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Jane Seymour (1507)

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Jane Seymour (c. 1508–24 October 1537) was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who reigned as Edward VI. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, as she was the only consort to have a male heir.

  Biography  

 early life
Jane Seymour was born at Wulfhall, Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. Through her maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III of England through Lionel Plantagenet. Because of this, she and King Henry VIII were fifth cousins three times removed. She was a half-second cousin to her predecessor Anne Boleyn, sharing a great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cheney. Her date of birth is a matter of debate. It is usually given as 1509 or even 1510, but it has been noted that at her funeral, 29 women walked in succession. Since it was customary for the attendant company to mark every year of the deceased's life in numbers, this implies she was born in 1508, or 1507 and she had not yet celebrated her 30th birthday.

She was not educated as highly as King Henry's previous wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. She could read and write a little, but was much better at needlework and household management, which were considered much more necessary for women. Jane's needlework was reported to be beautiful and elaborate; some of her work survived up to 1652, when it is recorded to have been given to the Seymour family. After her death, it was noted that Henry was an "enthusiastic embroiderer".

She became a maid-of-honour in 1532 to Queen Catherine, but Jane may have served Catherine as early as 1527, and went on to serve Queen Anne Boleyn. The first report of Henry VIII's interest in Jane Seymour was in early 1536, sometime before the death of Catherine of Aragon.

Jane was noted to have a child-like face, as well as a modest personality. According to the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, Jane was of middling stature and very pale; he also commented that she was not of much beauty. However, John Russell stated that Jane was "the fairest of all the King's wives." Polydore Vergil commented that she was "a woman of the utmost charm in both character and appearance."

 death
Custom dictated that the Queen did not participate in her children's christening. Consequently, Edward was christened without his mother in attendance on 15 October 1537. Both of the King's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present and carried the infant's train during the ceremony. After the christening, it became clear that Jane Seymour was seriously ill.

Jane Seymour's labour had been difficult, lasting two days and three nights, probably because the baby was not well positioned. According to King Edward's biographer, Jennifer Loach, Jane Seymour's death may have been due to an infection from a retained placenta. According to Alison Weir, death could have also been caused by puerperal fever due to a bacterial infection contracted during the birth or a tear in her perineum which became infected.

Jane Seymour died on 24 October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace at Kingston upon Thames.

 legacy
Two of Jane's brothers, Thomas and Edward, used her memory to improve their own fortunes. Thomas was rumoured to have been pursuing Princess Elizabeth, but married Queen Catherine Parr instead after the King's death. In the reign of the young King Edward VI, Edward Seymour set himself up as Lord Protector and de facto ruler of the kingdom. Both brothers eventually fell from power, and were executed.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jane Seymour", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.