The Other Lady: Jane Seymour

Written by Rebecca Larson

While this should not be considered an in-depth research of the time period (as that would take the time to write another book), this should be seen as a way to follow Jane Seymour’s rise as the other lady in Henry VIII’s life, just before the execution of Anne Boleyn. In this article I follow the trail of gossip through Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys as well as a letter from Henry to Jane, up to December 1536, when it is suspected that Jane Seymour was pregnant.

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Notes on Anne Boleyn’s Trial (Guest Post)

Part Three: Notes on Anne Boleyns Trial

Guest post by Pat Deegan

Part Two – Anne Boleyn: Triumph to Failure

Part One – Anne Boleyn: The Rise

Due to personal circumstances, I never did get around to completing a comprehensive examination of Annes fall from grace from being the Queen of England, and mother of the heiress to the throne of England and Wales, to a treasonous and adulterous concubine facing death. Her fall is kind of difficult to analyse as Henry was very good at hiding what he was planning so many people seem to think it was Cromwell who trumped up the charges on his own initiative whilst others think that Cromwell was really acting on Henry’s desires. However, I recently came across a few notes I’d made for the third part and thought Id put them up into a loose article, together with a little added research, for your consideration.

Anne Boleyns fall took part in the first half of 1536. About two hundred years earlier, in 1314, the French King had imprisoned, in severe conditions, two wives of his sons. These women had definitely committed adultery and their lovers were cruelly killed but the women were not. In England, as far as I could find, Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II in the 14th century, had openly taken a lover (Mortimer) and was believed to be jointly responsible for the death of her deposed husband (though there are questions over the nature of his death). She had jointly ruled with Mortimer during her sons minority but when Edward III took power, only Mortimer was tried for treason and executed whilst Isabella was simply held under house arrest for a while. Queens may have been neglected, set aside or even jailed (once for witchcraft) but none had ever been executed before 1536 in England.

As is well-known, Anne Boleyn attended the May Day (May 1st) jousts in 1536 as acknowledged queen but was arrested on May 2nd and taken to the Tower of London. The Tower of London at this point was both a royal palace and a prison. She was put on public trial on 15th May.



One crucial and very interesting point is considering what exactly were the charges laid against Anne in this trial. I had read that the trial records for Anne Boleyn, including statements and evidence, are either missing or destroyed. However, I found that there is a roll held at the National Archives in Kew (on the outskirts of London you can get to their building by tube) and the description of the roll is

Roll and file of court of the Lord High Steward and peers. Principal defendants and charges: Queen Anne Boleyn, Sir George Boleyn Lord Rocheford, high treason, adultery and incest,. The date is listed as 1536 Apr 22-1537 Apr 21.

It would be nice to actually transcribe the roll but it is handwritten and, unlike the 17th century, the secretary hand of this time is very difficult indeed to read (I have tried on a different document of the time and found it almost unintelligible I could pick out one word in ten – as I havent studied paleography). But even if I had the necessary skills, I would need a readers ticket to the National Archives as even digital copies of the roll are not available without this.

There are also available some writings of her contemporaries about her trial and execution, one of which was Emperor Charles Vs ambassador to Henry VIIIs court, Chapuys. It should be noted though that Chapuys was extremely hostile to Anne and loyal to Charles aunt Katherine of Aragon who was also Henry VIIIs first wife who Anne supplanted in Chapuys’ view and his correspondence about her generally reflects that viewpoint.

In one of Chapuys despatches* he wrote on 2nd May 1536 that Anne had been brought from Greenwich to this city (p.f. the city of London the Tower and not the city of Westminster) and he recorded that the rumour going round at that point was that it was because she has for a length of time lived in adultery with a spinet player of her chamber. He noted the spinet-player had been confined to the tower as well as Mr Norrisfor not having revealed what he knew of the said adulterous connexion and that George Boleyn had also been sent to the Tower six hours before. Rather frustratingly he ends that particular dispatch saying that Charles can get the details about this verbally from the messenger he used to send the dispatch.

Chapuys wrote to Grenvelle (Chancellor to the Emperor) on 18th May, and referred to Anne as Messalina and mentions his own recent illness but gives no details of the trial itself, possibly he had not at that point received information from his various sympathetic English contacts and was too sick to have attended the trial himself. In a later dispatch he noted that although Annes trial was held within the Tower it was not a secret trial for upwards of 2000 people attended it. It is interesting though that he uses the name Messalina on that date as Messalina had been the wife of a Roman emperor and she had been noted for her promiscuity and had plotted against her husband.

On the 19th May there is another dispatch, presumably to the Emperor himself, and he lists the charges made against Anne. Chapuys listed the chief charge against her as being her connexion (i.e. sexual activity) with her brother and others. He also said that the charges included that she promised to marry Norris after the kings death and had exchanged medals with Norris indicating that they were bound together and aimed at the kings death. Also that she and her brother had ridiculed the king and shown that she did not love the king and was tired of married life with him. When I read that last charge it did occur to me that Henry, who was very involved with the manner of her execution, would have also been involved in the charges laid against her and had projected onto her what he himself was feeling about their marriage and his desire for her death. This turned into the charges that Anne was tired of their marriage and that she desired his death. Chapuys also claimed that charges laid included poisoning Katherine of Aragon and meditated doing the same with the Princess (i.e. Mary). However, there is no other indication in other sources that these charges were part of what was laid against Anne and may reflect Chapuys’ wishful thinking as he also claimed that George Boleyn had declared at his execution that although he was innocent of these charges, he deserved his death for his contamination by the new heresies. This is another claim that is not substantiated anywhere else.



Another contemporary source is the poem by Lancelot de Carles who was the Bishop of Riez and acting as a diplomat for the French ambassador in London in 1536. Apparently, the poem is 1000 lines long and is called Poeme sur la mort d’Anne Boleyn. However, I couldnt even find the original poem, let alone an English translation, online.

From the National Archives description of the surviving roll, it can be inferred that the charges at her trial on 15th May appear to have been high treason, adultery and incest. The Duke of Norfolk, when pronouncing her sentence had said she had “offended our sovereign the King’s grace in committing treason against his person”.

