Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Biography - Catheine Howard Queen of England (1522-1542) - 5th Wife of Henry VIII

King Henry VIII's 5th wife was Catherine Howard.  Catherine was a daughter of Lord Edmund Howard (1478–1539) & Joyce Culpeper (1480–1531). Her father's sister Elizabeth Howard, was the mother of Anne Boleyn. Catherine Howard & Anne Boleyn were 1st cousins.  Catherine would be beheaded after less than 2 years of marriage to Henry for committing adultery while married to the King.

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Catherine Howard

Catherine came to court at about the age of 19 as a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves & caught Henry's attentions. Catherine's uncle, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, (1473-1554),  probably encouraged the girl to respond to the King's attentions 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, who was executed shortly after the royal marriage was nullified. Sixteen days after he was free of Anne, Henry took his 5th wife, Catherine Howard, on July 28, 1540. Henry was 49, & his bride was 19.

King Henry VIII was no longer a happy, young man. An unhealed wound in his leg remained an open, oozing sore.  Apparently the ambitious Catherine needed more. Before her marriage Catherine had several lovers - among them a musician, Henry Mannock, or Manox; her cousin Thomas Culpepper; & Francis Dereham, to whom she had been betrothed.  After becoming queen, she occasionally arranged to meet with Dereham & Culpepper.

By November 1541, 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. Evidence was gathered that the Queen had been promiscuous before her marriage & may have had liaisons after marrying Henry. 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.

"...Catherine had a number of romances, which, though fairly well-known at the time, were kept from Henry VIII. Her most famous relationship was with Thomas Culpepper, a member of Henry VIII's privy chamber. This romance would have repercussions, since Catherine & Culpepper would rekindle it during her marriage to Henry VIII... Catherine, a young woman in her late teens or twenties, turned to her former lover, Thomas Culpepper, for comfort. While touring northern England with Henry VIII, Catherine & Thomas carried on a fairly public love affair. When Henry learned of Catherine's conduct both before & during their marriage, he had her former & current lovers arrested & tortured in the Tower of London. Catherine was found guilty of adultery & treason. She was executed on 13 February 1542." (Robin, et. al., 2007, pp. 185-186)