The Tudor Society

A royal pregnancy announcement 

This Valentine’s Day a very special announcement was made by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, they are expecting a child. A royal baby announcement nowadays is made and spread on social media. Since Instagram and other online platforms did not exist in Tudor times, how was this joyous news shared with the rest of the country? 

Harry and Meghan's pregnancy announcement.

A formal announcement of a queen’s pregnancy was generally made at about four months. Around this time something known as a quickening had taken place. The quickening was when the queen felt her baby move for the first time. The good news gave England hope for an heir to the throne, a prince. So when the news was announced, it was widely celebrated throughout the country. 

The celebrations

On the 27th of May 1537, on Trinity Sunday, Queen Jane Seymour felt her baby move for the first time. After the announcement was made, the celebrations started all over England and even in France. In London a Te Deum, a hymn, was sung in St Paul’s Cathedral, fires were lit and the people enjoyed wine. In Oxford a sermon was preached: 

“The last and greatest benefit, the special cause of their assembly, is “that our most excellent lady and mistress queen Jane, our noble and godly prince’s, King Henry the Eighth’s, wife, hath conceived and is great with child, and upon Trinity Sunday, like one given of God, the child quickened in the mother’s womb.” Exhorts them to give praise, and pray that it may be a prince.”

In York celebrations included a Te Deum being sung, bonfires through the city and four hogsheads, the size of the barrel, of wine were ordered. The barrels of wine were laid in different places and could be enjoyed for free by the public. Across the Channel, in Guines and Calais, celebrations were organised which again included the singing of a Te Deum and fires. In Calais the guns shot off at 4 o’clock in honour of Henry and Jane’s unborn child, the child we now know as Edward VI.

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A royal pregnancy announcement