"The Seymours are an old and ...interesting family." -Thomas Boleyn
The Seymour Family is a noble House that rises to prominence in the court of King Henry VIII during The Tudors. In the latter part of Season Two, they gradually replace the Boleyn Family as the dominant noble House in the Royal Court- largely because of the King's growing interest in Jane Seymour over his previous wife, Anne Boleyn. The ancestral residence of the Seymours is Wolf Hall.
House Seymour (like the Boleyns) comes from minor nobility rank and largely favors the Protestant Reformation (with the exception of Jane, who is a devout Catholic). They were originally landed gentry rather than true nobility, having won recognition and royal favor from their service in battle alongside King Henry. Sir John Seymour, Jane's father, is initially head of the House, but his health is failing and he dies in Season Three. Edward Seymour, his eldest son, succeeds John as the patriarch of the House of Seymour. It seems that of the families that married into the House of Tudor, the Seymours were the lowest in terms of rank.
With the Boleyns all but destroyed at the end of Season Two, the Seymours' main rivals in Season Three are Catholic factions such as conservative clergymen (led mainly by Bishop Stephen Gardiner) the rebel factions of the Pilgrimage of Grace, and the Howard family, the next most powerful House at the Royal court. Their position is secured by the destruction of the Pilgrimage- and of Jane's delivery of Henry's son, Prince Edward (though she dies of fever twelve days later). The Seymours then make an alliance of convenience with Gardiner and Charles Brandon to destroy Thomas Cromwell, the King's first minister and their only real remaining rival for power. Despite Cromwell being a fervent Reformer like them, Edward and Thomas Seymour's greed for power lead them to usurp him and have him executed for treason.
In Season Four, the Seymours' position at court begins to slip as the Howard family returns to royal favor with the King's marriage to Katherine Howard (despite Edward Seymour having drawn the King's attention to her in the first place). Bishop Gardiner and the Catholic clergymen push further for laws against heresy, threatening the Seymours' safety. When Katherine Howard is found guilty of adultery in episode 4.05 and executed, the Seymours fall sharply from the King's favor, and he begins to rely increasingly on the Earl of Surrey, one of the most powerful and aggressive members of the Howard family. However, the Seymours regain some favor through their close association with Henry's sixth wife, Catherine Parr. They ultimately triumph against both rivals- Surrey is executed for supposed treason in 4.09 (involving a plot to kidnap the Prince) and Gardiner is banished permanently from court because King Henry was annoyed by his fanaticism. With the King dying and their nephew the Prince a minor, the governance of England is mostly left in the hands of Edward and Thomas Seymour at the end of the series.
Their triumph would ultimately be brief. Both Seymour brothers were eventually covicted of treason and executed during King Edward VI's short, turbulent reign, and King Edward himself- the last great legacy of the Seymour family- died at age 15 of illness.
- Sir John Seymour. Father of Edward, Jane and Thomas. Maternal grandfather of King Edward VI. Deceased.
- Queen Jane Seymour. Daughter of John, sister of Edward and Thomas. Third wife of King Henry VIII and mother of King Edward VI. Deceased.
- Sir Thomas Seymour, Commander of the Royal Navy (later Baron of Sudeley). Son of John, younger brother of Edward and Jane. Husband of Catherine Parr, uncle to King Edward VI.
- Anne Stanhope, Countess of Hertford. Wife of Edward Seymour.
- Queen Catherine Parr. Formerly sixth wife of King Henry VIII and wife of Thomas. Former stepmother of King Edward VI.
- King Edward VI Tudor. Son of King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour; nephew of Thomas and Edward Seymour and grandson of John Seymour.
- Thomas Seymour. Son of Anne Stanhope and Edward Seymour, however he may be the biological son of Sir Thomas Seymour.