Jane SeymourThis is a featured page

Jane Seymour, Queen Consort as played by Anita Briem (Season 2) & Annabelle Wallis (Season 3)
Motto: " Bound to Obey and Serve"


Born c. 1508/1509 - married May 30th, 1536 - died of puerperal fever October 24, 1537

Character's backstory:
Although Jane had been at court for more than 6 years having been a lady in waiting to both Queen Katherine of Aragon & Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry's interest was first recorded by Ambassador Chapuys in his letter of February 10th, 1536. In his previous letter of January 29th, he mentioned a rumour of a third marriage but as he then had no name & dismissed the tale even though from a "good authority'", the natural conclusion is that the matter was of fairly recent origin - indeed he termed it "une nouvelle amour" ( a new love). Within 3 months, Queen Anne would be beheaded & Jane would be betrothed to the King.
As historian David Starkey wrote, Jane had just as much religious fervor as Anne Boleyn but it was the opposite sentiment: while Anne was a "radical reformer", Jane was a supporter of the institution of the Catholic Church. Jane did not have the stellar education of Queen Katherine or Queen Anne, in fact she could only read and write her name, which was typical for women of her station at the time. Her skills included needlework and household management.

Gentility: daughter of a knighted courtier, is King Henry's fifth cousin three times removed

Position: Lady in waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon and then to Anne Boleyn

Personality type: Strict & formal as queen. Quiet, meek, modest & seemingly compliant were the usual reports, although Imperial Ambassador Chapuys described her as "haughty." She took little interest in pageantry and active entertainment (unlike her predecessor) and was devout & punctilious in her religious observations.

Signature look: Pale, doe eyed.

Endearing trait(s): sincerity, honesty and genuine personality in the series, but historically wanted to be queen as much as Anne Boleyn did, loyalty (she had been a friend and lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon, and pleaded with Henry for the reinstatement of Katherine's and Henry's daughter, Mary in the succession and her place at court in spite of Henry angrily telling her to look to her own future children. Although Jane pleaded for Mary's reinstatement, Henry insisted on her complete submission to his authority, both temporal and spiritual. An exhausted Mary complied, and upon her return to c
ourt, Jane befriended Mary and appointed her step-daughter godmother to her son Edward. Jane was also prudent unlike her predecessor, and chose her battles wisely.

Annoying trait(s): is often criticized for being too docile, submissive, and a bit of a doormat, however she had flirted with the married King while his wife was pregnant.

Scandals:
Historians debate on whether she actively played a crucial and conscious role in the cold-blooded plot to bring Anne Boleyn to the scaffold.

Her father John Seymour's affair with his son Edward Seymour's first wife also caused a great scandal, and seriously damaged the reputation of the Seymour family. It may have been for this reason that the proposed marriage between Jane and William Dormer was rejected by the Dormers.

In 1536, was when she asked for pardons for participants in the Rebellion of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Henry is said to have rejected this, reminding her of the fate the other queens met with when they "meddled in his affairs".

Buried: St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, her husband was buried next to her in 1547

"...in 1536. The King was presently pursuing Sir Edward Seymour's sister Jane, one of the Queen's maids of honour. At twenty-seven, Jane was rather old to be unwed, but it appears that her father could not afford to dower her richly. She was neither accomplished nor pretty. "She was no great beauty", observed Chapuys."her complexion is so fair that one would call her pale". Her portraits by Holbein bear out the French ambassador's opinion that she was plain: they show a wide,angular face with compressed lips, little eyes, and a large nose. Polydore Vergil called Jane " a woman of utmost charm" and that was perhaps the quality that attracted the King, although it is not evident in her portraits. She was also the complete antithesis of Anne Boleyn, of whom Henry was rapidly tiring. Jane was quiet, demure, subservient, and discreet, characteristics the King had come to appreciate in a woman. She could read and sign her name, but if she was as intelligent as her champions claimed, she hid it well. The King confided to Chapuys that she had a gentle nature and was "inclined to peace". Her behaviour in the coming months suggest, however, that she was also a tough, ambitious woman of ruthless determination".
- Alison Weir "Henry VIII: the King and his court"

"Where did Jane Seymour fit in to all of this? It is clear, first of all, that Henry's interest in her began as a mere courtly gallantry. As late as 1 April, Chapuys was still describing her by the significant label 'the lady whom he serves'. Effectively, she took the place of the pregnant Anne as Henry's courtly 'mistress'. The danger in this was, of course, that convention might again develop a real human content. Jane is generally supposed to have attracted Henry on the strength of a contrast to Anne: fair, not dark; younger by seven or eight years; gentle rather than abrasive; of no great wit (intelligence), against a mistress of repartee; a model of female self-effacement, against a self-made woman. Chapuys was very under-impressed.' She is of middle height, and nobody thinks that she has much beauty.'"
~ Eric Ives' The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn


"...it is likely that Henry saw the ideal woman as similar to his mother -- submissive. Elizabeth of York was reportedly docile and gentle, the very image of the perfect sixteenth-century woman. As the heiress of the Yorkist kings, she had a better claim to the throne than her Lancastrian husband, but she did not seek power or influence in her own right. Henry VIII's only lover who truly fitted this description, Jane Seymour, is the one he chose to be buried with. Henry may have considered it no coincidence that this was the wife God chose to give a male child to, the wife who was all a christian lady should be. Yet this was not the type of woman who often attracted him; his romantic choices usually veered between flirty, frivolous girls and formidable, intelligent women who were more than a match for him.
~ Kelly Hart's The Mistresses of Henry VIII (2009)




"On the first occasion that Chapuys spoke to the King in Jane's presence, he suggested that she should be called 'the pacific', to which Henry responded that indeed 'her nature was gentle and inclined to peace', so much that she dreaded war in case it should take him away from her".
~ David Loades The Six Wives of Henry VIII




"How a woman like Jane Seymour became Queen of England is a mystery. In Tudor terms she came from nowhere and was nothing.

....the woman whose mousy, peaked features and mean, pointed chin are rendered by Holbein with his characteristic, unsparing honesty.

...But maybe Jane's very ordinariness was the point. Anne had been exciting as a mistress. But she was too demanding, too mercurial and tempestuous, to make a good wife....Henry wanted domestic peace and the quiet life. He also, more disturbingly, wanted submission. For increasing age and the Supremacy's relentless elevation of the monarchy had made him every more impatient of contradiction and disagreement. Only obedience, prompt, absolute and unconditional would do. And he could have none of this with Anne. Jane on the other hand was everything that Anne was not. She was calm, quiet, soft-spoken (when she spoke at all) and profoundly submissive, at least to Henry. In short, after Anne's flagrant defiance of convention. Jane was the 16th century's ideal woman (or at least the 16th century male's ideal woman). ~ David Starkey's Six Wives

Anita Briem as Jane

Jane Seymour Signature


“the real Jane was a shrewd politician and a strong character. Jane could not have won the king without a ruthless streak and her ambition was as great as Anne Boleyn’s”
~ Elizabeth Norton

"a woman of no family, no beauty, no talent and perhaps not much reputation" ~ David Starkey

"one of the least remarkable women ever to play a part in history" ~ Marie Louise Bruce

Jane SeymourJane Seymour  COA as Queen  Consort


"....because Jane Seymour had a sympathetic nature, it did not mean that she was without conventional aspirations." ~ Antonia Fraser

"Her conduct, first as a royal lady-in-waiting and later as a queen, indicates that she was more of a steel magnolia -a fragrant, seemingly fragile, ultra feminine exterior concealing a tensile core."
~ Leslie Carroll

"A mediocre, an average woman; not exceptionally able not yet exceptionally foolish; neither fire nor ice; devoid of any vigorous wish to do good and of the remotest inclination to do evil; the average woman of yesterday, today and tomorrow."
~ Stefan Zweig (1881 - 1942)


"...Jane was no meek observer but an active participant in the strategy that was formulated to win the king for her. It was Jane who had to demonstrate to the king that her price was marriage and, in this, she was firm. For Jane, who had never had a firm proposal of marriage before, the prospect of becoming the wife of the king was thrilling.

As soon as Jane had determined to abandon her plans to become Henry's mistress and instead attempt to become his wife, she set about demonstrating to the king the change in her attitude. Before Anne's miscarriage, Jane actively encouraged the king, accepting gifts from him and even found sitting on his knee by the queen. Whilst this was appropriate conduct for a woman accepting the role of royal mistress, it was not to be expected in the potential future wife of the king and Jane knew that a show of her virtue was necessary to let Henry know exactly where things stood. Her opportunity came one day in late March when she was staying at Greenwich. Henry was was absent from the palace and apparently thinking of his new love :

Sent her a purse full of sovereigns, and with a letter, and that the young lady [Jane], after kissing the letter, returned it unopened to the messenger, and throwing herself on her knees before him, begged the said messenger that he would pray the king on her part to consider that she was a gentlewoman of good and honourable parents, without reproach, and that she had no greater riches in the world than her honour, which she would not injure for a thousand deaths, and that if he wished to make her some present in money she begged it might be when God enabled her to make some honourable match.

This was the performance of Jane's life and, whilst she may have been advised how to respond,, the execution was all hers. Jane's response to the present and letters was masterful and, in one move, she demonstrated to the king that she was both virtuous and a lady suitable to be his wife and that she was looking for a husband.

