Wednesday, August 27, 2014

King Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Anne Boleyn & Catherine Howard CONNECTIONS & HISTORY...

King Henry VIII of England with his wives: (from left to right) Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, Anne of Cleves, and Catherine Parr.

All credit goes to azaleasdolls and doll-divine

Okay ...... so ....... not only am I (and all my Day side family) .... related to Jane Seymour (wife of King Henry VIII) .. by her brother Edward Seymour (who is my 14th great grandfather) ... Through their Great Grandmother Elizabeth Cheney (my 17x great grandmother)... 
(Elizabeth Cheney and Sir John de Say TO Lady Anne de Say & Sir Knight Henry Wentworth TO Lady Margaret Wentworth & Sir Knight John Seymour TO Edward Seymour -> brother to Jane Seymour) ....

I (we) are also related to Anne Boylen .... 
(Elizabeth Cheney and her first husband Sir Frederick Tilney TO their only child Countess Elizabeth Tilney & Duke Thomas Howard TO Lady Elizabeth Howard & Sir Thomas Boleyn to their daughter Anne Boleyn)...

Which makes Jane Seymour my 14th great grand aunt.... and Anne Boleyn my 2nd cousin 16x removed ,,, and they both married King Henry VIII .... who is my 2nd cousin 16x removed (or about that) .... because his 6x Great Grandfather .... King Edward III ... is my 20x Great Granfather.....

Edward III of England 
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence 
Philippa Plantagenet, 5th Countess of Ulster 
Roger de Mortimer, 4th Earl of March 
Anne de Mortimer 
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York 
Edward IV of England 
Elizabeth of York 
Henry VIII

Amazeballs ......... right?  Maybe there are other connections?  I still have a lot of work to do on other lines....... hummmm right? 
And there IS ..... reading a little bit, I find out that Catherine (or Kathryn) Howard and Anne Boleyn are first cousins......  which also makes her my 2nd Cousin 16x removed ...
(Elizabeth Cheney and her first husband Sir Frederick Tilney TO their only child Countess Elizabeth Tilney & Duke Thomas Howard TO Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpepper to Catherine Howard)..

History of King Henry VIII's wives .........  (shared from HERE)

Catherine of Aragon by Michael Sittow 
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Born: 16 December 1485
Archbishop of Toledo's Palace, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Married to Prince Arthur: 14 November 1501St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Married to King Henry VIII: 11 June 1509
Franciscan Church at Greenwich
Marriage to Henry VIII dissolved: 1533
Died: 7 January 1536
Kimbolton Castle
Buried: 29 January 1536
Peterborough Abbey (now Peterborough Cathedral)
Catherine of Aragon was the youngest surviving child of Ferdinand and Isabella, the joint rulers of Spain, and as was common for princesses of the day, her parents almost immediately began looking for a political match for her. When she was three year old, she was betrothed to Arthur, the son of Henry VII of England. Arthur was not even quite two at the time.

When she was almost 16, in 1501, Catherine made the journey to England. It took her three months, and her ships weathered several storms, but she safely made landfall at Plymouth on October 2, 1501. Catherine and Arthur were married on 14 November 1501 in Old St. Paul's Cathedral, London. Catherine was escorted by the groom's younger brother, Henry.

After the wedding and celebrations, the young couple moved to Ludlow Castle on the Welsh border. Less than six months later, Arthur was dead, possibly of the 'sweating sickness'. Although this marriage was short, it was very important in the history of England, as will be apparent.

Catherine was now a widow, and still young enough to be married again. Henry VII still had a son, this one much more robust and healthy than his dead older brother. The English king was interested in keeping Catherine's dowry, so 14 months after her husband's death she was betrothed to the future Henry VIII, who was too young to marry at the time.

By 1505, when Henry was old enough to wed, Henry VII wasn't as keen on a Spanish alliance, and young Henry was forced to repudiate the betrothal. Catherine's future was uncertain for the next four years. When Henry VII died in 1509 one of the new young king's first actions was to marry Catherine. She was finally crowned Queen of England in a joint coronation ceremony with her husband Henry VIII on June 24, 1509.

Shortly after their marriage, Catherine found herself pregnant. This first child was a stillborn daughter born prematurely in January 1510, but this disappointment was soon followed by another pregnancy. Prince Henry was born on January 1, 1511 and the was christened on the 5th. There were great celebrations for the birth of the young prince, but they were halted by the baby's death after 52 days of life. Catherine then had a miscarriage, followed by a another short-lived son. On February 1516, she gave birth a daughter named Mary, and this child lived. There were probably two more pregnancies, the last recorded in 1518.

