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Least favorite wife?
January 15, 2011
7:23 pm
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Anyanka
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Impish_Impulse said:

Kelly said:

I have to say the story would not be complete without her, and if history changed its course, would it still be interesting to us?


Maybe even more so, depending on what changed. If Jane had lived, would she be even more reviled today for having replaced Anne and thrived? And presumably, having some Catholic influence on her husband, son and court. Would Jane living have slowed the pace of Reformation in England?

If she had died giving birth to a stillborn son or another daughter, would she be a footnote, as overlooked as Anne of Cleves? Or if she failed to give Henry a son and was replaced herself, would we have more sympathy for her? Especially if she were herself executed; would there be sympathy or scorn for her copying Anne Boleyn's tactics without expecting the same results?


IMHO if she`d died giving birth to a still-born son or a daughter living or not, she would have been just considered another of H8`s mistresses. 

Afterwards  H8 would have replaced her with his next `True Wife™`Until he had a legitimate male heir.

It's always bunnies.

January 15, 2011
8:42 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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But he married her. He didn't go through a marriage ceremony with, say, Bessie Blount. Or are you saying Henry considered KOA and Anne Boleyn to be mistresses after the fact? Which would be convenient for him, but the general public didn't just consider them mistresses.

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January 15, 2011
9:19 pm
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Anyanka
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I expressed myself badly.

 

KoA  was considered to be his lawful wife by most if not all H8`s subjects. once she died..

 

Some/many of H8`s subjects never considered Anne to be his wife but his mistress . Once KoA was dead ,in the eyes of the European powers, and  his own nobility, Henry was a widower.And free to marry..

 

Henry married Jane in camera as he had both KoA and AB.

 

Had Jane not given H8 a legitimate living son, I`m reasonably sure H would have had JS whitewashed out of history making Cromwell and Cramner the culprits.

 

Until he could find his `True Wife™` the one who would give him sons…

 

It's always bunnies.

January 16, 2011
12:35 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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That makes sense. I hadn't thought of it that way.

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February 28, 2011
2:52 pm
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Sophie1536
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Anne of Cleves…..I find very little interest in her, maybe it's my own fault because I haven't read much about her.

The other wives interest me but Anne of Cleves never has, nothing draws me to her….I don't hate her or anything I just find her a non character.

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March 9, 2011
11:01 pm
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La Belle Creole
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LTree said:

I know what you mean. But in fact, Anne didn't kill Catherine, she just banished her from court Laugh So it was much more humane, wasn't it? 🙂


 It's not a fair comparison.  Katherine of Aragon was born royal and had powerful allies.  Who's to say Henry VIII would NOT have ordered her execution had her circumstances been comparable to Anne's (relatively friendless and unpopular?)

Much as I admire Anne, I will never condone the deplorable treatment to which Catherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor were subjected.  The ultimate blame lies with Henry VIII more than any other person, but a part of me thinks Anne Boleyn must have been stark raving crazy to witness the mistreatment and NOT fear comparable mistreatment should her own star wane.  She advocated corporal punnishment for Mary, suggested she should die, insisted Mary wait upon her daughter …  She truly fit the “wicked stepmother” archtype to a T.

I imagine it was quite a power trip while it lasted, but it definitely wasn't worth it and I'm sure it contributed to her loss of favor and her final downfall. She would have done better to keep silent about her disdain and/or resentment of Katherine and Mary.

March 14, 2011
12:39 pm
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Sharon
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I have to admit I do not have a least favorite wife.  I think all of the wives had attributes to be admired.  My least favorite person in all of this…Henry.  It was Henry who banished KOA.  The ultimate decision not to allow Mary to see her Mother came from Henry.  It was Henry who refused to speak to Mary when he visited Elizabeth.  It was Henry who decided to marry Jane in so short a time after he disposed of Anne.  It was Henry who made his daughters illegitimate.  It was Henry who said AOC could not be a virgin.  It was Henry who claimed he'd married a virgin when he married KH.  I question his knowledge of virginity.  And it was Henry who almost allowed CP to be arrested. These women were up against a king who was a master at placing blame on everyone but himself.

