The glib title of this post stands in sharp contrast to the prolonged and painful labor that Jane Seymour endured to bring her son into this world. Her labor pains started on October 9th, so she endured two days and three nights to be delivered. She was physically and mentally exhausted – to the point where some of her attendants doubted that she would live through the birth. This encouraged apocryphal stories of her husband’s reaction to her near-death experience. One suggested that Henry, upon being informed of Jane’s condition, replied “if you cannot save both, then save the child for other wives are easily found.” Another claimed that Edward had been born by Caesarian section after Henry ordered the child to be ripped from her womb.
At least the name was an easy choice. Not only was Edward a classic Tudor (well, Plantagenet…close enough) name, but also October 12 was the eve of St. Edward’s Day (the Feast day of Edward the Confessor). Other choices could have been Arthur or Henry – but those names carried negative implications. Arthur Tudor was Henry’s older brother who died when he was fifteen (considering that Edward himself would later die when he was fifteen, this fact seems particularly spooky). And the King already had the experience of having a son Henry (by his first wife Catherine of Aragon) who died after only a month. Did memories of that Henry cloud his joy at the Edward’s birth? We will never know.