One of the questions I received for the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Channel's fan Q&A series was from Tudor Society member Colleen, and her beautiful cat, King Louis.
The question was regarding Anne Seymour (née Stanhope), second wife of Edward Seymour, who, of course became Lord Protector in his nephew Edward VI's reign. In Showtime's "The Tudors" series, Anne is rather a colourful character, a badly behaved woman who has an affair with a courtier and another with her own brother-in-law, but is there any truth in this or is it fictional?
I knew it wasn’t true. The show got me interested in Anne Stanhope and did some research. She’s descended from Edward III, though it seems a lot of England was. (Or was it Edward I??) Anyway, as much as the Tudors was campy, it was campy fun. And I did especially like the actress who played Anne Seymour. She was a fun ray of sunshine. (“What a pity. He makes me laugh.”) Michelle t
Anne Seymour Stanhope was a very proud and haughty woman, she had a running feud with Katherine Parr who was just as bad in return. She was the First Lady in reality as the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour was her husband. I don’t know how much people know about the role of Lord Protector in English Law but it was peculiar to this country and in essence it gave them the powerful role as De Facto King or another King. The Council still supported them but at the end of the day their role was to rule and protect the Realm. Edward wasn’t meant to be Lord Protector and Henry Viii made a Last Will and Testament naming 14 people to run a Recency Council. This was ignored and Edward Seymour gained the support of others such as William Paget to grant him this and he was putting his weight about. There was a rivalry between him and his brother, the Lord Admiral, Thomas Seymour and their wives pitched in. There was certainly no love lost between the two families and Anne was right to take precedence over Katherine, who was Queen Dowager, but had no political power. She wasn’t the mother of the young King, so her status was correctly reduced. Although afforded suitable honour as an ex Queen, Katherine didn’t have status over the Protector or his wife, the Aunt and Uncle of the King.
None of this equates to Anne Seymour having an affair, but you know what the series The Tudors was like. Anne is shown sleeping with not one but three different men, including her brother by law, Thomas Seymour. This is ridiculous and there isn’t any contemporary evidence for it. However, the series also showed some positive aspects of Anne, her interest in reform and her compassion for another woman, Anne Askew, whom she helped with money for her keep, not gunpowder. She also stands up to Stephen Gardiner and I think she was a She Wolfe. I mean that as a positive thing, that is she was courageous and feisty and protective. She seems to be a formidable lady. Anne was no stranger to controversy, but adultery wasn’t in there.