Saturday, 9 February 2013

Pleading Jane

The French ambassador who was stationed at the English court during Henry VIII's marriage to Jane Seymour has reported an incident that has gone remarkably unnoticed by. It is today a well-known fact that Henry and his third wife, Jane, disagreed on the question of the monasteries. Henry had by this time already closed many monasteries and it is reasonable to assume that he was not going to give it back; first of all he would be obliging a church he had left and secondly the monasteries had brought him considerable more wealth and power.
But Jane - otherwise described as ever obedient - threw herself at his feet when hearing of the fate of the monasteries. The incident took place in front of the whole court. She begged Henry to restore the monasteries but Henry retorted her and told her to get back on her feet. When she was standing again, Henry - loving as ever - reminded her that he had already told her several times not to meddle in his affair. And then the King sunk to a lower level by making a pointed allusion to what he called "the late Queen" - that being Anne Boleyn who had been executed a few months earlier.

Since then there has been no more reports of disobedience from Jane's side - she was probably terrified and with good reason. But it casts a new light on the image of a Jane that never said a word against her husband. After all, Henry said that he had told her "several times"; an indication that she had brought up the subject before.

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