March 14, 2011
1:02 pm
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bethany.x
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Sharon said:

I have to admit I do not have a least favorite wife.  I think all of the wives had attributes to be admired.  My least favorite person in all of this…Henry.  It was Henry who banished KOA.  The ultimate decision not to allow Mary to see her Mother came from Henry.  It was Henry who refused to speak to Mary when he visited Elizabeth.  It was Henry who decided to marry Jane in so short a time after he disposed of Anne.  It was Henry who made his daughters illegitimate.  It was Henry who said AOC could not be a virgin.  It was Henry who claimed he'd married a virgin when he married KH.  I question his knowledge of virginity.  And it was Henry who almost allowed CP to be arrested. These women were up against a king who was a master at placing blame on everyone but himself.


AGREED.

I just have to blame Henry for pretty much everything…

I wish to confess to you and tell you my secret, which is that I am no angel. -Queen Elizabeth I

March 21, 2011
6:37 pm
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Anne
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I have to say Anne of Cleves..Not that I like her any less but I just find her story kind of boring in comparison with the “titans” that married Henry….Ofcourse,she did survived him and perhaps she is the only one of them who took more than what she gave…In the beging my least favorite were Catherine Parr and Jane Seymour but now I have to say that I am in deep awe of Catherine Parr and I have to say that she was the perfect wife and most well suited Queen Henry could have!Jane,I used to dislike her on behalf of Anne but now I just see that like Anne she did rise to the opportunity but nothing that happened was her fault and at her power…The more I think of her,the more she intrigues me for she trully is the greatest mystery

April 13, 2011
5:22 am
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Bill1978
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I don't really have an official least favourite wife. I'm keen to learn about them all, so find them all fascinating. But…at the risk of being thrown out, sometimes Anne B gets the title of least favourite. Not because of anything she did or her personality, but just because so much has been written about her, or filmed I sometimes think the other wives get neglected so I don't get to know them well. All I know of KoA and Jane are what I see of them in the bookends of Anne's life. That's why I'm really getting into The Tudors because I know eventually I will get the story of the other wives. I've learnt so much about KoA that I look forward to learning about the remaining 4 wives I don't really know much about. I still find Anne's story fascinating and sad, so I don't hold my dislike for very long. Plus if Anne B hadn't come into Henry's life I wouldn't have my church, so I can't hate her now can I?

April 13, 2011
7:45 am
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Mademoiselle_Boleyn said:

Who is your LEAST favorite of Henry's six wives and why?

 

Mine is definitely, hands down Jane Seymour. I mean, since im such a huge Anne fan, I suppose Jane seems the obvious choice, but that's not the only reason. I also have never found her fascinating. History remembers Jane as a shy, quiet, 'doormat' type of woman, which certainly doesn't interest me. I also think that Jane always being referred to as henry's 'true love' simply because she gave him a son &, as my one teacher once said 'died before henry could get bored with her' is a stretch, as i certainly feel he loved anne most.

 

ive wondered a lot about jane though, such as- how big of a role did jane's family play in putting her in the king's way? did jane have a secret, ambitious side unknown to history, if she was able to mirror anne's strategy of not sleeping with the king unless they were married? did jane feel any guilt that anne was about to be beheaded just as she was being engaged to the king? did SHE ever love the king?

 


I'm always sort of shocked by the Jane Seymour antipathy expressed by some Anne Boleyn fans.  I honestly don't perceive Jane and/or the rest of the Seymours acting any differently than Anne and the other Boleyns as far as perceiving an opportunity and exploiting it to their advantage.    If it was “okay” for Anne to do it, why not okay for Jane to do it?

It seems unlikely to me the Seymours went out of their way to throw Jane at the King.  Once Henry made his interest in Jane known, it looks like they behaved no differently than the Boleyns did.  It's impossible to know Jane's thoughts on the matter, but I don't blame her for not wanting to be Henry's mistress anymore than I blame Anne for not wanting that. 

