The Life of King Edward VI of England (Part One)

As only the second Tudor king, Henry VIII was troubled through most of his reign by the lack of a male heir. He had sons but they never survived infancy – until the birth of his son Edward, Prince of Wales.

It took three marriages and countless pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths and deaths before the King got what he so desired. A son. Jane Seymour was the mother of Prince Edward but sadly lost her life after a long and arduous labor. There are debates on whether she died from puerperal fever or food poisoning since the release of Alison Weirs novel, Jane Seymour – the Haunted Queen which came out earlier this year (2018).

King Henrys first wife, Katherine of Aragon had been married to the king for over two decades, with many pregnancies and only one surviving child, a daughter, name Mary. While Mary was not the son that Henry so desired she was still The Kings Pearl.

King Henrys mistress, Bessie Blount provided the king with an illegitimate a few years after the birth of his daughter Mary. Surprising many at court, probably including his queen consort, Henry recognized the child as his and gave him the surname, Fitzroy, which translates to son of the king. Surely, if it came to it, Fitzroy could be his heir, but it was not ideal. In history it was never ideal to have a bastard named heir to throne. The king was grasping, he was desperate. Enter, Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn had arrived at Tudor court at a time when Henry VIII was restless in his marriage. One could probably say that he was in panic mode. He desperately wanted a male heir and Anne Boleyn gave him the possibility of the son that he so desired. Unfortunately for King Henry his first wife would not accommodate his need for a son by granting him a divorce. The battle lasted seven long years and culminated in the King becoming the Head of the Church of England and marrying Anne near the end of 1532. The following September Anne gave birth to a daughter, called Elizabeth. While both Henry and Anne were disappointed they both believed that sons would follow.

Some have claimed that the King had syphilis, that this may have been the reason behind so many miscarriages and stillbirths, but that could not be further from the truth. In 1888, a Victorian doctor claimed the King had syphilis and this claim continued until it was debunked in 1931 by Frederik Chamberlin, but even Chamberlin could not stop the spread of the rumor. To this day, there are still those who believe the King and his Queens suffered from the disease. If the king HAD suffered from syphilis, not only would there be documentation of mercury treatment for the disease but he would have had gaping sores in the lymph node areas, potentially the destruction of the nasal cavity, loss of front teeth and palate erosion and lesions on the scalp and tibia. None of which had been reported.

Author Kyra Kramer, and others, believe that the King had a Kell positive blood type and that he developed McLeod syndrome as a result.

The Kell positive blood type would help to explain why his partners suffered miscarriages and losses. While McLeod syndrome explains the physical decline and outbursts by the king in his later years.

Unfortunately for Anne Boleyn she would not provide the King with the son she had promised and Henry in turn moved on to another – Jane Seymour.

In October 1537, Jane Seymour gave birth to a healthy son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Twelve days later she was dead, but Henry had his son.

Around midnight on the 28th of January 1547, King Henry VIII took his final breath. He had denied for days that he was to die and had been loth to hear any mention of death until Sir Anthony Denny insisted that last rites be given by Archbishop Cranmer. When Cranmer arrived, the King was no longer speaking and could on press Cranmers hand to acknowledge his presence.

At 3am, just hours after King Henry had died, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Sir Anthony Browne rode to secure Edward, now King of England.

After retrieving Edward he was brought to Enfield where his sister Elizabeth had been staying, it was there that the two were informed of their fathers death. Edward was just nine years old and Elizabeth thirteen. At nine, Edward was too young to rule outright and his father had desired a regency council of 16 men to govern the country.

A conversation later mentioned by Sir William Paget with Edward Seymour, then Earl of Hertford tells us that Hertford began plotting for the Protectorship prior to the Kings last breath while pacing outside his room at Westminster. And so began the reign of King Edward VI, but before I get into that, lets go back to the beginning and learn a bit about the young Prince Edward.

Prince Edward of England

In March 1538, when Edward was almost six months a formal household was setup up for him. This was not uncommon. From birth, Prince Edward was handed over to the care of a separate household from the hectic nature of Tudor court.

Lady Margaret Bryan led Edwards household just as she had with his sisters Mary and Elizabeth as Mistress of the Household. Bryan would write regular letters to inform both the King and Cromwell of the Princes progress.

Tudor England, as we know, was strife with superstitions and prophecies – and a series of circumstances struck fear for the safety of the Prince, such as voodoo dolls which portrayed young Edward were found with pins pushed into it. In most cases, a piece of something belonging to the victim is attached to the doll – this makes one wonder how they would be able to obtain a piece of hair or what not to create the dolls.

There were also rumors spreading that Edward should be as great a murderer as his father since he had murdered his mother in her womb. These rumors were apparently started by a royal herald called Robert Fayery.

With all this happening in England, security was stepped up around the young prince who was already be protected from disease. Every day his residence would be cleaned to protect the young prince from infant mortality.

Nothing must escape the closest of scrutiny. All foods for Edwards consumption – bread, meat, milk, eggs and butter – were to be first eaten in large quantity; his clothes thoroughly washed, dried, brushed and stored safely, to be tested and worn before Edward put them on.4

Edward appeared by all to be a happy and healthy child. Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys reported that Edward was the prettiest child you ever saw. (LP, XIII, ii, 232) But, in the Fall of 1541 he contracted a quartan fever. (LP, XVI, 1297), a form of malaria and for ten days the princes life appeared in danger. King Henry so feared the death of his heir that he summoned all the doctors in England, said French Ambassador Marillac – and one of those doctors informed him: (translated from French) that without this accident, the said Prince seems to him to be of a composition so large, so dear, and so unhealthy, that he can not believe, by what he now sees, that he is to live long. (Kaulek, Correspondance politique, 350-4). The Prince, of course, recovered with the help of his fathers physician, Sir William Butts. Butts had fussed so much about the prince that Edward, feeling better, began to call him a fool and a knave and instructed the doctor to leave him.

By the time Prince Edward had recovered his second stepmother, Katheryn Howard was on her way to the scaffold and his father still had but one male heir.

After his recovery Edward returned to his normal daily life at the palaces of Hunsdon, Havering and Ashridge.

Edward’s Education

For a majority of his young life, Edward was surrounded by women. Until the age of six when he was handed over to Richard Cox and John Cheke – both young humanists from Cambridge. Roger Ascham, a tutor of the Lady Elizabeth also became involved in educating the future heir.

By all accounts, Edward was a quick learner. By late 1546, Richard Cox began to teach the prince French, which by December of that year he had so excelled that he wrote letters to his sister Elizabeth in the language.

Only the best of the best were brought in to teach the future king. Like his elder sisters, Edward was also taught music. He could play the lute, and perhaps other instruments as well. Author and Edward VI biographer Jennifer Loach believes that Edward was probably taught by one of King Henrys most favored musicians by the name of Philip van der Wilder. Wilder was a member of Edwards privy chamber.

Just a month after he wrote a letter in French to his sister his father had died and he was now King Edward VI of England.

Just three days after the death of his father, Edward travelled to London by horse where the news of King Henrys death had just been made public.

Hear ye, hear ye, King Henry is dead, long live the king!

He was escorted to the Tower of London where cannons saluted the new kings arrival. He would stay there until his coronation.l on the 20th of February.

The last coronation took place in England was in 1533 when Anne Boleyn was crowned queen consort. It had been 14 years and one can imagine the uncertainty that came with a minor on the throne.

King Henry VI had been a minor when he came to throne as well and it was during his reign that the Wars of the Roses occurred, it would have seemed imperative to secure Edwards throne immediately and his eldest uncle believed that he was the best option to lead the country and guide his nephew. An act that would later destroy the Seymour brothers and leave the King without his uncles to protect him.

For two days following the coronation, Royal jousts were held while King Edward looked on. The kings uncle, Thomas Seymour was one of the six challengers who competed and ran six courses against twelve defenders.

The celebration continued with banquets and plays but the Imperial ambassador, Van der Delft was reportedly unimpressed calling the festivities unremarkable.

As is usual with Edwards diary little is written about the festivities except that he sat next to his uncle Edward and Archbishop Cranmer with the crown on his head.

It did not take long into the young kings reign before there were issues with council members not agreeing. Ambassador Van der Delft had predicted some envy between the Lord Protector and John Dudley. Although they both belong to the same sect they are nevertheless widely different in character; Dudley being of high courage will not willingly submit to his colleague. He is also higher in favor with the people than Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. Van der Delft also said that Somerset was indeed looked down upon by everybody as a dry, sour, opinionated man.5

The young king spent most of his time isolated and without money to pay his servants, musicians and tutors, so when his uncle Thomas was made aware the King needed money he sent messages and coins to his nephew through the kings servant, John Fowler. Through Fowler Thomas Seymour now Lord Admiral was able to receive consent to marry the dowager queen, Kateryn Parr. By the way, he has already secretly married her without consent.

The Lord Admiral continued sending the king money and at one point Edward was reported as saying that he wished his uncle Edward were dead. During all of this the Admiral was pressing for the title, Governor of the Kings Person, a title Somerset also held. Thomas Seymour hired lawyers and suggested that their nephews reign was similar to that of the minor king, Henry VI.

A visit to the king brought forward Thomas Seymours path to the governorship; asking the King to give his Royal signature to the bill. Edward was not used to making decisions as such on his own and was uncertain what to do. Thomas continued to try to convince his nephew but the King only resisted harder, and at one point asked him to leave him alone. Afterward the young king spoke to his tutor Cheke and asked if it would be wise to sign the bill. Cheke made it clear that it was a risky idea and recommended he did not.

