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Jane Seymour - Just a fling?
January 31, 2010
3:01 pm
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Claire
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I've obviously been researching the fall of Anne Boleyn and it has hit me that if things hadn't all come together and conspired against Anne – if she hadn't had that miscarriage, if Catherine of Aragon hadn't died, if she hadn't had an argument with Cromwell, if she hadn't had a bad relationship with Mary, if she hadn't been so Pro-French, if she hadn't been so proud and argumentative… – then it is likely that Jane Seymour would have been just another fling.

What do you think?

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

January 31, 2010
3:19 pm
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Beth
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I would like to think that Henry loved her the best for other reasons besides Edward but I'm afraid I just can't believe it. He proved himself to be a man with a short attention span where women are concerned. Even through his twenty years with Catherine of Aragon he strayed. So it wouldn't surprise me if she was just another fling. Even if she still gave him Edward, albeit illegitimate, he would probably have passed her over eventually like Bessie Blount. She might have done well from it money-wise though.

January 31, 2010
4:37 pm
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Claire
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I think Henry just felt that it was his royal perogative to take mistresses and I'm sure that he looked on Jane Seymour as just someone who could keep him entertained while Anne was pregnant or while he was arguing her. Jane played a clever game and just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It is telling that Henry was said to have commented not long after the marriage to Jane, on seeing pretty women at court, that he regretted marrying her, and it is also telling that she was never crowned Queen.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

January 31, 2010
4:51 pm
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Hannah
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Its impossible to say.  If Anne had borne a son, she coud've been safe enough. If Katherine had lived (and she had to die sooner or later!) then there would in effect still be two Queen's in the kingdom, with the vast majority of the country still loyal to Katherine and Anne regarded as nothing more than the King's concubine. So, that was no solution to Anne's problems.

Given the circumstances, would the people have accepted Anne's son as the legitimate hier to the throne, at that time? I doubt it.  Elizabeth was regarded as a bastard by all the foriegn powers that mattered, and the Pope (this rendered her almost worthless in the marraige market). What Henry needed, was an unquestionably legitimate son, who's pedigree and status could under no circumstances, ever be doubted. Henry needed to avoid disputed successions at all costs, England had only just emerged from   the Wars of the Roses. In addition, there are the dubious circumstances surrounding Anne and Henry's marraige (Henry was, afterall, bigamously married to Anne until Cranmer declared the Aragonese marraige invalid, several months after the Boleyn marraige had taken place). So thier marraige wasn't quite so lawful, but no one would've dared point that out to Henry at the time!

The row with Cromwell wasn't a row. She threatened to cut his head off over a year before her downfall, and neither Cromwell or Anne seemed to bear any grudges once that had blown over, so its unlikely that that played any part in her downfall. Cromwell himself laughed the incident off, Anne continued to call him “her man”.

Anne was a commoner, and had no powerful foriegn ally. Not even the French, who wouldn't have dared to anger the Pope by acknowledging her as Queen of England. She had no defences from the powerful enemies who surrounded her every waking moment of her life.  On the contrary, the Pope was imploring the French and Spanish to invade England and forcibly return Henry to the See of Rome. This was causing extreme headaches all round.

Now, with Katherine of Aragon safely in her grave, and a new candidate for Queen consort waiting in the wings, Henry needed to avoid a repitition of history. There was no way that Henry was going to divorce Anne, take another wife and yet again find himself in the situation of having two potential Queens, both alive and dividing the loyalties of the nation, and making him the laughing stock of Europe. He needed a totally clean break, and only with Anne well and truly out of the way, could he achieve that.

Conveniently enough, rumours about Anne's past had been cirulating for years. Most of it pornographic, all of it probably lies. Henry brushed it all off when it suited him, but then when he suited him again, he decided to believe it. Sets up a commission to investigate the allegations, and the rest is history.

In short, the marraige was doomed.

EDIT: Sorry for the length of this post, but I've been partial to good waffle.