When considering the charges against her, at least some of the adultery charges can be proved false even from a distance of 500 years but she was found guilty. This verdict probably says more about the jurors fear of Henry than their belief about Annes guilt though it is entirely possible some may indeed have believed her guilty of least some of what she was charged with. The Duke of Norfolk had pronounced the potential sentences, to be burned or beheaded as shall please the King, at the end of the trial but Henry decided that it should be beheading and that would be by a sword rather than an axe. The Spanish chronicle says that Henry had sent for the swordsman the week before his decision which would tie in with the practical logistics of a messenger travelling by fast horse from London to the coast, travelling by boat across the channel, travelling to St Omer and engaging the swordsman and bringing him back with him Anne, of course, was actually executed a mere four days after her trial and the potential sentence was pronounced Even the unsympathetic Chapuys noted that no witnesses were called against her, which was the custom at trials where the accused denied the charges levelled against them, and that some people grumble at the manner in which the proceedings against her have been conducted and the condemnation of her and the rest, which generally thought strange enough.

The one really difficult charge against Anne to interpret or consider the truth of is the treason one as insufficient evidence has survived from the period to see how the court framed the treason charge against her:

  1. In a newspaper review of his book in 2010, it was noted that Professor Bernards deduced from de Carles poem that Anne was accused of “despising her marriage” and “entertaining malice against the king”, also that by base conversations and kisses, touchings, gifts, and other infamous incitations” she seduced men. Another review of the book said that the Smeaton, Rochford, Norris, Weston and Brereton others were executed after being charged with “carnal love of the queen”.
  2. The historian Eric Ives has interpreted the treason charge as being primarily based on the adultery evidence and pointed out that this was stretching the treason law as it was not illegal technically for a lover to have intercourse with a queen who consented – even if it was considered immoral and damaging to her husband’s honour. It wasn’t until 1542, six years later, that a statute was put into the law, making adultery with the queen high treason.
  1. Alison Weir says that the trial of 15th May had used the 1534 Act of Succession to lay the treason charge on her as the trial had used the act’s wording that she had committed “slander, danger, detriment and derogation” of Henry’s heirs. Which is ironic when you consider that Henry had bastardised his eldest daughter and would do go on to do the same to his younger daughter after this trial and these girls were the only two live offspring born of his official marriages at that point.

Certainly, if the treason arose from her supposed adultery then that would tie in with Chapuys assertion that the chief charge against her was the sexual misbehaviour one. The only even vaguely threatening evidence, (aiming at the Kings death) that has survived over time, is the reported unwise courtly love remark Anne Boleyn had made to Henry Norris on 29th or 30th April that You look for dead mens shoes. For if aught came to the King but good, you would look to have me. Norris had immediately replied If he should have any such thought, he would his head were off as he knew even imagining the Kings death was dangerous. Anne later asked (that day/the day after?) Norris to go to her almoner (chaplain) John Skip to swear she was a gud (good) woman.

It should be noted though that since Henry then had their marriage annulled before her execution, it begs the question of how she could still be guilty of treason from her adultery or even how could she be charged with adultery at all? The ending of their marriage was by an annulment (i.e. it hadnt ever been really existed as he had done to Katherine of Aragon) and not by a divorce. You cant commit adultery if you arent married and the annulment declared that Anne hadnt been married to Henry. Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury who had been appointed Annes spiritual adviser in the Tower, said on 17th May that the annulment was in consequence of certain just and lawful impediments which, it was said, were unknown at the time of the union, but had lately been confessed to the Archbishop by the lady herself.

Eric Ives mentioned that when kneeling in front of the executioner Anne looked behind her a couple of times before the executioner beheaded her and suggested that this was to ensure that the executioner did not strike too soon. I have thought that Anne, who was a noticeably clever woman and who must have known of the annulment of her marriage to Henry (or even agreed to it by confessing to the impediments) probably thought that this annulment would or should have negated the charges relating to illicit relations with the courtiers. Her marriage to Henry took place in January 1533 when the world, including Henrys court, considered Henry to be married to Katherine of Aragon still. They never did marry a second time as the annulment of his marriage to Katherine in the spring of 1533 retroactively made Henry and Annes marriage in January legitimate (in England at least) so no further action was taken. She may have thought she would have to be released and that Henry had let the execution get so far simply to test her and ensure her obedience to his wishes and then he would grant her the mercy of pardoning her due to the new circumstances.

Henry had done so much to get married to Anne and make her his queen: he had defined at least half of Christendom, ignored his favourite sister, bastardised his only surviving legitimate child and started a radical change in the Church in England. Yet at the end he seemed only to want her absolute destruction. Did he really hate her by then because at one point before he had loved her so much?

Notes:

* Elizabeth Norton, 2011, The Anne Boleyn Papers, Amberley


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Anne Boleyn’s Last Pregnancy: The Beginning of the End?

When Anne Boleyn miscarried what her midwife called a boy it was also reported by the midwife that the child was malformed*. In Tudor England, at the time, a malformed baby meant that the mother had gravely sinned, whether it be witchcraft, adultery or incest. Are these the events that began the downfall of Anne Boleyn?

Henry was an extremely religious man and this miscarriage caused him to question everything. What had he done wrong to not be given a healthy, legitimate male heir? It was reported that Henry VIII had told a courtier the day after Anne’s miscarriage that he had been charmed into marriage with Anne due to magic spells or witchcraft. This is when, some believe, that Henry began to question all the actions he took to make Anne his queen. He set aside Katherine, broke from Rome and executed close friends like Thomas More.

We don’t know exactly how far along Anne was in her pregnancy when she miscarried but in my mind it is quite possible that the child was reported as malformed because of the gestation period. Although, having said that, one would believe a midwife would know the difference…so….is it possible the child was malformed? Yes, of course and that could be the reason her body rejected it. It was not a viable fetus.

If Anne had delivered Henry a healthy son things may have turned out much differently for the Queen. Or would it?In my opinion, I feel it would have been a temporary fix for Anne as Henry still may have put her aside. He would have been happy to have a male heir but I dont believe that would have permanently changed his frustration with his wife. It may have been several months or years after the birth of a son but it would eventually happen. Henry would have had to be careful on the timing of this as not to concern his subjects with the paternity of the child if he accused her of adultery or incest.



I am of the belief that Henry was already tiring of Anne – he was courting Jane Seymour and growing increasingly frustrated with Anne’s boldness. This miscarriage was the catalyst for the events to come. If Anne could not give the King a son, then maybe Jane could. But, as many of us believe, Anne would not have gone down without a fight – she had her daughter’s future to be concerned about.