Thomas did not give up on his nephew – he continued pushing his cause and told his nephew that he would soon be able to rule alone, but not with Somerset managing his affairs. Eventually King Edward agreed to sign the bill, but unfortunately for Thomas it was only a verbal agreement. He asked his uncle to leave the bill with Cheke for him to sign later.

Seymour handed Cheke a paper which had this written on it: My Lords, I pray you to favor my Lord Admiral my uncles suit. It was in Chekes hands now to agree to bring the bill to the king to sign. He would not. Seymour was furious and Cheke informed his student that he was playing with fire and by no means was he supposed to sign anything without the guidance of the Lord Protector.

Meanwhile Somerset had raged yet another battle in the war best known as the Rough Wooing – an ongoing war with the hopes of a treaty between England and Scotland over the marriage between their Queen (Mary Stuart, or queen of Scots) and the King of England, Edward VI. The battle of Pinkie was considered a success and the King commended his uncle for striving that his kingdom be quiet and replenished with true religion. When Edward was informed from his uncle that Catholic priests were some of the first to be hacked down in battle he was ecstatic. While the battle was a victory for the English, the Scots would not relent and their Queen Mary was smuggled out of Scotland and raised in France- thats how much the Scots did not want the reformed religion in their country. She would later marry the Dauphin of France who later became King Francois II making Mary also queen consort if France.

Religious reform during the reign of Edward VI was in full swing with the guidance of Somerset, the King and a slightly reluctant Cranmer. The repeal of King Henry VIIIs Act of Six Articles allowed for unrestricted reading of the Bible. This also resulted in books that had been previously banned being printed once again. Most were Protestant books.

King Edwards sister Mary was a staunch Catholic and the reformation went completely against her beliefs making her an obvious figurehead for the opposition. Mary became a vocal critic of her brothers government and their religious policies. This became a sore spot between the two for Edwards entire life. Even so, Edward still cared for his sister and was a bit sympathetic to her cause – he allowed her to she could practice her faith privately and to Have patience till I have more years, then I will remedy all. That statement suggests that even the King had believed his uncle Somerset had take the reform too far. He was not alone, Archbishop Cranmer felt the same.

Continue reading Part Two


Kyra Kramer – Henry VIIIs Health in a Nutshell
Skidmore, Chris. Edward VI. Page 23
5Ibid. Page 24
6 Ibid. Page 64

Loach, Jennifer. Edward VI
Kramer, Kyra. Henry VIII’s Health in a Nutshell
Skidmore, Chris. Edward VI

The Regency Council of Edward VI

As Henry VIII lay dying in his bedchamber in January 1547, Edward Seymour and William Paget were whispering in the gallery outside his chamber door at Westminster plotting the future. We know this is true because later Paget calls out Edward Seymour on following through on what they had discussed in the gallery that day in a later letter – the letter is also a warning to his close friend. At the point of this letter, Thomas Seymour was already dead (20 March 1549) and things were beginning to fall apart for Edward Seymour, Lord Protector:

I see at the hand the king’s destruction and your ruin. If you love me or value my service since the king’s father’s death, allow me to write what I think. Remember what you promised me in the gallery at Westminster before the breath wasn’t out of the body of the king, that dead is. Remember what you promised immediately after, devising with me concerning the place which you now occupy, I trust, in the end to goodness purpose, howsoever things thwart now. And that was, to follow mine advice in all your proceedings, more than any other man’s. Which promise I wish Your Grace had kept. For the I am sure things had not gone altogether as they go now.’ (July 1549)

William Paget and Edward Seymour were friends. You could probably say they were very close friends. In May 1549, Paget wrote in a letter to Seymour his feelings for him:

…so deeply in my heart as it cannot be taken out, I could hold my peace as some others do, and say little or nothing.”[1]

In a July 1549 letter, he said:

I have ever desired your authority to be set forth, ever been careful of honour and surety; both for now and for evermore, ever glad to please you, as ever was gentle wife to please her husband, and honest man his master I was.

Paget clearly had strong feelings for his friendship with Edward Seymour. Where some might read an intimate relationship between the men, others like historian Suzannah Lipscomb see Paget comparing their relationship to that of a master and servant and also between spouses.

It would not take long after the accession of Edward VI for William Paget to discover, his close friend and Lord Protector would not see through his end of their earlier promise made at Westminster.

In the will of Henry VIII, he formed a regency council of sixteen men, men who he trusted to keep his best interests in mind during the minority of King Edward. The late king’s wish was to have a council to make decisions instead of one person. Henry had formed a Privy Council in 1540 and felt that the group of men had proved an effective executive body to the King – for this reason he believe a regency could would be better than say a Regent.

At some point after Henry submitted his final will (30 December 1546) and the death of Henry VIII (28 January 1547), Edward Seymour recognized the council needed a leader.

As Paget and Seymour whispered in the gallery of Westminster they agreed that they were to move forward to have Seymour named Lord Protector. Paget in turn would be, because of his loyalty and friendship, would be his greatest advisor. The result being Seymour and Paget would be the two most powerful men in England. But before they could get that far they would need to find allies within the council.

Speaking of the king’s mortality was treason and punishable by death, so those near him who knew he was about to die were too afraid of the dying King’s temper to prepare him for death. The only man brave enough was Sir Anthony Denny. Denny tread lightly around the topic to ask the King if he wished a priest to come give him his last rites. King Henry said, “If I had any, it should be Dr. Cranmer but I will first take a little sleep. And then, as I feel myself, I will advise [you] upon the matter.”[2] Those were the last known words of King Henry VIII. Not long after that incident he died.

After the death of Henry VIII it was imperative for Seymour to respond immediately to the death of the king, and within hours he left with Sir Anthony Browne (named as a member of the regency council), who was master of the horse, and a force of 300 mounted troops to retrieve the new king from Hertford Caslte. [3] They traveled twenty-five miles by horse to reach him. One can imagine them riding as fast as they could – they needed to get to the new king first.

A former servant of Sir Anthony Browne wrote this about what happened in a 1549 letter:

…communing with my Lord’s Grace [Browne] in the garden at Enfield, at the King’s Majesty’s coming from Hertford, gave his frank consent [in] communication in discourse of the State, that his Grace should be Protector, thinking it (as indeed it was) both the surest kind of government and most fit for that Commonwealth.

Edward Seymour now had William Paget and Anthony Browne in his corner – champions to assist in making him Lord Protector.

The following evening, they transported Edward to see his sister Elizabeth at Enfield – it was there that both “kids” were informed of their father’s death. Sir John Hayward, Edward VI’s first biographer reported that, “Never was sorrow more sweetly set forth, their faces seeming rather to beautify their sorrow, than their sorrow to cloud the beauty of their faces.”[4]

While Seymour was with Edward (and possibly Elizabeth as well), he received an urgent letter from William Paget at one or two in the morning on the 29th of January. Neither men had been sleeping well and Paget was especially having a difficult time – Edward Seymour had locked Henry VIII’s will in a box and had accidentally taken the key with him. Where the will was, the power was. With Seymour away Paget needed immediate access to the most powerful document in England.

In Seymour’s response letter to Paget he sent the key and some advice on what should be done with the will. Seymour didn’t believe that anyone (other than the council) needed to see the will in its entirety. Seymour stated that they needed to be cautious and to only show as much as “were necessary to be published for divers respects I think it not convenient to satisfy the world”. We can see the urgency in the plan when Seymour endorsed the letter on the outside: “To my right loving friend, Sir William Paget, one of the King’s Majesties Two Principal Secretaries. Haste, post haste, haste with all diligence, for thy life, for thy life.”

With access to the will, Paget would now be able to have the contents revealed as to who the members of the regency council would be and the executors of the late king’s will.

Seymour showed his leadership skills when on the 30th of January he wrote the Council to discuss their idea of a general royal pardon. In the letter he advises them to wait until the coronation of King Edward. If they waited, Edward, as the new king would be looked favorably upon.

Letter: 30 January 1547 from Enfield

Your lordships shall understand that I the Earl of Hertford have received your letter concerning a pardon to be granted in such form as in the schedule ye have sent, and that ye desire to know our opinions therein.

For answer thereunto, ye shall understand we be in some doubt whether our power be sufficient to answer unto the King’s Majesty that now is, when it shall please him to call us to account for the same. And in case we have authority so to do it, in our opinions the time will serve much better at the Coronation than at this present. For if it should be now granted, his Highness can show no such gratuity unto his subjects when the time is most proper for the same; and his father, who we doubt not be in heaven, having no need thereof, shall take the praise and thank from him that hath more need thereof than be.

We do very well like your device for the matter; marry, we would wish it to be done when the time serveth most proper for the same.

We intended the King’s Majesty shall be a horseback tomorrow by 11 o’clock, so that by 3 we trust his Grace shall be at the Tower. So, if ye have not already advertised my Lady Anne of Cleves of the King’s death, it shall be well done ye send some express person for the same.

And so,with our right hearty commendations, we bid you farewell.

From Enfield this Sunday night, at a 11 o’clock.

Your good lordships’ assured loving friends,

E. Hertford

Anthony Browne

On the 31st of January, the Commons were sent to the House of Lords. A grief-stricken Lord Chancellor, Thomas Writholsey, called upon William Paget, Secretary of State to read to Parliament the parts of Henry’s will that pertained to the succession as well as who was named on the regency council. That afternoon, the new regency council met – however, three members were missing from the first meeting. Dr. Nicholas Wotton was absent due to his residence at French court, his brother Sir Edward Wotton was in Calais and Sir Thomas Bromley was not present.

