Tag Archives: Jane Seymour

On this day in 1537 – Prince Edward was christened

Three days after Jane Seymour gave birth, the future King Edward VI was christened on 15th October 1537 in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.

The celebrations spared no expense as Henry could finally celebrate the birth of a legitimate son. A procession left the Queen’s apartments to take the new born Prince to the Chapel Royal where in front of a large crowd Archbishop Cranmer performed the baptism. Edward’s sister, Elizabeth, carried the chrisom cloth with the aid of his uncle, Edward Seymour. Princess Mary acted as godmother whilst Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Archbishop Cranmer acted as godfathers.

In the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII documented in details the events of the day.

The preparations ordained for the said christening at Hampton Court.” Describing minutely the course of the Edward VI infantprocession and the decorations of the chapel, with the positions occupied by the officers of the household (Sir John Russell, Sir Fras. Bryan, Sir Nic. Carew and Sir Ant. Browne in aprons and towels were to take charge of the font until discharged by the lord Steward, or, in his absence, the Treasurer of the Household). The order of going to the christening was: First, certain gentlemen two and two bearing torches not lighted until the prince be Christened. Then the children and ministers of the King’s chapel, with the dean, “not singing going outward.” Gentlemen esquires and knights two and two. Chaplains of dignity two and two. Abbots and bishops. The King’s councillors. Lords two and two. The comptroller and treasurer of the Household. The ambassador. The three lords chamberlains and the lord Chamberlain of England in the midst. The lord Cromwell, being lord Privy Seal, and the lord Chancellor. The duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury. A pair of covered basins borne by the earl of Sussex, supported by the lord Montague. A “taper of virgin wax borne by the earl of Wiltshire in a towel about his neck.” A salt of gold similarly borne by the earl of Essex. “Then the crysome richly garnished borne by the lady Elizabeth, the King’s daughter: the same lady for her tender age was borne by the viscount Beauchamp with the assistance of the lord.” Then the Prince borne under the canopy by the lady marquis of Exeter, assisted by the duke of Suffolk and the marquis her husband. The lady mistress went between the prince and the supporter. The train of the Prince’s robe borne by the earl of Arundel and sustained by the lord William Howard.” “The nurse to go equally with the supporter of the train, and with her the midwife.” The canopy over the Prince borne by Sir Edw. Nevyll, Sir John Wallop, Ric. Long, Thomas Semere, Henry Knyvet, and Mr. Ratclif, of the Privy Chamber. The “tortayes” of virgin wax borne about the canopy my lady Mary, being lady godmother, her train borne by lady Kingston. All the other ladies of honour in their degrees.

When the Prince was christened all the torches were lighted and Garter King at Arms proclaimed his name (proclamation verbatim, titles duke of Cornwall and earl of Chester). “This done, this service following was in time the Prince was making ready in his traverse, and Te Deum sung”:- First, to the lady Mary the lord William to give the towel and the lord Fytzwater to bear covered basins, and the lord Montagew to uncover. Item, to the bishop that doth administer, the lord Butler to bear the towel, the lord Bray to bear the basins and the lord Delaware to uncover. To the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers, the lord Sturton to bear the towel and the lord Went worth to give the water. To serve the ladies Mary and Elizabeth with spices, wafers, and wine: the lord Hastings to bear the cup to lady Mary, and the lord Delaware that to lady Elizabeth; lord Dacres of the South to bear the spice plates to both, lord Cobham the wafers, and lord Montagew to uncover the spice plate. The bishop that doth administer, the duke of Norfolk and abp. Of Canterbury, godfathers at the font, and the duke of Suffolk, godfather at the confirmation, to be likewise served by knights appointed by the lord Chamberlain. All other estates and gentles within the church were served with spice and ypocras, and all other had bread and sweet wine.

The going homeward was like the coming outward, saving that the taper, salt and basin were left and the gifts of the gossips carried, i.e. Lady Mary, a cup of gold borne by the earl of Essex; the archbishop, 3 great bowls and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by the earl of Wiltshirel Norfolk, ditto, borne by the earl of Sussex; Suffolk, 2 great flagons and 2 great pots, silver and gilt, borne by Viscount Beauchamp. Lady Elizabeth went with her sister Lady Mary and Lady Herbert of Troy to bear the train. Sounding of the trumpets. Taking of “assayes.” The Prince was then borne to the King and Queen and had the blessing of God, Our Lady, and St. George, and his father and mother. And the same day the King gave great largess.”

In 2014 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace they recreated Edward’s christening.