Some will argue that had Anne delivered of a healthy son that all would have been well for the couple. Is it possible? Well, of course, but I truly believe we have to look at all the events of the time. Henry was already pining for Jane, just as he had done with Anne and we know in that instance that he would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. Would Jane have eventually given in to become his mistress? I don’t believe so. Around this same time Anne was attacking the King’s closest adviser, Thomas Cromwell. Anne believed that Cromwell had gone too far with the dissolution of the monasteries. Anne had even threatened to have Cromwell executed. It was only a matter of time before Cromwell had had enough.

Queen Anne did not agree with the total dissolution of all monasteries and nunneries. She wanted reform, not complete destruction. The queen understood that many of the poor and sick, orphans and widows, indeed, all those in need, flocked to the open doors of the monasteries for help in time of trouble. Not only did they provide a help to these unfortunates, they also kept the country in better shape, with fewer beggars on the streets and fewer ruffians who had been forced to turn to crime to survive. The Queen wished to rid these religious houses of their superstitions but she did not wish to see them destroyed. This put her in direct conflict with Master Cromwell. -The Anne Boleyn Files

With a son, Anne would have understood that the child would be the future King of England. Henry knew the history of past kings of England and could look no further than King Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor joined forces with her son(s) to dethrone her husband and king. What would stop Anne from doing the same when her son came of an adequate age to rule?

Four months after Anne’s miscarriage it appeared that Henry was once again on her side when he helped to arrange an uncomfortable confrontation in church between Anne and the Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys. Chapuys, as the envoy for his master Charles V had no choice but to bow to the Queen – acknowledging her in front of witnesses. This must have been humiliating for Chapuys but a victory for Anne and Henry. Only two weeks later Anne would be arrested. So was it really Henry after all who instigated the downfall of his wife, or was it Cromwell? And what was the catalyst to propel Anne to the inevitable? It is believed that one of Anne’s ladies, Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester blamed her own behavior to her brother (who had scolded her for loose living) that she was not as bad as the Queen. Saying that Anne was entertaining men late at night in her room, including Mark Smeaton. It wasn’t only Lady Worcester but other ladies in Anne’s household were also spreading rumors. The question will always be: Why?

There are so many “what ifs” and questions when it comes to the story of Anne Boleyn’s downfall. We cannot change the fact that Anne Boleyn was unjustly executed, but I am of the firm belief that we do her a great service by still discussing her 482 years later.

*Note: The reference about the malformed fetus was taken from “The Last Days of Anne Boleyn” – the statement is believed to have originated from Nicholas Sandersa Catholic recusant writing in the reign of Elizabeth I to discredit Anne (and Elizabeth). We will never know for certain if the child was indeed malformed, however, we do know that things really began to change between Henry and Anne after that miscarriage.

References:

Fraser, Antonia. “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” (1989)
Ives, Eric. “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” (1986)
Licence, Amy. “The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women’s Stories” (2016)
Loades, David. “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” (2010)
Richards, Natalia. “Falcon’s Rise” (2016)
Weir, Alison. “Six Wives of Henry VIII” (1971)
TheAnneBoleynFiles.com
The Last Days of Anne Boleyn

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The Last Days of Katherine of Aragon (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Sarah Clement

In 1531 Henry VIII formally separated from his wife of over twenty years, Katherine of Aragon. For some time, he had been bringing pressure upon her to accept a divorce or take holy orders so that he may marry someone else. In this case, Anne Boleyn. Katherine’s refusal to do so and her insistence that they were man and wife even after their marriage had been annulled and Henry had married Anne Boleyn would cause her no end of problems. The annulment centred on Katherine’s first marriage to Henry’s brother, Arthur which Katherine claimed had not been consummated. Unfortunately for her, Henry needed the opposite to be true and so it was somewhat inconvenient that the only person who had been privy to these events insisted that it was not. Upon the annulment, Katherine was stripped of the title Queen of England and would henceforth be referred to as the Dowager Princess of Wales. Her daughter by Henry, Princess Mary was now Lady Mary, and their households reduced to reflect this. Katherine had been assured from the earliest days of the process that if she accepted the King’s judgement then she would be well cared and provided for, her refusal to do so saw the exact opposite. The longer she remained defiant the worse her treatment became, being moved between uncomfortable residences until she found herself in 1534 at Kimbolton Castle.

The state of Kimbolton when Katherine arrived is something of a debate. Some report that the castle was decaying and its poor state contributed to her ailing health. Others note that it was in fair condition, though no fit home for one who was used to the grand halls of Hampton Court or Greenwich. There were far worse places she could have been lodged; Henry often threatened her with them and ostensibly Kimbolton was chosen to benefit Katherine’s health. Previously she had resided at Buckdon but had complained about the detriment the nearby fenland was having on her health. Thus, she came to Kimbolton, a smaller castle but it was at least a little further from the marshes. Under the care of Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Sir Edward Chamberlain, gentlemen loyal to Henry, Katherine’s household was further reduced and she was forbidden visitors unless they had the express written permission of the king. These additional sanctions were no doubt in response to Katherine’s continued insistence of the validity of her marriage to Henry even after an Act of Parliament had made it treasonable to do so.

 

Over a year later, in December 1535 Katherine’s already poor health declined rapidly. After a succession of illnesses, she was forced to her bed shortly after her fiftieth birthday. On the 29th December the Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, received two separate letters from Katherine’s physician and apothecary. Both intimated that the ambassador should come at once as Katherine was not expected to see out the winter. Chapuys could do no such thing without permission from the king, and so he dispatched his own messages requesting that very thing. Thomas Cromwell seemed willing, but first Chapuys must attend the king personally to discuss the matter. Chapuys after all had been denied permission in the past and still attempted to visit. On one occasion he had set forth with a company of Spanish gentlemen, ignoring the commands from Henry to return, turning back only when Katherine herself sent word that he should obey the King. When Chapuys met Henry he found him in a cheery mood but was unable to secure permission to visit. The ambassador was already leaving when Henry recalled him quickly, having just that moment received news himself that Katherine was thought close to death. With new evidence to hand, Henry allowed Chapuys a visit but refused to extend it to allow the Lady Mary to accompany him.

