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.
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!
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.
However, 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.
(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:
And 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.