I don't think Jane was a bland, uninteresting, or stupid woman.  Henry always seemed attracted to two different types of ladies.  He liked intellectual women and enjoyed their companionship (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr).  He also enjoyed women who appealed to him sexually (Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn, Catherine Howard.)   We know Jane was not a highly educated, ulta-intellectual politician.  Perhaps she was a person that came across to many as cool and aloof but, within her inner circle, was actually very warm and passionate (“a lady in the throne room and a whore in the bedroom” so to speak.)  She was also very discreet and trustworthy — Henry didn't have to fear Jane mocking his impotence to her friends and family. 

I have the same issues with Jane I have with Anne.  For all her piety and virtue, Jane involved herself romantically with a married man.  Henry and Anne had one child in the nursery and another on the way and Jane was enjoying candlelight suppers with the king, receiving gifts from him, and was physicaly intimate with him to some degree.  Even if Jane truly believed Anne wasn't Henry's true wife, it still disgusts me.  Even if Henry viewed his marriage to Anne as invalid, I'm still disgusted. 

I doubt Jane felt any remorse or concern for Anne Boleyn's situation.  She may have truly believed Anne was guilty of infidelity (although, since Henry was obviously, openly unfaithful I think it's sort of silly to criticize Anne for suspected infidelity.)  Once Anne was aware of Henry's interest in Jane, I'm sure Jane's position in Anne's household must have been harrowing.  Anne was never one to hold her temper.  Jane probably thought “good riddance to old rubbish.” 

I doubt she expected Anne would suffer execution, however.  And I can't help wondering if Anne and George's conviction and execution gave Jane and her family any pause.  Regardless of whether Jane genuinely loved Henry and entertained political ambitions, she was committing herself to a volatile, dangerous man.  A man who temporarily raised a gentlewoman to the highest position in the land and then obliterated her family. 

I also wonder how Jane would feel knowing her son signed the death warrant for two of her brothers.

April 13, 2011
7:52 am
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Clarebear
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this is a tough question …. well for me anyway it is.   To be honest I dont think I have a “least favourite wife”.  I have a favourite wife (Anne of course) but I dont like any of them the least.  They all have their own good and bad points and I have about an equal knowledge of each wife as the other.  I suppose the least wife I have knowledge of if it came down to some sort of test would be Anne of Cleves. 

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April 18, 2011
4:54 am
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BoleynBlue
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For me it has to be Jane Seymour, there is nothing about her which interests me at all.

 

I do feel both annoyed and sorry for Catherine Howard, she should have known better than to cheat on a man who had already beheaded one wife, (her own cousin) for adultry. Then I try to imagine what it would have been like as a young lady married to a man old enough to be you grandfather, a man who reagardless of his status was followed around by a foul stench, and who you could more than likely smell before see. It isn't too hard to understand why she wanted to be with a man who was nearer to her own age.

April 18, 2011
7:03 am
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My sympathy for Catherine Howard is limited, after all she knew the drawbacks before getting involved. She craved everything that went with the position of Queen, money, power, influence etc, whist forgetting that she actually also had to act like a Queen. Yes, she was young, but this was in an age when young women of a certain class were taught and well prepared in the ways of court manners and politics, with a view to early and socially beneficial marriage. I can feel some sympathy for what happened and the path that led to it. Catherine quickly realised that her situation with Henry was never going to satisfy her and, as some other young women through the ages have done, looked elsewhere for completion. I don't believe she was silly enough to think this would go undiscovered, given the manner in which these liaisons took place, so was she just a thrill seeking wild child? In many ways Catherine was a contradiction, who should have known better and perhaps did, but the lure of adventure was too much. So, yes, I do have sympathy for Catherine, but not too much. 

April 23, 2011
9:44 am
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I have sympathy for Catherine because I think that she was young and naive–her classic excuse, yes, but she doesn't seem overly bright, so one has to feel some degree of sympathy for a foolish girl focused on the jewels and pretty gowns. Also, she was pushed by her ambitious family: could she really have told them, “no, I don't want to be Queen”? I would guess not. That said, she should have obviously used much more common sense than she did, and like you, Neil Kemp, my amount of sympathy is limited because she made her own decisions, and made the wrong ones.