Henry was growing frustrated by his lack of a male heir, but he remained a devoted husband. He had at least two mistresses that we know of: Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount andMary Boleyn. By 1526 though, he had begun to separate from Catherine because he had fallen in love with one of her ladies (and sister of one of his mistresses): Anne Boleyn.

It is here that the lives of Henry's first and second wives begin to interweave. By the time his interest in Anne became common knowledge, Catherine was 42 years old and was no longer able to conceive. Henry's main goal now was to get a male heir, which his wife was not able to provide. Somewhere along the way Henry began to look at the texts of Leviticus which say that if a man takes his brother's wife, they shall be childless. As evidenced above, Catherine and Henry were far from childless, and still had one living child. But that child was a girl, and didn't count in Henry's mind. The King began to petition the Pope for an annulment.

At first, Catherine was kept in the dark about Henry's plans for their annulment and when the news got to Catherine she was very upset. She was also at a great disadvantage since the court that would decide the case was far from impartial. Catherine then appealed directly to the Pope, which she felt would listen to her case since her nephew wasCharles V, the Holy Roman Emperor.

The political and legal debate continued for six years. Catherine was adamant in that she and Arthur, her first husband and Henry's brother, did not consummate their marriage and therefore were not truly husband and wife. Catherine sought not only to retain her position, but also that of her daughter Mary.

Things came to a head in 1533 when Anne Boleyn became pregnant. Henry had to act, and his solution was to reject the power of the Pope in England and to have Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury grant the annulment. Catherine was to renounce the title of Queen and would be known as the Princess Dowager of Wales, something she refused to acknowledge through to the end of her life.

Catherine and her daughter were separated and she was forced to leave court. She lived for the next three years in several dank and unhealthy castles and manors with just a few servants. However, she seldom complained of her treatment and spent a great deal of time at prayer.
On January 7, 1536, Catherine died at Kimbolton Castle and was buried at Peterborough Abbey (later Peterborough Cathedral, after the dissolution of the monasteries) with the ceremony due for her position as Princess Dowager, not as a Queen of England.

Anne Boleyn, attributed to John Hoskins
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Born: Between 1500 and 1509
Probably at Blickling Hall
Married to Henry VIII: 25 January 1533
Probably at the Palace of Whitehall
Executed: 19 May 1536
The Tower of London
Buried: 19 May 1536
Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London
Anne's Early Years

For a woman who played such an important part in English history, we know remarkably little about her earliest years. Antonia Fraser puts Anne's birth at 1500 or 1501, probably at Blickling (Norfolk) and the date of birth seems to be at the end of May or early June. Other historians put Anne's birth as late as 1507 or 1509.

Anne spent part of her childhood at the court of the Archduchess Margaret. Fraser puts her age at 12-13, as that was the minimum age for a 'fille d'honneur'. It was from there that she was transferred to the household of Mary, Henry VIII's sister, who was married to Louis XII of France. Anne's sister Mary was already in 'the French Queen's' attendance. However, when Louis died, Mary Boleyn returned to England with Mary Tudor, while Anne remained in France to attend Claude, the new French queen. Anne remained in France for the next 6 or 7 years. Because of her position, it is possible that she was at the Field of Cloth of Gold, the famous meeting between Henry VIII and the French king, Francis I.

During her stay in France she learned to speak French fluently and developed a taste for French clothes, poetry and music.

Anne's Appearance

The legend of Anne Boleyn always includes a sixth finger and a large mole or goiter on her neck. However, one would have to wonder if a woman with these oddities (not to mention the numerous other moles and warts she was said to have) would be so captivating to the king. She may have had some small moles, as most people do, but they would be more like the attractive 'beauty marks'.

A quote from the Venetian Ambassador said she was 'not one of the handsomest women in the world...'. She was considered moderately pretty. But, one must consider what 'pretty' was in the 16th century. Anne was the opposite of the pale, blonde-haired, blue-eyed image of beauty. She had dark, olive-colored skin, thick dark brown hair and dark brown eyes which often appeared black. Those large dark eyes were often singled out in descriptions of Anne. She clearly used them, and the fascination they aroused, to her advantage whenever possible.
She was of average height, had small breasts and a long, elegant neck. The argument continues as to whether or not she really had an extra finger on one of her hands, but it seems to be unlikely.

