40 Facts About the Tudor Era's Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour

Khalid Elhassan - March 22, 2019

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
Tudor era Parliament. History of Parliament

6. Failure to Control the Child King

Edward VI was more than happy to accept his uncle Thomas’ coins, but although a child, he was shrewd enough to not fall under his scheming uncle’s grasp. So when Thomas asked him to sign a bill that would make him the king’s official Governor, the underage monarch saw through the power play, and refused to go behind the back of his other uncle, the Protector. Thomas Seymour might have been the fun uncle, but he was dangerous. His other uncle, Edward Seymour, might have been a stick in the mud and buzz kill, but he was clearly a responsible and serious grownup.

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
Princess Mary Tudor. Biography

5. Failed Attempt to Marry Princess Mary

In addition to his attempts at seducing princess Elizabeth, Thomas Seymour had also made an attempt at marrying her older sister, princess Mary. Luckily for Mary, she never had the misfortune of living under the same roof as Thomas, so she did not have to endure what her younger sister had. Thomas asked the Privy Council for permission to marry Mary Tudor, but his older brother shot that idea down, explaining that neither of the Seymour siblings should be king or marry a king’s daughter. As to Mary, when she was informed of the proposed match, she laughed.

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
Hampton Court Palace, the Tudors’ chief royal residence. Pintrest

4. Frustration Sets the Stage for a Fall

By early 1549, Thomas Seymour was growing increasingly frustrated by the failure of his plans to increase his power and supplant his older brother. His efforts to manipulate and control his nephew, the child king, had borne no fruit. Similarly, his attempts at marrying either princess Mary or princess Elizabeth were going nowhere: Mary loathed him on general principal, while Elizabeth was shook by her experiences living with him. So Thomas began contemplating a more direct path to power: open rebellion.

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
English spaniel. Select Dog Breed

3. Rebellion

Although Thomas Seymour hated his older brother and sought his ruin, Edward Seymour went out of his way to try and save his kid brother from himself. When the Privy Council grew alarmed at Thomas’ increasing brazenness, including efforts to stir up rebellion, and allying with pirates in a bid to secure their support, the Protector invited his younger brother to come and explain himself. Thomas failed to do so, and instead, tried to kidnap the king. On the night of January 16th, 1549, Thomas Seymour tried to break into the child monarch’s apartments, but his attempt was foiled when one of the king’s spaniels woke the place up with its barking. So Thomas shot it dead.

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
A Tudor beheading block. Pintrest

2. Downfall

The day after the failed kidnapping, Thomas Seymour was locked up in the Tower of London. Considering that he had been caught outside the king’s bedroom at night, with a loaded pistol, there was little that his older brother – or anybody else for that matter – could do to help. Thomas was charged with thirty three counts of treason, convicted, and sentenced to death. Parliament passed a Bill of Attainder against him on March 5th, 1549, and he was beheaded fifteen days later.

40 Facts About the Tudor Era’s Awful Courtier, Thomas Seymour
Queen Elizabeth I. ThoughtCo

1. Seymour’s Molestation of Elizabeth Had Long Term and Significant Consequences

It is unclear if Thomas Seymour ever actually had sex with princess Elizabeth, but his conduct made it clear that he had wanted to. Like any child victimized by a predator, Elizabeth’s experience at a tender age was bound to leave some scars. When she wrote about Seymour “Let him not touch me“, it seems to have applied not just to him, but to all men. Whether or not the “Virgin Queen” ever had any lovers or was literally a virgin, she certainly never married. Her decision to stay single was probably associated, at least in part, with the sexual harassment she had been subjected to by Thomas Seymour during her formative years.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Elizabethan Era Org – Teenage Scandal of Queen Elizabeth I

Encyclopedia Britannica – Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour

Factinate – 42 Diabolical Facts About Thomas Seymour, Henry VIII’s Scheming Courtier

Hibbert, Christopher – The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age (1992)

History Extra – Did Thomas Seymour Sexually Abuse the Teenage Princess Elizabeth?

History Jar – Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour

History Jar – Scandal at Chelsea: the Courtship and Marriage of Katherine Parr and Sir Thomas Seymour

Jenkins, Elizabeth – Elizabeth the Great (2000)

Spartacus Education – Thomas Seymour

Tudor Place – Thomas Seymour

Wikipedia – Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley

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