I have some theories concerning the character of Jane Seymour, and I'd really appreciate some feedback on them.
Firstly, I believe (and I don't think I'm alone on this) that the attraction of Henry to Jane primarily stemmed from Henry's desire to completely stray from the extreme, rebellious, unconventional Anne Boleyn with the typical male ideal of a woman: dulcet, softspoken, and submissive. However, I find it very odd that Henry, being a man who prided himself in his lovely mistresses and eye for beauty, selected the plain, lackluster Jane Seymour for his next bride. How could a man such as he utterly overlook Jane's pallid features and general, as it has been deduced, lack of sexual appeal?
Secondly, Jane was completely illiterate and could only read and write her own name. Therefore, she was most likely lacking of the wit and charm that her predecessors possessed and Henry so treasured. If she could not read, what did she occupy herself with every day?
Embroidery? And, being such a devout Catholic, would the routine church visits seem limiting to her, despite their length? Meaning, is it
possible that she may have felt unsatisfied with her inability to control what Biblical readings were chosen to be read during service? If she wanted to know more, what were her resources? How could a heavily religious person such as her be able to worship outside of a formal church setting if she were unable to read?
To expand on the above, since Jane was so pious, is it possible that she had issues separating evil from good? What I mean is, the Bible had
and still has scads of moral tales in it that Jane was exposed to regularly. In many of the Bibilical stories, notably in the Deuteronomic
Histories, blind faith in God is praised above all and evil was portrayed in many forms, all of which could be converted into good (although this
is an irrelevant sidenote, said goodness was achieved by religious reformation or, chiefly, by death and hope for acceptance from God). Could this have rooted a belief in her that there was good in everything and everyone and that that good must be appealed to as opposed to resented, because with faith in God, one could abolish that evil? May these views have influenced her attitudes toward Anne and Henry? That while they may have committed evils they were still capable of good?
And, if Jane believed in the above, did she see Anne's decapitation as a positive event that would renew her faith in God and restore her to
purity and goodness? If so, could that be a possible explanation for Jane's seemingly indifferent attitude toward stepping over the dead body of her predecessor and assuming her role as queen? It seems odd to me that a religious sentimentalist such as Jane (as I view her) would have no objection to a clearly innocent woman (I say this because Anne's multiple "evidences" of infidelity contradicted each other so mercilessly that only a real idiot would be able to believe it; the propoganda seemed to be effective, despite this) being ostensibly murdered. Unless, of course, she thought that her religion deemed it ethical.
Also, I find it interesting that there are many parallels between Jane Seymour and Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York. They both died of puerperal (childbed) fever and were both idolized by their husbands. They both bore sons, were good-natured, gentle, and pious. One of the only differences I could find (and I'm sure there are more than this, as I've really only grazed the surface on this topic) is that Jane was physically less appealing than Elizabeth, who was said to have been very beautiful. Is it possible that Henry may have been reminded of his mother through Jane and that that may have increased his fondness of her both during her life and after, when he reflected on her? And, since he was old enough to recall his mother's death, as she died when he was ten or eleven, could that painful memory have been risen by the almost identical death of Jane? What evidence is there of the relationship between Henry and his mother, Elizabeth? If it was good, then perhaps the simila!
rities between she and Jane were regarded by Henry with tenderness; yet, if he had a bad relationship with his mother, that would kind of shoot down my theory.
Just some thoughts - many thanks in advance!
Also, please, no one take offence to my references to the Catholic faith. My speculations are just that - speculations - and I have no intention to offend anyone, if any offense may be taken from my thoughts.