Life in England and the Attentions of the King

Anne returned to England around 1521 for details for her marriage were being worked out. Meanwhile she went to court to attend Queen Catherine. Her first recorded appearance at Court was March 1, 1522 at a masque.

After her marriage to the heir of Ormonde fell through, she began an affair with Henry Percy, also a rich heir. Cardinal Wolsey put a stop to the romance, which could be why Anne engendered such a hatred of him later in life. It has been suggested that Wolsey stepped in on behalf of the King to remove Percy from the scene because he had already noticed Anne and wanted her for himself. Fraser asserts that this is not the case since the romance between Anne and Percy ended in 1522 and the King didn't notice Anne until 1526. It is possible that Anne had a precontract with Percy.

Somewhere in this time, Anne also had a relationship of some sort with the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt. Wyatt was married in 1520, so the timing of the supposed affair is uncertain. Wyatt was separated from his wife, but there could be little suggestion of his eventual marriage to Anne. Theirs appears to be more of a courtly love.

Exactly when and where Henry VIII first noticed Anne is not known. It is likely that Henry sought to make Anne his mistress, as he had her sister Mary years before. Maybe drawing on the example of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV (and maternal grandmother to Henry VIII) who was said to have told King Edward that she would only be his wife, not his mistress, Anne denied Henry VIII sexual favors. We don't know who first had the idea of marriage, but eventually it evolved into "Queen or nothing" for Anne.

At first, the court probably thought that Anne would just end up as another one of Henry's mistresses. But, in 1527 we see that Henry began to seek an annulment of his marriage to Catherine, making him free to marry again.

King Henry's passion for Anne can be attested to in the love letters he wrote to her when she was away from court. Henry hated writing letters, and very few documents in his own hand survive. However, 17 love letters to Anne remain and are preserved in the Vatican library.

The Rise of Anne Boleyn

In 1528, Anne's emergence at Court began. Anne also showed real interest in religious reform and may have introduced some of the 'new ideas' to Henry, and gaining the hatred of some members of the Court. When the court spent Christmas at Greenwich that year, Anne was lodged in nice apartments near those of the King.

The legal debates on the marriage of Henry and Catherine of Aragon continued on. Anne was no doubt frustrated by the lack of progress. Her famous temper and tongue showed themselves at times in famous arguments between her and Henry for all the court to see. Anne feared that Henry might go back to Catherine if the marriage could not be annulled and Anne would have wasted time that she could have used to make an advantageous marriage.

Anne was not popular with the people of England. They were upset to learn that at the Christmas celebrations of 1529, Anne was given precedence over the Duchesses of Norfolk and Suffolk, the latter of which was the King's own sister, Mary.

In this period, records show that Henry began to spend more and more on Anne, buying her clothes, jewelry, and things for her amusement such as playing cards and bows and arrows.
The waiting continued and Anne's position continued to rise. On the first day of September 1532, she was created Marquess of Pembroke, a title she held in her own right. In October, she held a position of honor at meetings between Henry and the French King in Calais.

Queen Anne

Sometime near the end of 1532, Anne finally gave way and by December she was pregnant. To avoid any questions of the legitimacy of the child, Henry was forced into action. Sometime near St. Paul's Day (January 25) 1533, Anne and Henry were secretly married. Although the King's marriage to Catherine was not dissolved, in the King's mind it had never existed in the first place, so he was free to marry whomever he wanted. On May 23, the Archbishop officially proclaimed that the marriage of Henry and Catherine was invalid.

Plans for Anne's coronation began. In preparation, she had been brought by water from Greenwich to the Tower of London dressed in cloth of gold. The barges following her were said to stretch for four miles down the Thames. On the 1st of June, she left the Tower in procession to Westminster Abbey, where she became a crowned and anointed Queen in a ceremony led by Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. [Read an account of her coronation]

By August, preparations were being made for the birth of Anne's child, which was sure to be a boy. Names were being chosen, with Edward and Henry the top choices. The proclamation of the child's birth had already been written with 'prince' used to refer to the child.

Anne took to her chamber, according to custom, on August 26, 1533 and on September 7, at about 3:00 in the afternoon, the Princess Elizabeth was born. Her christening service was scaled down, but still a pleasant affair. The princess' white christening robes can currently be seen on display at Sudeley Castle in England.

