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Was Jane Seymour Henry's True Love?
June 23, 2009
1:05 am
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Claire
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Henry called Jane Seymour his \”true love\” or \”true wife\” and asked to be buried next to her but what do you think? Was she really Henry's true love?

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

June 23, 2009
8:54 pm
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Emma_pug
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Heavens, no!  I think Henry named her as such because she did give him the ultimate gift – Edward – and she died.  I cannot help but think that if Jane had survived, she would have annoyed, offendered, or just bored Henry enough to makes things go sour.  Every other wife did – even Catherine Parr had a close call.  With Jane's death, Henry put her on a pedestal and it would be easy for him to idealize their marriage.   She may have been submissive but how far can that go?  She lacked the wit and intelligence to keep up with Henry intellectually, as other wives did. 

When it comes down to it, who was the woman that Henry was so madly in love with that he turned the world upside down to marry her?  Why, I believe that would be Anne Boleyn. 🙂    Despite the ending, I think they have an incredible love story.   For the rest of his life, I don't believe Henry showed such passion for any other thing or person (save Edward).   Jane was only his \”true love\” because she didn't live long enough to give him cause for grief.   I'm very biased, I admit, and I also have a skewed view on love in that I don't believe \”true love\” has to mean forever.  Hence my opinion that Anne was the great love of Henry's life, not Jane, or anyone else!

Noli me tangere

June 24, 2009
1:39 am
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Claire
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I so agree with you Emma, you've managed to sum up the way I feel too. I do think it's funny that Henry had his famous Tudor Dynasty portrait painted when he was married to Catherine Parr, yet had Jane Seymour put in it as his wife and Queen! How insulting to Catherine! He obviously treasured Jane's memory for giving him a son but I don't think there was any real love or passion between them and it certainly doesn't come across in the letter that he wrote Jane, not when compared to his ones to Anne.

I know people say that Henry was more \”in lust\” with Anne than in love but I disagree strongly with that. I also don't think that Anne used her \”virtue\” as bait, I think she felt strongly about keeping it and not becoming one of a long list of King's mistresses. I think Anne and Henry's relationship was a meeting of minds and hearts and that's why Henry was able to make the decisions he did and completely change his life for her.

I also think that Henry felt strongly about Catherine of Aragon and always respected her. I find his relationship with Anne of Cleves interesting – the Kelly Hart book I've just read talks about rumours about the King remarrying Anne of Cleves because he spent so much time with her and it was even rumoured that she was pregnant by him. It is obvious that a real friendship, if not love, blossomed between the two of them after the Catherine Howard scandal.

Henry is an interesting character isn't he?!

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

June 24, 2009
1:59 pm
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Sabrina
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Anne was his true love. She was the only one he actually fell in love with. Jane has been given all of these additional titles because of Edward. She probably would've bore him to death. 

Henry practically grew up with Katherine. I think he loved her, but it was more platonic. He had respect for her because of who she was as a woman and a queen. 

Let not my enemies sit as my jury

June 27, 2009
2:45 pm
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Mademoiselle_Boleyn
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i definitely agree w/ you Emma! ….i read once somewhere how henry \”moved heaven and earth\” to be with anne, which is certainly true. end of story. anne was his true love

Anne Boleyn: Laetissima
"for all those who meddle in my cause, i require them to judge the best"

September 26, 2009
2:56 pm
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Lady
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Mademoiselle_Boleyn said:

i definitely agree w/ you Emma! ….i read once somewhere how henry “moved heaven and earth” to be with anne, which is certainly true. end of story. anne was his true love


I think that Henry \”moved heaven and earth\” to marry Anne because he wanted to get what was out of his hand. Once he got it he lost all interest in the matter. What Henry felt for Anne was far from love I think and neither was it lust. I think it was a caprice.

Jane was the \”true wife\” according to Henry's view. I doubt if Henry could feel \”true love\” for someone but in case he did, I think he could have had  feelings for Bessie Blount. Of couse those feelings vanished soon, we are talking about Henry.

January 3, 2010
5:28 pm
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Hannah
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Claire said:

Henry called Jane Seymour his “true love” or “true wife” and asked to be buried next to her but what do you think? Was she really Henry's true love?