In their first council meeting, they all (those present) agreed that Henry’s will instructed them to have “full power and authority”. After reading the late king’s will, they “fully resolved and agreed with one voice and content…to stand to and maintain the said last will and testament of our said master.” The council decided that one special man should be preferred to be their leader. This man should be of “virtue, wisdom and experience” on to be a “special remembrancer”4 and one good at management. They renamed themselves the “Privy Council” with Edward Seymour as it’s head. [5]

The following day, on the 1st of February, all the executors gathered again at the Tower of London.² It was there that the will was read from beginning to end. It was then that they all took their oath to King Edward and their faithfulness to him. It was also on this day that the members of the council instructed the King that they had name Edward Seymour Lord Protector and asked for his blessing, he agreed and later that day Edward was proclaimed King of England. [6]

Sir William Paget was considered a close friend and confidant of Henry VIII. As his secretary he knew many of the dying king’s wishes. Sometime during the early days of King Edward’s reign, Paget made a long speech to the council informing them of what he head believed to be the late king’s wishes regarding the new honors for the council members. He said that during King Henry’s final days that he and Seymour spent hours alone with the dying king. He said that King Henry had wished to advance certain men to higher titles as to increase the number of noblemen after attainder and death had left many vacancies. Paget also confirmed that Henry VIII wish for Edward Seymour to claim Norfolk’s old titles of Lord Treasurer and Ear Marshall.[7]

After Paget’s speech had concluded the council believed him wholeheartedly.

In the end, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford would now be styled as Duke of Somerset. William Parr, John Dudley and Thomas Wriothesley did not accept their new titles, but instead took the following titles:

  • William Parr, Marquess of Northampton (former title Earl of Essex)
  • John Dudley, Earl of Warwick (former title Viscount Lisle)
  • Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (former title Baron Wriothesley of Titchfield & Lord Chancellor)

John Dudley wrote a letter to Secretary Paget about his wish to have the peerage, “Earl of Warwick”:

Master Secretary, perchance some folks allege considerations concerning the not assignment (had been vacant since 1499 after the death of Edward Plantagenet) of the lordship of Warwick, saying it is a stately castle, and a goodly park, and a great royalty. To that it may be answered – the castle of itself is not able to lodge a good baron with his train; for all the one side of the said castle, with also the dungeon tower, is clearly ruinated and down to the ground; and that of late the King’s Majesty that dead is, hath sold all the chief and principal manors that belonged unto the said earldom and castle; so that at this present there is no lands belonging unto it, but the rents of certain houses in the town, and certain meadows with the park of Wegenock. Of the which castle with the park, and also of the town, I am Constable, High Steward, and Master of the Game, with also th’herbage of the park during my life; and because of the name, I am the more desirous to have the thing; and also I come of one of the daughter and heirs of the right and not defiled line.

I will rebate part of my fees in my portion, to have the same castle, meadows, and park; wherein I pray you to show me your friendship, to move the rest of my lords to this effect: and further to be friendly to Mr. Denny, according to his desire for the site and remains of Waltham, with certain other farms adjoining unto Jeston; wherein, as for the site of Waltham, I suppose it shall grow to a commonwealth to the country thereabouts to let him have it.

And in case that they will not condescend to me for the lordship of Warwick, as is aforesaid, I pray you then let me have Tunbridge and Penshurst, that was the Buckingham’s lands in Kent, as parcel of my portion, with also Hawlden, that was my own; and, whether I have the one or the other, let Canonbury be our portion.

The Master of the Horse would gladly, as I do perceive him, have the lordship in Sussex that was the Lord Laware’s; which in my opinion were better bestowed upon him, or some such as would keep it up, and serve the King in the country in maintaining of household, than to let it fall to ruin as it doth, with divers other like houses; being a great pity, and loss it will be at length to the King and realm.

Your own assuredly, J. Warwick

Sir Anthony Denny later told Roger Ascham that, “The court…is a place so slippery that duty never so well done is not a staff stiff enough to stand by always very surely; where you shall many times reap most unkindness where you have sown greatest pleasures and those also ready to do you much hurt, to whom you never intended to think any harm.“[8]

So, anyway, this article wasn’t supposed to be all about what happened after the death of Henry VIII, but I felt like I needed to set the scene for when I get to my next part – listing the sixteen men who were named to Edward VI’s regency council. So, with that being said, let’s look at the men who were supposed to make the decisions for a nation. Were they indeed the trust men of King Henry VIII or were they believers in Edward Seymour?

This might be hard to believe, but a couple of weeks ago was the first time I have ever really paid any attention detailed list of the sixteen men on Edward’s regency council. To be completely honest, I had not been all that interested in them before now. That is, until I came upon “A General History of the Lives, Trials, and Executions of all the Royal and Noble Personages”. This book covers the those who had been found guilty of high treason and other crimes from the accession of Henry VIII and on. It may seem obvious that I came across this book while doing more research on Thomas Seymour. There are many other men mentioned in this book as well, like: Thomas More, Bishop Fisher and the Duke of Buckingham, to name a few.

When I initially read the list in “A General History of the Lives, Trials, and Executions of all the Royal and Noble Personages” I became overwhelmed with the idea of finding out who each of these men were, where they came from and how they interacted with the other council members. That’s what I’m doing with this post.

Here is the list of the men who were chosen by the late Henry VIII to be on the regency council for his son and heir, Edward VI:

  1. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
  2. Thomas Wriothesley, (1st Earl of Southampton and) Lord Chancellor
  3. William Paulet, Lord St. John and Master of the Household
  4. Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Great Chamberlain
  5. John Russell, (1st Earl of Bedford and) Lord Privy Seal
  6. John Dudley, Viscount Lisle and Lord High Admiral of England
  7. Bishop Cuthbert Tonstall of Durham
  8. Sir Anthony Brown, Master of Horse
  9. Sir Edward Montagu, Chief Judge of the Common Pleas
  10. Thomas Bromley, Judge (need more information on this)
  11. Sir Edward North, Chancellor of the Augmentations
  12. Sir William Paget, Chief Secretary
  13. Sir Anthony Denny, Chief Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber
  14. Sir William Herbert, Chief Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber
  15. Sir Edward Wotton, Treasurer of Calais
  16. Dr. Nicholas Wotton (Edward’s brother), Dean of Canterbury and York
Paget, North, Bromley, Montagu, Paulet, Seymour, Denny, Wriothesley, Russell, Dudley, Tunstall, Browne, Herbert, Wotton, Wotton & Cranmer.

Paget, North, Bromley, Montagu, Paulet, Seymour, Denny, Wriothesley, Russell, Dudley, Tunstall, Browne, Herbert, Wotton, Wotton & Cranmer.

With these men in place, in his will, Henry VIII instructed that “none of them shall do anything appointed by this Will alone, but only with the written consent of the majority.” This group of sixteen men who made up the regency council did not take long before deciding (by majority) that one of them should be the leader.

This position, and title of Lord Protector was given to the King’s eldest uncle, Edward Seymour, followed by the title, Duke of Somerset. The dukedom was a late addition to the late king’s will.

Now…back to what we came here for – learning about the sixteen men who were named to the regency council:

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Cranmer is probably known best as the man who helped change religion in England. It was Cranmer who had a close relationship with the Boleyn family and on the day of Anne’s execution said, ‘She who has been the Queen of England upon earth will today become a Queen in heaven.’ So great was his grief that he could say nothing more, and then he burst into tears. Cranmer definitely owed his rise in favor to Anne and the Boleyns, and after her execution must have felt broken and lost. It also does not surprise me that he was named one of the members of the regency council by Henry VIII – the King definitely had faith in Cranmer.

In his position on the regency council, with Somerset at the head, Cranmer would have been happy to move forward with the reformation.

Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Chancellor

Thomas Wriothesley studied civil law at St. Paul’s School, London and Trinity Hall in Cambridge. He studied under Stephen Gardiner. In 1524, Wriothesly was employed Cardinal Wolsey and it was in that service that he met Thomas Cromwell. Nine years later Thomas Wriothesley would be in the service of Thomas Cromwell.

I’ve read bits and pieces about Wriothesley but never put two and two together about how important of a figure he was at Tudor court. On the 16th of February 1547, Wriothesley was given the title: 1st Earl of Southampton, upon the request of the late King Henry.

Wriothesley had been one of the councillors who were against making Edward Seymour the Lord Protector. Wriothesley did not believe one man should rule the country – Henry’s will specifically stated that it should be a group of chosen men.

Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton by Holbein Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

What do we know about Wriothesley? Well, we know that he was the man responsible for personally torturing Anne Askew in 1546. We also know that he earned favor with Henry VIII when he assisted him with his Great Matter. He was ambassador to Brussels. He led the naval escort to bring Anne of Cleves to England. It is also believed that Wriothesley had similar power as both Wolsey and Cromwell had – that he had been ‘governing almost everything in England.”

Lord St. John, Master of the Household

Lord St. John was what William Paulet styled himself as from 1539-1550. Paulet was raised in peerage to Baron St. John of Basing in 1539. He was Comptroller of the King’s Household. Paulet also turned against Somerset in 1549 in support of John Dudley.

St. John supported the reformation but refrained from politics. That being said, he was one of the sixteen men on the king’s regency council.

St. John was named treasurer of the household in 1537 and then chamberlain in 1543, followed by great master of the household in 1545. Then in 1546 he was named as lord president of the Privy Council.

