Alternate History: What If Jane Seymour Survived?

by AlexandriaIngham

It's fun to have fun with alternate history. Here I considered what could have happened if Jane Seymour never died after the birth of Edward.

I’m onto another alternate history post. I really enjoyed the Anne Boleyn one, and it got me thinking about the other wives of Henry VIII. I know that I should start with Catherine of Aragon, but I’m still working on her.

Jane Seymour is a little easier to flesh out some ideas. What if she didn’t die after giving birth to Prince Edward Tudor. What if she lived and went on to be crowned Queen Consort of England? Here’s just a little fun with my ideas.

Would Henry VIII Have Remained Faithful?

How many mistresses would Henry VIII have had, and how would that affect Jane Seymour?

What if Jane Seymour never died in childbirth?Henry VIII is known for his many mistresses. But when you look into his life, there are only two confirmed mistresses—and one of those is only confirmed based on his request for a papal dispensation to marry Anne Boleyn. Sure, he showed favor to Jane Seymour before he had Anne executed, but there is no proof that he started a relationship with her.

But would Henry VIII have remained faithful to Jane Seymour? I doubt it. But I think Jane would have handled things very different to the way Anne did. She would have turned a blind-eye, knowing that she was the rightful queen. There is no way that Henry VIII would have discarded his third wife considering she had produced the heir that he wanted and, more importantly, needed at the time.

She Would Have Become Similar to Elizabeth of York

When I think of Jane, I think of Elizabeth of York. Would she have been anything like her late mother-in-law?

When I view Elizabeth of York, I see her as a calm and collected queen consort. She may not have loved Henry VII to start with, but there was definitely something there afterwards. It was like they were made for each other.

I could see Jane becoming very much like Henry VIII’s mother. She was calm and collected, and would have been the yin to Henry VIII’s yang. She would do her duty, and care for her husband behind the scenes. And by doing her duty, it would have certainly led to more children and presumably more sons.

Part of me could see Jane eventually dying of childbed fever, similarly to Elizabeth of York. However, it would be after a few children, and she would always be remembered as Henry VIII’s favorite wife (as she is today).

Would Jane Seymour have been like Elizabeth of York?
Would Jane Seymour have been like Elizabeth of York?

Children After Prince Edward

There surely would have been other children after Edward Tudor.

I’ve mentioned that there would have been more children, and likely more sons. Some of those children wouldn’t have lived long after birth, but that was the way of the Tudor period. I don’t think Henry VIII would have been as worried as he was with Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn. He had his heir at least; proof for him that his marriage to Jane Seymour was valid.

There would have been at least one more son, I suspect. Henry VIII would have gotten that spare heir that he would had needed.

Prince Edward would have still died young, and it would have passed onto the spare heir to become King of England. However, that spare would have likely married and gone onto have children. England would never have joined with Scotland because of the necessity of James VI becoming England’s first King James.

It would have also meant that the scandal of Lady Jane Grey would never have happened. She would have remained somewhere in the line of succession, gone onto marry someone and had her own children. If Henry VIII’s line had died young without children, the crown would have passed onto his younger sister’s line as Henry wanted in the first place.

I do want to point out that I don't think there would have been many children after Edward. He may have had two or three siblings at the most that survived adulthood, especially if previous marriages were anything to go by.

What About Mary and Elizabeth?

Would Mary and Elizabeth become queens in their own right?

Would Elizabeth Tudor ever have become queen?First of all, Elizabeth would never have been placed in the line of succession. While Jane was caring, I don’t think she’d have focused on her predecessor’s child being put back into the line of succession. Would she have been raised with protestant views? I think so, but it would have been Henry VIII’s version of Protestantism.

As for poor Lady Mary Tudor, well...she wouldn’t have been placed back in the line of succession but her relationship with her father would have strengthened. It was Jane who managed to start rekindling Henry and Mary’s relationship, and I think she would have continued to do that. There was no risk for Jane, and she did believe Mary should have that relationship.

I don’t think either would have every become queen, though. Either they would have both died before their half-siblings through Jane and Henry, or they would have been overlooked and the crown passed onto the Grey line.

The two half-siblings would have likely been married off, and could have started families of their own. I'm not sure anything would have changed for Mary when it came to children, but Elizabeth may have gone on to have children of her own. She certainly wouldn't have been as put off marriage as she was in real life due to Henry's treatment of women.

A Fan Video of Jane Seymour and Prince Edward

Henry VIII and His Extra Wives

How many extra wives would Henry VIII have had after Jane?

There were three wives after Henry VIII, but they wouldn’t have happened if Jane never died after having Edward. There would have been no reason to discard her, especially considering she had a son.

Anne of Cleves would have married someone else, under the Duke of Cleves’ agreement. She may not have had the excellent life she gained by being the smartest of all Henry VIII’s six wives.

I do wonder if Kathryn Howard would have become a mistress. She would have certainly made her way to court; surely Thomas Howard would have still ensured that. She would have still caught Henry VIII’s eye. Maybe she would have been a royal mistress, and been allowed to marry Thomas Culpepper or someone else in court. She wouldn’t have been the victim that she became in 1542.

And finally there is Katherine Parr. Now this would depend on whether Jane died before or after Henry VIII. If she died of childbed fever sometime later, Henry VIII may have looked for a fourth wife, and Katherine Parr may have still caught his eye. I don’t see Henry being anything like his father; considering marriages but then deciding against them. Katherine would have still likely been the nursemaid at the end of his life, and gone on to have the bittersweet ending that she did.

What Is Your Alternate History?

What do you think about Jane's life if she'd have lived?

It is fun looking at the what if’s in history, and I’m really like doing alternate history series. I hope you enjoyed this look into what if Jane Seymour never died. Those are just my ideas for how her life could have played out, and how it would have affected others around her. Do you have any ideas for what would have happened if Jane Seymour never died after Edward’s birth?

Other Alternate History on Wizzley

I often love delving into the what ifs in history. This is a post dedicated to the what ifs surrounding Anne Boleyn had she had a boy.
Updated: 09/23/2014, AlexandriaIngham
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Telesto on 09/23/2014

Indeed there are! I love this period in history and it's fascinating to see other people's take on "what if?"

AlexandriaIngham on 09/23/2014

Thanks. I've not done them in the past because I wasn't sure people wanted to hear my musings about alternate history. I put the Anne Boleyn one up to fill in the void of indulging my passion for the 50 article challenge for the site. When that one got some positive responses, I thought this one would work for the next one. I think I might do them more often if people enjoy them. There are a lot of what ifs in history, and my mind loves running into ideas for them.

Telesto on 09/23/2014

Very interesting! I love it when you do these articles.

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