Yes, Jane was his true love. He said so himself, and for people to change his words and ignore his deeds is a flagrant re-write of history and remoulding events to fit there own purposes. It doesn`t matter that Jane didn`t live long enough for Henry to grow bored with her, we can only deal with facts (and what-ifs ceratinly achieve nothing) and we just don`t know what would`ve happened had Jane lived. It may`ve been gratitude for the birth of Edward. I don`t see anything wrong with that, I still think it is a valid reason to love someone. Henry went into a long and deep grief for Jane, and that cannot be ignored. He was, by all accounts, inconsolable. So yes, for better or for worse, I truly believe Jane was Henry`s true love.

There is a very ugly trait among fans of Anne Boleyn to blame Jane Seymour for Anne`s downfall and execution. It`s the same with Katherine of Aragon fans who take the moral highground with Anne Boleyn fans. At the end of the day, Jane had no power to prevent Anne`s terrible fate. We may all want Anne to have been Henry`s true love, but there is nothing to suggest that she was and trying to take this \”honour\” away from Jane won`t do anything to remedy that fact.

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

January 3, 2010
7:02 pm
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Melissa
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I agree, Hannah, that if Henry said Jane was his true love, we should take him at his word.  That's not gonna stop me from saying she contributed to Anne's downfall-though it was probably indirectly.  I very much dislike Jane Seymour, but, truth be told, had I known her in person, I probably wouldn't have been too fond of Anne Boleyn either.  The connecting thread in all this is HENRY.  We never want to blame him-it was Cromwell, it was Jane, it was Anne's inability to bear a son-it was one megalomaniac son-of-a-bitch who was really good at deflecting blame.  On a personal note, Henry reminds me of my mother's second husband, who said that he cut off contact from his children because they didn't send him cards on his birthday-his children were 6 and 10 years old at the time.  When people are that selfish, nothing you can do would really please them.

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

January 8, 2010
1:39 pm
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Claire
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I don't think that admiring Anne Boleyn makes a person necessarily be against Jane Seymour, I just feel that it's about time that the demure and meek image of her needs to be challenged. I agree with Elizabeth Norton who said, in an interview,:

\”Jane Seymour was as politically ambitious as Anne Boleyn. She is likely to have come to court with the purpose of becoming the king’s mistress but, following Anne’s final miscarriage, she changed course, seeking marriage with the king. This can be seen in her willingness to accept Henry’s advances before Anne’s miscarriage (for example, that Anne herself was said to have blamed her miscarriage on the sight of Jane on Henry’s knee). Following the miscarriage, she made a great show of her virtue and her image as Anne’s opposite.

Jane’s political interests can also be seen after she became queen, in particular, her support of Princess Mary and the Imperial party. Even after becoming queen, she was forced to maintain her meek image and Henry had set a dangerous precedent for his subsequent queens in his treatment of Anne Boleyn.\”

I don't blame her at all for Anne's downfall, she had nothing to do with it apart from being Henry's \”mistress\”. Anne's fall was down to Cromwell and Henry, not Jane.

I really don't think that Jane was Henry's true love, whatever he said after her death. He was awful to her when she was alive and made the famous comment about regretting marrying her when he saw some pretty ladies at court, and that was just after their marriage. He loved her for giving him a son and her sacrifice in doing so but I don't think that this love can be compared to the love and passion he felt for Anne or even the love he once had for Catherine of Aragon. It was definitely a case of looking back with rose-tinted glasses and perhaps guilt on Henry's part.

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

February 24, 2010
3:39 pm
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AnnesAdmire1024
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I have to agree with the ones who say Jane is not Henry's true love. I believe he said that because she gave him a son that is all! Yell I believe he was truly in love with Anne  why else would he spent so much of his life trying to be with her just because he did not spare her from death does not mean he didn't love her he was manipulated by those around him including the Seymour's and was frustrated that God would not give him a male heir. He was not in the proper state of mind after his accident and I truly believe he may have stayed with Anne if those around him did not persuade him that she was evil

