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May 20, 1536 – Jane Seymour Betrothed to Henry VIII

1502 Betrothal Scene
1502 Betrothal Scene by Pinturicchino (Aeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick III)
The morning after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Jane Seymour and Henry VIII were formally betrothed at Hampton Court Palace.

At first light, Jane dressed in her finest clothes – clothes that had been prepared in the prior weeks by the royal seamstresses – and quietly set out by barge to meet the King. The betrothal took place at 9 am, almost exactly 24 hours after Anne’s end.

The couple was careful to keep this event quiet, as this new romance cast enormous suspicion on the case against Anne Boleyn and her alleged paramours. The King had worked hard to throw people off the scent in the weeks leading up to the trials and executions: Jane had been sent far from court, and the King had been seen to cavort every night on his barge with beautiful women looking to console him. But despite all of these precautions, the people knew what was happening. And most didn’t care. Jane Seymour never elicited the hatred that Anne Boleyn did – no one really spoke out over the idea that the King was leaving his wife for her. Anne Boleyn was the husband-stealer, Jane was merely righting the wrong.

Interestingly, while many people accuse Jane of “walking through Anne Boleyn’s blood” to marry the King (admittedly, she did), almost all of her contemporaries would have been happy to do the same. After all, Henry was still relatively handsome, and had not yet fully developed the horrible reputation for cruelty that he grew into after Jane’s death. The women on the barge all hoped to snare him – and the French Ambassador was quick to offer him the hand of the Princess Madeline (indeed, the offer was made only few hours after his betrothal). Henry’s answer was interesting: “At 16, she is too young for me; and also I have had too much experience of French bringing up and manners.” If only he could have remembered that advice when Catherine Howard came onto the scene….

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Published inOn This Day

11 Comments

  1. He didn’t let the grass grow under his feet, did he!

  2. Great article! I love the point you make on Jane. I love mysterious characters, I always find them intriguing. It is sad how much she is bashed today. It is unfair the way Anne was judged, and that being said, it is why I can’t look at Jane so harshly because then I would be doing the same thing that was done to her predecessor and besides, there is more to Jane than meets the eye.

    • I so agree! And I hope to show it when my book is finally ready!

  3. interesting article I believe jane was the only one he loved and the only one he is buried with whether he loved her because she gave him a son no one knows look forward to reading your book

  4. Of coarse, Jane Seymour righted the wrong. She made sure that the Princess Mary was very well treated. She encouraged Henry the Eight to be good to his daughter and accept her. Of coarse, the Princess Mary had to sign the Act of Supermacy and the Act of Succession and it pained her to no end but her mother, Queen Katherine was dead. Anne Boleyn was dead. She would not have to bend the knee to Anne Boleyn which she would never do. She probably greatly liked Jane Seymour. Jane Seymour had served Queen Catherine of Aragon. Jane Seymour was good Queen. Not only did she provide the King with his longed for heir but she spoke out against the dissolution of the monasteries. Jane Seymour was not like Anne Boleyn. She was quiet and sweet and Henry needed that after the temper and fury and nagging of Anne Boleyn. He dearly love Jane Seymour. She gave him his son. She could do no wrong and the Seymours were greatly rewarded for that service Queen Jane had done to the King.

  5. Do you know of an author by the name of Evelyn Read? She was a historical writer and wrote a book entitled Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk and I can not seem to find any information on her.

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