Anne now knew that it was imperative that she produce a son. By January of 1534, she was pregnant again, but the child was either miscarried or stillborn. In 1535, she became pregnant again but miscarried by the end of January. The child was reported to have been a boy. The Queen was quite upset, and blamed the miscarriage on her state of mind after hearing that Henry had taken a fall in jousting. She had to have known at this point that her failure to produce a living male heir was a threat to her own life, especially since the King's fancy for one of her ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour, began to grow.

The Fall of Anne Boleyn

Anne's enemies at court began to plot against her using the King's attentions to Jane Seymour as the catalyst for action. Cromwell began to move in action to bring down the Queen. He persuaded the King to sign a document calling for an investigation that would possibly result in charges of treason.

On April 30, 1536, Anne's musician and friend for several years, Mark Smeaton, was arrested and probably tortured into making 'revelations' about the Queen. Next, Sir Henry Norris was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Then the Queen's own brother, George Boleyn, Lord Rochford was arrested.

On May 2, the Queen herself was arrested at Greenwich and was informed of the charges against her: adultery, incest and plotting to murder the King. She was then taken to the Tower by barge along the same path she had traveled to prepare for her coronation just three years earlier. In fact, she was lodged in the same rooms she had held on that occasion.

There were several more arrests. Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton were charged with adultery with the Queen. Sir Thomas Wyatt was also arrested, but later released. They were put on trial with Smeaton and Norris at Westminster Hall on May 12, 1536. The men were not allowed to defend themselves, as was the case in charges of treason. They were found guilty and received the required punishment: they were to be hanged at Tyburn, cut down while still living and then disemboweled and quartered.

On Monday the 15th, the Queen and her brother were put on trial at the Great Hall of the Tower of London. It is estimated that some 2000 people attended. Anne conducted herself in a calm and dignified manner, denying all the charges against her. Her brother was tried next, with his own wife testifying against him (she got her due later in the scandal of Kathryn Howard). Even though the evidence against them was scant, they were both found guilty, with the sentence being read by their uncle, Thomas Howard , the Duke of Norfolk. They were to be either burnt at the stake (which was the punishment for incest) or beheaded, at the discretion of the King.

The Executions

On May 17, George Boleyn was executed on Tower Hill. The other four men condemned with the Queen had their sentences commuted from the grisly fate at Tyburn to a simple beheading at the Tower with Lord Rochford.

Anne knew that her time would soon come and started to become hysterical, her behavior swinging from great levity to body- wracking sobs. She received news that an expert swordsman from Calais had been summoned, who would no doubt deliver a cleaner blow with a sharp sword than the traditional axe. It was then that she made the famous comment about her 'little neck'.

Interestingly, shortly before her execution on charges of adultery, the Queen's marriage to the King was dissolved and declared invalid. One would wonder then how she could have committed adultery if she had in fact never been married to the King, but this was overlooked, as were so many other lapses of logic in the charges against Anne.

They came for Anne on the morning of May 19 to take her to the Tower Green, where she was to be afforded the dignity of a private execution. [Read the Constable's recollection of this morning]. She made a short speech [read the text of Anne's speech] before kneeling on the scaffold. She removed her headdress (which was an English gable hood and not her usual French hood, according to contemporary reports) and her ladies tied a blindfold over her eyes. The sword itself had been hidden under the straw. The swordsman cut off her head with one swift stroke.

Anne's body and head were put into an arrow chest and buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula which adjoined the Tower Green. Her body was one that was identified in renovations of the chapel under the reign of Queen Victoria, so Anne's final resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

Jane Seymour by Hans Holbein
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Born: 1508 or 1509
Possibly at Wolf Hall, Wiltshire
Married to King Henry VIII: 30 May 1536
Queen's Closet, Whitehall Palace
Died: 24 October 1537
Hampton Court Palace
Buried: 13 November 1537
St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Jane Seymour may have first come to court in the service of Queen Catherine, but then was moved to wait on Anne Boleyn as she rose in the King's favor and eventually became his second wife.

In September 1535, the King stayed at the Seymour family home in Wiltshire, England. It may have been there that the king "noticed" Jane. But, it isn't until February of 1536 that there is evidence of Henry's new love for Jane.

By that point, Henry's waning interest in Anne was obvious and Jane was likely pegged to be her replacement as Queen.

Opinion is divided as to how Jane felt about being the new object of Henry's affections. Some see Jane's calm and gentle demeanor as evidence that she didn't really understand the position as political pawn she was playing for her family. Others see it as a mask for her fear. Seeing how Henry's two previous Queens had been treated once they fell from favor, Jane probably had some trepidation, although Anne Boleyn's final fate had not been sealed at that time.

One other view was that Jane fell into her role quite willingly and actively sought to entice the King and flaunt her favor even in front of the current Queen.

How Jane actually felt, we will never know. Henry's feelings were pretty clear though. Within 24 hours of Anne Boleyn's execution, Jane Seymour and Henry VIII were formally betrothed. On the 30th of May, they were married. Unlike Henry's previous two Queens, Jane never had a coronation. Perhaps the King was waiting to Jane to 'prove' herself by giving him a son.
Less than two months after Henry and Jane's marriage, the Duke of Richmond, Henry Fitzroy died at the age of 17. Fitzroy was the King's bastard son by his mistress Elizabeth Blount.
It wasn't until early 1537 that Jane became pregnant. During her pregnancy, Jane's every whim was indulged by the King, convinced that Jane, whom he felt to be his first 'true wife', carried his long hoped for son. In October, a prince was born at Hampton Court Palace and was christened on 15th of October. The baby was named Edward. Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, was godmother and Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, also played a role in the ceremony.

There has been much written over whether or not Jane gave birth to Edward by cesarean section. It seems unlikely that if she had, she would have lived as long as she did after the birth. Jane attended her son's christening, although she was weak. She died on October 24th, just two weeks after her son was born.

Henry had already been preparing his own tomb at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, which was where Jane was buried. In the end, she would be the only of Henry's six wives to be buried with him.

anne of cleves
Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein
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Born: 22 September 1515
Married to King Henry VIII: 6 January 1540
Marriage to Henry VIII dissolved: July 1540
Died: 16 July 1557
Chelsea Manor, London
Buried: 4 August 1557
Westminster Abbey
Henry VIII remained single for over two years after Jane Seymour's death, possibly giving some credence to the thought that he genuinely mourned for her. However, it does seem that someone, possibly Thomas Cromwell, began making inquiries shortly after Jane's death about a possible foreign bride for Henry.

Henry's first marriage had been a foreign alliance of sorts, although it is almost certain that the two were truly in love for some time. His next two brides were love matches and Henry could have had little or no monetary or political gain from them.

But the events of the split from Rome left England isolated, and probably vulnerable. It was these circumstances that led Henry and his ministers to look at the possibility of a bride to secure an alliance. Henry did also want to be sure he was getting a desirable bride, so he had agents in foreign courts report to him on the appearance and other qualities of various candidates. He also sent painters to bring him images of these women.

Hans Holbein, probably the most famous of the Tudor court painters, was sent to the court of the Duke of Cleves, who had two sisters: Amelia and Anne. When Holbein went in 1539, Cleves was seen as an important potential ally in the event France and the Holy Roman Empire (who had somewhat made a truce in their long history of conflict) decided to move against the countries who had thrown off the Papal authority. England then sought alliances with countries who had been supporting the reformation of the church. Several of the Duchys and principalities along the Rhine were Lutheran. Holbein painted the sisters of the Duke of Cleves and Henry decided to have a contract drawn up for his marriage to Anne.

Although the King of France and the Emperor had gone back to their usual state of animosity, Henry proceeded with the match. The marriage took place on January 6, 1540. By then, Henry was already looking for ways to get out of the marriage.

Anne was ill-suited for life at the English court. Her upbringing in Cleves had concentrated on domestic skills and not the music and literature so popular at Henry's court. And, most famously, Henry did not find his new bride the least bit attractive and is said to have called her a 'Flanders Mare'. In addition to his personal feelings for wanting to end the marriage, there were now political ones as well. Tension between the Duke of Cleves and the Empire was increasing towards war and Henry had no desire to become involved. Last but not least, at some point, Henry had become attracted to young Kathryn Howard.

Anne was probably smart enough to know that she would only be making trouble for herself if she raised any obstacles to Henry's attempts to annul the marriage. She testified that the match had not been consummated and that her previous engagement to the son of the Duke of Lorraine had not been properly broken.

After the marriage had been dissolved, Anne accepted the honorary title as the 'King's Sister'. She was given property, including Hever Castle, formerly the home of Anne Boleyn.
Anne lived away from court quietly in the countryside until 1557 and attended the coronation of her former step-daughter, Mary I.