Advertisements

On this day in 1537 – King Edward VI was born

The future King Edward VI was born on 12th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace, Edward was born at 2am on St Edward’s Day after Jane Seymour had endured a 30 hour labour. Following the birth church bells rang out across the country declaring the royal couples happy news meanwhile parish churches sang the Te Deum and bonfires were lit. Merchants within the cities distributed wine and fruit and German merchants also gave wine and beer to the poor. In the evening from the Tower of London 2000 rounds were fired into the sky.

Edward VI infantEdward VI as an infant

In 2012 a letter was discovered in the archives of Dunham Massey, it was signed by Jane Seymour to Henry, although written in by another as Jane would not have been in any state to write,it was dated 12th October, therefore shortly after she had given birth to Edward. In the modern English the letter read;

By the Queen,

Trust and well beloved, we greet you well. And forasmuch as by the inestimable goodness and grace of Almighty God, we have been delivered and brought to child-bed of a Prince conceived in most lawful matrimony between my lord, the King’s Majesty, and us, doubting not but that for the love and affection which you bear unto us and the commonwealth of this realm the knowledge of which you should be joyous and glad tidings unto you, we have thought good to certify you of the same, to the intent that you might not only render unto God condign thanks and praise for so great benefit, but also pray for the long continuance and preservation of the same here in this life to the honour of God, joy and pleasure of my lord the King and us, and the universal peace, quiet and tranquillity of this whole realm. Given under our Signet at my lord’s manor of Hampton Court, the 12th day of October.”

Henry had every reason to celebrate he had finally been delivered of the son he had always desired.

Janes letter to Henry declaring a sonThe letter signed by Jane Seymour written to Henry declaring the birth of their son

On this day in 1536 – Second Act of Succession passed by Parliament

The Second Act of Succession was passed by the English Parliament on 8th June 1536. It had two names at the time ‘An Act concerning the Succession of the Crown’ and ‘Succession to the Crown: Marriage Act 1536’.

The Act was introduced to Parliament following the execution of Anne Boleyn and the new marriage of King Henry VIII to Jane Seymour that had all happened within the previous month.

The new act replaced the First Act of Succession, which was passed in March 1534. In this act as well as Mary still being illegitimate it also declared Elizabeth to now be illegitimate and both were ruled out of the succession. Both girls lost the right to be called Princess and had to be referred to as Lady. Any children that Henry would have with his new Queen, Jane would be the rightful heir to the throne.

The Act however, left Henry with no legitimate children for the time and therefore no heir to the throne. The Act did cover this by declaring that it gave Henry ‘full and plenary power and authority’, which meant that if he still had no legitimate child when the time came to write his will then he could name his successor in letters patent or in his last will and testament.

As well as dealing with the line of succession it also made it an offence to any person who said that either of Henry’s first two marriages to Katherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn were valid or even if someone said Mary or Elizabeth were legitimate. It was also punishable if anyone criticised the sentence passed on Sir Thomas More who was executed for refusing to take the previous oath regarding the succession. If an offense was committed then that person could be charged with high treason and punished.

The Act also required subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act and again it was treason to refuse. Any one accused of treason was not able to seek sanctuary and therefore had nowhere to hide. If accused and convicted of treason then the death penalty could be passed.

Henry and Jane were delivered a son, Edward, in October 1537 and this act meant that he was, from birth, the rightful heir to the English throne.

Henry VIII and familyKing Henry VIII surrounded by his children.

On this day in 1536 – the wedding of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

On 30th May 1536 just 11 days after the death of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour. The couple were married in the Queen’s Closet at York Palace. In preparation for the service the former Queen’s falcon emblems were quickly replaced with a phoenix and Jane’s initials laid over Anne’s, it was done in such hurry that if you look carefully at Hampton Court Palace you can still see some A’s under the J’s.

According to David Starkey the wedding vows would have been spoken by the King first followed by Jane and they would have been similar to the following;

“I, Henry, take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and thereto I plight thee my troth.”

Jane’s vows would have been the same but with the added line promising to be ‘bonny and buxom in bed and board.’

The wedding remained secret for a few days and Jane was gradually introduced as the new Queen.

Sir John Russell wrote to Lord Lisle;

“On Friday last (2nd June) the Queen sat abroad as Queen, and was served by her own servants, who were sworn that same day. The King came in his great boat to Greenwich that day with his privy chamber, and the Queen and the ladies in the great barge.”

Henry granted 104 manors in four counties along with forests and hunting chases. He also gave his new wife a Hans Holbein designed gold cup that combined the King and Queen’s initials along with Jane’s motto of ‘bound to obey and serve.’

Jane was the only wife to give Henry the one thing that he desired, a son. Although it cost her her life in doing so.

marriage deed                               The marriage deed for Jane Seymour and Henry VIII

On this day in 1536 – Henry VIII and Jane Seymour formally betrothed.