Anne's Admirer

February 25, 2010
11:21 am
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Sharon
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No, I don't think Henry loved Jane.  I'm not even sure he loved at all.  He was with Katherine the longest.  I'm sure he had some sort of feelings for her.  However, he held a party and dressed in yellow upon learning of her death.  Anne, poor Anne.  He chased her for 7 years if not longer.  I think with her, he came very close to love; and yet when she was being executed, he was off to spend time with Jane. He married her 10 days later.  No remorse. No guilt.  No love.  Although he said he loved Jane the best, I find that very hard to believe.  He wasn't very nice to her until she produced his heir.  His eye would have wondered soon enough.  We will never know how Jane would have ended up.  It just seems as if Henry was getting rid of wives because they looked at him wrong.  The rest of the wives?  Well, Anne of Cleves was lucky, he didn't like her right from the get go.  She lived to become a sister.  What? Catherine was way too young, and Catherine Parr just barely made it out alive.

The only person Henry truly loved was himself.  The sociopath.  He makes me crazy. 

February 25, 2010
1:55 pm
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AnnesAdmire1024
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You make a very good point Sharon He was crazy and he make me sick too well put!Wink

Anne's Admirer

March 22, 2011
9:29 am
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Toucansandpugs
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Claire said:

Henry called Jane Seymour his \”true love\” or \”true wife\” and asked to be buried next to her but what do you think? Was she really Henry's true love?


Yes, I think she was. Catherine of Aragon was the sweetheart of his youth, Anne Boleyn was attractive and defiant, Anne of Cleves…well, we know what he thought about her (!), Catherine Howard was youthful and Catherine Parr was caring. I think he loved them all (except Anne of Cleves) for different reasons, but Jane surely had a special place in his heart. She gave him his longed-for son, she was meek. And the fact that she died after fulfilling Henry's wish must have made a deep impression on him. “Wow, this woman gave her life in order to give birth to my son”.

March 22, 2011
1:15 pm
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MegC
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There is a vast difference between calling someone your “true love” and calling someone your “true wife”.  

I think, in Henry's eyes, Jane was his true wife because she fulfilled the requirement that he deemed necessary to establish her place as his wife:  she bore him a son.  The ONLY one of his six wives to accomplish that feat.  Think about it:  One of the pieces of evidence that Henry used against Katherine in their divorce was her inability to have a son who survived infancy.  He used this as evidence that God viewed their marriage as unholy and to establish that, because of that, Katherine was still his brother's wife despite the fact Arthur was long dead.  Anne failed to produce a male heir, which, in accordance with Henry's way of thinking at that time, established that Anne's and Henry's marriage was also not holy and Henry saw to it that their divorce was decreed before Anne's execution.  In walks Jane Seymour and manages to not only produce a son, but dies during the delivery of said prince.  Holy crap!  Sign that woman up for sainthood!  This was the sign Henry was looking for.  Painting the royal family portrait with Jane Seymour further legitimized Edward's claim to the throne:  Jane Seymour was my true wife, she produced a legitimate son, he is the next King of England.  As Nasim has pointed out on another thread, the Catholic Church didn't recognize Edward as legitimate.  Perhaps Henry was attempting to strengthen Edward's position.  Edward was a young king and there were still a lot of people out there who supported Mary's claim to the throne as Katherine's daughter.  

Now, was Jane his “true love”?  I have to agree that I don't think Henry really loved anyone but himself.  To say that we should take him at his word seems ridiculous to me:  This is the man who said that Katherine Howard was a virgin and Anne of Cleves wasn't.  Henry seems to have frequently said whatever needed to be said to get what he wanted.  From what I understand of Henry, he was less than pleasant to Jane after the honeymoon period was over until she managed to get pregnant.  I don't think Jane's death giving Henry an heir stirred any more love for her in his breast than he felt for her when she was alive.  He certainly tolerated her.   But just because he observed a somewhat proper period of mourning for her, does not necessarily mean that he loved her.  And just because he respected her “sacrifice” does not mean that he loved her (I respect a lot of people that I don't want to marry).

Did he REALLY call her his true love, or merely his true wife?  I just contend that there's a big difference between the two.