William Paulet, Lord St. John

Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Great Chamberlain

Edward Seymour was the eldest uncle of King Edward VI. After the death of Henry VIII he voted by the regency council to be named Lord Protector of the Realm. It was in that position that Edward Seymour would experience the most dangerous experiences of his life. Without the approval and backing of the regency council, Edward was alone.

Collection of Marquess of Bath, Longleat House, Wiltshire.

John Russell, (1st Earl of Bedford and) Lord Privy Seal

John Russell served four of the Tudor monarchs.

In 1506, John Russell was of service to King Philip and Queen Juana from Castile when they were shipwrecked off the English coast. Once ashore, “the people sent the royal strangers to the finest house they knew, Wolfeton, the great house owned by Sir Thomas Trenchard ten miles away. Sir Thomas was at home, but he could not speak Spanish, so he sent for his kinsmen John Russell, who was living at the farmhouse Kingston Russell House at Long Bredy Dorset. John had been in Spain and could interpret, the Spaniards were so delighted with his manner that they took him to see the King. King Henry VII made Russell a gentleman of the privy chamber”, a position he remained at in the reign of Henry VIII as well. “Prior to his elevation to court he was the last of a long line of successful wine importers.”[9]

John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, by Hans Holbein the Younger; Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

Then in 1509, Russell was employed in various military and diplomatic missions during the War of the League of Cambrai.

He had many years of experience at court and had accompanied Mary Tudor, the king’s sister, to France in 1514 for her marriage to King Louis XII.

In 1520, Russell attended the Field of Cloth of Gold, and he was knighted on 2 July 1522 after losing an eye at the taking of Morlaix in Brittany

Sir John was named Lord Privy Seal by Henry VIII after the execution of Thomas Cromwell who held the title prior to his death.

John Dudley, Viscount Lisle and Lord High Admiral of England

John Dudley was the son of the ill-fated financial minister, Edmund Dudley. If you recall from a previous episode Edmund Dudley and his counterpart, Robert Empson were executed at the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign. The men had been extremely unpopular during the reign of Henry VII due to all the taxes that were being subjected to the English subjects. By executing them it brought favor to the new Tudor king.

Under the tutelage of his guardian’s brother Sir Henry Guildford, a boon companion of Henry VIII, Dudley was trained as a soldier and courtier.”[10]

Dudley was well-connected at court and in the late 1530’s he was made governor of Calais and in 1542 he was created Viscount Lisle and Lord High Admiral, a position he held until he voluntarily renounced his position so it could be given to Sir Thomas Seymour. He then held the role again after the execution of Seymour until 1550.

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland

In my opinion, Dudley was one of the most ruthless men at Tudor court, he would do whatever it took to get what he wanted. It has always been my believe that he was the one who stirred up trouble between the Seymour brothers and he was also instrumental in the downfall of them both. Dudley took advantage of the dying King Edward VI and (also in my opinion) convinced him to name his new daughter-in-law as his heir.

This is the funny thing about researching the Tudor era. There are so many interesting “characters” to learn about that sometimes, over the years of researching, our opinions of them can change. It’s possible that one day I’ll discover he wasn’t as despicable as I once suspected, but right now he ranks right up there for me with Anne Stanhope, wife of Edward Seymour, Lord Protector.

Bishop Cuthbert Tonstall of Durham

Of all the men listed as members of the regency council, Bishop Tonstall of Durham is the one I know the least about. I’ll do my best to give you the information that I DO have on him.

Serving Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, Tonstall’s career at court was a long one. In 1511, William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, made Tunstall his chancellor. A few years later he was running diplomatic missions abroad for King Henry and Wolsey. Then in 1516 he was made Mast of the Rolls, an office which he held for six years and would on occasion acted as the Keeper of the Privy Seal. Seven years later he then became Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal.

Curthbert Tunstall

After the downfall of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1530, Tunstall succeeded him as Bishop of Durham, which involved Tunstall having significant power within the territory of the diocese.

In 1537, Tonstall became President of the new Council of the North. Although he was often engaged preoccupied with ongoing negotiations with Scotland, he had time to attend Parliament and participated in the discussion of the the Bill of Six Articles.

So…as you can tell, Tunstall was a man on the rise at court and clearly had favor with the King, which is a little surprising because he was one of the men (along with Bishop Fisher and Thomas More) that represented Katherine of Aragon during the divorce proceedings. Tunstall spared himself from execution by playing the part. Even if he didn’t agree with what was going on he understood that it would do him no good to follow Fisher and More.

Sir Anthony Brown, Master of Horse

Another man close to the king and other members at court was Sir Anthony Browne. Browne’s half-brother was the William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, and the men had shared a mother.

It is believed that Browne, born around 1500, was at court from an early age and was probably raised in the royal household – you see, his father was a standard-bearer to King Henry VII.

Browne’s service to the King began in the year 1518 and by the following year he was made gentleman of the privy chamber, a position kept him near the King. Because of this position Browne became one of the King’s close circle of friends that were called his “minions”. Another man who was part of this group of friends was Sir Francis Bryan, the Vicar from Hell.

Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu, NPG 842

Over the years Browne favor with the King continued to grow and grow. He was knighted in 1520 by Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (future Duke of Norfolk) for his service against the French. He was appointed lieutenant of the Isle of Man and then in 1527 served the King as ambassador to France.

It is believed to be Browne’s sister, Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester was the person who provided the testimony to build the charges of adultery against Anne Boleyn.

While it appears that Browne supported Henry in the downfall of Anne Boleyn in 1536, he also briefly fell from favor that year when he showed his support to returning the Lady Mary to the succession.

Sir Anthony Browne assisted Edward Seymour in the French wars in the 1540s when they were successful and securing England’s coastal defences.

Browne was returned to favor and continued to serve the King until his last day. In his will, King Henry VIII named Browne an executor to the King’s will and member of the regency council.

Sir Edward Montagu, Chief Judge of the Common Pleas

Unfortunately I was unable to find anymore information on Sir Edward Montagu at this time.

Thomas Bromley, Judge (need more information on this)

Puisne Justice of the King’s Bench [11] and he was absent from the meeting where the council voted to make Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford as Lord Protector of the Realm. I was unfortunately unable to find more information on Bromley.

Sir Edward North, Chancellor of the Augmentations

From History of Parliament:

The beginning of the new reign saw North made a Privy Councillor and reappointed to the chancellorship, but he was soon to be antagonized by the Protector Somerset who in August 1548 connived at his being eased out of his office in favour of Richard Sackville II. This act was to cost the Protector dear, for in the coup d’état against him a year later North was one of the first to join the dissident Councillors in London and to sign the letter listing the Protector’s offences.

Edward North

Sir William Paget, Chief Secretary

We’ve talked quite a bit about him already, so here is a portrait of him for you to gaze at.

Anglo/Netherlandish School; William Paget (1505/1506-1563), 1st Baron Paget de Beaudesert, KG; National Trust, Plas Newydd;

Sir Anthony Denny, Chief Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber

In the final years of Henry VIII’s life, Sir Anthony Denny was his chief gentleman of the privy chamber (& groom of the stool). He and the King were constantly together. Denny was also a co-keeper of the king’s dry stamp in 1546 and the use of that stamp is what has history buffs wondering if it may have been misused.

Possible Portrait of Denny

Denny was with King Henry in France and was knighted at Boulogne and the King even trusted Denny to his privy purse.

Sir William Herbert, Chief Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber

A few days after Henry VIII’s death Herbert, Paget and Denny informed the council that they had “remembered” more things that were their late King’s wishes. Like….these things were so important that it escaped the King’s mind at the time he made up his will. Because of their flood of memory, Edward Seymour became Duke of Somerset, William Parr became Marquisate of Northampton, John Dudley became Earl of Warwick and Thomas Wriothesley became Earl of Southampton.

William Herbert

Sir Edward Wotton, Treasurer of Calais

Edward Wotton’s duties in Calais prevented his frequent attendance at the council board and so he was probably a non-factor when it came to votes by the council.

Dr. Nicholas Wotton (Edward’s brother), Dean of Canterbury and York

Nicholas Wotton was one of the men charged with going to Cleves and getting a glimpse of Anne of Cleves for King Henry. But in that mission he failed miserably and ‘complained that he could not see her face beneath her voluminous headdress’.



[1] Craik, George Lillie & Charles MacFarlane. “The pictorial history of England during the reign of George the Third: being a history of the people, as well as a history of the kingdom. Illustrated with several hundred woodcuts, Volume 2”. pg 472
[2] Hutchinson, Robert. “The Last Days of Henry VIII”. pg 219-220
[3] Hutchinson, Robert. “The Last Days of Henry VIII”. pg 15
[4] Lipscomb, Suzannah. “The King is Dead”. pg. 81
[5] De Lisle, Leanda. “Tudor”. pg. 239-40
[6] Acts of the Privy Council of England Volume 2, 1547-1550. Originally published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1890. pg. 7-8
[7] Scard, Margaret. “Edward Seymour”. pg. 81
[8] Hutchinson, Robert. “The Last Days of Henry VIII”. pg 14-15
[10] Wagner, John A., Susan Walters Schmid. Encyclopia of Tudor England, Volume 1 (A-D). pg 371
[11] Hutchinson, Robert. “The Last Days of Henry VIII”. pg 213


Acts of the Privy Council of England Volume 2, 1547-1550. Originally published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1890.
England Under the Reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, With the Contemporary History of Europe, Illustrated in a Series of Original Letters Never Before Printed : with Historical Introductions and
Craik, George Lillie & Charles MacFarlane. “The pictorial history of England during the reign of George the Third: being a history of the people, as well as a history of the kingdom. Illustrated with several hundred woodcuts, Volume 2”
De Lisle, Leanda. “Tudor”.
Hutchinson, Robert. “The Last Days of Henry VIII”.
Lipscomb, Suzannah. “The King is Dead”.
Scard, Margaret. “Edward Seymour”.
Tytler, Patrick Fraser, Biographical and Cirtical Notes ; in Two Volumes
Wagner, John A., Susan Walter Schmid. “Encyclopedia of Tudor England”.