Elsewhere Maria de Salinas, Baroness Willoughby, also received the news that Katherine was failing. Maria had served as one of Katherine’s closest ladies since 1501 and had only left when the King ordered it in 1532 shortly before the marriage was annulled. Maria asked for permission to visit her royal mistress and friend, but as when she had asked previously, the answer was no. Maria left for Kimbolton anyway. The journey was one of over sixty miles, it was the height of winter and Maria was nearing fifty herself, but that did not stop her.

 

Chapuys arrived in the New Year on the 2nd January and was admitted to Katherine immediately. It was the first time he had seen her in some years, and indeed the first visitor she had received beyond the friars who took her households’ confessions. In case her illness was feigned their meeting was done in the presence of witnesses including Bedingfield and Chamberlain who hadn’t seen Katherine (at her command) since her arrival at Kimbolton over a year ago. Despite the gathered crowd, the ambassador’s presence comforted Katherine greatly and she told him how happy she was to not die alone. They conversed in Katherine’s native Spanish, talking for some hours, although Chapuys feared the strain such effort would have on her. Chapuys gave her cause to smile when he told her of the better household Henry would grant her upon her recovery and cheered her with the news that the king was greatly concerned by her illness. In fact the opposite was true, and Henry had already referred to the good Katherine’s death would do for Anglo-Spanish relations, but the lie brought her a smile and so Chapuys was probably justified. Katherine broke off their meeting so that she may rest for some time, but the ambassador returned that evening for more conversation, as he did at the same time in the days to come.

Three days later Maria de Salinas arrived at the castle and managed to get through the front door, playing upon her dishevelled condition to her advantage. To Bedingfield and Chamberlain, she claimed to have taken a fall from her horse during which she lost the papers granting her permission to visit Katherine. Once she had been admitted into the castle, she made for Katherine’s chambers and forced her way in, refusing to leave. She would remain with Katherine until the end.

In the company of her friends, Katherine seemed to recover slightly. On the 6th she managed to rouse herself to tie her own hair and dress. She did not take the improvement for granted, however, and set about making her final wishes known. As a foreigner living under the King’s charity she could not make a direct will, instead, she could only make requests of Henry and hope he honoured them. Given how reduced her household was, and how few possessions she had her will, such as it was, was a relatively simple affair. She asked that her servants be provided for, her three ladies to receive their marriage portions, and she left some personal effects to her daughter. With Katherine seeming to rally and appearing much improved within herself, Chapuys took his leave of her that evening.

That night Katherine woke in the early hours nauseous and in pain. She deteriorated quickly and it became apparent that the end was imminent. Her confessor was summoned and suggested that she receive mass, but Katherine, pious to the end, refused to do so until dawn, as per canon law. At first light, she received the sacrament and shortly afterwards made her confession and received Extreme Unction in the presence of Bedingfield and Chamberlain. The priest and Chapuys had agreed that at her confession Katherine would affirm that her first marriage was not consummated, but during the event the priest either forgot or did not press and neither did Katherine mention it. She managed to dictate a letter to her nephew, King Charles of Spain, and then a last letter to Henry who she addressed as, “my most dear lord, king and husband”, maintaining her Queenship to the end. She prayed aloud for as long as she was able, before at two o’clock, she committed her soul to God and passed away in the arms of her friend, Maria de Salinas.

About the Author

Shwmae! I’m Sarah. I pursued my interest in History to university where I specialised in Anne Boleyn, the role of mistresses and the hagiography of women. With a masters degree under my belt, I returned to my natural habitat to write about women in history. I can now be found somewhere in South Wales running a business, attempting to parent and when I can manage it, plonked in front of a games console to unwind.]

You can find more of my work at www.thehistoricalnovel.com

 

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The Life of Jane Seymour – Third Wife of Henry VIII

Described by Polydore Vergil as “A woman of the utmost charm both in appearance and character” and Sir John Russell as, “the fairest of all his wives”. Eustace Chapuys described Jane as “of middle stature and no great beauty”.

Jane was of a natural sweet-nature, unlike her predecessor Anne Boleyn and had also been considered virtuous.

Before you continue reading, if you’d prefer, you can listen to a supplemental podcast I made about Jane with the help of Matthew Lewis:

Jane Seymour – Third Wife of Henry VIII

As you may or may not recall, Jane Seymour was at the very bottom of my list of Tudor queens – she has just always seemed so boring to me. To my surprise, while researching this article, I began to uncover a woman who was a bit more interesting than I initially suspected.

Jane’s Family Tree

We know her best as the third wife of Henry VIII but Jane Seymour, through her mother, was descended from King Edward III through his great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Mortimer, Lady Hotspur.

Jane’s father, Sir John Seymour was descended from of a man who travelled with William the Conqueror to England by the surname of St. Maur – and eventually that name transformed into the Seymour name we know today.

John Seymour, was a close companion of King Henry VIII and had been knighted in the field of battle by his predecessor, King Henry VII at the Battle of Blackhearth.

Portrait of Sir John Seymour by unknown artist.

John and Margery Seymour had ten children in all. Their eldest, John, was (as the oldest son) expected to do great things, but when he died years later his parents were devastated. Next there was Edward, who then claimed the prized position of eldest son, then Henry who was okay with a simpler life outside of court, followed by Thomas, another John (d. 20 July 1520), Anthony (d. young), then Jane, Elizabeth, Margery (d. young) and Dorothy. This order of children does not seem correct to me because it has always been noted that Jane and Thomas were close in age. If there were two siblings in between that would not be the case. Author Antonia Fraser gives a better account, from her 1992 book called “The Wives of Henry VIII”: John, Edward, Henry, Thomas, Jane, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Margery, Anthony and John. With no real evidence of who was older, Anthony or Margery – yet we do know the youngest three children (in this instance) all died young.

Jane, Thomas, Edward and Elizabeth Seymour. The surviving Seymour siblings minus Henry and Dorothy.

The Early Years

Author Elizabeth Norton says that Jane was too young to remember when her older brother died – I strongly disagree with that statement since she would have been about eleven years old at the time – a good age for recalling the death of an older sibling. Jane also lost her youngest siblings Anthony, Margery and John. Anthony and Margery are believed to have died young from the Sweating Sickness – the very reason why Jane was especially fearful of catching it herself in later years – because she had seen what it had done to her brother and sister.

