Saturday, January 23, 2016

Question from Den - Seymour's claim of being bewitched by Elizabeth

Is it true that when Catherine Parr caught her husband embracing Elizabeth, he said that she had bewitched him and that Elizabeth is the same as her mother Anne Boleyn? Thanks for any answer.


PhD Historian said...

I have checked the various transcripts of interviews conducted during the investigation of Thomas Seymour (many of them are among the Cecil Papers from Hatfield House) and found no mention of this claim.

Roland H. said...

Maybe in some historical romance novel.

In actuality, there is no record of him saying such a thing.

Foose said...

I think the "bewitched" line comes from the first episode of Elizabeth R, the British series from the 1970s that starred Glenda Jackson - Seymour tells the young princess that he is bewitched by her as his wife (Catherine Parr) watches.

As PhD Historian notes above, there's no historical source for Seymour saying this. However, writers of popular entertainment based on history often create dialogue that may be technically ahistorical but helps flesh out the drama and engage the audience, supports the overall script's approach to "what really happened" or provides context for the psychological motivations of the characters.

In this case, I think the writers were on more solid ground than the ones scripting The Tudors. Just 4 years after Seymour's execution, the Emperor's ambassador Simon Renard described Queen Mary's naivete and inexperience, and then referred to her sister "Madame Elizabeth" as a schemer with a "spirit full of enchantment" (ung esprit plain d'incantation) - incantation having contemporary connotations of black magic rather than "enchantment" in the modern sense (captivating, charming). Perhaps the writers noted this hostile historical reference and backdated it a bit when developing Seymour's flirtation with Elizabeth in the series, depicting the adolescent future queen as already exercising a powerful, dangerous charisma.

Den said...

Thank you for your answers