Katheryn Howard – Part Three

The last article in the series covered Katheryns wedding night through Easter, or end of March 1541. It was at this point in time that Katheryn began to show favor to Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford.

Find Part One Here

Find Part Two Here

Katheryn Howard – Part Three

It was around the same time as Margaret Poles unexpected execution at the end of May 1541, that Queen Katheryn had become noticeably upset about her relationship with the King. Rumors had been floating around Tudor court that the King wished to take back the Lady Anne of Cleves.

When the Queen’s behavior came to the King’s attention, Henry located his young wife and informed her that she was wrong to think such things – that if he were ever in the position to marry again he would not choose the Lady of Cleves. But I suspect that the reason Katheryn was so paranoid about her relationship was because there was a rumor circulating. The rumor was that Anne of Cleves being pregnant by the King. The Queen had not yet given the King a son.

Queen Katheryn left Greenwich Palace merely four days after the execution of Margaret Pole and was headed to Westminster. Greenwich was in need of a cleaning, a task that could take weeks to complete. Once it was clean she would return.

Upon her return to Greenwich Palace, the Queen was informed that her cousin, Sir Edmund Knyvet had been arrested for “shedding blood” in the precincts of the court. The punishment for said offense was for Knyvet to lose his right hand. As a right-hander, Knyvet begged to have his left hand removed instead – he insisted that it was so he could still yield a sword for the King. The Queen must have put in a good word for her cousin because not long after he was fully pardoned. He was also warned that if it were to happen again there would be no reprieve.

After unpacking Katheryn’s things the Queen’s household got back to their normal activities. Entertainment continued as always as there was much music and dancing – two things Katheryn thoroughly enjoyed. It was this atmosphere that would unleash a chain of events that would inevitably bring down the Queen of England.

Whether it was Margaret Douglas secret affair with the Queen’s brother Charles, or Dorothy Bray sneaking afound with the already married, Lord William Parr, Queen Katheryn was not performing her duty as guardian of her ladies reputations, to the extent that she was expected.


The recklessness of her ladies spilled over into Katheryn’s life when she eventually forgave her former flame, Thomas Culpeper. Apparently, the two had had a disagreement on Maundy Thursday and did not speak again. Something changed with the Queen to at this point open up her reputation to a fling with Culpeper. Was it that she wasn’t receiving the attention from the King that she desired? Was it because her husband was old enough to be her grandfather?

What exactly happened after they reconciled is unknown, but we do eventually come across evidence of Katheryn’s feelings for Thomas Culpeper. Queen Katheryn sent one of her page boys to bring several dinners to Culpeper when he was sick. This, at the time, was not seen as inappropriate but she walk walking a very delicate line.

The progress of 1541

Everything changed during the summer progress of 1541. Henry and Katheryn’s itinerary on the journey included twenty-seven stops in just over three and a half months on the road. In addition to traveling they also had many public appearances along the way. It was as this journey progressed that Katheryn Howard began plotting to be with a man who was not her husband.

A few hours after their departure from London, the royal retinue stopped in Enfield.A progress in the summer was not uncommon for the court – London was known to be unbearable in the summer. The heat and smell of the Thames would often chase away the King. This timing of this progress was perfect for Henry to get to the north and meet many of his subjects who had never seen him before – this was his first time in 32 years that he ventured past Boston, in Lincolnshire.

After stops in Enfield and St. Albans, the court rested in Dunstable. It was at Dunstable that Katheryn Howard became the first Queen consort of Ireland. Something that must have been very exciting for her.

As they continued along their way, the King and Queen enjoyed themselves immensely. The King was having such a great time that he sent the Mayor of London a great stag and two bucks that he had killed on the 14th of July. This shows that there was no shortage of meat along their journey. It was only a week later that it was noted that the Queen was in a great mood – she had never traveled to Northampton before and it made her happy to experience this new city.

A Note

Two stops later in their progress, while at Loddington, Katheryn gave her chamberer, Margaret Morton, a note that was to be delivered to Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford. This letter was missing a seal and was not addressed to anyone, this often meant that the sender wished to be kept anonymous. When Morton delivered the message to Rochford, she was informed that the Queen would have her response in the morning.

The following morning, Morton went to retrieve the answer from Rochford and was greeted with a warning, to tell her Grace to keep it secret and not lay it abroad. Morton would not forget this strange interaction.

As their progress continued, a stop at Collyweston was in order. Collyweston was the former residence of Margaret Beaufort, the King’s grandmother. It then belonged to the King’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, until his death in the summer of 1536. While no one had lived there since the death of Fitzroy, it was considered to be in great condition. Katheryns apartments at Collyweston overlooked the garden and she had access with a private staircase to her rooms.

Grimsthorpe Castle

A short three-day stop at Grimsthorpe Castle was next for the royal couple. This castle belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk and the Charles Brandon was there to greet the group when they arrived.

As the Queens chamberers finished unpacking for their short stay, Katheryn asked her former bedmate, Katherine Tilney to fetch Lady Rochford and ask if she had followed through on the Queens request. Rochford told Tilney that she would bring word herself when it had arrived. Yet another strange interaction that would never be forgotten.

The Queen and Lady Rochford had discussed Culpepper throughout the lengthy progress. At one point Rochford mentioned to Katheryn that another privy chamber gentleman, Thomas Paston had also showed interested in the Queen. If Rochford was trying to find more men for Katheryn, the Queen was not interested. The only person on her mind was Thomas Culpeper.

The group left Grimsthorpe on the 7th/8th of August and headed to the small market town of Sleaford. The manor house in Sleaford, where they stopped briefly, had previously been owned by Lord Hussey. Hussey was a man who was beheaded after supporting the Pilgrimage of Grace. A common theme while in the north.

Treason at Lincoln

The following morning they were on the move once again. Roughly 10 miles outside of Lincoln, while the royal cortege ate, messengers were sent to Lincoln to inform those in charge that the King and Queen would arrive shortly.

Henry and Katheryn’s entrance into Lincoln must have been quite the site – as they rode toward the city wall, a group of men in red robes gathered. As Katheryn (also wearing red) approached the men, they quickly bowed to their new Queen. A tent had been erected nearby so the royal couple could change out of their riding clothes.Henry changed into an outfit made of cloth of gold and Katheryn wore a silver dress.

Throughout the progress, she carried out her public duties perfectly. Accounts of the tour written years later, referred to her as Henrys fair and beloved queen. Katheryn was a flawlessly behaved consort – content to dazzle as a supporting player, cloth of silver next to Henrys cloth of gold, never pulling focus or openly pursuing her own agenda. Her first few months as queen had been considered a success.

With all that being said, it was during their stay in Lincoln that Katheryn began her late night chats with Lady Rochford. Both Katherine Tilney and Margaret Morton (two ladies who were already suspicious) were assigned to escort the Queen to Rochfords room. When they arrived at Rochford’s door, the Queen dismissed both Tilney and Morton. This behavior was very suspicious. The fact that the Queen went to a servants room instead of inviting the servant into her own was unusual by social standards.

Once Katheryn and Lady Rochford were alone they snuck down the stairs to the back entrance of the apartments. It was there they waited for the arrival of Thomas Culpeper. As they waited that a guardsmen noticed the door was unlocked. Without assessing the situation he locked the door. Katheryn and Rochford had narrowly missed getting caught. Lucky for them, when Culpeper arrived he wasn’t concerned – he picked the lock and was there to calm a panicked Queen.

The three of them returned to Lady Rochfords lavatory. The the size of the room wasn’t small by any means – Lady Rochford could sleep in the corner and not know what was going on between Katheryn and Culpeper.

In a room lit by candlelight, Thomas and Katheryn shared their darkest secrets with one another. Katheryn spoke of her history with Henry Manox and Francis Dereham. While Thomas Culpeper listened intently and appeared amused by her stories. The conversation became more intimate when Katheryn bragged about her skills as a lover to the attractive young man sitting across from her.

As the hours ticked away, the Queens household became suspicious of the relationship of Katheryn and Lady Rochford. Margaret Morton, who was already suspicious, decided to checked if the Queen was back in her bed – when she returned Katherine Tilney asked, Jesus, is not the Queen abed yet? At which Morton replied, Yes, even now, and went to bed.

The Queen and Culpeper talked for hours – they finally went their separate ways at around two or three in the morning.

The following morning, after only getting a few hours of sleep, the Queen had the energy to show her generosity to a woman called Helen Page. Page was a local spinster who had been condemned for several minor felonies. Page’s sentence is unknown, but was pardoned by the King on the Queen’s request.

I Love You

That evening, the Queen and Thomas Culpeper met again. This time she charged Katherine Tilney to escort her to Rochford’s room. She knew Tilney could keep a secret. Katheryn told Tilney to wait outside. This meeting would be the first time that Katheryn Howard, wife of Henry VIII, Queen, told Thomas Culpeper that she loved him.He reciprocated her feelings by saying he felt bound to her because he did love her again above all other creatures. As Culpeper left he kissed Katheryn on the hand because he could not allow himself to go further.

