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Shy, Timid, Pure, Chaste, Familial, Warm, Obedient.
"Bound to Obey and Serve"
Jane Seymour was born into a noble line, and served Katharine of Aragon as well as Anne Boleyn. Henry likely chose Jane because she was Anne's polar opposite- chaste, timid, submissive, shy. Jane was also manipulated into marrying the king by her ambitious father and brothers, but unlike Thomas Boleyn, John Seymour was not seeking to destroy anyone in the kings court (the Boleyns were angling to be rid of Cardinal Wolsey), they wanted only to advance in it. Using a daughter to get into a king's graces was fair play in the 1500s, and Jane was no exception.
Henry was still smarting over the controversy surrounding his very public romancing of Anne Boleyn, and courted Jane in a much different way. This was just as well- Jane was a quiet woman who did not want the attention, a pious girl who would not even dine alone with the king. He romanced her much as he did Anne, with poems, letters, and expensive jewels- she kept the letters, but returned every present he sent her. Jane was unassuming, guileless, and by all accounts, kind-hearted and good. When asked by Henry what she would most want to do as queen, Jane responded that she wanted to reconcile Henry with Katharine's daughter, the princess Mary.
As Anne was imprisoned, Henry and Jane planned a wedding. To Henry, this was essential to do quickly- Anne was never really accepted as queen by anyone outside of England, and was not even recognized until after Katharine of Aragon's tragic death. Even then, she was still considered to be no more than the king's concubine, the royal whore, and their daughter was an undesired betrothal. His relationship with his and Katharine's daughter Mary had been irreparably damaged by his isolation and deposing of Mary after the birth of Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, and Henry had not restored her as sovereign heir, despite his bastardization of Elizabeth. Effectively, Henry VIII had no heir to his throne, and no legitimate wife. By ridding himself of Anne and taking Jane Seymore as quickly as possible, he could produce a legitimate heir that could not be questioned.
The day after Anne Boleyn's beheading, Henry announced his betrothal to Jane. Ten days after, they were married. Jane did not have the lush coronation ceremony that Anne Boleyn had- in fact, Jane was never even crowned. Henry may have wanted to be sure she could give him an heir before he crowned her. In 1537, Jane did give him the heir he so desired- a healthy boy named Edward. True to her word, she had Mary stand godmother to the boy, and Elizabeth was present at his christening. Her son would overtake either of the girls' claim to the throne, but Jane was more interested in the welfare of the entire Tudor family than with succession to the throne.
Unfortunately, childbirth was a dangerous affair, and twelve days later, Jane Seymour died of complications.
She was one of Henry's most beloved, and he wore black until the end of 1538, in mourning. He would not marry again for two years- the longest time Henry VIII went without a wife. Her honorable position as mother of the male heir was never forgotten, and she was painted with Henry in pictures throughout the castle long after her death.