And Another Queen Bites the Dust…

Like King Henry, many of you are still not over the death of the late Jane Seymour.  In honor of her majesty, Kris Waldherr author of DOOMED QUEENS: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di has been nice enough to write us a memorial post for King Henry’s most favored wife.

Our good king is deep in grief in grief over another one of his queens biting the dust. You think he’d be used to this marrying and burying by now, but nooooooo. It takes the death of Jane Seymour, his only “true wife,” for the much-married king to finally show some emotion beside relief at being a bachelor once more. (Yes, Henry really called Queen Jane his “true wife”. He even arranged to be buried next to her when he finally kicked the bucket. I guess it helped that she coughed up the male heir and expired before he decided gentlemen prefer brunettes after all.)

This past episode also made it clear from the overtures of Cromwell that Henry will soon be dipping his toes back into the matrimonial waters. But before Henry says “I do” yet again, I have some possibly life-saving advice for Queen #4: Cover your head.

My advice has nothing to do with showing obsequience to God or King. Rather, it’s based on common sense. If one looks at Henry’s wives throughout seasons of The Tudors past, it’s clear that the more covered up the queen’s head, the less likely she is to bite the dust.

Queen #1: Catherine of Aragon
– 24 years. Catherine here is wearing a rather fanciful concoction of black velvet, gold, and white veil. It’s a bit different from this heavy gable headdress from one of her portraits. Nonetheless, quite a lot of the queen’s hair is hidden from view.

Picture 1
Queen #2: Anne Boleyn – 3 years. Anne didn’t fare as well as Catherine. No surprise: Here she is wearing the rather revealing French hood, which she imported from her saucy sojourn in the French court. Ooh la la!

Picture 2
Queen #3: Jane Seymour – 1 year. Compared to Catherine and Anne, Jane is an au natural beauty, with nary a headdress in sight. That is, until she was imported into Henry’s court as one of Queen Anne’s ladies-in-waiting. Then she dons the French hood to cover her pretty blond tresses.

Picture 3However, Jane’s official portrait below tells a different story. Based on how covered up she is in it, you’d think her reign would be at least as many years as Catherine of Aragon’s, if not more. Tant pis.

Picture 4
(Note to the wise: Do not be confused by Queen Jane’s gable-shaped wimple, or the fact that she forced her ladies-in-waiting to give up their slutty French hoods.* Remember, a girl’s gotta cover up when it comes to state occasions and paintings. Right?)

And now here comes Queen #4, Anne of Cleves:

Picture 5And we have a winner—maybe. Based on Anne’s headdress, Queen Anne shouldn’t be kicking the bucket anytime soon. But how long will she remain Henry’s wife? That remains to be seen.

* True story. Jane considered the French hood an unhappy reminder of her predecessor, Anne Boleyn. So her ladies-in-waiting were forced to wear the more cumbersome gable hood. They were not happy about it.


  1. Kristen
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the actress who played Jane Seymour in Season 2 (Anita Briem) did not return for Season 3? Any idea as to why?

  2. Barbara
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    The first actress to play Jane was opposed to doing nude scenes, so the role was recast.

    • dawn burtless
      Posted May 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I was bothered a bit, however, the new Jane Seymour was very beautiful as well as the first.

      • Keashia
        Posted May 18, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        what do you mean who was the first actress?

  3. Posted May 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Surely if you’re a female and you’re auditioning for The Tudors you know you’re going to have to show a bit of flesh!
    I love your post! I know that Jane Seymour went back to the English gable hood, rather than Anne’s French style, but I hadn’t quite realized that gable hoods mean survival! Catherine Howard wore the French hood so that confirms it!!

    • Williamstwit
      Posted May 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      I never thought that for an acting role, being a female would require showing one’s butt as a part of the audition. I hope this requirement is for the men also.

      So much nudity in the series is not required in order for the audience to get the point. Many viewers still prefer to use his or her imagination and not have things put in their face, so to speak.

      Fortunately my employment does not require any nudity as part of the hiring requisites for men or women.

      • Keashia
        Posted May 18, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Yeah after a while you get tired of seeing all of what the ladys have and only the males butts!

    • Posted May 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Well, I just saw an advance peek at episode 8. Catherine wears very little at all on her head throughout it. (And very little elsewhere, for that matter.)

  4. Posted May 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t recall seeing any nude scenes with Jane in Season 3. (Unlike the scenes with Anne Boleyn in 1 and 2.)

  5. Tudoraphile
    Posted May 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I must say I find the “hat analysis” to be quite interesting. I wonder if other figures of history might be analyzed by their headwear? Or perhaps even Henry himself?

  6. Debbie
    Posted May 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t see the new Jane do a nude scene for anyway, so why did the first Jane really leave?

  7. Carol
    Posted May 18, 2009 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I love the details from this blog post, particularly the French headdress versus the gable-style. I’m going to watch all the more attentively now and rate those headdresses.

  8. Williamstwit
    Posted May 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Was episode 8 the final one for this season? I hope not!!

    • Mandey
      Posted May 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Yep it was. Episode 8 is the season finale….and it leaves a lot to wait for next year when season 4 begins. (I watch it On Demand on Showtime, which shows the episodes a week ahead of schedule).

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