After Lincoln

A day or two later the court moved on to Gainsborough, which was eighteen miles from Lincoln. Its unclear where Katheryn and her household stayed during this visit but author Gareth Russell believes it could have been Gainsborough Old Hall, the home of the old Lord Burgh. Local legend says that the King and his Queen slept in the upper bedchamber of Gainsborough Old Halls tower. While its likely that the Queen stayed there it is highly unlikely that the royal couple shared a room.

After spending a few days in Gainsborough they were off to Scrooby and then Hatfield. It was at Hatfield that Katheryns lady, Margaret Morton later stated that she saw her look out of her chamber window on Master Culpeper after such sort that I thought there was love between them. Morton did not report what she had seen and instead made another mental note of the Queens behavior. The court stayed at Hatfield for roughly five days before moving on to Pontefract Castle – which would be their longest stop on their progress.

Nearing the end of August, the royal couple had been on progress for over two months. The Queen, at this point, was not adjusting well to all the traveling – Im certain shed never experience anything like it in her lifetime. She was tired and jumping. Whether it was her tiredness, or the excitement of seeing Culpeper we don’t know, but she was not acting herself and treated her ladies poorly.

At one point at Pontefract the paranoid Queen yelled at Margaret Morton and Maude Luffkyn after suspecting they were spying on her.

Things didn’t get any easier for Katheryn either. On the 25th of August, Francis Dereham showed up at Pontefract, unannounced. Dereham was there to get what was his. He had just had an agrument with the dowager duchess of Norfolk. Norfolk threw him out. He had lost everything. What more did he have to lose? He asked for a position in the Queen’s household.

Katheryn had to think on her toes – she needed to find a way to appease this ticking time bomb…but her household was full.

After having a private meeting with Dereham she introduced him to the rest of her staff as her gentleman usher.

Being the thorn in her side that he was, Dereham continued with his boasting and bad manners – something that would haunt them all later and cost Dereham his life.

It All Changed

During their long stay at Pontefract, Thomas Culpeper spent an increasing amount of time together with Katheryn in her rooms, until he had to leave to undress the King at night – at which he would, some nights, return.

A new habit formed for the Queen while at Pontefract Castle – she began to lock her the doors to her bedroom at night, only giving access to Lady Rochford.

Maude Luffkyn got in trouble with the Queen again when she attempted to enter the Queens bedroom one night. She either forgot the door was locked, or was suspicious of the Queens behavior. Katheryn was so upset with her that she threatened to remove both Luffkyn and Morton.

It wasnt only Maude Luffkyn who tried to get into the Queens room but also a servant to the King. He had a message for Katheryn from Henry. The servant found the door locked and left – he hadnt thought twice about it. That is until later.

In mid-September, the King required Culpeper’s service for his trip to inspect the northern port of Hull. One can imagine Queen Katheryn heartsick over the distance between them.

Upon his return from Hull, Katheryn was quick to restart their late-night meetings. At one meeting she begged Culpeper not to confess what they had been doing to a priest, because, she believed her husband, as head of the Church of England would hear his confussion. Culpeper promised her he would not tell a soul, not even a priest.

End of the Progress

After the long progress Katheryn returned to Hampton Court Palace on the 28th of October 1541. In only a couple of days her world would begin to change.

Katheryn continued to take risks in order to see Thomas Culpeper, after arriving back at Hampton Court. Her infatuation with the man was causing the Queen to make terrible decisions. Before too long she would never see him again.

The Archbishop of Canterburys (Thomas Cranmer) official London residence was Lambeth Palace. It was there that he accepted the audience of a man called John Lascelles. What came from this conversation was not what Canterbury had expected.

Lascelles came with news that he had heard from his sister, Mary Lascelles – now Mary Hall about Queen Katheryns behavior. Hall was once a servant of the dowager duchess of Norfolk and lived in the same household with Queen Katheryn when she was a ward there. John Lascelles stated that he had recently encouraged his younger sister to petition for a position in the Queens household, but Mary Hall said that she would not feel comfortable having a mistress whose morals were lacking and who was light, both in living and conditions.

When Lascelles naturally pressed his sister for more information she told him of the Queens past romances with both Henry Manox and Francis Dereham. To prove that this was true he repeated what his sister had told him, but possibly in a more delicate way. She had approached Manox (as we covered in the last podcast) and informed him that he could not have a future with Katheryn due to his status. This is where Hall told her brother that Manox informed her that he had seen a very private part of Katheryns body and would recognize it easily.

After John Lascelles heard this story from his sister he chose to discuss with friends to help decide what he should do with the information. The consensus was to bring it to the Privy Council. This was when Lascelles paid visit to Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.

The entire matter was extremely delicate for anyone near the King who may have known of the Queens past. It would all have to be dealt with very carefully. Cranmer decided, most likely for fear of the wrath of the King, to leave a note for him to read after the mass for All Souls.

After reading the note, King Henry did not have the initial reaction that was expected of him. His biggest concern was in finding the truth in the story – not to lock up his Queen, who remained in her apartments, utterly clueless, for the rest of day. The King either hoped or believed it was all a big misunderstanding.

It did not take long before the Privy Council began to interview witnesses. At the top of the list was John Lascelles and his sister Mary Hall. The Earl of Southampton, a member of the Kings Privy Council began with John Lascelles, and the following day the Earl of Sussex stopped at the home of Mary Hall.

To stop rumors from spreading back to court where those involved in the accusations could find out, Sussex and some other men disguised their stop at the Hall residence as a place to rest on their journey from hunting. Eventually, Sussex was able to get Mary alone to inform her that the hunting trip was a ruse – to keep this matter as private as possible. He asked Mary if she would stand behind her words at which she declared she would.

After the confession of Mary Hall, Wriothesley and Canterbury examined Henry Manox at Lambeth. Manox said that he was appointed to the service of the dowager duchess of Norfolk about five years earlier. He fell in love with Katheryn, and she with him. Unfortunately their so-called fairy tale was interrupted when the lady of the household found them alone together.

Canterbury and Southampton proceeded to ask Manox if he had any displeasure with Francis Dereham. Manox stated that Dereham also loved Katheryn, and Edward Walgrave, who loved a maiden named Baskervile, used to visit her there until 2 or 3 in the morning.; so he wrote an anonymous letter to the Duchess, warning her that if she would rise half an hour after going to bed and visit the gentlewomen’s chamber she would be displeased. The Duchess did as he said and was furious with the girls.

Sometime afterward, Katheryn had become suspicious of the letter that informed the duchess and stole it from her room. She showed it to Dereham, who suspected Manox to have written it, and called him knave.

Manox during his interrogation also said that Joan Bulmer, who was Katheryns bedfellow had also been entertained by Dereham.

Manox continued on by listing more witnesses to the happenings in the dowager duchess household: Dorothy Dawby, then chamberer, Katherine Tylney, now chamberer with the Queen, Edward Walgrave, servant to Prince Edward, Mary Lascelles (or Hall) and Malyn Tylney, widow, can speak of the misrule between Dereham and Katheryn.

After the Manox interrogation, the men moved on to Francis Dereham, who was already in custody. They were careful about removing Dereham from the Queens household without causing suspicion. Dereham was told that he would be questioned about earlier claims of piracy during his time in Ireland. Once behind closed-door, he would learn it was even worse than piracy. It was treason.

Francis Dereham was questioned by the men about his doings in Ireland. What brought him there in the first place? Why did he choose now? Dereham’s new position in the Queen’s household was known and was considered suspicious as well. Francis told his interrogators that he had been invited to the Queens chambers, was given gifts and was told to take heed what words you speak.

He also confessed to have known Katheryn carnally many times during their time at the dowager duchess home. He went so far to recall a time that he was in his doublet and hose between the sheets with Katheryn, and there were witnesses to their love-making.

It hit very close to home when Katheryn’s aunt, Margaret Howard and her former bedmate, Katherine Tilney were both taken in for questioning. Katheryns aunt slyly told the men that she had suspected a relationship between Dereham and her niece but thats as far as she went with it. Margaret knew better than to incriminate herself.Katherine Tilney, on the other hand, confirmed the words of Mary Hall and Francis Dereham during her interrogation.

On the 6th of November, Canterbury and Southampton paid visit to the King. This meeting filled the King in on the intelligence collected. This moment would have been nerve-wracking for them as well, to displease the King was terrifying and they wouldnt want to be punished for telling him what had actually happened. Once all the evidence was revealed, Henry sat there quiet for a while, until eventually he began to cry.

Not long after, the King ordered both the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk back to court. Once the men had arrived secretive council meetings took place, not to cause alarm at court. Unfortunately it did not take long for gossip to start after Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk was seen leaving a meeting noticeably shaken. At this point nobody had suspected that this was all related to the Queen.

Read Part Four

Further Reading:

‘Henry VIII: in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 16, 1540-1541, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1898)

Byrne, Conor;Katherine Howard: A New History(2014)
Fraser, Antonia; The Wives of Henry VIII (1994) Loades, David; The 6 Wives of Henry VIII (2014)
Licence, Amy; The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII (2014)
Russell, Gareth; Young and Damned and Fair The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of Henry VIII (2016)
Weir, Alison; The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991)

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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.


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)
Ives, Eric; The Live and Death of Anne Boleyn
Doran, Susan; The Tudor Chronicles
Wertman, Janet; Jane the Quene (2016)

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Thomas Cromwell: Downfall and Execution

Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s champion when it came to Anne Boleyn – he also assisted in the downfall of Anne. It appears to us now that Cromwell knew how to survive at the court of Henry VIII….for awhile, at least.

