Thursday, January 03, 2008

Question from Leigh - Jane Seymour was Henry VIII's only love?

Hi, I've heard many times now that Jane Seymour was the only wife whom Henry VIII really loved. I've been unable to find any evidence to support this, but I've always been under the impression that Henry didn't even bat an eyelid when Jane died. Is it true or false? Or was it simply because they weren't married long enough for him to tire/get bored of her?

Many thanks!


Anonymous PhD Historian said...

Considering the extreme lengths to which Henry went to win Anne Boleyn, I think we can safely assume that his feelings for her were intense, though it isn't really possible for us today to know with certainty whether Henry felt "love" toward any of his various wives. Worse, his feelings seem to have changed with time (you refer to him "tiring" of them). That said, we CAN make deductions based on his behavior. Chief among those is that when it came time for Henry to settle his affairs and to plan for his own funeral, he chose to be buried next to Jane Seymour beneath the choir in St George's Chapel, Windsor. If his choice of companion in death is any evidence, I'd have to assume his most lasting feelings (gratitude?) were for the only wife who ever provided him with a much-sought-after son. Your impression that Henry did not mourn Jane's death may stem from the fact that he did not attend her funeral in mid-November 1537. But it was against royal custom for the monarch to attend funerals, so his absence was entirely "normal" for the time and circumstances. He DID grieve at her death, nonetheless. He expressed that grief in a private letter to the king of France, noting the "bitterness" he felt at losing the mother of his only legitimate son ("Letters and Papers of Henry VIII," Vol 12, Part 2, item 972). Your impression that Henry "didn't even bat an eyelid when Jane died" is false.

January 03, 2008 10:34 PM  
Anonymous monica said...

Jane may well have gone on a pedestal in Henry's mind as time went on, both as he didn't have enough time to tire of her and because she was the only one who gave him a legitimate son.

He seems to have loved Katherine of Aragon dearly in the first five years of marriage. He was prepared to move heaven and earth for Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, until they displeased him, when the intensity of his love was superseded by the intensity of his hatred. He had a very good relationship with Katherine Parr, based on love, respect and friendship, but probably less passion than his other marriages. He was in love with all his wives at the time, except Anne of Cleves. But at his death, he considered that he had only legally had two wives: Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr, so it was from these two he was choosing who to be buried with. Katherine Parr had had other husbands and there was a good chance she would - as she did - marry again. It made sense therefore for Henry to be buried next to Jane. It also meant that the parents of the next monarch, Edward VI, were buried together.

If you see Anne Boleyn's fall as Henry being desperate to marry Jane at all costs, then this showed an intense love, but these events were caused by far more complex matters than Henry's affection for Jane.

January 05, 2008 7:21 AM  
Blogger mteemroyal said...

Did henry VIII love Anne Boleyn the most???? He was the most passionate about her for the longest period of time. And you are right...he sacrificed a lot for her. Unfortunately she had almost an entire kingdom against her. Did he ever speak of her agan after her death? Even to her daughter Lady Elizabeth?

February 01, 2009 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henry VIII never spoke Anne's name after she was executed. As far as Elizabeth went he ignored her for sometime and her governess had to beg for material to make her clothes as she grew. I think this was mostly due to Cromwell's power at the time. His last wife - Catherine Parr - encouraged Henry to welcome Mary and Elizabeth back to court. Both of his daughters held affection for their stepmother. Most of what I have read said that Henry had ups and downs with his relationships with his daughters, but both held love for him and respected him. And I think we can all agree that Elizabeth learned from her father's mistakes and never married and devoted herself fully to England.

March 12, 2009 10:42 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I also think that even though Henry did mourn Jane for a long time and probably thought of her as the wife who has done her duty,he also didn't have another choice about who he wanted to be buried with.After all,his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was declared invalid,and the same thing happened to Anne of Cleves,so there was no chance for him to be buried next to his "illegal" wives.Anne Boleyn and Kathryn Howard were declared traitors,so again,it would've been impossible,to be buried with them also.In the end he ended up with two strongly legal wives(well,according to his views anyway...),and since Katherine Parr outlived him,and was more like a companion to him,not a lover or the mother of a legal child of his,it really came down to the conclusion,that the obvious and only choice was Jane,the mother of the future king,and the wife who has been wise enough to obey,and most importantly,managed to keep her mouth shut after her failed attempts to openly "meddle in Henry's affairs".

December 03, 2009 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed by the mopvie :The Boleyn girls: I was amazed but my maine question was he IN LOVE WITH Anne or was it his desire to have her because she didnt give in that easy?

January 26, 2010 7:16 PM  

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