She was the queen who gave Henry VIII the son he so desired but Jane Seymour’s story had far from a happy ending. The consort died just a few days after presenting the Tudor monarch with his longed for male heir and is now said to haunt one of the most famous royal residences in the world. Royal Central takes a look at the stories of Jane’s ghost at Hampton Court Palace.
In the early hours of October 12th 1537, Henry VIII received the news he had waited for throughout much of his reign. He was the father of a healthy son. The queen who had made this dream come true was recovering in her rooms after a long and difficult labour. The baby prince was christened Edward three days later amidst huge celebrations. His mother wasn’t present, as was the custom. But Jane’s absence also concealed a far more worrying truth, she was becoming seriously ill.
On October 24th 1537, when her son was just twelve days old, Jane died in her rooms at Hampton Court Palace. Several causes of death have been suggested including puerperal fever, the bacterial infection that affected and killed so many women who had just given birth in Tudor times. Henry was devastated by her death and wore mourning for months afterwards. He would wait almost three years before marrying again.
Jane’s ghost is said to return to Hampton Court where she passed away. For centuries, residents and visitors have reported seeing a pale woman on the Silverstick Stairs at the Palace which lead to the room where Jane gave birth to her son and where she died. Her ghost is seen on the anniversary of Edward’s arrival.
The queen who gave this demanding king the one thing he wanted more than anything in the world was buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor and when Henry himself died, a decade later, he was laid to rest next to her.
Lydia Starbuck is a pen name of June Woolerton who has written extensively on royal history. Her book, A History of Royal Jubilees, is available now. She is also the author of a popular cosy mystery, All Manner of Murder.