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

March 22, 2011
4:13 pm
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Anyanka
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MegC said:

 From what I understand of Henry, he was less than pleasant to Jane after the honeymoon period was over until she managed to get pregnant.  I don't think Jane's death giving Henry an heir stirred any more love for her in his breast than he felt for her when she was alive.  He certainly tolerated her.   But just because he observed a somewhat proper period of mourning for her, does not necessarily mean that he loved her.  And just because he respected her “sacrifice” does not mean that he loved her (I respect a lot of people that I don't want to marry).

Did he REALLY call her his true love, or merely his true wife?  I just contend that there's a big difference between the two.


He was not above rebuking her over her support for The Pilgrimage of Grace ( Starkey, Six Wives page 602) and also Starkey mentions how Henry was taken by the sight of 2 young ladies a week after thier marriage was published ( 601-02).

 

Part of Henry's length between wives 3 & 4 was trying to get a suitable bride for him. There was a lack of willing royal  women out there and he had no-one waiting in the wings as it were.

It's always bunnies.

March 23, 2011
4:52 am
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DuchessofBrittany
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MegC said:

There is a vast difference between calling someone your “true love” and calling someone your “true wife”.  


I totally agree with your entire post, MegC. The only person Henry loved entirely was himself. His wives were disposable pawns when he no longer needed them, wanted them, or someone else caught his fancy. Henry was not a man who could love other people. As Starkey notes in several of his works, Henry was in love with the idea of love. However, none of his wives ever lived up to his expectations. At some point all his wives (barring AOC), he believed they were his true love. Alas, Henry was always left disappointed and angry. How dare those women deny him a son (read sarcasm)!

I agree with MegC over the difference between “true love” and “true wife.” According to Henry, Jane was his “true wife.” She succeeded where others failed. Giving birth to a son secured Jane's position, whether she lived or died. Henry finally had an heir. Everything he worked for had finally come true. He had a legitimate son. Jane's son and she would forever be the beloved wife, even if in life he was unfair to her. She had the unltimate bargaining chip. Whether he loved her or not is moot. In her death, he believed he loved and, and that's all that mattered to Henry. A dead Jane could live up to his unrealistic expectations of her, since he did not have to live with the falliable person.

I am sympathic to all Henry's wives. They all feel prey to a man with absolute power. In truth, I would not want to be neither Henry's “true love” nor “true wife.”

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

March 23, 2011
5:18 am
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DuchessofBrittany said:

MegC said:

There is a vast difference between calling someone your “true love” and calling someone your “true wife”.  


A dead Jane could live up to his unrealistic expectations of her, since he did not have to live with the falliable person.
 

I think this absolutely hits the nail on the head.  Henry could imagine Jane to have been whatever he wanted her to be, whether she was everything he wanted in life or not.

ETA:  Someone (it might have been Starkey, though don't hold me to that–I'm going to have to look it up) made an excellent point regarding Henry and KoA's relationship (and this goes back to your point that Henry was in love with the idea of love, Duchess):  Henry witnessed KoA's treatment at the hands of his father after Arthur's death, and this may have awoken a level of chivalry in him.  By marrying Katherine, Henry saw himself as rescuing her from her situation.  Don't get me wrong, Katherine was, by all reports, a beautiful woman, but, if we believe this to be true (which I do) then Henry's first marriage wasn't based on love so why would we expect any of his subsequent marriages to be based on love?


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

March 23, 2011
10:10 am
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Sharon
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 There is a big difference between a true wife and a true love.  Henry believed a true wife was the one who gave him a son.  He was obsessed by this.  According to Henry, Jane was the woman who deserved to be honored because she gave him what he most desired from a wife.  After her death, Henry immortalised her.

It seems to me that Henry was in love only until he figured out that his current wife was not going to give him sons.  That's when he decided he didn't love them anymore. (ie. Katherine and Anne) As far as true love is concerned, Henry had a complete misunderstanding of what that was. Henry was in love with himself.  If a woman pleased him, then he was in love.  When he tired of them because they were not living up to his ideals, it was easy enough to dispose of them.  He was after all, King.  It wasn't his fault that they didn't measure up. 

I agree with Meg.  Henry married Katherine because of a sense of chivalry.  I'm sure Katherine saw him as her knight in shining armour. Henry would have loved saving the damsel in distress.  That would be his idea of love.  I wonder, however, if in the first years of his marriage, when he was committed to the Catholic faith, could he have been fearful for his own soul if he were to divorce Katherine?  Could that be why there was only talk of divorce and no action? 

