts desire, a son. For the most part Jane kept away from politics, but her few attempts at intervention give us a glimpse of a woman who could overcome fear and make a plea for those who needed mercy and was even prepared to take the odd risk. I would say that the real Jane had more spunk about her than the ideal dormat myth implies.

  7. Banditqueen says:

    Wonderful pageant on the river must have been a beautiful sight. All of those lovely colours and golden barges, bells ringing, guns saluting, crowds cheering. It must have been a lovely day. Long live Queen Jane.

  8. louise 1 says:

    i dont think jane was to blaime many and familys and father es had say what happend to wifes and daughters if you went against there wishes you could be broke and alone anne did the same for her family so jane did for hers both woman were not without ambition but it was a time were life was short so every one for there selfs

  9. darkangelheart says:

    The world was different place in these times, We can assume maybe Jane was part of a political game, a way that the Seymour Brothers seen as an opening for them to rise in court. Would Jane of really of had a say, when Henry VIII took an interest in her? Would she of been able to say NO! As being realistic who would want to marry a king, that cast aside his first wife Catherine, put blocks on a mother and daughter having contact.
    Jane must felt sense of fear when she witnessed how quick Henry could change, and let Anne Boleyn, the woman he turned the whole country upside down for executed.
    I think Jane would of been walking on eyes shells, for the time she spent with the king.
    If she had went against her family and lets say she did have a consciounsce sos cant spell lol, but lets say she couldnt manage her guilt, she may of risked consquences of her family casting her aside.
    If we judged her through the modern eyes of the world now, we can in no way understand what happened back then.
    Jane didnt appear to have rebellious streak, she was well mannered, polite and people pleaser.
    Anne Boleyn is someone I have folowed for as long as I can remember.Would she hated Jane seymour,? yes she I believe would of, but also pity her, as Anne knew she once had the kings love, and knew how easy he could change. Anne energy I believe would been focussed on saving her daughter Elizabeth, and wanting to keep her in the kings grace’s.She may even thought about Catherine , and realsied how Catherine may felt.
    All moths drawn to the flame of the king. I would not be surprised if Henry VIII was Bi-polor with the random mind states he had.
    Because there is no real evidence on whats and where, or how people felt,back then we have all a perspective on charcaters in history.

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