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

January 31, 2010
4:55 pm
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Beth
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The lack of coronation is interesting I think. Jane had obviously copied Anne's tactics to get what she wanted, yet she didn't push for a coronation. I wonder why. Perhaps she was too aware of Henry's reaction to Anne's stubborness and didn't know how to play it. I can't see why else she would have snared Henry except to be Queen. Other than for the advancement of her family, of course.

January 31, 2010
4:31 pm
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Bella44
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It probably started out as just a fling with Jane, at least for Henry, and if a lot of different events didn't happen at the same time it may have stayed that way.  Jane was in the right place at the right time and the Seymours saw their opportunity and took it.  There is some (slight!) evidence that Henry regretted marrying Jane – frustration at the fact that she didn't become pregnant right away and may have delayed her coroantion until she was.  Unfortunately by the time everyone was sure she was, Henry had his hands full with the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Though I suppose he could have her crowned at York afterwards like he said he was going to…

February 3, 2010
8:54 am
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Claire
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Beth and Bella,

Do you think it was because of what happened with Anne that Henry didn't crown Jane? Did he want Jane to prove herself first before he splashed out on a coronation?

Hannah,

Great post as always! I actually don't agree that the marriage was doomed from the start, I think Henry had high hopes for it and I think he and Anne were happy to begin with. What I can't figure out is at what point Henry decided that it was over. I know that it could have been acting but why push so hard for other powers to recognise Anne if he intended to get rid of her? Couldn't he have used the excuse that other countries did not recognise his marriage as valid, the fact that his marriage was bigamous and Anne's so-called colourful history as a way of getting rid of Anne?

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

February 3, 2010
2:20 pm
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Beth
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Interesting point. I wonder if he regretted giving Anne so much power and decided to keep his subsequent women in their proper place. Perhaps he didn't want to risk Jane getting above herself. That would be especially true if he noticed that she was using the same tactics to entice him as Anne. I wonder though if he'd noticed that whether he'd be so enamoured of her.

February 3, 2010
6:56 pm
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Bella44
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Hmm, not sure if it was because of Anne that she wasn't crowned; I think it was more Henry wanting, as you say Claire, for Jane to prove herself by bearing a healthy son.  A son also would have been proof that the marriage was blessed by God, and given Henrys marital adventures so far maybe he was waiting for a sign that what he was doing (and had done) was without doubt the right thing.

Of course, if Jane had lived, she would've had the most spectacular coronation ever!

February 3, 2010
10:58 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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Didn't Henry's father, Henry VII, wait until his wife gave him a son before he had her crowned?

Of course, there was more to it than that. Elizabeth of York was the daughter of Edward IV, whose death started the whole Richard III grabbing the throne from his nephew, Edward V (one of the Princes in the Tower), and Henry VII seizing advantage of the unrest to challenge and topple Richard and found the Tudor Dynasty. Even though Henry VII's and Elizabeth of York's marriage united the Yorkist and the Lancastrian branches of the royal family, Henry VII didn't want his claim to the throne to be simply that he had married the daughter of a previous king. So, he claimed the throne and crown alone, and crowned Elizabeth only after she had given him a son.

So, there certainly was a precedent for waiting, and Henry VIII might also have been thinking not so much of keeping Jane in her place, but that it was damned expensive having these splashy coronations for a wife that didn't work out. And that he could dangle Jane's promised coronation at York as bait to keep the papist sympathizers in line. If she had lived, I wonder if he would have continued to find reasons to postpone her coronation if the unrest in the north of England had continued. Or maybe Jane having a son (and living to influence both her husband and son) would have made the protesters content to bide their time until Jane could either soften Henry or until Henry died and Jane could be regent or co-regent for her son. But Jane died soon after the birth of (the future) Edward VI, and none of Henry's later wives became pregnant, so maybe he didn't feel coronations were necessary for them. He'd come a long way from the romantic and idealistic gestures of his youth; now he was old, fat, cranky, and suspicious of everyone's motives.

