Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr

Overview
Catherine Parr; 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives
Wives of Henry VIII
The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort married to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547. The six women to hold the title 'queens consort' of King Henry VIII were, in order:* Catherine of Aragon ,* Anne Boleyn ,...

 of King Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, as she had a total of four husbands.

Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry’s three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 and Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, both of whom became English monarchs.
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Catherine Parr; 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives
Wives of Henry VIII
The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort married to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547. The six women to hold the title 'queens consort' of King Henry VIII were, in order:* Catherine of Aragon ,* Anne Boleyn ,...

 of King Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. She married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, as she had a total of four husbands.

Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry’s three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 and Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, both of whom became English monarchs. She was influential in Henry's passing of the Third Succession Act
Third Succession Act
The Third Succession Act of Henry VIII's reign was passed by the Parliament of England in July 1543, and returned both Mary and Elizabeth to the line of the succession behind Prince Edward....

 in 1543 that restored both Lady Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 and Lady Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 to the line of succession to the throne.

Catherine was appointed Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 from July to September 1544 while Henry was on a military campaign in France and in case he lost his life, she was to rule as Regent until Edward came of age. However he did not give her any function in government in his will. On account of Catherine's Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of powerful Catholic officials who sought to turn the King against her; a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1546; however, she and the King were soon reconciled. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name. She assumed the role of Elizabeth's guardian following the King's death; and another book, The Lamentations of a Sinner, was published.

Six months after Henry's death, she married her fourth and final husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

. The marriage proved to be short-lived as she died in September 1548, probably of complications resulting from childbirth.

Early life


Catherine was the oldest surviving child of Sir Thomas Parr
Sir Thomas Parr
Sir Thomas Parr was an English knight, courtier and Lord of the Manor of Kendal in Westmorland during the Tudor period. He is best known as the father of Catherine Parr, queen consort of England and the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII.-Life:Thomas was the son of Sir William Parr of Kendal...

, Lord of the Manor of Kendal
Kendal
Kendal, anciently known as Kirkby in Kendal or Kirkby Kendal, is a market town and civil parish within the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, England...

 in Westmorland
Westmorland
Westmorland is an area of North West England and one of the 39 historic counties of England. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974, after which the entirety of the county was absorbed into the new county of Cumbria.-Early history:...

 (now Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

), descendant of King Edward III
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

, and the former Maud Green (1492 –1531), daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Green
Sir Thomas Green
Sir Thomas Green was Lord of Greens Norton, Northamptonshire, England. He was the son of Sir Thomas Greene , Lord of Greens Norton, and Matilda Throckmorton. He is best known for being the father of Maud Green and grandfather to queen consort Katherine Parr and the last male heir to the Lordship...

, Lord of Greens Norton
Greens Norton
Greens Norton is a village in South Northamptonshire, England, just over from Towcester. At the time of the 2001 census, the parish's population was 1,587 people.-Facilities:It has a pub called the Butchers Arms, a post office, and a...

, Northamptonshire. The Parrs were a substantial northern knightly family. She had a younger brother, William
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1st Earl of Essex and 1st Baron Parr, KG was the son of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife, Maud Green, daughter of Sir Thomas Green, of Broughton and Greens Norton...

, later 1st Marquess of Northampton, and a sister, Anne
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Baroness Herbert of Cardiff was lady-in-waiting to each of Henry VIII of England's six wives. She was the younger sister of his sixth wife, Catherine Parr.-Early years:...

, later Countess of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke is a title created ten times, all in the Peerage of England. It was first created in the 12th century by King Stephen of England. The title is associated with Pembroke, Pembrokeshire in West Wales, which is the site of Earldom's original seat Pembroke Castle...

. Sir Thomas was Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Master of the Wards, and Comptroller to King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Sir Thomas Parr was also a close companion of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Her mother, Lady Parr, was a close friend and attendant of Queen Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

. Catherine was presumably named after Queen Catherine, who was also her godmother.

