June 4th 1536 – Jane Seymour is pronounced Queen
Its possible that a young Jane Seymour came to court to be of service to Queen Catherine of Aragon, (first wife of Henry VIII), and eventually ended up also serving her mistress Anne Boleyn. In the short time that Jane served Anne, she would’ve seen the highs and lows that being a Queen brought: On one hand there was all the gold, land, wealth and power, on the other hand was the obligatory torture of being knobbed by Henry VIII, becoming a one woman son bearing factory (on pain of death), and the occupational hazard of execution, to name but a few.
Some people think of Jane as being meek and shy, others think she contributed to the plot to get rid of Anne, and actively flirted at the king. I’ve never thought of her as anything other than the former. I believe she would’ve come to court quite naive and quiet, caught the kings attention and was too afraid to resist, thus giving him a reason to jib off Anne, (who was everything but quiet, naive and shy). Its quite possible that Jane just fell victim to the lustful king and was too scared, (or felt it her duty), to do anything other than please him.
Jane was actually the second half cousin of Anne, (work that on out if you can), though family ties in that sense never really meant a pledge of loyalty back then, (Elizabeth I executed Mary Queen of Scotts who was her first cousin and a Queen in her own right, and lets be honest if you can remove your wife’s head you can ignore your Grandmothers half sisters niece or whatever it was). They would’ve known they were related too. Nobility in Tudor times worked like pedigree dogs operate now. They knew their family history and were traceable and proud…or not as was often the case. A ‘good’ family could take you far, the kings bed for instance. (FYI Catherine Howard was also Anne Boleyn’s cousin and therefore Jane’s second half cousin. Talk about keeping it in the family).
So back to Jane being Anne’s bitch, erm… I mean Lady in waiting. Anne was queen for 3 years, (not a lot really considering what Henry did to crown her). Jane served her and was present throughout Anne’s downfall. Being the shameless bastard that Henry was, he announced their betrothal the day after Anne’s execution. They were then married 6 days later where Henry gave Anne 104 Manors and numerous forests and hunting chases as a wedding gift. Eleven days after her predecessors execution, Jane Seymour was announced in court as the Queen of England.
It was planned that Jane would have a coronation later that Autumn, however plague was rife in London and so it never actually happened. The following spring ,( in 1537 if you’re keeping check), Jane became pregnant and delivered the long awaited for baby boy that October. “Amazing”, I hear you say, “Henry is finally content and has a prince. Happy days”. WRONG! Fate had other plans for Henry.
The birth of Prince Edward was a shitty one for Jane. She labored for 2 night and 3 days. The irony of the whole thing is that the richer you were at this time, the more you were disadvantaged when it came to throwing out sprogs. The ‘midwifes’ (and I use this term loosely), at that time were reserved for their masters, and only their masters, so lacked the valuable experience that their colleagues serving lesser nobles would’ve gained. Thus, the Queen would have had a woman with relatively little experience and not at all the best that cash could buy like expected. Therefore its no surprise that 12 days after the birth of Edward, his Mum dies of child-bed fever, (or puerperal fever if your posh, or a crappy fatal bacterial infection in her lady bits if you’re not posh).