Now, there's a what if – what if Jane had lived? When Henry died, would he have left her and her brothers as co-regents for Edward? Would the brothers still have embraced Lutheranism/Protestantism, or would they have opportunistically stayed true to Rome with their sister wielding power as Queen? Would Edward have been as fanatically Catholic as he was fanatically Protestant in reality? Mary could have been the favored sister and Elizabeth an afterthought (likely she wouldn't have been raised Protestant, either). The Church of England dies in its infancy, no Elizabethan Age, no flourishing of the Renaissance under Elizabeth… What would we have called Mary if she had peacefully succeeded Edward?

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February 5, 2010
12:00 pm
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Hannah
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Hannah,

Great post as always! I actually don't agree that the marriage was doomed from the start, I think Henry had high hopes for it and I think he and Anne were happy to begin with. What I can't figure out is at what point Henry decided that it was over. I know that it could have been acting but why push so hard for other powers to recognise Anne if he intended to get rid of her? Couldn't he have used the excuse that other countries did not recognise his marriage as valid, the fact that his marriage was bigamous and Anne's so-called colourful history as a way of getting rid of Anne?


Thanks! Laugh

I was being a little flippant when I said the marriage was doomed from the start. Its only looking back with the benefit of hindsight that makes people think that, but I believe the odds were stacked against them. I agree totally that Henry had such high hopes for the marraige, and I think those hopes had been built up constantly during all those years of  frustration, waiting for an annullment from marriage one. A come down was almost inevitable.

I've always thought that, basically, after the second miscarraige Henry had begun to convince himself that the marraige was as cursed as the first. Two failed pregnancies, and one living daughter. It must have seemed, to Henry, that history was repeating itself. Now, in the background, people have been whispering about Anne's “witchcraft” and its' easy to imagine Henry talking himself into believing all this non-sense. In conjunction with this, his love for Anne has cooled and Jane had come along, too.  It must've been the second miscarraige that shattered Henry's faith in his marraige.

I suppose Henry had to push for foriegn powers acceptance of Anne, as to do otherwise would be to admit defeat and risk humiliation. He had to atleast try and make the union work. If Henry had been able to secure the support of someone like Thomas More (who had international prestige), then it would've helped. But, alas, no one supported the marraige.

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

February 6, 2010
9:06 am
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Gina
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Hannah,

You and I are on the same page! I just posted on another topic a very similar response to yours! I think that just like all men, he wanted a fiesty woman WHEN he wanted her to be fiesty! On his own terms! I think he regretted the amount of power she and her whole faction had and that he had to move mountains to be with her.

I am surprised that the witchcraft issue wasn't more pursued because it would have been much easier to write all his mistakes for the past 10 years as being manipulated by witchcraft! I would like to believe that this was not pursued perhaps to protect Elizabeth from being suspected of inheriting her mother's witch-ness (LOL couldn't think of a better term! Witch gene perhaps?)

I also wonder how dismayed Henry was by Anne's experience in the bedroom once their relationship was consumated.

I think Jane Seymour was the “girl you bring home to mom” and that she was to be crowned only when and if she gave him a son. She would have had a role similar to Katherine of Aragon as a complacent mannequin who the people would have accepted, not made waves and kept her mouth shut!

Riddle me this: Would she have agreed to be his mistress if Anne's Queenship was not in question?? (what I mean to say is: if Anne was secure in her marriage would Jane have been able to deter Henry's advances with her “chastity & purity” or would she have succumb to a fate similar to Mary Boleyn, Bessie Blount?)

XO-Gina

February 6, 2010
8:15 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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Gina said:

I also wonder how dismayed Henry was by Anne's experience in the bedroom once their relationship was consumated.


