This will not be the first time I mention this idea and it won’t be the last – Anne Boleyn and Thomas Seymour had very similar fates.
The thought came to me one day when I was reading one of my many primary sources about Thomas Seymour. If you did not know already I’ve been researching and writing a book about Thomas Seymour since 2016 – a book to show a side of Thomas Seymour that no other author has dared to write about. I’ve even started a separate website and Facebook page just for him because I feel that he is unjustly vilified.
Let’s look at the things that these two prominent court members had in common. Both had close relationships with the King of England, both had testimonies against them that sealed their fate and both were executed, unjustly.
What gets me the most is the fact that we all know Anne Boleyn was innocent of the charges put against her. In my opinion the charges against Thomas Seymour were falsified or exaggerated so the council, Lord Protector and King Edward would feel confident in sending him to the scaffold because he dared to speak his mind and stand up for what was his. Isn’t that the same thing Anne Boleyn did?
During the interrogations or questioning of those close to Anne Boleyn we know that Mark Smeaton was tortured. There is no evidence even proving that Anne was in the locations Mark says that they slept together. Mark confessed to something he did not do to (we can assume) make the pain stop.
Now, if we look at those who were questioned about Thomas Seymour we have to focus on Kat Ashley. Kat had been part of Elizabeth’s household for many, many years and actually liked Thomas Seymour. At one point she wanted Elizabeth to marry him after the death of Katherine Parr. When Kat Ashley was questioned it was only two years after Anne Askew, a woman, was tortured and executed.
It is commonly believed by many who have read Kat’s testimony that is untrustworthy and inaccurate. Some have thought that since Kat Ashley had pushed for Elizabeth marry Seymour that Kat herself had a crush on Thomas, or she at least thought he was innocent enough. What was in it for Kat had Elizabeth married Thomas? That is something else we must consider.
I believe Thomas had a way with women. He had a charisma that was attractive to many women. But, with that being said, he didn’t always get his way. So why would Kat Ashley turn on him in the end? I’d like to suggest, to save herself.
During her life, and after, Anne Boleyn had been referred to as a “whore” whereas Thomas Seymour gets labeled a “molester” or “pervert”. All this name calling is unfair for all parties included. Anne Boleyn was not a “whore”, she was a queen consort, a mother, a sister and a daughter who was bold enough to speak her mind and eventually marry Henry VIII, only to lose her head for it. She was framed so Henry VIII could rid himself of his second wife to marry his third and so Thomas Cromwell could continue his reformation work without Anne breathing down his neck.
Thomas Seymour was definitely not a “molester” or a “pervert”, he was the uncle of the King, Lord Admiral, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, brother of the Lord Protector and late Queen Jane. Both of these people do not deserve the name they are often called. Thomas Seymour was framed because those in power feared what he would do to get the power he so rightfully deserved. Their response was proactive, not reactive. We do not have proof that Thomas attempted to kidnap Edward. We do not have evidence that HE shot Edward’s dog to quiet it. If his case was held in today’s court of law he would easily be set free – the evidence is circumstantial.
In closing, please remember that we cannot judge these two people or the situations by 21st century standards. Doing so is unfair to both parties.