"I will be called a 'she-wolf' by no man!" -Lady Anne Stanhope
Lady Anne Seymour (née Stanhope) is the Countess of Hertford and the second wife of Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford. She and her husband are both are strong supporters of the Protestant Reformation in England. Anne appears in Seasons Three and Four of The Tudors as a recurring character.
Anne makes her entrance having sex with Sir Francis Bryan, having consented to being his new mistress. Anne admits that her husband, Edward Seymour, would likely torture Bryan to death if he found out. She and her husband do not have a loving relationship - Anne goes out of her way to cheat on him due to his cold and indifferent personality - though they value each others' advice.
Contrary to her husband, Anne seems to enjoy her relationship with the Lothario-like Bryan, who is apt at reading her personality: when they are having sex behind a large tapestry at a party (with Edward being mere yards away) he correctly deduces that Anna doesn't actually care about the risks and that she is just as much of a voyeur as he is. Anne dislikes her husband's harsh treatment of his sister Queen Jane Seymour (despite Jane being a Catholic and Anne a Reformist); when Edward and Jane's father John Seymour dies, she tells him that he should be kinder to her.
Edward eventually sees Anne and Bryan together, and warns Bryan off, but neither of them takes him seriously; Anne coldly remarks to her husband that, given that he shows her no affection (despite her having born him many children) he should not expect her to be faithful to him. Edward subsequently relents, and Anne resumes her relationship with Bryan, though they part ways at the end of Season Three.
Early in Season Four, Anne is pursued by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, a rival of her husband. Although she is flattered by Surrey's attentions and encouraged by Edward to make an association with him (since he carries the King's favor), Anne refuses the Earl's presumptuous offer to become his mistress. Surrey subsequently treats her with as much contempt as her husband, derisively referring to her as a 'she-wolf' (as her husband's crest is a wolf) and stating that she tried to 'entrap him' in one of his poems; this angers Anne, who tells her husband to humiliate Surrey if he gets the chance. Edward admits it is more advantageous to work with Surrey now, despite his arrogance, but he would take such an opportunity if it comes.Anne later flirts with her brother-in-law, Thomas Seymour, while Edward is conducting military raids in Scotland on the King's behalf. Later, he comes into her chambers, and they begin an affair. By episode 4.05, Anne is pregnant, and implies to Thomas that he is probably the father (though Edward, who has now returned, doesn't seem perturbed). She gives birth to a boy at the end of the episode, whom she names Thomas, much to her husband's chagrin. Anne shows little surprise when Katherine Howard is found guilty of adultery, remarking to Edward, "You knew she wasn't innocent when you brought her to the King."
Later in the Season, Anne and her husband disassociate themselves with several Protestants among the King's musicians, who are being charged with heresy by the ruthless Catholic Bishop Gardiner. Edward refuses to shelter Robert Testwood when he pleads for sanctuary, since it condemns him and Anne by association; Anne, knowing he will likely be tortured for the names of fellow Protestants, threatens his wife and children if he implicates her or her husband. Her threat is apparently sufficient; despite Gardiner angrily offering the musician freedom if he implicates Edward, he remains silent under torture.Gardiner later arrests and tortures the outspoken Calvinist preacher Anne Askew (who is secretly Anne's friend) in 4.09. Although Askew bravely refuses to give the names of any of her fellow Protestants, she admitted in her preliminary questioning that she was given financial support by 'a woman in a blue coat' who turns out to be Anne Stanhope's handmaiden. Stanhope later tearfully attends Askew's execution by burning. She gives the executioner a bag to tie around her neck which will 'end her pain quickly'; the executioner tells Askew it is gunpowder, and a gift from a friend. Askew looks at Stanhope - who smiles at her. When the stake is lit, Askew begins to scream, but the gunpowder explodes, and she dies quickly. Anne is then approached by her enemy, the pro-Catholic Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley, who tells her Bishop Gardiner would like to see her.
Later, Anne confronts the Bishop in his office at night; Gardiner, having decided to investigate her simply for association, presents her with a warrant for her arrest, but Anne smugly replies that he will never serve it. She reveals that she knows he has not renounced worldly goods, and that he secretly embezzled the contents of two wealthy closed-down monasteries that should have gone to the royal exchequer - making him guilty of stealing directly from the Crown. Anne smugly tells Gardiner to tear up his warrant or she will tell the King. She then sweeps out, leaving Gardiner furious.