Born: About 1507
Jane Seymour was the third wife of King Henry VIII. She was a lady in waiting to the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, when she caught the King’s eye. Unlike Anne, who was vivacious and outspoken, Jane was quiet and retiring. She strove to please the King in all things and was encouraged to secure his affection by her ambitious family. By the spring of 1536, Henry wanted rid of Anne, who had failed to give him a son, and was resolved to marry Jane. Anne was falsely accused of adultery, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and executed. A few days later, Henry married Jane.
Within a year, Jane was pregnant, and to every one’s delight, the baby born on the 12th of October 1537 was a boy. The King wept with joy when he first held his much longed for son and the country celebrated. The baby prince was named Edward and he was christened with much pomp and ceremony three days later. The King’s joy was short lived, however, as Jane became feverish a few days after Edward’s birth and died on the 23 October. Henry was devastated and mourned Jane for months. In fact, although he married a further three times, it was Jane he considered the love of his life. She had given him the one thing that no other wife ever had, a living son, and for this he cherished her memory. It was with Jane that he was buried, in Windsor Castle, when he himself died a decade later.
Edward was only nine years of age when he became King at his father’s death, so Jane’s brother, Edward Seymour, was appointed Lord Protector of England. This meant he would rule in Edward’s name until he was old enough to rule himself. But Edward Seymour had an ambitious younger brother, Thomas, who wanted to takeover as Lord Protector. He plotted and schemed behind his brother’s back and even tried to abduct King Edward! Thomas did not succeed, however, and was arrested for treason. Not long after he was beheaded. Edward Seymour did not survive his brother’s disgrace and was replaced as Lord Protector by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.