I don't assume the gossip of Anne being loose was true. It would have been too easy for someone to stop her relationship with Henry by letting that little tidbit be known. And considering that the relationship went on some 7 years before their marriage, and that there was lots of opposition from pro-Katharine groups to Henry putting Katharine aside and raising Anne up, I think if someone had had the ammunition to stop the divorce and/or Anne's rise in power, it would have been used. They didn't, so they trashed her reputation with gossip, instead.

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          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

February 6, 2010
8:16 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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Gina said:

Would she (Jane) have agreed to be his mistress if Anne's Queenship was not in question?


I'll give Jane the same consideration I gave Anne and assume her virtue wasn't a cynical ploy. I do find it interesting, though, that even Chapuys, who hated Anne, had at first allowed his prejudices against the English to color his opinion of Jane. Writing to the Imperial minister, he wrote that he doubted her virginity, “being an Englishwoman and having been so long at court” where immorality was rife. But he assumed Henry wouldn't mind, “…since he may marry her on condition she is a maid, and when he wants a divorce there will be plenty of witnesses ready to testify that she was not.” (both Starkey and Weir relate this story)

To me, that calls into question the reliability of believing gossip against either Anne or Jane, without something more to back it up.

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               "Don't knock at death's door. 

          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

August 17, 2014
4:26 pm
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Bella44 said

It probably started out as just a fling with Jane, at least for Henry, and if a lot of different events didn’t happen at the same time it may have stayed that way.  Jane was in the right place at the right time and the Seymours saw their opportunity and took it.  T.

Quite true.

In addition, Henry had hurry to marry again, without time to consider the plus and minuses of the foreign alliance, because he in Anne’s trial had been publicly “proven” a husband who was not only five times a cuckold for which (even without the infamous word that he had “neither skill nor potency”) he had become not an object of pity but ridicule.

August 17, 2014
5:15 pm
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Hannele
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s

Hannah said Given the circumstances, would the people have accepted Anne’s son as the legitimate hier to the throne, at that time? I doubt it.  Elizabeth was regarded as a bastard by all the foriegn powers that mattered, and the Pope (this rendered her almost worthless in the marraige market). What Henry needed, was an unquestionably legitimate son, who’s pedigree and status could under no circumstances, ever be doubted. Henry needed to avoid disputed successions at all costs, England had only just emerged from   the Wars of the Roses. In addition, there are the dubious circumstances surrounding Anne and Henry’s marraige (Henry was, afterall, bigamously married to Anne until Cranmer declared the Aragonese marraige invalid, several months after the Boleyn marraige had taken place). So thier marraige wasn’t quite so lawful, but no one would’ve dared point that out to Henry at the time!

None of this would have been important, if Anne had delivered of a son. To the most people, at least in England, “God” had then proven that Henry’s decision to marry Anne had been right.

One must remember that Henry’s mother, Elizabeth of York together with her sisters and brothers (Edward V and Richard Duke of York) had been declared bastards by Parliament under Richard III and then legitimized by Henry VII. And even Henry Tudor’s own claim on the English throne was based on his being a descendant of (Edward III’s son) John of Gaunt’s bastard son who was legitimized by Pope years later when John, after his wife died, could marry his mistress.

With Katherine dead, the practical viewpoints would have weighed more even in the mind of the Emperor. If you need an ally, you make a pact even a Devil (or with Muslim Turkey as France did), and royal marriages were a way to seal those pacts.

August 17, 2014
10:28 pm
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Anyanka
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Hannele said

Bella44 said

It probably started out as just a fling with Jane, at least for Henry, and if a lot of different events didn’t happen at the same time it may have stayed that way.  Jane was in the right place at the right time and the Seymours saw their opportunity and took it.  T.

Quite true.

In addition, Henry had hurry to marry again, without time to consider the plus and minuses of the foreign alliance, because he in Anne’s trial had been publicly “proven” a husband who was not only five times a cuckold for which (even without the infamous word that he had “neither skill nor potency”) he had become not an object of pity but ridicule.

