Part 4: Jane Seymour
In complete contrast to Anne Boleyn, a dramatic brunette with
smouldering black eyes and a spirit and temper to match, Henry's
third wife, Jane Seymour, was a submissive, blue-eyed blonde with
receding chin – the model Tudor wife and a devout Catholic.
As Henry began to flirt with her, traditionalists were
delighted. But Thomas Cromwell had his own agenda for radical
religious reform and behind the scenes he fought Jane's influence.
Henry clearly intended Jane to be his mistress and tried to buy
her affections. She refused, saying she wanted something more
Courtier Sir Nicholas Carew coached Seymour in this brilliant
play at demure seduction and little by little it worked to prise
Henry away from Anne Boleyn. Ten days after Anne's execution in
1536, Henry and Jane were secretly married. She took as her motto
'Bound to obey and serve' but never surrendered her Catholic faith,
hoping to return Henry to the true faith.
The first test of Jane's influence was in defence of the devout
Catholic princess Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon. Risking
charges of treason and death, Jane argued fiercely for Mary's
rehabilitation, enlisting the support of friends. However Mary would
not be championed, declaring her mother's marriage illegal and
incestuous, and herself a bastard. Jane's intervention in politics
In autumn 1536 the dissolution of the monasteries and
destruction of churches had begun. In the countryside a great revolt
known as the Pilgrimage of Grace broke out in Lincolnshire and soon
engulfed the whole of the north of England. Nobles and peasants
found a charismatic leader in Robert Aske. Jane faced a dilemma. Her
sympathies were with the aims of the rebellion, her duty was to her
husband, who she believed was sinning against God.