On 20th May 1536 King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour became formally betrothed. The Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys wrote in a letter to the Seigneur de Granvelle;

Has just been informed, the bearer of this having already mounted, that Mrs.Semel came secretly by river this morning to the King’s lodging, and that the promise and betrothal was made at 9 o’clock. The King means it to be kept secret till Whitsuntide; but everybody begins already to murmur by suspicion, and several affirm that long before the death of the other there was some arrangement which sounds ill in the ears of the people; who will certainly be displeased at what has been told me, if it be true, viz., that yesterday the King, immediately on receiving news of the decapitation of the putain entered his barge and went to the said Semel, whom he had lodged a mile from him, in a house by the river.”

With Henry receiving the news of his former wife’s execution he headed straight to Jane Seymour’s lodging to officially propose marriage. By waiting until Anne Boleyn was dead there would be no question of the legitimacy of the marriage or any children that would be born as a result of the marriage.

The rumours of the King’s involvement with Jane Seymour had been spoken around court for some time before the betrothal took place so it probably came as no surprise to the court.

Henry VIII and Jane Seymour

On this day in 1534 – First Act of Succession is passed

The First Act of Succession was passed on 23rd March 1534 by Henry VIII.

The Act declared his daughter with Katherine of Aragon illegitimate, therefore changing Mary’s status from Princess to Lady. It paved the way for any children Henry had with his new wife, Anne Boleyn, to be the heir to the throne, with any boys would take precedent over girls. Anne’s first child was Elizabeth which made her heir to the throne unless Anne gave Henry what he ultimately desired – a boy.

Another part of the Act required all subjects to swear an oath to recognise Anne as his legal wife and any children they have the true heirs. It also demanded that Henry’s subjects recognise him as the head of the church. Anyone not swearing the oath was arrested under the Treasons Act. Some notable subjects that refused to take the oath included Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher both were later executed for treason.

Henry later altered the act when he married Jane Seymour creating the Second Act of Succession, this Act declared Elizabeth illegitimate alongside Mary and pronounced his son heir to the throne. It was altered again in 1543 when Mary and Elizabeth were returned to the line of succession but behind Edward.

Parliament record

Book review – The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII

We all know the story of the six wives of Henry VIII and how their relationships ended but what about the women who didn’t make queen but still captured the heart of the king? Amy Licence has set out in this book to look at the woman that Henry encountered.

Amy Licence takes a chronological look at Henry VIII’s life we delve into the times of his life without Henry taking centre stage and let the women shine. We start at Katherine of Aragon and her marriage to Prince Arthur. An interesting theory is offered about whether or not their marriage was consummated. No spoilers here though you’ll have to read the book yourself to see it! We read how Henry and Katherine came together and reigned over the country in unison. Amy Licence also describes in detail how Katherine’s court was run and the pressure she was under to deliver Henry a male heir.

The story continues with Henry’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn and how he juggled two relationships at once, playing the loving husband and father to his wife whilst acting as the doting lover to his mistress. The book also shows how Henry’s search for an annulment to his wife destroyed one woman and elevated another to the position of queen. We see how Anne Boleyn keeps the king’s interest in the years before their wedding in order to protect her virginity if she was indeed still a virgin! The fall of Anne is captured in a way that is easy to understand why she was charged with treason.

Like Henry’s relationship with Katherine and Anne, dealing with two partners at the same time, we learn that Henry again repeats history by juggling Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. Licence debates an interesting theory for Henry and Jane’s hasty marriage after the death of his former queen; was Jane already pregnant? Following Jane there are two shorts sections on his next queens Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. Although short they are packed full of amazing detail of their relationships with Henry and how they came to be married to the King of England.

The final section is dedicated to Henry’s sixth and final wife Catherine Parr how she forfeited marrying for love to accept Henry’s offer, the book covers how she was almost arrested for her religious beliefs but knew how to treat Henry to avoid falling into the same fate as many wives before her. We also see what happens to Catherine after Henry’s death.

As well as covering Henry’s six wives the book also deals with the known and unknown mistresses of Henry as they happen within Henry’s timeline. We learn more about Bessie Blount and Mary Boleyn the only two women definitely known as Henry’s mistresses. Most importantly though we learn about the women that Henry encountered and possibly had relationships with. Perhaps the reason we don’t hear more about these women is that Henry was highly private as Licence discusses throughout. His attempt to protect his wives and his reputation means that we don’t know these women as well as we should. Henry truly believed what happened behind his bedroom doors stayed private.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn more about the women in Henry’s life from his well documented wives to the mistresses and potential wives we know little about. A book that is fascinating from start to finish, it is a book you’ll find difficult to put down as you want to learn more with each turn of the page.

The six wives and many mistresses of Henry VIII