Meet the Wives Handbook: Jane Seymour


On January 1537, after seven months of marriage, Jane finally conceived. The king made sure Jane lacked for nothing. When the queen had a craving for quails -- which were out of season -- Henry took the trouble to have the birds shipped from Calais. Astrologers and soothsayers all claimed Jane would give birth to a boy. Their predictions proved correct: on October 12, 1537 after days of painful labor, Jane gave birth to a boy, Edward. The king was ecstatic -- he finally had his longed-for son. But just days later, Henry would mourn the death of his queen.

EDWARD VI (1537 - 1553)

Edward grew up with his own household at the royal manor house at Havering in Essex. King Henry was very protective of his only male heir; he isolated Edward from court life, had his food tested for poison, and supervised his education. Edward never knew his mother's love but the king's sixth wife, Catherine Parr would take an interest in Edward. Over time Edward developed love for Catherine Parr and called her "my dearest mother." In 1547, after Henry's death, nine-year-old Edward became king. His six-year reign was filled with factional infighting. Thomas Seymour, Edward's uncle became Lord Protector and as the young king's regent, ruled England. Seymour was eventually ousted by another member of Edward's Privy Council, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. Urged by Dudley, the dying king, fearing that Mary, his older half-sister, would revert the country back to Catholicism, named Protestant Lady Jane Grey his successor.

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