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Was Jane just.....misunderstood????
November 24, 2010
1:52 pm
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Sharon
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“No thanks…You're not my type.” Wouldn't we all love the chance to tell that to Henry?…LOL  Today we could all say that to him, and believe me, most of us would love the chance. I am a female, and I know had I lived back then, Henry would have scared the hell out of me. I find myself sympathising with Jane.  The pressure was on for Jane.  She had to deliver a son. She must have known this from the beginning. The two previous wives had failed and both of their lives ended badly. I can't imagine how scared she must have been when she did not get pregnant right away. Henry was a boor. All those months of him asking her if she was pregnant, certainly must have taken a toll on her. Then, after she did get pregnant, how scared she must have been through the whole thing not knowing whether she carried the elusive male child that Henry demanded.  She has her son, and then she dies.  She never had the chance to enjoy him, or to bask in Henry's new-found love for her. (which probably would have lasted more than a few months…tops…unless she got pregnant right away) 

All of Henry's wives have my sympathy, including Jane.

November 25, 2010
6:24 am
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Boleynfan
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I have sympathy for all of Henry's wives too, Sharon…but personally I'm not quite sure where I stand–I'm still deciding! On one hand, I can see wreckmasterjay's point; on the other, Jane's sweet maidenly look seems to me like a facade, because you really couldn't survive at Court being that unambitious, just perfectly pious, etc. Also, Jane was sympathetic to KoA's cause, which makes me wonder if, perhaps, she went to Henry knowing that he might set aside Anne, knowing that she could put Mary etc. back in favor. Also, I'm sorry, but I have a slightly difficult time getting past the fact that Henry married her after beheading Anne–yes, prejudice, but unfortunately my love for Anne has ingrained it in me…

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 25, 2010
11:39 am
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Boleynfan
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True, wreckmasterjay. But, Jane DID say no to him, that was the reason why, in my opinion, she became Henry's next wife. Not that I promote this of course, but if she actually cared about Anne (knowing what happened before when a woman said no to Henry) she might have just said yes. Also, this might seem a little silly, but what Jane did had already been done. Anne was original; Jane copied her.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 25, 2010
11:47 am
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Boleynfan
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Definitely you learn something every day here!

 

And don't even get me started on how Anne was original and the best!!!! But perhaps, in all fairness to Jane, I have prejudice because of our Anne…

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 26, 2010
8:03 am
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Boleynfan
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I would have been horrified too. I think there is a chance Jane pleaded with Henry, begging him to let Anne live; after willful Anne, Henry wanted a meek wife who listened to him always, and so even if Jane did this, would not have complied. So therefore it is possible, and more probable if you believe she was “misunderstood” instead of ambitious and scheming.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 26, 2010
2:05 pm
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Sharon
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Boleynfan said:

I have sympathy for all of Henry's wives too, Sharon…but personally I'm not quite sure where I stand–I'm still deciding! On one hand, I can see wreckmasterjay's point; on the other, Jane's sweet maidenly look seems to me like a facade, because you really couldn't survive at Court being that unambitious, just perfectly pious, etc. Also, Jane was sympathetic to KoA's cause, which makes me wonder if, perhaps, she went to Henry knowing that he might set aside Anne, knowing that she could put Mary etc. back in favor. Also, I'm sorry, but I have a slightly difficult time getting past the fact that Henry married her after beheading Anne–yes, prejudice, but unfortunately my love for Anne has ingrained it in me…


Yes, as you say everyone at that court was ambitious.  Anne's family was, and so were the Seymours.  Anne's family didn't care what happened to Katherine, and Jane's family did not care what happened to Anne.  That was the way of it.  I place the blame squarely on Henry's shoulders. He chosethese women, and their families pushed them into the marriages. Jane must have been in fear during her whole marriage to Henry.  She had seen him rid himself of two Queens quite handily.  If she stepped out of line with her words or did not produce the demanded son, she could have ended up like them and she knew it.  Anne didn't know that until it was too late. Anne had fear of losing his love, she did not fear that Henry would kill her. Not until the end.  Jane had all that pressure on her.

Wreckmaster, I don't think Jane would have asked Henry to spare Anne's life.  That's a leap I am unwilling to take.  Jane did not have that kind of relationship with Henry.  Where Anne and Henry dicussed the happenings at court, I don't think Henry would have done so with Jane.  They were not friends like Anne and Henry. Henry did not want her worrying her pretty little head over court intrigue.  He wanted Jane to give him sons.

November 26, 2010
11:10 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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I don't believe there was a chance in hell of Jane pleading for Anne's life. Jane disapproved of breaking with Rome and said so. She probably thought Anne deserved death for luring Henry away from the “true” church, if for nothing else. Even Chapuys, while rejoicing at Anne's death, conceded the proceedings against her weren't exactly justice. But it didn't stop him from being glad Anne was dead. I think Jane and other 'traditionalists' probably felt the same.

                        survivor ribbon                             

               "Don't knock at death's door. 