In Jane’s early years she was witness (at about age four or five) to her father leaving Wolf Hall to fight at the Sieges of Thérouanne and Tornay in France. Around that same, the Battle of Flodden was taking place in the North of England – led by Queen Katherine as regent. One must wonder if Jane understood what was happening around her at this time and if she worried for her father’s safety from the security of her family home at Wolf Hall in Wiltshire.

Author Amy Aubrey Locke of The Seymour Family said that Jane Seymour probably had a quiet, humdrum childhood. That Jane spent little time with books but much at needlework. Some of her childhood needlework was still in existence up to 1652. What we do know about her education is that Jane was literate in English and that she did not learn Latin, which was the gateway to further learning.

Jane most likely shared a classroom with her brother Thomas since they were so close in age. As we’ve learned recently, Thomas had no interest in learning and it makes one wonder if that motivated Jane to be a better student. We also know that Jane enjoyed the outdoors – this was a very important part of her education as a country gentlewoman. Jane became an expert horsewoman and hunting was one of her favorite outdoor sports.

Nineteenth century author, Agnes Strickland believed Jane Seymour was educated at French court, as a maid to the English princess, Mary Tudor when she married King Louis XII of France in 1514. While there is no definitive proof of this, Strickland claimed that there was a portrait of a girl at the Louvre that she believed was Jane Seymour. I’m skeptical of this information since Jane would have been only five or six years old at the time and that seems very young to be a maid in any household, let alone the household of a queen in France.

Old Enough to be Married

Between John, his wife Margery and their son Edward, their connections at Tudor court ran deep – Edward had been spending much time at court and knew well who could help him find his sister a position at court. Once she arrived at court this would open a world of marriage prospects for the single Jane.

What is not doubted is that in 1529, before Katherine of Aragon lost the title of queen, Jane served in her household as a lady-in-waiting. It is likely that Jane was in the household of a notable lady prior to that of the queen since, as author David Loades states, a position like that “could scarcely have happened except from an established position within the court”.�

Jane Seymour arrived at court when she was eighteen or nineteen, but at what capacity is still unknown.

Some believe that Sir Francis Bryan, a distant cousin, had a hand in her placement in the household of Queen Katherine, as well as that of Queen Anne.

History says that at one time Jane was attached to the son of Sir Robert and Lady Dormer – a neighbor of Wolf Hall. Unfortunately, it is believed that Jane was of too modest of rank to marry a Dormer.

Author Janet Wertman of Jane the Quene said in an interview once that she believed Jane was desperate to marry and resentful of her siblings. It’s interesting when you see that Jane was 27 when she married, nearly a decade older than most women and both of her younger sisters had acquired marriages before her.

It says a lot that her younger sister Elizabeth married sometime before 1530 – most likely an indicator that Jane wasn’t perceived as a great catch – that her sister’s beauty was much greater. Being that John Seymour had so many children and three daughters to marry off this left very little in the way of a dowry for any marriage, yet with that being said Elizabeth married Sir Anthony Ughtred – of the prominent Ughtred family.

While in the household of Queen Katherine, Jane would have been expected to go to mass often and work on needlework, but she would not have been expected to have learned discussion. The most important role at court for Jane would have been that of a woman looking for a husband – in this, Jane was not versed in courtly flirtation. The modus operandi of single ladies at court, or in the household of the queen, was to play hard to get. Be unavailable. This was a skill that came naturally to Jane and may have been one of the reasons why she was still single in her 20s.

Jane Joins the Household of Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in secret around the beginning of 1533; That summer Henry redesignated Katherine of Aragon as dowager Princess of Wales and her household was reorganized. Jane was one of the ladies who had been removed from the household since she was suspected of sharing similar religious views with Katherine. From there she was sent to the household of the new queen, Anne Boleyn.

Jane Seymour and an older Anne Boleyn

By August of that year, Anne, heavily pregnant with her daughter Elizabeth, took to her Chamber at Greenwich Palace. Jane and the other ladies would have been there to tend to the Queen’s needs. Their duties, since men were not allowed in the Queen’s rooms during a lady’s lying-in, were to guard the door, wait tables and routine work such as lighting fires and keeping the place clean. The Queen’s ladies would have slept on pallet beds in the Queen’s Bedchamber in case something happened during the night, but once the big day grew closer it was the royal midwife who slept near the Queen in their place.

Princess Elizabeth was born on the 7th of September 1533 and the birth was reported as easy. Jane’s duties at this point would have been to bring water and wine when Anne was in need of them. Both the King and Queen were disappointed in the arrival of a daughter but were confident that sons would follow.

The tide began to turn for Queen Anne after her miscarriage in July or August 1534. Those who were against the marriage from the start used this to fuel their ambitions to have Anne removed.

Things Were About to Change

In the summer of 1535, King Henry and Queen Anne embarked on their annual progress across England. One of their stops along the way was the home of John Seymour – Wolf Hall, on the 4th of September.

Stops along their progress were generally chosen due to size and convenience, but it’s also possible that the king wished to visit the home of the woman he fancied – Jane Seymour. In addition, the King enjoyed the company of John Seymour, her father. At the moment Anne Boleyn was still safely secure on her throne and Katherine of Aragon was still alive – so Henry would not have been thinking about marrying since he would have had plenty of wives to go around.

So much is unknown about that visit to Wolf Hall, especially if Jane was present. As a member of the Queen’s household, surely Jane would have been there…or would she? We do not know how the entourage for the progress was constructed since there is no documentation of it. Author David Loades states that it is just as likely that Jane stayed behind in London. No matter where she was Jane’s whereabouts in the summer of 1535 are unknown.

January of 1536 saw much change in England; On the 7th of January Katherine of Aragon died at Kimboltan Castle. Two days later, dressed in yellow, Henry and Anne triumphantly paraded to mass with their daughter Elizabeth. It is believed that the color yellow was the color of celebration. The couple wore the color to celebrate the death of the former queen…this is a subject that has been heavily debated.

At the time, Queen Anne was pregnant again and had good reason to be concerned with the sex of the child. If this child proved to be a girl, or if she miscarried, all would be lost. She understood that the tide had turned and many wished her removed as queen.

Because of the death of his first wife and pregnancy of his second wife, King Henry decided to stage a tournament. He was forty-four years old at the time and chose to participate in the jousting events, even though he hadn’t jousted in several years. It was on the 24th of January 1536, seventeen days after his first wife died that King Henry fell in the tiltyard during a joust. The King lay motionless for two hours and some thought all hope was lost.

