Jane Seymour Character Study
Guest Post by Hunter S. Jones
When I began thinking of what I could write about the Tudor era. I wanted to write a story unlike anything I had ever read before. The artistic seed was there, but what would trigger the growth of a concept which led to Phoenix Rising?
Let’s examine Jane Seymour. What do we know of Jane Seymour, really know of her? She was the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. Jane was the oldest daughter of ten children, six of whom lived to adulthood. In that era, six surviving children was no small feat.
Was Jane Seymour born at Wulfhull or Wolf Hall as it is now known, in Wiltshire, England, the family seat? We do not know. What we do know is that the Seymour’s were an old family, tracing their roots to one of William the Conqueror’s men. Through Jane’s maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III of England.
Due to Jane’s pedigree, Jane and King Henry VIII were fifth cousins. Sinister enough, but get this…Jane was a second cousin to none other than Anne Boleyn. That’s when the story of Jane took a turn for me. What type of female, now or five hundred years ago, is fitted for her wedding dress at the very hour her cousin is to be executed by beheading? The concept for my story, Phoenix Rising, was beginning to take root. Then, when I discovered that Jane was presented at court by none other than Sir Francis Bryan, the story began to reveal itself to me.
We read about ‘Plain Jane ‘or how fair she was, so we perceive her as homely. True, her pictures do not translate well into our millennium, but let’s look at the time period and the concept of feminine beauty in the Tudor era. The archaic meaning of fair is a beautiful woman, as in “Who’s the fairest of them all?”
Jane motto was ‘Bound to Obey and Serve.’ She was the epitome of the Tudor female. She even had Henry VIII’s longed for male heir. This was the real reason women were important at that point in time, right?
There is so little known about Jane Seymour. The story of women vying for the attention of a powerful man is timeless. Add in family intrigue, Jane was known to be ‘haughty. Is it that difficult to imagine he felt her station above that of Anne Boleyn? A bit of encouragement from her family and Sir Francis Bryan and she became a force to be reckoned with? Would she stop at nothing less than becoming Henry’s wife through schemes and power plays?
Jane served Katherine of Aragon and openly supported Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Queen Katherine, even before Queen Anne was beheaded. Was Jane out for revenge? Once Katherine was deceased, did she truly believe that Henry was free to marry and love again and that she was a better choice for England than her cousin Anne?
The mystery of Jane Seymour is even more enigmatic than that of her glamorous relative, Anne Boleyn. She is a true chimera. Do we know for certain this is by her hand?
What we do know is that Jane Seymour gave Henry VIII the one thing he wanted most, a male heir. As with the majority of Henry’s wives, she paid for his decisions with her life.
EXCERPT FROM MAGIC & MYSTERY IN TUDOR ENGLAND:
WITH A knock, the door opens to the dressing chamber. “Sir Francis Bryan is here to see you on order from the King, milady,” say one of the chambermaids as she bows.
I see the blush on her cheeks as she says his name, yet say nothing. “Oh aye, my godfather is always welcome to visit. Please ask him to wait a moment and I will see him in the ante chamber,” I reply. She bows again and walks away. Uncle Francis, as I call him, can seduce any woman. I know he has been bedding my maids; as he tires of one, he seduces another. But it is their business and not mine. They all appear more than happy to keep him entertained. He has been my friend and greatest supporter. Without his sound advice mingled with the guidance of my brothers, I would never have achieved such status. Today is my date with destiny.
“How do I look?’ I say to the four dressmakers.
“You look divine, milady. You were truly born to be a queen.” “Please turn in the light of the window so we may better see you,” says another.
Twirling in the glow of light streaming through the window, I feel as if God himself has reached out and touched me today. It’s as if in this moment God whispers, Jane the Queen will give the King of England a son and heir. The gold and white silk meshed with pearls and threads of gold are truly divine. Yes, I am English and born to be Queen. The King and I shall give this great Kingdom a son. It is God’s will and my destiny.
Looking out the window, I see the blue sky. The fragrance of honeysuckle wafts into the room. Today is a perfect English spring day. The birds sing a song of joy. I know that the song they sing is for me, the King, and the son we will give this great and Godly country. The King’s will be done, but God’s grace is my mission.
“Lady Jane, you will be known as the fairest Queen England has ever known,” says Margaret. She looks at me and smiles as she says it. She loathed Anne and left her services months ago. She was the first seamstress Henry awarded me. She had confided to me that Anne often slapped her, such was her temperament. Anne was so common with that lowborn Boleyn blood. Nothing like my Seymour and Wentworth families. Yes, she had the Howard blood, but she was just the most hateful person I have ever known. When Sir Francis mentioned to my brothers that he felt I could catch the King’s eye, we jumped upon his every word. It was last year, only a few months ago, during the King’s visit to Wolf Hall. Francis even paid for the outfit I wore for the first night of the King’s visit. That shows just how ridiculous and unworthy Anne was to be Queen. She fought for seven years. I demurred, followed instruction, and have achieved my goal within only a few months. My relationship with Henry is meant to be. I think back to the plans made for the King’s visit. Francis and my brothers called me in to meet with them once it was known that the King would stop at Wolf Hall whilst on progress.
Magic & Mystery in Tudor England, Hunter S. Jones.
The Tudors: King Takes Queen, Michael Hirst, Elizabeth Massie.
The Six Wives of Henry VII, Antonia Fraser.
Photos: Public Domain.
MAGIC & MYSTERY IN TUDOR ENGLAND
The magic and superstition of Tudor England, with the biggest mystery of all – what happened to change the fate of Anne Boleyn? Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.
A young Anne Boleyn captures the heart of the king. What begins as his distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed forever.
The best-selling author of PHOENIX RISING presents a story based on historical fact mingled with fiction.
What reviewers are saying…
“This book is a fresh look at history.” Professor W.D. Pickett, Ph.D
“The past is brought to life. Her characters speak to me.” Jenn Henry, actress
“An intriguing concept.” Dr Beth Lynne, Ph.D
Read the book here: getbook.at/TudorMagic
About The Author
Author and historian Deb Hunter writes as Hunter S. Jones. She publishes independently as well as through traditional platforms. Recently she revealed that she is a Stage IV cancer warrior. She is passionate about the history of romance, science and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. She is also a historian for Past Preservers Casting. When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband.
She is the author of the international best-seller. PHOENIX RISING, a fictional story of the last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life, as revealed through a Tudor astrological star chart.
She has been involved in academic projects at Harvard University, The University of Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, University of The South, University of Notre Dame, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been associated with the prestigious Society of Authors founded by Lord Tennyson, Royal Historical Society, Atlanta Historical Society, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Civil War Historians (US), Dangerous Women Project, Romance Writers of America (PAN member), and Historical Writers Association.