It wasn’t until Anne of Cleves that thing start to sour for Cromwell. When Henry VIII felt rejected by his new Queen he turned on Cromwell, blaming him for everything. As we all know the King rarely accepted blame in anything and those closest to him were most affected by his anger. Many have tried to say that the reason behind Cromwell’s downfall is what happened with Anne of Cleves – but if you read the below “Bill of Attainder” you will see no mention of Anne of Cleves. None. In my opinion, Cromwell’s downfall was not much different from Wolsey’s. As in Thomas Wolsey’s case, many thought Cromwell, who had come from nothing, had too much control over the King. Even though the King allowed it because he always behaved as though he couldn’t be bothered with running the Kingdom.

Letter – 10 June 1540 Charles de Marillac (French ambassador) to King Francis I:

Joos van Cleve - Portrait of Francis I, King of France (ca. 1532-1533)
Joos van Cleve – Portrait of Francis I, King of France (ca. 1532-1533)

[London,] – Has just heard that Thomas Cramvel, keeper of the Privy Seal and Vicar-General of the Spiritualty, who, since the Cardinal’s death, had the principal management of the atfairs of this kingdom, and had been newly made Grand Chamberlain, was, an hour ago, led prisoner to the Tower and all his goods attached. Although this might be thought a private matter and of little importance, inasmuch as they have only reduced thus a personage to the state from which they raised him and treated him as hitherto everyone said he deserved, yet, considering that public affairs thereby entirely change their course, especially as regards the innovations in religion of which Cromwell was principal author, the news seems of such importance that it ought to be written forthwith. Can add nothing but that no articles of religion are yet concluded, and that the bishops are daily assembled to resolve them, and meanwhile Parliament continues.

Was on the point of closing this when a gentleman of this Court came to say from the King that Marillac should not be astonished because Cromwell was sent to the Tower, and that, as the common, ignorant, people spoke of it variously, he (the King) wished Marillac to know the truth. The substance was that the King, wishing by all possible means to lead back religion to the way of truth, Cromwell, as attached to the German Lutherans, had always favoured the doctors who preached such erroneous opinions and hindered those who preached the contrary, and that recently, warned by some of his principal servants to reflect that he was working against the intention of the King and of the Acts of Parliament, he had betrayed himself and said he hoped to suppress the old preachers and have only the new, adding that the affair would soon be brought to such a pass that the King with all his power could not prevent it, but rather his own party would be so strong that he would make the King descend to the new doctrines even if he had to take arms against him. These plots were told the King by those who heard them and who esteemed their fealty more than the favour of their master. The King also sent word that when he spoke with Marillac he would tell things which would show combien grande a este la coulpe dudit Cramvel (blank) du dit seigneur a si long temps sceu le dissimuler et la juste occasion de maintenant y avoir donn ordre.
French. Modern transcript, pp. 3

(‘Henry VIII: June 1540, 1-10’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 349-364)

Letter – 11 June 1540; Thomas Cranmer to Henry VIII:

Cranmer – Portrait by Gerlach Flicke (1545)

Heard yesterday in the King’s Council that Cromwell is a traitor. Expresses his amazement and grief that he should be a traitor who was so advanced by the King and cared for no man’s displeasure to serve him, and was so vigilant to detect treason that King John, Henry II., and Richard II., had they had such a councillor, would never have been so overthrown as they were. Loved him as a friend, and the more for the love he seemed to bear the King; and now, although glad that his treason is discovered, is very sorrowful; for whom shall the King trust hereafter? Prays God to send the King a councillor he can trust, and who, for all his qualities, can serve like him.
A fragment.

(‘Henry VIII: June 1540, 11-20’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 364-376)

Letter – 12 June 1540; Cromwell to Henry VIII:

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell,
Hans Holbein the Younger, (15321533)

Prostrate at your Majesty’s feet, I have heard your pleasure by your Controller, viz., that I should write such things as I thought meet concerning my most miserable state. And (1) where I have been accused of treason, I never in all my life thought to displease your Majesty; much less to do or say that thing which of itself is so high and abominable offence. Your Grace knows my accusers, God forgive them. If it were in my power to make you live for ever, God knows I would; or to make you so rich that you should enrich all men, or so powerful that all the world should obey you. For your Majesty has been most bountiful to me, and more like a father than a master. I ask you mercy where I have offended. Never spoke with the Chancellor of the Augmentations and Frogmerton together at a time; but if I did, I never spoke of any such matter. Your Grace knows what manner of man Throgmerton has ever been towards you and your proceedings. What Master Chancellor has been to me, God and he know best; what I have been to him your Majesty knows. If I had obeyed your often most gracious counsels it would not have been with me as now it is. But I have committed my soul to God, my body and goods to your pleasure. As for the Commonwealth, I have done my best, and no one can justly accuse me of having done wrong wilfully. If I heard of any combinations or offenders against the laws, I have for the most part (though not as I should have done) revealed and caused them to be punished. But I have meddled in so many matters, I cannot answer all.

The Controller showed me that you complained that within these 14 days I had revealed a matter of great secrecy. I remember the matter, but I never revealed it. After your Grace had spoken to me in your chamber of the things you misliked in the Queen, I told you she often desired to speak with me, but I durst not, and you thought I might do much good by going to her and telling her my mind. Lacking opportunity I spoke with her lord Chamberlain, for which I ask your mercy, to induce her to behave pleasantly towards you. I repeated the suggestion, when the lord Chamberlain and others of her council came to me at Westminster for licence for the departure of the strange maidens. This was before your Grace committed the secret matter to me, which I never disclosed to any but my lord Admiral,by your commandment on Sunday last; whom I found equally willing to seek a remedy for your comfort, saying he would spend the best blood in his belly for that object.

Was also accused at his examination of retaining contrary to the laws. Denies that he ever retained any except his household servants, but it was against his will. Was so besought by persons who said they were his friends that he received their children and friendsnot as retainers, for their fathers and parents did find them; but if he have offended, desires pardon. Acknowledges himself a miserable sinner towards God and the King, but never wilfully. Desires prosperity for the King and Prince.

Written with the quaking hand and most sorrowful heart of your most sorrowful subject, and most humble servant and prisoner, this Saturday at your [Tower] of London.

(‘Henry VIII: June 1540, 11-20’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 364-376)

Bill of Attainder of Thomas Cromwell: 29 June 1540 (passed)

Attainder of Thomas Crumwell, earl of Essex, whom the King has raised from a very base and low degree to the state of an earl, and who nevertheless, as is proved by many personages of great honor, worship, and discretion, has been the most detestable traitor that has been seen during the King’s reign, and has of his own authority set at liberty divers persons convicted of misprision of treason and others apprehended upon suspicion of treason; and also has, for sums of money, granted licences for the export of money, corn, &c., contrary to the King’s proclamations; and also has appointed commissioners in important affairs without the King’s knowledge; and also being a person of as poor and low degree as few be within this realm, has said publicly, That he was sure of you (i.e. the King), and it is detestable that any subject should speak so of his sovereign; and also has give passports to divers persons to go over sea without search; and also, being a detestable heretic, has dispersed into all shires false and erroneous books, many of which were printed beyond seas, tending to the discredit of the blessed sacrament of the altar and other articles of religion declared by the King by the authority of Parliament, and has caused parts of the said books to be translated into English, and although the report made by the translator thereof has been that the matter was expressly against the sacrament of the altar, has, after reading the translation, affirmed the heresy so translated to be good; and also has obstinately maintained that every Christian may be a minister of the said sacrament as well as a priest; and also, being the King’s vicegerent to reform errors and direct ecclesiastical causes, has, without the King’s knowledge, licensed heretics to preach and teach, and has actually written to sheriffs in sundry shires, as if it were the King’s pleasure, to set at large many false heretics; and also upon complaints being made to him of heretics, has defended the said heretics, and rebuked the credible persons, their accusers, &c.; and moreover, 31 March 30 Hen. VIII., in the parish of St. Peter the Poor in London, upon information made to him against certain new preachers, as Robert Barnes and other, whereof part be now in the Tower for preaching against the King’s proclamations, did arrogantly say in defence of their preaching, That if the King would turn from it, yet I would not turn; and if the King did turn and all his people I would fight in the field in my own person with my sword in my hand against him and all other, and held up his dagger saying, Or else this dagger thrust me to the heart if I would not die in that quarrel against them all; and I trust if I live one year or two it shall not lie in the King’s power to resist or let it if he would, and affirming the words by a great oath, &c.; and moreover by bribery and extortion he obtained innumerable sums of money, and, being so enriched, has held the nobles of the Realm in great disdain, and being put in remembrance of others of his estate which your Highness hath called him unto offending in like treasons, said, 31 Jan. 31 Hen. VIII., in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields, Midd., That if the lords would handle him so, that he would give them such a breakfast as never was made in England, and that the proudest of them should know. To suffer as a heretic or traitor, at the King’s pleasure, and forfeit all property held since 31 March 30 Hen. VIII. Saving clause excepting the deanery of Wells from forfeiture.
(‘Henry VIII: April 1540, 11-20’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 15, 1540, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1896), pp. 209-251)

Nobility vs. Cromwell

…the nobility resented Cromwells influence with the king and his pro-monarchy, anti-nobility policy. And while many of the nobles benefited from the sale of clerical lands, many others had relatives dedicated to religious service. Also, reverence for the church and its servants was as deeply-held as reverence for the monarchy. Henrys attacks upon the church struck many as unnatural and wrong; since they could not turn on the king, they turned on Cromwell and blamed him for every unpopular policy. Henry VIII, who relished his popularity, allowed his faithful servant to be impugned. Thus, Henry could meet with his nobles, listen to their complaints, and even agree with them since many were his dearest friends. The king remained popular while his chief minister became increasingly despised and isolated. It is worth noting that one of Cromwells friends, Richard Moryson, argued that merit and not birth should be the only qualification for entry into the privy council. Moryson eventually became a member himself. (

The Day of Execution: 28 July 1540

Translated from Hall Chronicle the best I can into modern day language:

I have come here to die and not to unburden myself as some might think. I am condemned by law to die and my Lord God who has appointed me to this death for my offense. Since the time that I have had years of discretion I have lived as a sinner and offended my Lord God and now I ask him for forgiveness for my offenses. I ask you all to pray for me. Oh Father forgive me. Oh Son forgive me. Oh Holy Ghost forgive me. Oh three persons in one God forgive me. And now I pray that all of you here bear witness that I die in the Catholic faith not doubting once in my faith nor doubting in any sacrament of the Church. Many people have slandered me and reported that I have been a bearer of such as have maintained evil opinions that are untrue, but I confess that like God by his Holy Spirit doth instruct us in the truth so the devil is ready to seduce us, and I have been seduced. Bear me witness that I die in the Catholic faith of the Holy Church. I desire you to pray for the King, that he may live long with you, in health and prosperity. After him that his son, Prince Edward, may long reign over you. And once again I desire you to pray for me, that so long as life remains in the flesh I will not waver in my faith.

And then made he his prayer, which was long, but not so long, as both Godly and learned, and after committed his soul into the hands of God and so patiently suffered the stroke of the axe, by a ragged butcherly miser, which very ungoodly performed office. (Hall’s Chronical;Hall, Edward, d. 1547)

After Cromwell

HenryVIII2_1389961fIt was not long after the execution of Cromwell that ambassador Marillac had commented in a letter that Henry VIII was upset about the loss of Cromwell. Just as the King later lamented over the death of Wolsey he was now remorseful that Cromwell, the man who ‘helped’ him run the kingdom was now gone.

The most curious part of this all is that Henry VIII raised Cromwell to Earl of Essex on18 April 1540 – it was less than three month later that Cromwell was dead. How and why did things change so quickly for him? Why would the King grant him the earldom if he was only going to have him executed?

This is always the most curious thing when talk about Henry VIII – the man was very unpredictable. What do you think? What happened in those two months that changed everything for Cromwell?

The Rise And Fall Of Thomas Cromwell HD by limoslight

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Timeline of a Queen: Anne Boleyn

anne-boleynAnne Boleyn creates strong reactions when her name is brought into conversation. Whether you believe she “deserved what she got” or you believe she was a “victim” of Henry VIII, it all comes down to the fact that she was a woman. A woman in 16th century England was generally at the mercy of her father’s ambitions. Whether Anne Boleyn acted on her own fruition, or was at her father’s bidding, I’m not sure we’ll ever know for sure. What we do know are the major events of her life.

Upon creating this timeline for Anne Boleyn I didn’t believe I’d have much to put into it. It wasn’t until I started to dig deeper into her life that I started realizing there were more events than at first thought.

I’ve included thecombined Kent and Middlesex Indictments as well, you will see them noted as (Alleged Offenses). Included in these are links to the Anne Boleyn Files webpage where I gathered the information. If you click on the date it will bring you to the page.

I’m certain I’ve missed some events. If you notice a major event that I’ve missed please let me know.


  • Anne Boleyn was born at Blickling, Norfolk, to Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Elizabeth Howard.


  • Anne is appointed a maid-of-honour at the court of Margaret, archduchess of Austria. Anne later leaves to serve Mary, queen of France, wife of Louis XII (and Henry VIIIs sister).


  • January 1 – King Louis XII of France died. Anne remained at the court of the new French queen, Claude for almost 7 years.


  • Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn wed her first husband William Carey.


  • Anne is recalled to England by her father, Thomas Boleyn. At this time Anne’s sister, Mary is the King’s mistress.


  • Anne had returned to England to marry her cousin, James Butler. The marriage proposal was agreed upon by their fathers to settle the claim of the family Earldom of Ormond. The proposal was eventually dropped.
  • March 1 – Anne made her first (recorded) appearance at Henry VIIIs court while playing the part of Perseverance in a Shrove Tuesday pageant at York Palace in London.


  • Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy


  • January – Cardinal Wolseybroke the betrothal of Anne and Henry Percy. Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle, and Percy was married to Lady Mary Talbot, to whom he had been betrothed since adolescence.
  • Anne’s sister Mary Boleyn gives birth to a daughter, Catherine Carey, thought to be the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII.


  • Historian David Starkeydates the start of Henrys feelings for Anne to Christmas and New Year 1524/1525, shortly after he had stopped sharing a bed with Katherine of Aragon.


  • Anne’s brother George Boleyn weds Jane Parker.


  • The King’s secretary was sent to the Pope Clement VII to request an annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.


  • June – Anne contracted the Sweating Sickness while at Hever Castle. Henry VIII sent his personal physician, William Butts, to care for Anne at Hever – she recovered.
  • Mary Boleyn’s husband, William Carey died of the Sweating Sickness


  • October – Cardinal Wolsey was officially stripped of the office of Lord Chancellor, and was required to return the Great Seal.


  • November 29 – Cardinal Wolsey died.


  • January 5 – PopeClement VII wrote to Henry VIII forbidding him to remarry and threatened excommunication if he took matters into his own hands and disobeyed Rome.
  • Katherine of Aragon is banished from court and her rooms were given to Anne.
  • Autumn -Anne was dining at a manor house on the river Thames and was almost seized by a crowd of angry women. Anne just managed to escape by boat. (Source:Fraser, Antonia The Wives of Henry VIII New York: Knopf )


  • September 1 – Anne was made Marquess of Pembroke.
  • October 25 – Anne is introduced by Henry to King Francis I of France.
  • November 14 – Anne and Henry secretly wed.


  • January 25 – Henry and Anne marry in “public.”
  • April 12 – Anne attended Easter Sunday masswith all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded with the richest jewels. It was her first public appearance as Queen and she wanted to make a statement that she was indeed Henry VIIIs rightful wife and Queen.
  • May – Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon was annulled.
  • May (a few days later) – Thomas Cranmer declared Henry and Anne’s marriage valid.
  • June 1 – Anne crowned as Queen consort
  • September 7 – Anne gives birth to a daughter, Princess Elizabeth.
  • October 6 & 12 Anne procured Sir Henry Norris to violate her at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • November 12 & 19th Anne allured Sir Henry Norris to violate her at Greenwich. (Alleged Offense)
  • November 16 & 27th Anne and Sir William Brereton at Greenwich. (Alleged Offense)
  • December 3 & 8th Anne procured Sir William Brereton to violate her at Hampton Court. (Alleged Offense)


  • Anne’s sister, Mary wed in secret her second husband William Stafford.The secret marriage angered both Henry VIII and Anne because Mary married beneath her station. This resulted in Mary being banished from the royal court.
  • It has been disputed that Anne may have become pregnant and miscarried this year.
  • April 12th Anne procured Mark Smeaton at Westminster (date for Anne procuring Smeaton). (Alleged Offense)
  • May 8 & 20th Anne procured Sir Francis Weston at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • June 6 & 20th Anne allured and then slept with Sir Francis Weston at Greenwich. (Alleged Offense)


  • Anne became pregnant again.
  • April 26th Mark Smeaton violated Anne at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • May 13 & 19th Anne allured and then slept with Mark Smeaton at Greenwich. (Alleged Offense)
  • October 31st Anne and some of the men plotted the Kings death at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • November 2 & 5th Anne procured her brother George Boleyn,Lord Rochford, to violate her at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • November 27th Anne gave gifts to the men at Westminster. (Alleged Offense)
  • December 22 & 29th Anne allured and then slept with her brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, at Eltham Palace. (Alleged Offense)


  • January 7 – Katherine of Aragon died.
  • January 8 Anne plotted the Kings death with Rochford, Norris, Weston and Brereton at Greenwich. (Alleged Offense)
  • Sometime after the death of Katherine of Aragon it’s possible there was a fire in Anne’s bedchamber. There is no definitive evidence to confirm these claims.
  • January 24 – Henry VIII has his famous jousting accident.
  • January 29 – Anne miscarried a male fetus.
  • April 28 – Henry Norris came to Anne’s household – sheasked him why he had not yet married the maid of honour he kept visiting. When Norris shrugged that he preferred to tarry a time, Anne joked: You look for dead mens shoes, for if ought came to the king but good, you would look to have me. Imagining the death of the king was a treasonous offence, and Norris replied, aghast, that if he should have any such thought, he would [wish] his head were off.
  • April 29 – Mark Smeaton taken for questioning.
  • May 1 – May Day: Henry attended a joust with Anne at Greenwich Palace. When the tournament ended, a message was passed to the king. Henry abruptly rose from his seat and left for Westminster by horse. Leaving Anne behind.
  • May 2 – Anne was arrested and taken to the Tower of London along with her brother George.
  • May 15 – Trial of Anne and her brother George where they were found guilty.
  • May 17 – Cranmerdeclared the marriage between Henry and Anne was null and void.This sentence meant that it was as if the marriage had never happened. Their daughter Elizabeth automatically became illegitimate with this declaration.
  • May 19 – Anne was executed on Tower Green inside the walls of the Tower of London.