She is buried in a somewhat hard to find tomb in Westminster Abbey.

Kathryn Howard by Hans Holbein
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Born: c. 1521
Married to King Henry VIII: 28 July 1540
Oatlands Palace
Executed: 13 February 1542
The Tower of London
Buried: 13 February 1542
Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London

Kathryn Howard was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard, a younger brother of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. She was also first cousin to Anne Boleyn, Henry's ill-fated second Queen. She was brought up in the household of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. As part of the Duchess' household, she would have spent most of her time at Lambeth and Horsham.
Kathryn came to court at about the age of 19 as a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves and there is no doubt that the spirited young girl caught Henry's attentions. Kathryn's uncle probably encouraged the girl to respond to the King's attentions and saw it as a way to increase his own influence over the monarch. The Duke of Norfolk also took advantage of the debacle of the Anne of Cleves marriage as a chance to discredit his enemy, Thomas Cromwell. In fact, Cromwell was executed shortly after the marriage was nullified.

Sixteen days after he was free of Anne, Henry took his fifth wife, Kathryn Howard, on July 28, 1540. Henry was 49 and his bride was no older than 19.

For all that can be said against this match, Kathryn did manage to lift the King's spirits. Henry had gained a lot of weight and was dealing with the ulcerated leg that was to pain him until his death. The vivacious young girl brought back some of Henry's zest for life. The King lavished gifts on his young wife and called her his 'rose without a thorn' and the 'very jewel of womanhood'.

Less than a year into Kathryn's marriage, the rumors of her infidelity began. In a way, one couldn't blame her for seeking the company of handsome young men closer to her own age. But to do so, even if only in courtly flirtations, was dangerous for a Queen, especially one who came from a powerful family with many enemies. Kathryn didn't help matters much by appointing one of her admirers as her personal secretary.

By November 1541, there was enough evidence against the Queen that Archbishop Cranmer informed the King of Kathryn's misconduct. At first Henry did not believe the accusations, but he agreed to allow further investigations into the matter. Enough evidence was gathered that the Queen had been promiscuous before her marriage and may have had liaisons after becoming Henry's wife. She was executed on the Tower Green on February 13, 1542 and laid to rest near her cousin Anne Boleyn in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London.

Katherine Parr by an unknown artist
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Born: 1512
Married to King Henry VIII: 12 July 1543
Queen's Closet, Hampton Court Palace
Widowed: 28 January 1547
Died: 5 September 1548
Sudeley Castle
Buried: 5 September 1548
St Mary's Chapel, Sudeley Castle

Katherine Parr was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud Green, both of whom were at the court of Henry VIII in his early reign. Maud was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon and named her daughter, born in 1512, after her. So, Henry VIII’s last wife was named after his first. Thomas Parr died in November 1517, leaving his three children, William, Katherine and Anne in the care of their mother. Maud managed the children’s education and the family estates and must have left an impression on her daughter of the greater role an independent woman could have in society. The education that Maud arranged for the children was similar to that of other noble figures of the time and at least in the case of Katherine, it ignited a life-long passion for learning. She was fluent in French, Latin and Italian and began learning Spanish when she was Queen.

Katherine Parr’s first marriage was to Edward Borough, the son of Thomas, third Baron Borough of Gainsborough in 1529 when she was 17 years old. Edward died only a few years later, probably in early 1533. It was during this marriage that Katherine’s mother Maud died, in December 1531. Katherine’s second marriage was to John Neville, third Baron Latimer of Snape Castle in Yorkshire, whom she married in the summer of 1534 when he was 41 and she was 22. Latimer had two children from his previous marriages so Katherine also became a stepmother for the first time. During the Pilgrimage of Grace a rebel mob forced Latimer to join them and later took Katherine and her stepchildren hostage at the castle. Latimer was able to eventually secure their freedom and managed to escape arrest for his associations with the rebellion after it was finally put down.

Katherine’s ailing husband died in March 1543, leaving her a widow for the second time, now at the age of 31. It was around this time that Katherine was noticed by not only the King, but also Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour. Katherine expressed her desire to marry Thomas Seymour after Latimer’s death, but the King’s request for her hand was one that Katherine felt it was her duty to accept. Katherine and Henry VIII were married on July 12th in the Queen’s closet at Hampton Court Palace in a small ceremony attended by about 20 people.

