On this day in history, 12th October 1537, the eve of the feast of St Edward, Jane Seymour gave birth to the future King Edward VI. The third wife of Henry VIII had suffered a long and tiring 30-hour labour, but she had given the king what he'd wanted for so long: a legitimate son and heir.
Henry VIII died on 28th January 1547, making Edward King Edward VI of England at the age of just nine.
You can find out more about Edward with the following resources:
- Edward VI bio
- Tudor Society Edward VI e-book
- Edward VI primary sources
- Edward VI Books
- Archive of Edward VI articles
- Quiz - Edward VI's Regency Council
- 2 April 1552 – Edward VI falls ill
- Edward VI Quiz
- 20 February 1547 – The coronation of King Edward VI
- 19 February 1547 - King Edward VI's Coronation Procession
- Edward VI's coronation - Primary Source Accounts and Archbishop Cranmer's speech
- Did Edward VI really pluck and kill a falcon?
- King Edward VI Quiz
- Researching Edward VI
- The July 2016 edition of "Tudor Life" magazine was an Edward VI special edition - click here to read it.
- 21 June 1553 – Edward VI chooses Lady Jane Grey as his heir
Jane Seymour went through terrible trauma to deliver this little boy. Henry let men into the birthing room, useless as all they did was stand around, unable to touch her, the midwives seeking their useless advice, rather than their own experience and the poor woman struggling for almost three days. Then they didn’t notice something was wrong, the womb became septic and she died within twelve days. Henry didn’t let men into the birthing room before and had two living wives, but he had also lost children to still birth and he wanted to make sure this time. He was in a very difficult situation, childbirth was highly dangerous and Jane could have died even with better experience from midwifery. Historians always claim that a midwife would have noticed the placenta was stuck and manually removed it. However, I believe that this is a very dramatic and uncomfortable and serious process even today which requires a trip to theatre so I have to question the validity of those statements. There were prayers and vigils for Jane and the baby and her delivery appeared well in the end, but she was taken ill soon after Edward was baptised. She was obviously in septic shock and there was little to be done. There is no evidence that the conditions were not clean, in fact they probably were, but Jane was also losing blood. Child bed fever took her and Edward was left without a mother. Henry genuinely mourned his third wife, withdrawing for weeks into his chambers.