Monday, 11 July 2011

Mary Seymour

Tudor historians may know that shortly after the death of Henry VIII, his last wife Katharine Parr married Thomas Seymour (her fourth husband), uncle of Edward VI and brother of his Protector, Edward Seymour. Soon after that she became pregnant and on 30 August 1548 gave birth to a daughter, Mary. But tragedy would soon follow. After the birth, Katharine developed puerperal fever, very common at this time amongst new mothers, and died on 5 September. Thomas Seymour, meanwhile, had already begun an unfortunately flirtatious relationship with Elizabeth Tudor and had become increasingly critical of his brother's rule over the country. This led to a plot to kidnap Edward and raise the country into rebellion. The outcome was inevitable and he was excecuted for treason on 17 March 1549.

So poor Mary had lost both her parents within the first 7 months of her life. But what happened to her after that? It has always been something of a mystery but this History Today article believes it has solved it. A poem was discovered in the archives of Sudely Castle, the home of Thomas Seymour and Mary's place of birth. It reads:

I whom at the cost
Of her own life
My queenly mother
Bore with the pangs of labour
Sleep under this marble
An unfit traveller.

So it would appear that poor Mary probably died in childhood, soon after her parents, probably under the guardianship of the Duchess of Suffolk, who had been reluctant to take her in the first place. A sad end for this tragic family.

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