~Elizabeth Norton's Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's true love



"Jane Seymour was exactly the kind of female praised by the contemporary handbooks to correct conduct; just as Anne Boleyn had been the sort they warned against. There was certainly no threatening sexuality about her. Nor is it necessary to believe that her 'virtue' was in some way hypocritically assumed in order to intrigue the king. ...On the contrary, Jane Seymour was simply fulfilling the expectations for a female of her time and class: it was Anne Boleyn who was -- or rather who had been -- the fascinating outsider"

~ Antonia Fraser's The Six Wives of Henry VIII


....here at last, Henry thinks 'I'm going to marry someone who's really sweet and nice.' You know, an English Rose and he vested her with all these great qualities. She was pure. She was innocent. He felt that he was reborn when he married her and part of that was fiction because she did have her own point of view and she didn't like the killing of the people in the North and she tried to raise questions but of course basically he said to her, 'You know what happened to the last queen so don't go there.' So he thinks he's married a totally different woman - very compliant, very sweet - who is going to give him what he's always dreamed of a male child, which she does and so his happiness is almost complete but then the script is ruined because she dies...
~ Michael Hirst Interview

Click EasyEdit to update this page!
(Don't see the EasyEdit button above? Sign in or Sign up.)


CHARACTER CONNECTIONS


Family members:

Jane came from a large family of eight siblings, which gave King Henry encouragement of her potential to bear viable offspring, her brothers Edward and Thomas would continue to influence the Tudor monarchy until they were executed as traitors.

Father: Sir John Seymour
Mother: Margaret Wentworth
Brother: John Seymour
Brother: Edward Seymour
Brother: Thomas Seymour
Brother: Sir Henry Seymour
Brother: Anthony Seymour
Sister: Elizabeth Seymour (married to Sir Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex son Gregory)
Sister: Dorothy Seymour
Sister: Margery Seymour
Sister-in-Law: Anne Stanhope
Son: Prince Edward Tudor, King Edward VI (1547-
1553)




Friends:
Anne Stanhope (her brother's wife)
Elizabeth Seymour (sister)
Lady Mary Tudor
Catholic faction led by Nicolas Carew and the Seymour family

Enemies:
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Thomas Cranmer
the Boleyns
the Howards



LINKS:

UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES


  • Are you saying that I should be Queen instead of her?
  • When I am Queen I should hope to see her reinstated as heir apparent- [talking about Lady Mary]
  • Thank you. I will treasure this all my life. And if they ever open my grave they will find it again, right next to my heart- [after receiving the locket off Henry]
  • Lady Rochford it's not your fault your husband betrayed you. Nor is it Mary's fault or Elizabeth's fault to be born of a King. Women are much put upon in this world. It is my desire as much as i can to promote their interests. I must do it quietly but i will do it all the same (episode 3:1)
  • I beg you to restore and keep the abbeys. Think what the world would think. You'd listen to your people and your heart [talking to Henry in bed]
  • He must do as he will. It is we, Lady Rochford, who must always honour and obey. Do not be troubled for me, for i have great reason to be happy [Jane's reaction when finding out Henry has a mistress]

DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
  • Jane's first apperance at Wolfhall, when Henry is besotted by her entrance. (2.7)
  • When Jane is "sworn in" as a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn (episode 2.8)
  • Jane refuses Henry's gift of money and kisses but returns his letter unopened stating if he wants to give her money he should do so when she has made an honourable marriage. (2.8)
  • Jane and Henry's first kiss, in which Anne Boleyn walks in on. (2.8)
  • Getting dressed for her engagement to Henry as Anne Boleyn is getting dressed for her execution (2:10)
  • Marriage to Henry (3:1)
  • Bringing Lady Mary back to court (3.1-2)
  • Bringing Mary and Elizabeth together with their father on Christmas (3.3)
  • Begging Henry to spare the restore the abbies when they are in bed and Henry tells her not to meddle and reminds her what happened to the previous Queen. (3.2)
  • Announcing her pregnancy to Henry through hints of her craving quail eggs (3:3)
  • The difficult labour and birth of Prince Edward (3:4)
  • When Jane is dying in bed and Henry tells her how much he loves her, calling her the "milk of human kindness" (3:4)
  • Death of Jane. Her body is lying in state with a crown upon her chest. Mary and then Henry stand over her body mourning. (3:4)
For more on Jane Seymour - click on links below


PHOTOS
Jane

Anita Briem as Jane Seymour in season 2
Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein 1536

c. 1536 by Hans Holbein the Younger
in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna



jane's puppy


Jane Seymour as  played by Annabelle Wallis


Jane Seymour in the Whitehall Mural by van Leemput
Detail of The Whitehall Mural
showing Jane Seymour)

by Remigius van Leemput after Hans Holbein.
1667Royal Collection






Jane's puppy
detail of the portrait showing the puppy on Jane's skirt.

Videos








Neta07
Neta07
Latest page update: made by Neta07 , Oct 30 2011, 3:23 PM EDT (about this update About This Update Neta07 Edited by Neta07

1 widget added

view changes

- complete history)
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page.  Be the first to start a new thread.

Related Content

  (what's this?Related ContentThanks to keyword tags, links to related pages and threads are added to the bottom of your pages. Up to 15 links are shown, determined by matching tags and by how recently the content was updated; keeping the most current at the top. Share your feedback on WikiFoundry Central.)