And so we come to Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour, reincarnated in Wife After Wife as his secretary, Janette Morrissey.
What interesting things can I find to say about Jane? Not a lot, to be honest. Did I say boring? I look at this painting and I’m sorry, but that pursed little mouth just says ‘killjoy’ to me.
When I was writing about Anne Boleyn, my Instagram started caving under the onslaught of words. But so far in researching Jane, my Interesting Facts stand at one.
I should stop being mean. She was probably very nice. She was, after all, Henry’s favourite wife – he was buried beside her (and to reflect this, my Harry Rose calls his superyacht Janette). But I expect that was because she gave him his longed-for son and heir. Anyway, I shall plough on with Google, searching for some interesting facts …
Jane Seymour, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger
The tomb of Jane Seymour and King Henry VIII, in the crypt of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Henry planned a magnificent tomb for himself, but it was never completed, and here he still lies.
Jane wasn’t great at reading and writing but was good at needlework. Household management too. Fun times with Jane.
- She was ‘meek’, ‘gentle’, ‘simple’ (bit harsh) and ‘chaste’. The polar opposite to her sharp, quick-witted and often fiery predecessor. We can surmise that as far as Henry was concerned, Jane was a direct consequence of Anne.
Henry was betrothed to Jane just one day after Anne’s execution. Didn’t waste time, did he?
Unlike her reformist predecessor, Jane was politically conservative, although she did ask Henry to pardon participants in the Pilgrimage of Grace. In response, Henry reminded her what happened when his last wife ‘meddled in his affairs’. Ha, take that, Jane. Though the way he put down that rebellion was a new level of brutal, so good for her for trying.
Jane formed a close relationship with her step-daughter Mary. She brought her back to court and reconciled her with Henry.
Jane was married to Henry for just over a year. She died aged 28, shortly after the birth of her son, who became King Edward VI after Henry’s death.
Well that’s all I can find without delving deeper into the interwebs. I’m sure she was very sweet. Just not someone you’d want to go out on the razz with.