Queen Jane, you held a special place in English history as one of only two wives Henry didn't divorce, annul, or have executed. If you had lived, do you think your marriage would have lasted?
Yes, I do.
Was it a love match?
To some extent, yes. At first I wasn't thrilled at being courted by such a dangerous man, but Henry had a way about him. A woman couldn't stay indifferent for long. I grew fond of him rather quickly and by the end I think it's safe to say I loved him.
It was a pretty short marriage but did you have any real influence with Henry?
You would have to ask him.
You must have been very proud to give birth to a son. How does it feel knowing that you provided what none of Henry's other wives gave him?
I'm pleased to have given my lord a son, of course. But I didn't see marriage to Henry as any kind of competition.
Tell us your thoughts about Henry's first wife.
I admired Queen Catherine greatly. She was a woman of principle and a good queen.
And his second?
Anne was very different from anyone the English court had known. Of course there were other women of spirit but they were more likely to hide their nature. Anne was the first in a long time to show her ambition openly. One couldn't help but admire her in the same way that one in modern times cannot help looking at a horrific auto accident or train wreck.
Did you have any qualms about marrying so soon after the death of Henry's last wife?
I did, but Henry was king. You try saying "no" to that man. I believe Anne Boleyn was the only person who ever did.
Did you ever fear that, should your child have been a girl, your life might be at stake?
The thought crossed my mind, but Henry was so very tender with me. I tried to be a source of peace for him and he appreciated that in me. I do think if your child had been a girl he might have been disappointed, but I feel sure he would have given me another chance.
To all accounts, you were a sweet and mild lady. Is that an accurate portrayal of your personality?
For the most part it is correct. I did have a temper of course, but was not easily provoked.
What do you think it was about you that captivated Henry?
My temperament was the exact opposite of Anne's. After such a tempestuous relationship, he needed a calm wife who would not vex or grieve him.
Did he ever confide in you regarding the whole Catherine/Anne/Church of England thing?
He discussed it with me briefly during our courtship, and only at my urging. It wasn't a subject he ever wanted to cover again, as he made clear to me. He preferred to leave it in the past.
Now that all the wives are among the departed...do you ever get together? Is there a club, or maybe a support group?
We have tea twice a year. More than that would be too much for Catherine, who is still a little sore about Anne. But Mistress Howard has yet to attend one of our get-togethers. In fact, I don't think I've run into her at all up here.
Growing up, did you ever think you'd be queen of England?
No. I was content to be a daughter of the Seymour family; to serve God; to serve my country in any way I could. But queen? Never in my most vivid dreams.
I asked our readers to chime in with their own questions. One would like to know if you feel at all responsible for Anne Boleyn's downfall?
Goodness, no! Anne did that largely by herself. She and Henry were far too alike. It was like setting a match to oil, those two together. It couldn't have lasted. Henry needed a wife who wouldn't try to control him, wouldn't ridicule or storm at him. Had she given him a son she would still have lost his heart, and when she realized the change in her status she would have become desperate and frantic. She would never have agreed to a divorce. So you see, her end was fairly inevitable.
Last question: what is your favorite color?
Thank you all for joining us, please come back next time for a revealing chat with Anne of Cleves!
Coming up next on the blog (prior to the next Historic Interview) we'll have a chat with new author Jes Saint. She smart, she's funny, she's agreed to an interview. You do not want to miss that one!