          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

November 27, 2010
7:20 am
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Boleynfan
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I agree, Sharon and Carol. Jane was the “pretty little wife,” not Anne, who was Henry's love as well as advisor and political and intellectual equal. Jane would not have pleaded for Anne's life, in my opinion.

Also, Sharon, I have a suspicion that, since Jane was for Katherine of Aragon and Mary, she went to Henry full knowing she could topple Anne. Maybe she hated her, and this felt suitable becuase of it. That to me is despicable, if indeed she did do this; Anne did not do the same thing to exact revenge or anything on KoA.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 27, 2010
12:39 pm
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Sharon
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Boleynfan said:

I agree, Sharon and Carol. Jane was the “pretty little wife,” not Anne, who was Henry's love as well as advisor and political and intellectual equal. Jane would not have pleaded for Anne's life, in my opinion.

Also, Sharon, I have a suspicion that, since Jane was for Katherine of Aragon and Mary, she went to Henry full knowing she could topple Anne. Maybe she hated her, and this felt suitable becuase of it. That to me is despicable, if indeed she did do this; Anne did not do the same thing to exact revenge or anything on KoA.


You may be right about Jane going to Henry knowing that she had a part to play in toppling Anne. A part her family was pushing her to take. Carolyn is probably right that Jane hated Anne for the reasons she mentioned, and felt she deserved to die.  Jane was the pawn who enabled her family to get their foot in the door, and she was for Henry a good enough reason for getting rid of Anne. She agreed to the plans.  It doesn't, however, take away from the fear I think she had throughout that marriage.

November 27, 2010
1:34 pm
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Boleynfan
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I agree, Sharon; it does not take away from the fear that I'm sure all of Henry's wives had, perhaps with the exception of early KoA.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 29, 2010
12:50 am
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MegC
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There's a lot going on with Jane Seymour.  I think a lot of us on here aren't huge Jane fans simply because she was the wife who came after Anne (it is called The Anne Boleyn Files for a reason).  If Catherine Parr had come immediately after Anne, we wouldn't have liked her, either.

1.  From what I understand, even though Jane was educated, her level of education was not the same as that of either KoA or AB.  She was raised to be a wife and mother–to be able to embroider and run a household and do all those things that aristocratic women were expected to do at that time.  In 1536, the year that she married Henry, she was somewhere between 27 and 28 years old.  She was practically an old maid!  If you look at poor Jane's portrait, she was not the most attractive woman.  No one really debates that.  She wasn't heinous, but she simply wasn't that pretty (and that god awful hood she wore did absolutely nothing for her).  Couple that with her lack of dowry and you start to get an idea of why she wasn't married yet.   I think Jane knew this about herself and realized that this might be her only chance of every marrying, and I think she desperately wanted to be married and be a mother–being an old maid was tough!  Not only that, but she was fortunate enough to catch the eye of the one man who didn't care if she had a dowry or not because he didn't need it. 

2.  Why, out of all the women at Court, did Henry's eye fall on Jane?  It certainly couldn't have been because of her appearance so it had to be because of something else.  Jane must have gone out of her way to be the complete antithesis of Anne, and she must have been coached to be this way by her family:  demure and quiet and conservative and modest.  

3.  I have said it once and I will say it again:  There is no way in hell that Jane Seymour could have orchestrated this whole thing on her own.  I'm sorry–I just don't think that she was that intelligent or ambitious.  But there were certainly enough people who would have liked to have seen her and her views as the power behind the throne.  I am certain Jane had many people who were willing to help her achieve her goal.

4.  No one expected Anne to be executed.  As much as I don't like Jane, I can't lay the responsibility for Anne's death on her shoulders.  The conservatives at Court clearly didn't like Anne (and maybe some would have liked to see her dead), I think everyone really just thought that she would wind up at a convent or just be sent to live in one of Henry's various houses or possibly back to Hever Castle, and that Anne and Henry's marriage would simply be annulled.  That responsibility has to be placed squarely on the shoulders of Henry.  Let's be honest, it was easier for him to have Anne executed than to deal with another “Great Matter” which cost him 7 years the first time around, and he probably knew that Anne wouldn't go down without a fight.  Now, did Jane go plead for Anne's life?  I highly doubt it, but I think Jane knew her place and to ask for clemency for Anne was overstepping her rights even as wife.  Doesn't make it right,  but explains her thinking.

5.  I don't think Jane gave a damn about being Queen, it was a perk that came along with becoming a wife and mother in this instance.  I also question whether Jane actually cared for Henry or if she married him because he was the first man who had ever really paid her any kind of attention, and the fact that he was King was merely a bonus.

