When first discussing Henry’s Bonetastic Adventure Week with MRG and LHB, I made the mistake of saying Jane Seymour was ‘sort of a pussy.’ This had been bred from many years believing that since Jane had a blipster marriage, and pooped out one weakass manbaby only to die shortly after, she was, well, you know, a pussy. A shitstorm ensued in which both of them said something to the tune of, “Woah woah WOAH, slow down bitch, Jane Seymour was awesome. Plus there’s that actress with her name.” Ok, I can take that, I can look into this more, I can try and do this kingbearing wench some justice.
A quick flip through the internets and my Starkey (which everyone should own, ’cause the man writes like academic salaciousness is going out of style… since it was never actually in style) told me that one Jane Seymour was actually quite scandalous in her own right. And now I will educate all you plebs; you with whom I used to keep company, but will now forever deny having connection. Be grateful.
Born most likely in 1508, Jane Seymour was distantly royal, but, more importantly, gifted with a family more misguidedly ambitious than Stalin’s Five Year Plan. She herself was mostly likely not too involved in climbing the ol’ social ladder, but she was certainly along for the ride. Educated in France at the same time, and in the same court as Anne Boleyn, it seems like a bit of a suckerpunch on Jane’s part since she was a lot of the reason Anne had her head chopped off, but hey, business is business. Jane’s sister had married Henry’s backstabbing secretary, Thomas Cromwell, and since pimping his own wife would be a little cheap, why not sneak that sister in instead! Jane was first made a lady-of-honor to Katherine, and then a lady-in-waiting to Anne, and her brothers coached in her in how to attract the king’s attention. Little things like good conversation (“Oh Henry, you’re so smart/funny/well-hung.”), being in the right place at the right time (as in around Henry 24/7), and how to effectively heave a bosom (that one’s self explanatory).
Say you’re Henry: you’ve got yourself a hotass wife, but she’s also crazy jealous as balls, and you sort of pushed your county to the brink of civil war for her, and now she’s not even doing her wifely duty and turning your magic juice into a viable heir! The nerve. So, when you see this nice little honey-dip with child-bearing hips by the name of Jane Seymour, the gears start to turn. Basically right after she was introduced at court in 1532, Henry started trying to seduce her. He supposedly gave her a necklace with his portrait inside, which Anne, as a good den mother to her ladies, took interest in and asked to see. Jane got all shy and shit, and Anne made her hand it over, like a teacher confiscating a dirty magazine disguised in a copy of The Scarlet Letter.
Now Jane was a little mousefuck of a person, and though she was attractive, she wasn’t sex on a stick like her predecessor; a better descriptor is maybe, ‘safe.’ I equate hers and Henry’s relationship to when you break up with a real crazy, but real hot bitch (Anne), and you just want somebody to take home to the parents who doesn’t give you a handy in the car before you go in, so you’re at half-mast when your mom opens the front door (Jane).
For about a YEAR AND A HALF before Anne passed on to the sweet bye-and-bye, Henry and Jane were basically doing it. PUBLICALLY. Bitch had balls, you gotta give her that. She wasn’t too good at ‘booklearnin,’ but she could sew and embroider, and was very well mannered, and could run a household with great aplomb, so that made her an outwardly good match after a woman who spent money faster than LHB at a unicorn store. Her court would be described as austere and formal, much like herself (Even though she was corrupt enough to bang his mistress’ husband, she still felt the need to impose Protestant strictness and moral superiority over e’ryone else). The wild coke parties and orgies were done; this was the dawning of an Age very unlike that of Aquarius.
After Anne had a second miscarriage in either late 1535 or early 1536, Henry moved Jane into a royally appointed shagpad, and shit started to get serious.
I’m 99% positive that while Henry was calling Anne a sorceress and incestuous and all sorts of nasty, nasty things, he lived a nice little domestic life with Jane, much like a 1950’s household. Their conversations would revolve around sales this week on canned corn, the linen rotation for the spring, and, oh yeah, Jane, I’ll make you my mothereffing queen if you be quiet and bear me a son. Yeah, that’s cool. Supposedly less than a day after Anne was executed, Henry married Jane, but didn’t announce it until nearly two weeks later. Well, he had to look like he cared.
Fun Fact: Jane was never actually crowned queen because of a plague at Westminster, and when it finally died down, she was already in the final days of her pregnancy and whoop! she died. BUT, she is also the only one of Henry’s wives to have been given a queen’s funeral (hmmm…), and is buried next to him. Too cute.
SUPER MEGA FOXY AWESOME FUN FACT: The Brits absolutely love reliving this relatively shameful period in their history with multiple cinematic versions of Henry’s poonicide. One of the best is the 1969 classic, Anne of the Thousand Days, in which Jane Seymour plays a relatively small role (BUT, in which Henry is played by Richard Burton, and Liz Taylor pops up for a brief cameo/conjugal on-set visit), but one in which she is portrayed as not particualrly all that great. This is kind of a big deal, since history has generally turned a very kind eye to Jane Seymour, even though she was a husband stealing shit-for-brains who weedled her way into the hearts of the British Isles by staring blankly and having that sexy, dead-fish palor.
Not that I’m trying to cast this woman as something less than smart, but Anne was a hard act to follow, cause it must be admitted, she was brilliant. Jane on the other hand… less so. I mean she was fine and everything, but she got the right side of the genetic cointoss when she had Edward VI, and before that she mostly had to just follow other people’s directions and put out. Who doesn’t want that life???
Thing was, after she got married in May, 1536, and became pregnant by early 1537, it had become clear that she was both sickly and weak, as well as kind of a drag, and nobody wants an unfun queen. She basically said and did nothing interesting to try and avoid Anne’s fate, and though she did get a baby in her belly pretty quick, it might not have been one of Henry’s favorite husbandly duties to do the nasty with a silent bangmaid.
Jane’s labor was difficult and lasted two days, and when Henry was asked if it got down to the wire, which one he wanted saved, he answered like the sly dog he was, “If you cannot save both, at least let the child live, for other wives are easily found.” After she did deliver Edward safe and sound, she was forced by Henry to take part in the lavish christening ceremony that lasted like five hours and only served to kill her faster. Within two weeks of Edward’s birth, Jane died from complications or infection or some science crap like that. It has been speculated that Henry sort of, you know, let Jane die. I’m not sure how he really could have helped her not die, considering that even with the might of the British empire behind him, the best medical advice that could be offered was to bleed her and keep her away from Jews, but still, he can’t have been all that sad when she offed it ’cause it was pretty clear she wasn’t going to push another watermelon-sized human out of her vajay any time soon.
All in all, Jane Seymour could either be regarded as a social-climbing numbskull who was pushed along by her male family members into the open and lustful arms of a rapidly expanding ginger, OR, as a victim of circumstances whose husband let her die when she proved that she could put a penis on the throne at least once. Either way, I’m still not her biggest fan, but she had enough gusto to shove Anne Boleyn off Henry’s lap, and that is certainly not something a pussy could do. …Well, no, actually, shit, whatever, you know that I meant.