Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour. Reproduced in J.R.Green, A Short History of the English People (1900). University of Victoria Library.

Jane Seymour married Henry VIII in May 1536, the same month that Anne Boleyn was executed. On October 12, 1537, Henry finally got a male heir when Jane, through caesarean section, gave birth to a son, who was to become Edward VI of England.

Given the risk in such an operation at the time, it is not surprising that Jane died twelve days after the birth. Henry's marriage to Jane Seymour was unequivocally legal, unlike his previous marriages, a fact which gave any heir she produced an unquestionable right to the throne.

Henry's feelings for Jane?

The birth of a healthy son, even though by caesarean section, gave Henry proof of God's approval of this third marriage. Although he appeared to be deeply grieved by the sudden death of Jane Seymour, there is no clear evidence of his deep feelings for her. It is at least true that he neither divorced nor beheaded her.