6.  Everyone was out to get something in this situation–sort of like vultures circling the carcass of a dead animal.  The conservatives in Court were getting a Queen who was sympathetic to their plight, Cromwell and Henry were getting rid of Anne, Jane's family was increasing its power at Court, and Jane was getting a husband.  Jane had to be a 100% willing participant because she certainly knew enough to say no to Henry's advances.  She knew what she was doing.  But while her intent might have been to become a homewrecker and take advantage of a failing marriage, I don't believe her goal was to cause Anne's death.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

November 30, 2010
2:20 pm
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Boleynfan
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I agree–great job MegC!! Unbiased, like wreckmsater said–I would have trouble not slipping in little jibes in favor of Anne 🙂 And yes, wreckmasterjay…whyever did Henry fall for Plain Jane? I think it probably had something to do with the fact that she was the exact opposite of Anne. But who knows…

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

November 30, 2010
3:38 pm
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MegC
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Thanks, guys!  Once upon a time, I was an avid JS hater (and I still don't like her much–more or less on the principal that I don't appreciate homewreckers in general), but I have tried very hard to put aside my love for Anne and truly understand these women.  I adore Elizabeth I and I hate that she was not treated equally by Jane Seymour, but I also have to respect Jane for showing an interest in Mary for whatever her motivations were.  Jane was probably the first person to take a real interest in Mary in a long time, and Mary was probably absolutely starved for affection having been kept away from her mother for years and years, and being ostracized from her father and Court for the duration of the Anne years.  If we work on the assumption that Jane truly wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother, then it makes sense that she would have felt compassion for Mary both because of her relationship with KoA and because of her personality.  Why that compassion didn't extend to Elizabeth, I don't know, but I tend to think it was because Mary was pushing 20 at this point while Elizabeth was merely a toddler.  It makes sense that an elder princess would be present at Court while a toddler princess would be with her nannies.  Perhaps if Jane had lived to see Elizabeth grow older, her interest would have grown to include Elizabeth as well as Mary and her own children.  Notice that even Prince Edward wasn't kept around Court much and he was, no doubt, Henry's most-loved child.  

At any rate, I think, deep down, Jane probably was a kind-hearted, good woman, and even good people do not-so-good things at times–especially in the name of religion.  And it pains me to say that because I want so much to hate the woman who usurped Anne's position. 

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

December 1, 2010
10:01 am
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Sharon
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I feel the same way.  Nicely put MegC.  I believe that I read somewhere that Jane did have Elizabeth at court for a dinner and that Henry was well pleased with his daughter.  It probably didn't happen often because of Elizabeth's age.  Elizabeth did take part in Edward's christening. She was carried by Somerset. And if I am not mistaken she carried something. (books not in front of me) I was never a Jane fan, but I think that is because (1) we know so little about her.  (2) What we do know we tend to ignore because she replaced a woman we deeply admire.  Blame should be placed on Henry, not on his wives. 

December 2, 2010
2:54 pm
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Boleynfan
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As to why Henry picked Jane, I agree with you, wreckmaster. In regard to Jane favoring Mary over Elizabeth, I have two thoughts: one, even as the wife of Henry (or perhaps especially as the wife of Henry) outwardly supporting Elizabeth, Anne's daughter, might be difficult. On the other hand, it's highly probable that Jane did this out of hatred and jealousy of Anne, shunning her daughter because of old competitiveness–which would be awful.

Also, just on another Jane topic, any respect I hold for her wavers when I hear about how she flaunted the necklace Henry gave her in front of Anne. What a spiteful thing to do!! Thoughts on this? I find that this is further proof of Jane's shady character; even Anne did not do that so much to Katherine.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

December 2, 2010
3:34 pm
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MegC
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I absolutely agree that Jane's flaunting Henry's necklace in front of Anne was extraordinarily spiteful, and I think it is further evidence that Jane was not little miss innocent and that she did, indeed, know exactly what she was doing and that she felt zero guilt for doing it.  I mean, I hate to say it, but sometimes these women behaved like teenage girls and we all know that there is no single group of people in the world more hateful than the teenage girl.  I also think that this episode illustrates that things were clearly not going well for Anne at Court by this point and that Jane must have felt fairly secure in her relationship with Henry to flaunt such an obvious token before Anne and so publicly.  If I'm not mistaken, I read somewhere that there were many witnesses to this scene where Anne ripped the necklace off of Jane's neck.

As for Elizabeth, Jane's motivations for not taking a more immediate interest in Elizabeth are moot.  Even if she had paid more attention to the little princess, Elizabeth still wouldn't have been at court very often.  It's obvious by her behavior that Jane didn't care much for Anne anyway, she had been one of KoA's ladies in waiting and, since we know she was still a practicing Catholic, probably felt very loyal to KoA's memory.  In light of his new marriage to Jane, I'm sure Henry didn't want any of his new happiness marred by any memories of Anne–including his daughter.  It would have been very imprudent of Jane to suggest bringing her to court anyway.  

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

December 5, 2010
5:57 pm
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Boleynfan
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I see what you're saying about Elizabeth, MegC, and I completely agree with what you said about Jane flaunting her necklace in front of Anne. More proof, like you said, that her demure facade was, well, just that: a facade.

"Grumble all you like, this is how it's going to be"

December 28, 2011
1:40 pm
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WelshieHollie
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I think Jane is misunderstood because when she became the object of Henry's attention she had no choice because her family & enemies were ambitious and power hungry. She helped reunite him with daughter Mary and had Elizabeth to court but she couldn't do to much with Elizabeth because of her age not because of who her mother was. I think Jane asking for clemency for Anne was overstepping the mark in her knowledge of Henry.

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