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April 27, 2011
3:03 am
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Boleynfan said:

I have sympathy for Catherine because I think that she was young and naive–her classic excuse, yes, but she doesn't seem overly bright, so one has to feel some degree of sympathy for a foolish girl focused on the jewels and pretty gowns. Also, she was pushed by her ambitious family: could she really have told them, “no, I don't want to be Queen”? I would guess not. That said, she should have obviously used much more common sense than she did, and like you, Neil Kemp, my amount of sympathy is limited because she made her own decisions, and made the wrong ones.


I can agree with her not being all that bright, as well as being naïve about the Byzantine layers of the Tudor court, but can't decide whether or not to give her a pass for being young. After all, Elizabeth was even younger when she nearly got swept up in the Thomas Seymour affair. Granted, Elizabeth was smarter and more cautious, and had been exposed to the machinations of court, whereas I don't believe Kathryn had ever been to court prior to being one of Anne of Cleves' ladies. But even for all of that, Kathryn's decisions were staggeringly thoughtless and risky. Nevertheless, I do feel sorry for her.

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May 18, 2011
9:36 pm
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For me it's Catherine Howard. She just seems a dumb teenager to me, who should have been smarter and should never have been queen. It's sad what happened to her, but she should have been wiser.

May 19, 2011
8:06 pm
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Anyanka
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In many ways Diana, Princess of Wales reminded me of KH.

 

A young woman thrust at an older man.  Family intrigues…adultery after the marriage. And death at an early age.

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May 25, 2011
5:49 am
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I don't really have a least favourite wife.

In one way or the other, all of them must have been interesting personalities – some more, others less likeable.

I think it a pity that Jane Seymour is so often percieved as a home wrecker, when in essence she did exactly the same as Anne Boleyn has done before her.

True, Anne was beheaded while Katherine of Aragon was “only” banished from court, but, to be honest, I think Anne as a queen would not have been bothered in the least with Katherine of Aragon being beheaded as well. After all, she was a rival and potentially dangerous still. So I for one do not really see any difference in Jane and Anne. I think with the way of the world back then, I cannot even put fault to them. They did what their families told them to do, they did what they wanted to do to rise to power. It might not always have been right and just, but I think they simply adapted to their surroundings there.

 

Still…If I would have to choose one least favourite wife, it would be Jane. Not because I hate her or anything. But because while I think she must have been fascinating in her own right,  sadly she did not live long enough to make a serious impression to history. 

May 25, 2011
7:26 am
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Boleynfan said:

I have sympathy for Catherine because I think that she was young and naive–her classic excuse, yes, but she doesn't seem overly bright, so one has to feel some degree of sympathy for a foolish girl focused on the jewels and pretty gowns. Also, she was pushed by her ambitious family: could she really have told them, “no, I don't want to be Queen”? I would guess not. That said, she should have obviously used much more common sense than she did, and like you, Neil Kemp, my amount of sympathy is limited because she made her own decisions, and made the wrong ones.


True, she was pushed by her family, but, let's be honest, so were the rest of Henry's wives if you think about it, except for Catherine Parr.  And no one else was stupid enough to ACTUALLY commit adultery, even though Anne was accused of it.  I think poor KH's problem was similar to that of AoC's–neither was raised to be a part of the Tudor Court.  Despite the fact that KH was born into a noble family, she wasn't raised within that family and, unfortunately, that branch of the Howard family happened to be desperately poor.  Whereas other girls from these families were raised with an eye toward eventually sending her to court so she could hopefully make a good match and marry well, neither AoC or KH were brought up in this manner.  The difference between the two women is that AoC was wise enough to realize she neither fit in nor had the King's favor, whereas KH DID have the king's favor and probably thought, unwisely, that whether she fit in or not didn't matter.  Not only that, but I get the impression that KH surrounded herself with many of her old friends who also had no clue about courtly experience.  The only guidance she had was Jane Parker and we all know how THAT turned out.  I also think there was a small measure of invicibility about Kathryn.  I can find no other explanation for such a poor decision, and teenagers frequently make poor decisions based on that feeling of invicibility (drive too fast, go cliff diving, have unprotected sex, etc.).  Even had better guidance been provided her to aid her in her navigation of the ways at Court, I have my suspicions she wouldn't have heeded the advice much.  She was, after all, queen.

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