It had been reported that Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk burst into the Queen’s chambers to tell his niece the King was dead. Anne Boleyn was visibly upset – she was pregnant with the King’s child but without the King she had no protection from those who wished her harm. Henry recovered from his fall and five days later Anne suffered a miscarriage of a male fetus.

Showtime’s “The Tudors” – Jane Seymour on Henry VIII’s lap. Photo: Jonathan Hession/Showtime

There was another story, told by Jane Dormer (a woman who served Queen Mary), that Anne had walked in on Jane Seymour sitting on the King’s knee and that is what caused her to miscarry the child. This tale is completely fabricated – this can be proven by the fact that Dormer was born in 1538 – two years after the events occurred. Jane Dormer claimed that she heard the story from one of Anne’s ladies, in old age, whose memory may not have been so good after so many years had passed.

The Rise of Jane Seymour

After this final miscarriage the door was left open for her enemies to hatch plans to have her removed. Some may have been planning this already and were interrupted when Queen Anne became pregnant again. It was clear to many that God did not smile upon the marriage as Anne could not provide the King with a son.

Even Cromwell and Chapuys had discussed the topic of Anne being replaced by another – quite a leap if you consider the two men were on opposite ends of the religion spectrum. It also appears that Chapuys was aware of Jane Seymour being a lady of interest to become wife number three. Shortly after that conversation it was reported by that Chapuys received a letter from the Marquess of Exeter and his wife Gertrude that said the lady had rejected a royal gift by the king.

After Jane had refused the gift from King Henry word spread quickly about the King’s interest in her. When he found out, Henry informed Jane not to pay attention to the rumors.

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein the Younger

Not long after, in March 1536, while the King was at Westminster and Jane at Greenwich the King sent her yet another gift – to which Jane fell to her knees and kissed the royal missive telling the messenger that she was “a gentlewoman of fair and honurable lineage without reproach”. Saying she had “nothing in the world but her honour, which she would not wound for a thousand deaths”. It was those words that made Henry realize that any time he was in the presence Jane that it should be done in front of family…to witness them. He wanted to make sure he did things right this time.

Eventually Jane had accepted a gift from the King, and Anne Boleyn had noticed something around her attendants neck. She asked her lady if she could look at her new necklace and Jane, knowing Anne would be livid if she saw, drew back. The Queen then snatched it from Jane and opened it to find a portrait of the King. You can about imagine the scene in your head.

In mid-April 1536, Edward and Anne Seymour moved into the apartments at Greenwich which previously had belonged to Thomas Cromwell. The fact that Cromwell was willing to give up his apartments to Jane shows that he had decided to join the charge against Anne. A secret passage joined the two chambers (Henry and Jane’s), so Henry could visit Jane without anyone noticing.

During the trial of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour was noticeably absent from court. She spent time in the household of the King’s favorite, Sir Nicholas Carew “in almost regal splendour” – the Carew home was only seven miles from London. On the 15th of May it was noted that she was in a house looking onto the river within a mile of Whitehall. It was at this location that Sir Francis Bryan kept Jane in the loop. Jane’s reaction to Bryan telling her of Anne’s execution had not been noted.

The question remains – did Jane believe Anne to be guilty of the charges against her? At the time, when Jane caught the King’s eye, Anne was already in disfavor with Cromwell and a majority of English subjects had blamed her for the lack of papal authority in England.

On the 18th of May the Imperial Ambassador wrote to Cardinal Granvelle of Jane Seymour, saying:

“She is sister to Sir Edward Seymour, of middle stature and no great beauty…shis is over twenty-five years old and has long frequented the court…she is not a woman of great wit, but may be of good understanding. It is said that she is included to be proud and haughty, and has a good affection towards the Princess�”�Chapuys was, of course, referring to Mary.

On the 19th of May, the day Anne Boleyn was executed, Cranmer issued a dispensation for Henry and Jane to marry �although within the third degree of affinity�. What that affinity is is unknown but one can assume that the King was just covering his bases to make sure this marriage, his third, was completely valid.

Jane the Quene

The day after the execution of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour traveled to Hampton Court Palace and was secretly betrothed to Henry VIII. The King’s swift action was “ill taken” by many people seeing it as a marriage that was planned prior to the trial and execution of Anne Boleyn. Henry, aware of this, attempted to keep the betrothal secret for some time but it was a matter of hours and word had spread all over court.

When we think of Jane Seymour it is usually of that of a woman who was a pawn for her family…a sweet and kind lady who tried to bring Mary back into the King’s good graces…but what about a woman who knew that her placement on the throne would be at the cost of another’s life? What about that woman? There was a side of Jane Seymour that we don’t hear about…the side that was willing to take part in the events that placed her on the throne next to King Henry VIII. Think about that for a moment.

After the not so secret betrothal, some believe that Jane, and possibly Henry, went to her family home in Wiltshire – Wolf Hall.

On the 30th of May 1536, Henry and Jane married at Whitehall in the Queen’s Closet.

Wedding of Jane & Henry on Showtime’s, “The Tudors”

Henry’s personal wedding gift to Jane was a gold cup designed by Hans Holbein and engraved with their initials entwined with a love knot. Jane’s motto appeared three times on the cup. “Bound to obey and serve”.

Drawing of the cup Hans Holbein the Younger Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
On the 1st of June 1536, Henry and Jane traveled by barge to Greenwich.

Only a week after the wedding King Henry was already talking about the  “prince hoped for in due season”. Henry was optimistic that soon he would have that legitimate male heir he longed for and lost two wives over.

June 1536

A lot happened at the beginning of June:

On the 2nd of June, Jane was shown to the court as Queen.

On the 3rd of June, Sir John Ruseell wrote a letter to Lord Lisle that said this about the new queen:

I assure you she is as gentle a lady as ever I knew, and as fair a Queen as any in Christendom. The King has come out of hell into heaven for the gentleness of this and the cursedness and unhappiness of the other…

Then, on the 4th of June, she was proclaimed Queen of England at Greenwich.

On the 5th, her brother Edward was created Viscount Beauchamp.

On the 7th of June the royal couple traveled by barge from Greenwich to Whitehall. As they rode down the Thames there was much fanfare – “every ship shot guns”  and Chapuys sent his trumpeters and musicians to float around the barge to play music for the newlyweds.

