Spotlight: Jane Seymour


Name: Jane Seymour

Title/s: Queen of England, Ireland and France

Birth / Death: c.1508 – 24 October 1537

Spouse: Henry VIII 1492-1547

Children: Edward VI 1537-1553

Parents: John Seymour 1474-1536 & Margery Wentworth 1478-1550

Siblings: Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset 1500-1552 / Henry Seymour 1503-1578 / Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley 1508-1549 / Elizabeth, Lady Cromwell 1518-1568 / Dorothy Leventhorpe / Margery Seymour d.1528 / John Seymour d.1510

Noble Connections: Jane was the sister of the Duke of Somerset, the protector of Edward VI (formerly Earl of Hertford); the sister-in-law of Gregory Cromwell, the son of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex; the sister of Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley; after her death Queen Katherine Parr became her sister-in-law.

Events of their Lifetime: Henry VIII’s Great Matter 1527-1533, marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn 1533, Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-7, birth of Mary I 1516, birth of Elizabeth I 1533, execution of Anne Boleyn 1536, Field of the Cloth of Gold 1520, and the death of Katherine of Aragon 1536.

Controversy: How far was Jane Seymour a pawn in her family’s political games, or did she plan and execute Anne’s own tactics against her? Was she really a Catholic, like Katherine of Aragon, or did she adhere more to her brother’s reformist beliefs?

Works of Fiction:
Carolly Erickson ‘The Favoured Queen’ (2011)
Laurien Gardner ‘Plain Jane: a Novel of Jane Seymour’ (2006)
Diane Heager ‘I, Jane’ (2012)
Hilary Mantel ‘Wolf Hall’ (2009)
Hilary Mantel ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ (2012)

Portrayals on Screen:
Anita Briem, The Tudors, 2008, 4 episodes
Annabelle Wallis, The Tudors, 2009-2010, 5 episodes
Emilia Fox, Henry VIII, 2003, 1 episode
Charlotte Roach, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, 2001, 1 episode
Naomi Benson, The Other Boleyn Girl, 2003, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe
Wendy Barrie, The Private Life of Henry VIII, 1933, directed by Alexander Korda
Corinne Galloway, The Other Boleyn Girl, 2008, directed by Justin Chadwick
Jane Asher, Henry VIII and his Six Wives, 1972, directed by Waris Hussein
Anne Stallybrass, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, 1970, 1 episode

Further Reading:
Antonia Fraser ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (1992)
Amy Licence ‘In Bed with the Tudors: the Sex Lives of a Dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I’ (2012)
Karen Lindsey ‘Divorced Beheaded Survived: a Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII’ (1995)
David Loades ‘Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s Favourite Wife’ (2013)
David Loades ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (1996)
Elizabeth Norton ‘Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s True Love’ (2009)
David Starkey ‘Six Wives: the Queens of Henry VIII’ (2003)
Alison Weir ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (1991)

Arms:

Jane Seymour's arms as Queen of England
Jane Seymour’s arms as Queen of England

Portraits:

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.
Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein c.1536.
Unknown lady, supposedly Anne Boleyn, but looks more like Jane Seymour, at Nidd Hall.
Unknown lady, supposedly Anne Boleyn, but looks more like Jane Seymour, at Nidd Hall.
Portrait miniature by Lucas Horenbout supposedly of Anne Boleyn, but looks more like Jane Seymour.
Portrait miniature by Lucas Horenbout supposedly of Anne Boleyn, but looks more like Jane Seymour.
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