On 20th May 1536, Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, wrote to Seigneur de Granvelle informing him of the latest developments in London. He informed him that at 9am on the 20th May 1536, just a day after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Henry VIII and Jane Seymour were betrothed in the King’s lodgings.
Chapuys was no friend of Anne Boleyn and was hopeful that Jane would help to restore the Lady Mary to the succession, but even he found this betrothal distasteful, commenting that, “everybody begins already to murmur by suspicion, and several affirm that long before the death of the other there was some arrangement which sounds ill in the ears of the people; who will certainly be displeased at what has been told me, if it be true”.
He also reported that on hearing news of Anne’s execution, Henry VIII had immediately gone by barge to see Jane. I wonder how Henry felt? Did he have any feelings about the death of his wife or had he already moved on in his mind?
What Chapuys’ report shows us is that Henry and Jane’s relationship was surrounded by gossip. We know that there had already been pamphlets deriding Jane circulating in London and now the speed of this new relationship was causing ill feeling and sympathy for Anne Boleyn. Time to blacken Anne’s name some more and get the propaganda machinery working.
Information from a chapter of Claire Ridgway’s The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown.