Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Tudors, part III

Today we continue our Tudor Series with a discussion of Henrys 3rd, VERY BORING Wife, Jane Seymour.
Jane served as lady in waiting to both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Ten days after Anne was, um, disposed of in the Court yard of the tower of London, Henry and Jane were married. She was publicly declared queen on 4 June 1536. Interestingly Jane never received a lavish, public, Coronation like Anne and Katherine. Chances are that Henry was waiting to see if she could make a Boy before making that kind of commitment. Things became even more urgent the following month when Henry received the news that his only illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, duke of Richmond, had died at the age of 17. There had always been the possibility that Fitzroy could have succeeded him, but now Henry VIII was left with only two daughters, both declared illegitimate (which happens when your marriages are declared illegitimate). It is certain that if Jane had not provided a son, she would have been quickly discarded. However, she got to stay.
After 29 years as king of England, Henry VIII finally proved himself capable of fathering an XY chromosome on 12 October 1537, when Prince Edward was born. The whole country rejoiced, everyone that is, except Jane. Queen Jane lay bleeding and delirious following the birth of the next King, and finally died on 24 October. Poor Poor Jane.
Janes body was embalmed and laid to rest in the tomb at Windsor Castle which Henry was building for himself. Years after her death, even while he was married to other women, Jane continued to appear in royal portraits as queen consort. Her special status as mother to the heir was never forgotten. The king wore black until well into 1538 and waited more than two years to marry again. This was the longest interval between marriages during his reign. No doubt he was diddling the maids during this time.
Tune in next time for Part IV of our Tudor series - Anne of Cleves.

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