Henry’s realtionship with Jane definately started off as a Courtly Romance but at some time after the triple whammy of death,inury and miscarriage in such a short period of time boosted Jane from fling to possible mistress. And with the backing of both Jane’s amd Mary’s supporters, prospective wife if only Poor Ole Henry was free.

I doubt if Henry could have found a foreign bride at tht time given the abruptness and brutality of Anne’s fall.

Jane as well as Henry wanted….needed a quick marriage. Henry to prove he was ” A man like any other” and Jane to ensure that one of the bight young things that populated Anne’s side of the court could’t displace her in Henry’s eye. We know that several weeks after thier wedding , henry was sighing over the haste in which he had married and talked about several of the ladies being pretty.

It's always bunnies.

August 17, 2014
11:01 pm
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Anyanka
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Impish_Impulse said

Gina said:
Would she (Jane) have agreed to be his mistress if Anne’s Queenship was not in question?


I’ll give Jane the same consideration I gave Anne and assume her virtue wasn’t a cynical ploy. I do find it interesting, though, that even Chapuys, who hated Anne, had at first allowed his prejudices against the English to color his opinion of Jane. Writing to the Imperial minister, he wrote that he doubted her virginity, “being an Englishwoman and having been so long at court” where immorality was rife. But he assumed Henry wouldn’t mind, “…since he may marry her on condition she is a maid, and when he wants a divorce there will be plenty of witnesses ready to testify that she was not.” (both Starkey and Weir relate this story)

To me, that calls into question the reliability of believing gossip against either Anne or Jane, without something more to back it up.

Personaly, I’m starting to think Jane was playing for time WRT Anne’s pregnancy. If it was a living boy, Plan A…Henry’s mistress and hope she could influence Henry with some pillow talk.

Plan B was far more daring….discredit Anne with the help of the newly emerging Pro-Jane faction with backing from Chapuys ..

Katherine’s long awaited death was suddenly and in true Henrician style over-shadowed, first by Henry’s justing accident and then by Anne’s miscarriage. Jane and /or her supporters could now envision a compliant Jane as queen uttering thier words to Henry while she was constantly pregnant like her Seymour and Wentworth fore-mothers.

It's always bunnies.

August 21, 2014
8:45 am
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Aud
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If Anne Boleyn had a son, then yes Jane Seymour would have been a fling. Henry would not toss aside Anne if she had borne him a male heir, now if that son later dies, and two by then had no other sons, then the door might open once more for Henry to replace Anne with Jane. But if Anne had a son? No.

August 22, 2014
7:48 pm
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Boleyn
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I think that was Henry’s idea about Jane, a quick fix sexual wise whilst Anne was pregnant. But the events of 1536 was a real roller coaster of a ride for Henry emotionally. K.O.A’s death hit him hard I believe, coupled with his accident in the tilt yard (which in my opinion was just him showing off trying to prove that he had still got the balls to compete against the younger bucks in court and ultimetely ended up looking a big girls blouse) and Anne’s miscarriage his brain was really scrambled. He had high hopes of the outcome of Anne’s pregnancy, and indeed if she had bore a son, Jane would have been quickly disguarded. When Anne miscarried ( as she was alledgely told by Norfolk (Odious jumped up cretinous moronic poppingjay) who didn’t spare her feelings or show her any compassion when he told her of Henry’s accident. Which I believe caused her a great deal of distress, the worry alone could well have been enough to cause the miscarriage, but I’ve a working theory that when Norfolk had gone away her doctor had to be called and he may, have inadvertedly given Anne something that made her miscarry Hemlock and Mandrake can sometimes cause this. It’s only a theory however so I can say for certain if this happened.. I think Jane realised that she was being used quite early on by the more abitious (Cromwell, and her brothers) to get rid of Anne and 2 to get greater power for themselves. I don’t think her marriage with Henry was as happy as she hoped it would be, and certainly the courting Henry was very different to the husband Henry.

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