Katherine was interested in the reformed faith, making her enemies with the conservatives of Henry’s court. It was Katherine’s influence with the King and the Henry’s failing health that led to a plot against her in 1546 by the conservative faction. Katherine and her ladies were known to have had banned books which was grounds for arrest and execution on charges of heresy. To gain evidence against the Queen, Anne Askew, a well-known and active Protestant, was questioned and tortured, but refused to recant her faith or give evidence against Katherine and her ladies. However, there was enough other evidence against the Queen to issue a warrant for her arrest. The warrant was accidentally dropped and someone loyal to the Queen saw it and then quickly told her about it. This is a well-documented incident that has made its way into many historical fiction accounts. Sometimes the history itself is the best drama! After learning of the arrest warrant, Katherine was said to be very ill, either as a ruse to stall or from a genuine panic attack. Henry went to see her and chastised her for her outspokenness about the reformed religion and his feeling that she was forgetting her place by instructing him on such matters. Katherine’s response in her defense was that she was only arguing with him on these issues so she could be instructed by him, and to take his mind off other troubles. Playing to Henry’s ego no doubt helped and Katherine was forgiven.

Katherine was close with all three of her stepchildren as Henry’s wife and was personally involved in the educational program of the younger two, Elizabeth and Edward. She was also a patron of the arts and music. Katherine’s own learning and academic achievements, as alluded to previously, were impressive, and in 1545, her book “Prayers or Meditations” became the first work published by an English Queen under her own name. Another book, “The Lamentation of a Sinner”, was published after Henry VIII’s death.

Henry VIII died in January 1547 and Katherine had probably expected to play some role in the regency for the new nine-year-old king, Edward VI, but this was not to be. Only a few months after Henry’s death, Katherine secretly married Thomas Seymour, but the quickness and secret nature of the union caused a scandal. Katherine was still able to take guardianship of Princess Elizabeth and Seymour purchased the wardship of the king’s cousin, Lady Jane Grey. It was during this time that the rumors of a relationship between Elizabeth and Seymour  arose and Elizabeth was sent to another household in the spring of 1548.

After three previous marriages and at the age of 36, Katherine was pregnant for the first time and in June 1548, she moved to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire to await the birth of her child. On August 30th she gave birth to a daughter named Mary. Katherine soon fell ill with puerperal fever, which was to claim her life in the morning hours of September 5th. Katherine was buried, with Lady Jane Grey as the chief mourner, in the chapel at Sudeley Castle, where the tomb can still be visited today.

Below is from HERE

Many historians and biographers mention that Catherine Howard was related in some way to Anne Boleyn.  Historically, they are joined by a gruesome bond - they were the only two wives executed by King Henry VIII.  Catherine married Henry just four years after Anne's execution; yet during those four years, he had married two other women (Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves.)

Catherine and Anne were first cousins.  Catherine's father, Lord Edmund Howard, was the brother of Anne Boleyn's mother, Lady Elizabeth Howard.  Edmund and Elizabeth were the children of Thomas Howard, 2nd duke of Norfolk.  However, despite their close familial ties, the two women never met.  There are many obvious reasons for this - first of all, Anne was about fifteen years older than Catherine.  Secondly, the Norfolk family was a tangled collection of cousins (far too many to list here) and, since Catherine was one of many children of a poor younger son, her status was relatively unimportant in the mid-1530s.  Third, and perhaps most important, Anne Boleyn disliked her uncle Thomas Howard, the 3rd duke of Norfolk (and formerly earl of Surrey) - he was conniving, opportunistic, and arrogant.  This perhaps affected her relationships with all her Norfolk cousins; the only family member she was noticeably close to was her brother, George.

Anne and Norfolk were never close and he only barely managed to hide his dislike while she was queen.  When she was arrested and tried, he made haste to distance himself from her at all costs.  He also attended her trial and passed judgment against her.  His groveling was effective - and still worked four years later when yet another niece (Catherine Howard) was arrested.  At Catherine's arrest, virtually every member of the Norfolk family was taken to the Tower - except the duke.  His frantic letter to Henry VIII included insults of all his imprisoned relatives, most importantly the 'abominable deeds' of Anne and Catherine.  He was certainly an unappealing character but, unlike so many others, he managed to survive in the treacherous Tudor court.  Later imprisoned and with his goods seized by the king, Norfolk was condemned to death.  Luckily, and ironically, Henry VIII died without signing the warrant for his execution.

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