 

The Tower of London at this time was draped in streamers and banners in salute of the couple – must have been quite the site.

The King’s appearance at this time was not the marvel it had once been – Henry was still a tall man of 6’2 but had put on much weight with age. It was noted at the time that the king wore a hat to hide the fact that he no longer had much hair.

The following day, on the 8th of June, Parliament convened and passed an Act confirming that both Mary and Elizabeth Tudor were illegitimate which settled the succession of any child that may be born to Jane, or any future wife.

Now when we look at the relationship between Queen Jane and the Lady Mary it is often showcased as Jane pushing Henry VIII to bring his daughter back to court and reinstate her in the line of succession. While Jane was determined to bring the King’s daughter back into favor it wasn’t necessarily her doing.

That same month, the Lady Mary finally appeased her father by declaring herself illegitimate and recognized him as the Head of the Church of England – both things were required for her survival.

Jane’s gentle pushes with Henry in regards to his daughter may not have been what got her back in the King’s good graces, but it did show Henry what a good heart his new queen had.

Only a couple of weeks after the King received the letter of submission from his daughter, he and the queen traveled to Hunsdon and visited with Mary for the day. It was this visit that the Queen presented the Lady Mary with a “very fine” diamond ring and Henry gave his daughter 1,000 crowns and told her if there was anything else she needed that she need only to ask.

Queen Jane;s first couple of month’s in her new position were a whirlwind of activity. After their return from Hunsdon, Jane had her first reception with an ambassador when King Henry planned a moment for the Imperial ambassador (Chapuys) and Jane to talk. During their conversation Chapuys told Jane that he wished for her to be the all-needed peacemaker. He used the term, “Pacific” for Jane. When Henry returned and heard what the ambassador had called Jane he agreed and said that Jane wished for peace – “besides that her nature was gentle and inclined to peace, she would not for the world that he were engaged in war, that she might not be separated from him”.

It appears that the King and Queen were very happy with one another at this point of their marriage. The only thing that could have made it better was if Jane became pregnant, something she was all to aware of.

Henry and Jane went on a summer progress and traveled east to Rochester, Sittingbourne and Canterbury all the way to the coast ending at Dover Castle. They had many hunting expeditions and were said to have killed 20 stags on the 9th of August alone.

While they were on progress plans were being made for Jane’s coronation – initially there were plans to hold the coronation on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, on the 29th of September, which would have been perfect to coincide with all the festivities that were already associated this day. Eustace Chapuys reported that Henry would “perform wonders” for his new queen and no doubt wipe-out any memories of the last, disgraced queen’s coronation.

Then there was an outbreak of plague that put a halt to all plans for a coronation. Maybe by the time the plans resumed the queen would be with child. But, as we now know, the coronation never happened.

The Happy Couple

The King and Queen returned to London in December of 1536, and on the 22nd of that month the couple rode through the city in great state.

According to Agnes Strickland, there was a record that indicates the severity of the weather that winter. It was said that the King, Queen and the whole court rode across the Thames on horseback to Greenwich Palace.�

In early spring 1537, Jane discovered she was pregnant. Henry had great reason to rejoice, for he believed she was carrying the son he had desired for so long. The pregnancy was announced in April when Henry relayed the great news to the Privy Council.

Jane’s life changed immediately after she realized she was pregnant. As always, when a Tudor queen was pregnant she could longer be intimate with the king – for fear of harm to the child. Jane’s life would have included a great lack of excitement from what he had experienced previously. Her biggest concern was to protect the child she was carrying.

By late May at Hampton Court, it was announced that the child had moved in her womb. One courtier wrote, “God send her good deliverance of a prince, to the joy of all faithful subjects.”.

The Birth of a Prince

On the 16th of September, Jane took to her chamber at Hampton Court in preparation for the birth of what was hoped to be a prince. Lady Mary had been with Jane for the last few weeks and would also be present in the chamber with her step-mother. By early October it seemed obvious that the birth was imminent. Then on the 9th of October the Queen.s labor began. Jane’s labor lasted three days and three nights. It was rumored that she would have to be cut open to secure a safe delivery of the child. There is no evidence of a cesarean since that procedure was not known at the time, and no proof that Henry had to choose between Jane and the child if one had to be saved.

At two in the morning on the 12th of October an exhausted Jane delivered a healthy, fair-haired boy. Her labor was long and painful but she had survived the delivery and so had the child.

Henry was over the moon with glee that he finally had a son, a legitimate heir to the throne of England. They named the child Edward, Duke of Cornwall from the moment he was born. Church bells tolled and fires were lit throughout the city to celebrate the birth of a prince.

By ten in the evening on the same day Jane was sitting in her bed having someone write a letter to Cromwell (for her) to inform him that they had delivered a son, a prince. Her letter was signed, “Jane the Quene“.

On the day of Prince Edward’s christening the guests had gathered beforehand in the queen’s apartments. Jane was lying on a bed of crimson lined with cloth of gold. Around her she wore a crimson mantle edged with ermine. Her blonde hair flowed loosely. Beside Jane sat the King. When the little Prince was brought to Jane she gave him her blessing.

In the Annals of the Seymours, the author states that at the time it was required for the queen to attend the christening, and that the Queen was carried from her room to the chapel on a pallet or sofa – she was propped up with cushions and wrapped in a crimson velvet mantle. It also states that King Henry sat next to her during the entire ceremony. While this makes for a great visual there is no evidence to corroborate the story.

The following day Jane suffered a bad attack of diarrhea, which left her very ill. By evening she was feeling better.

The Death of a Queen

That night she fell ill again and early the following day her health was of growing concern. At that time it seemed obvious that she was suffering from childbed fever.

Jane’s conditions continued to worsen and Henry was called to be by her side. In the early hours of 24 October 1537, the queen slipped quietly away. Queen Jane was dead. Henry was destroyed by the death of his wife – his favorite wife, for she gave him a long desired son.

The people of England shared in their King’s grief – this is evident by a ballad that was written about her and was published in the popular, Ancient Poems of the Peasantry of England. We’ll end this podcast with this beautiful, yet historically inaccurate ballad.

Queen Jane was in travail
For six weeks or more,
Till the women grew tired,
And fain would give o’er.

