A Royal What If Tale of Jane Seymour – What if Jane Seymour had given birth to a daughter?

I do love what-iffing, particularly when it comes to Tudor history, and this was a wonderful “what-if” question from Katie Wicklund: “what would have happened to the succession if Jane Seymour had died giving birth to a daughter and not a son, but the rest of history would remain the same. Henry would’ve married the same three other women, but had no more children. Do you think Jane’s daughter would’ve been named heir since she probably couldn’t be declared illegitimate, or do you think he would’ve made Mary heir since she was older. Or could he have named someone else entirely?”

Here are my thoughts, but please do share yours too…

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3 thoughts on “A Royal What If Tale of Jane Seymour – What if Jane Seymour had given birth to a daughter?”
  1. Umm I’m not so sure Claire, I cannot see how Mary Tudor who had been declared a bastard could have contested her younger sisters right to the throne, Margaret was without doubt the legitimate heir although a child monarch was disastrous, as history has shown us in the cases of Richard 11 and Edward V, but as the daughter of a lawful marriage I feel Mary would have had more of a battle on her hands trying to wrest the throne from young Margaret than when she attempted to and ousted Jane Grey, also there was her Catholicism which many of the lords in the council were uneasy with, although she and Elizabeth were placed back in the succession would the reform had gone through without Edward V1 ? Would Margaret herself been as Protestant as Edward and Elizabeth, although Elizabeth was not a fervent follower of her faith, both Mary and Edward had been fanatical about theirs, there is a big if here, also had Jane Seymour given birth to a daughter she may not have died so young and left the succession in crisis either, Would Mary have married Philip of Spain earlier possibly? But somehow I don’t think she would have became pregnant, there are records on her menstrual history that suggests she could have suffered from endometriosis which renders infertility in women, and maybe if she had had a child it may not have survived, she herself could have died like so many women did due to complications suffered in childbed, like her fathers two queens, Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr, we do know one thing, Henry V111 would mostly likely have gone grey at the birth of yet another daughter, and I doubt he would have looked on the memory of his Jane with the same reverence he did in the years that followed her death.

    1. There are certainly many “what ifs” when discussing Jane Seymour. If Jane gave birth to a girl and still died, I think her daughter would have taken the first spot on the line of succession. Although Mary and Elizabeth were placed back on the line of succession, both were still considered bastards and their mothers’ marriages illegal. Jane was Henry’s one true wife (up until then), so to me it would be Jane’s daughter first in line. However, if Jane survived, chances are good that she would have gone on to have other children, perhaps a son. But what would be interesting is if Jane survived and had only daughters. Would Henry have looked to get rid of her, too? Let’s face it, that was the main reason he got rid of Catherine and Anne.

      1. Well I do know that if Henry had ever tried to get rid of Jane it would not have been easy, on what grounds would he have to get his marriage annulled? It was undoubtedly legal and so I feel he would have gone down a different route and divorced her, but also on what grounds, he may have ’thought ‘God is still not pleased with me as he has not blessed me with a son, so is he saying my marriage to Jane is wrong’?, Henry was the product of a very ignorant and superstitious age, we know today that it is the father whose sperm determines the sex of the child, but he thought as so did his contemporaries that it was down to the mother, I feel had she not died and gone on to have more daughters he would have accepted it as gods will, he was in his mid forties now yet medically more like a man in his mid sixties, his unhealthy lifestyle aged him dramatically and Jane had only fallen pregnant after a year of marriage, he may have thought that he would not have much luck with further wives, the death of his bastard Fitzroy had grieved him deeply and I think he would have discussed with Parliament the possibility of leaving him his realm, bastards had inherited thrones before though it was rare, but with only daughters the idea of Henry Fitzroy becoming king became more of a reality, had he not died, so let’s say he was stuck with more daughters, maybe Jane might have died with a second or third daughter and of course then he would still have made the disastrous marriage with the lady from Cleves, and the tragic Howard girl.

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