Anne came along at a time when Henry was desperate to get out of his marriage. Katherine had gone through her change of life, and Henry needed a son. The Reformation was taking off in Europe.  Anne was young and healthy.  There was every reason to believe she would give him the thing he most desired. The way to be done with Katherine was to be rid of Rome, and place himself as head of the Church in England.  Anne was much desired by Henry, but she was also a means to an end. As long as Anne was thought to be able to give Henry a son, and was able to show him a way out of his marriage to Katherine, he was in love with her.  After he does break with Rome, and Anne does not give him the promised son, he falls out of love with her, and in love with Jane. 

March 23, 2011
10:10 am
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Sharon
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 There is a big difference between a true wife and a true love.  Henry believed a true wife was the one who gave him a son.  He was obsessed by this.  According to Henry, Jane was the woman who deserved to be honored because she gave him what he most desired from a wife.  After her death, Henry immortalised her.

It seems to me that Henry was in love only until he figured out that his current wife was not going to give him sons.  That's when he decided he didn't love them anymore. (ie. Katherine and Anne) As far as true love is concerned, Henry had a complete misunderstanding of what that was. Henry was in love with himself.  If a woman pleased him, then he was in love.  When he tired of them because they were not living up to his ideals, it was easy enough to dispose of them.  He was after all, King.  It wasn't his fault that they didn't measure up. 

I agree with Meg.  Henry married Katherine because of a sense of chivalry.  I'm sure Katherine saw him as her knight in shining armour. Henry would have loved saving the damsel in distress.  That would be his idea of love.  I wonder, however, if in the first years of his marriage, when he was committed to the Catholic faith, could he have been fearful for his own soul if he were to divorce Katherine?  Could that be why there was only talk of divorce and no action? 

Anne came along at a time when Henry was desperate to get out of his marriage. Katherine had gone through her change of life, and Henry needed a son. The Reformation was taking off in Europe.  Anne was young and healthy.  There was every reason to believe she would give him the thing he most desired. The way to be done with Katherine was to be rid of Rome, and place himself as head of the Church in England.  Anne was much desired by Henry, but she was also a means to an end. As long as Anne was thought to be able to give Henry a son, and was able to show him a way out of his marriage to Katherine, he was in love with her.  After he does break with Rome, and Anne does not give him the promised son, he falls out of love with her, and in love with Jane. 

March 23, 2011
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Sharon
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 There is a big difference between a true wife and a true love.  Henry believed a true wife was the one who gave him a son.  He was obsessed by this.  According to Henry, Jane was the woman who deserved to be honored because she gave him what he most desired from a wife.  After her death, Henry immortalised her.

It seems to me that Henry was in love only until he figured out that his current wife was not going to give him sons.  That's when he decided he didn't love them anymore. (ie. Katherine and Anne) As far as true love is concerned, Henry had a complete misunderstanding of what that was. Henry was in love with himself.  If a woman pleased him, then he was in love.  When he tired of them because they were not living up to his ideals, it was easy enough to dispose of them.  He was after all, King.  It wasn't his fault that they didn't measure up. 

I agree with Meg.  Henry married Katherine because of a sense of chivalry.  I'm sure Katherine saw him as her knight in shining armour. Henry would have loved saving the damsel in distress.  That would be his idea of love.  I wonder, however, if in the first years of his marriage, when he was committed to the Catholic faith, could he have been fearful for his own soul if he were to divorce Katherine?  Could that be why there was only talk of divorce and no action? 

Anne came along at a time when Henry was desperate to get out of his marriage. Katherine had gone through her change of life, and Henry needed a son. The Reformation was taking off in Europe.  Anne was young and healthy.  There was every reason to believe she would give him the thing he most desired. The way to be done with Katherine was to be rid of Rome, and place himself as head of the Church in England.  Anne was much desired by Henry, but she was also a means to an end. As long as Anne was thought to be able to give Henry a son, and was able to show him a way out of his marriage to Katherine, he was in love with her.  After he does break with Rome, and Anne does not give him the promised son, he falls out of love with her, and in love with Jane. 

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