O women! O women!
Good wives if ye be,
Go, send for King Henrie,
And bring him to me.

King Henrie was sent for,
He came with all speed,
In a gownd of green velvet
From heel to the head.

King Henrie! King Henrie!
If kind Henrie you be,
Send for a surgon,
And bring him to me.

The surgeon was sent for,
He came with all speed,
In a gownd of black velvet
From heel to the head.

He gave her rich caudle,
But the death-sleep slept she.
Then her right side was opened,
And the babe was set free.

The babe it was christened,
And put out and nursed,
While the royal Queen Jane
She lay cold in the dust.

So black was the mourning,
And white were the wands,
Yellow, yellow the torches,
They bore in their hands.

The bells they were muffled,
And mournful did play,
While the royal Queen Jane
She lay cold in the clay.

Six knights and six lords
Bore her corpse through the grounds;
Six dukes followed after,
In black mourning gownds.

The flower of Old England
Was laid in the cold clay,
Whilst the roy al King Henrie
Came weeping away.

Sources:

Fraser, Antonia; The Wives of Henry VIII (1994)
Locke, Amy Aubrey; The Seymours (1914)
Loades, David; Jane Seymour – Henry VIII’s Favourite Wife (2013)
Loades, David; The 6 Wives of Henry VIII (2014)
Loades, David; The Seymours of Wolf Hall (2015)
Licence, Amy; The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII (2014)
Scard, Margaret; Edward Seymour – Lord Protector (2016)
Skidmore, Chris; Edward VI – The Lost King of England (1981)
Weir, Alison; The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991)
Bell, Robert & Dixon, James Henry; Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1857)
Pollard, A. F. (Albert Frederick); England under Protector Somerset : an essay (1900)
St. Maur, Richard Harold; Annals of the Seymours (1902)
https://archive.org/stream/genealogicalhera03burk#page/200/mode/2up
Ives, Eric; The Live and Death of Anne Boleyn
Doran, Susan; The Tudor Chronicles
Wertman, Janet; Jane the Quene (2016)

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Who was responsible for the downfall of Anne Boleyn? (Guest Post)

Today we take a look at one fan of the Tudor dynasty’s take on the downfall of Anne Boleyn. The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of the owner of this site. There were no sources included. We post these articles to draw discussion on topics such as the downfall of Anne Boleyn.

Some believe that Henry VIII was solely responsible for the death of his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Was he really, and did he really want her dead?

Long before her actual trial, the Spanish ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, had heard from other European princes that Henry had voiced his desire for an annulment due to the fact that Anne could not bare him a living son, but one must also consider the fact that his eyes had alighted on Jane Seymour. So, even though earlier on he had not considered marrying Jane, this could not be the sole cause of wanting his second wife out-of-the-waysince at one point he had expressed an angry attitude towards Chapuys, saying that his master, the Spanish Emperor must acknowledge Anne as the true Queen.

Eustace Chapuys hated Anne, not only because she had replaced Catherine of Aragon, but also because he was a staunch friend of Many Tudor,and his main desire was to see her reinstated to the succession. When Henry no longer loved Anne, the wheels may have started turning in his mind as to how this could advantage Mary, because it is a well-known fact that George Boleyn, the brother of Anne, had thought of planning to get Mary killed. When Anne fell out of favour, she definitely saw Mary as a firm enemy, but there is to written evidence that she ever publicly aired the same views as her brother.

When it was certain that the King wanted to marry Jane Seymour,Chapuys saw a golden opportunity. He was aware that Cromwell, originally a great supporter of Anne, due to their shared zeal regarding the Reformation, had fallen foul of her over the selling off of the monasteries to the nobility instead of using them to make houses for the sick or change them into schools. However, the key reason for Anne wanting Cromwell to go to the block,was the fact that she learned that he had given his rooms at Court to the Seymours, so that the King could see Jane whenever he wanted in the presence of her family, so that no scandal should be attached to her name.

Chapuys was a great politician and saw a chance to make really good friends with Cromwell, who now himself hated Anne. Thus there are now three people who want Anne out-of-the-way, but Chapuys and Cromwell want her dead. Cromwell began to think how this could be arranged. It was now his head or hers. In spite of the King no longer desiring her, she was still Queen in name and could get what she wanted. However, Cromwell persuaded the King to set up a group of the nobility to carry out what was then called Oyer and Terminer, which, in simple terms, meant you could literally carry out an investigation behind someone’s back. Although Anne must have been worried as she was bound to have sensed the underlying tension going through the court, she would not have realised exactly what was going on.

It is common knowledge that Cromwell decided to “get her”on charges of adultery with Norris,Brereton, Weston and Smeaton. He also accused her of incest with her brother George, but managed to bring in plotting the death of her husband which was High Treason. The latter occurred, due to the questioning of one of her Ladies in Waiting who had heard Anne say that she thought Norris visited her apartments so frequently because he was hoping to marry her if the King should die. History books often quote her famous statement that Norris “looked to step into dead men’s shoes “. This statement itself was enough to condemn her .

So was Anne herself responsible in a way for letting a death sentence prevail? The reason I say this is because she was known to be flirtatious, outspoken,frequently to have men in her chambers late at night, especially her brother who was her closest confidant and with whom she shared her deepest secrets. These factors made her a very easy target for Cromwell, even though, since she was always closely surrounded by servants it would have been impossible for her to commit all the crimes linked with her name.

The King was such a proud man, that the thought of his wife committing adultery would have enraged him like an angry bull. However, it must be noted that a King was above the law, so maybe the final blame does lie with Henry. After all he did sign all death warrants, so why didn’t he just say no? Perhaps the rumours among the populace that Anne was in fact a witch, who had seduced him into marriage by witchcraft, stuck in his mind. Maybe he worried that ending this marriage would be as complicated as when he had tried to get a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Maybe he was worried that the staunchly Catholic Mary would take the throne, thus interfering with his Reformation policy. Perhaps he also feared the thought that any woman, even Anne’s daughter Elizabeth, would not be able to sustain peace in England after his death thus plunging the country into Civil War.

We will never really know, because we can’t ask him why Anne’s actual death was an absolute necessity. We know that her death was quick as Henry ordered death by the sword, not the ax. Also she could have been burned, which was her greatest fear.

It is up to the reader to decide who was really to blame.

Written by Catherine Hunt


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