Like the family of King Henry
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

's second wife
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, the Boleyns, the Parr family had gone up in the world as a result of royal favor and successful marriages. Her father's ancestry was more distinguished than that of Thomas Boleyn and John Seymour
John Seymour
John Seymour may refer to:* Sir John Seymour , father of Queen Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII of England* John Seymour , Wiltshire and Somerset landowner, grandfather of Queen Jane Seymour* John F...

 and Catherine's lineage, unlike that of Henry's wife, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, was better and more established at Court. Though not of the aristocracy at the time, the Parrs were in the service of the royal family, in the household of Catherine's ancestor, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster , KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

. Their marriage alliance with the Ros (or Roos) family enhanced their standing. Catherine's grandfather, William, was part of King Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

's court. William held the office of comptroller of the household
Comptroller of the Household
The Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the English royal household, currently the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department, and often a cabinet member. He was an ex officio member of the Board of Green Cloth, until that body was abolished in the reform of the local...

 from 1471 to 1475 and again in 1481 till Edward's death in 1483. William was held in high favour with the King
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

 and was one of only two courtiers to become Knight of the Garter in the second reign of Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

. Sir William Parr could claim royal descent through King John of England, King William "the Lion" of Scotland, the Brus
Clan Bruce
Clan Bruce is a Scottish clan from Kincardine in Scotland. It was a Royal House in the 14th century, producing two kings of Scotland.-Origins of the Clan:...

 family from which came Robert de Brus, King of the Scots, and more. Sir William's wife, Lady Elizabeth
Elizabeth FitzHugh, Baroness Vaux of Harrowden
Lady Elizabeth FitzHugh was an English noblewoman as Lady Parr of Kendal. She is best known for being the grandmother of Catherine Parr, sixth queen consort to Henry VIII, and her siblings Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, and William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton.-Family:Elizabeth was born...

, was the daughter of Henry, 5th Lord FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville
Alice Neville
Alice Neville , Baroness FitzHugh of Ravensworth, was the wife of Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh. She is best known for being the great-grandmother of Queen consort Catherine Parr and her siblings, Anne and William, as well as one of the sisters of Warwick the 'Kingmaker'. Her family was one of...

. Alice was sister to "Warwick, the Kingmaker"
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

. Lady Alice's family, the Neville
House of Neville
The House of Neville is a noble house of early medieval origin, which was a leading force in English politics in the later middle ages...

's, were already established at court being descendants of John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster , KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

's illegitimate daughter Lady Joan Beaufort and her second husband, Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland. Catherine Parr was the only wife of Henry VIII to descend from the Beaufort family. This connection made Catherine a fourth cousin through Henry's father and a second cousin once removed through his mother. Through Catherine's mother, Maud
Maud Green, Lady Parr
Maud Green was best known as the mother of Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII of England. She was a close friend and lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon...

, she was also related to Henry by her ancestress Joan Wydville (or Woodville), sister of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers
Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers
Richard Woodville , 1st Earl Rivers, KG was an English nobleman, best remembered as the father of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV....

, father of King Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

 consort, Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

. When the Duke of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 became King in 1483, as Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

, both Elizabeth and her mother Alice were appointed ladies-in-waiting to Alice's niece, queen consort Lady Anne Neville
Anne Neville
Lady Anne Neville was Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster and Queen of England as the consort of King Richard III. She held the latter title for less than two years, from 26 June 1483 until her death in March 1485...

. The profession would span five generations down to Catherine's sister, Anne
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Baroness Herbert of Cardiff was lady-in-waiting to each of Henry VIII of England's six wives. She was the younger sister of his sixth wife, Catherine Parr.-Early years:...

, who would serve all six of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

's wives
Wives of Henry VIII
The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort married to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547. The six women to hold the title 'queens consort' of King Henry VIII were, in order:* Catherine of Aragon ,* Anne Boleyn ,...

.

It was first thought that Catherine Parr was born at Kendal Castle
Kendal Castle
Kendal Castle is situated on a mound-like hill, known as a drumlin, to the east of the town of Kendal, Cumbria, in northern England.- History :The castle was probably built in the late 12th century as the home of the Lancaster family who were Barons of Kendal...

 in Westmorland
Westmorland
Westmorland is an area of North West England and one of the 39 historic counties of England. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974, after which the entirety of the county was absorbed into the new county of Cumbria.-Early history:...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. However, at the time of her birth, Kendal Castle was already in bad condition, and by 1572 it would be derelict. At the time of Maud Parr's pregnancy, she was at court attending the Queen, and by necessity the Parr family was living in their home at Blackfriars
Blackfriars
Blackfriars is an area of central London, which lies in the south-west corner of the City of London.The name Blackfriars was first used in 1317 and derives from the black cappa worn by the Dominican Friars who moved their priory from Holborn to the area between the River Thames and Ludgate Hill in...

, London. Historians consider it unlikely that Catherine's father, Sir Thomas, would take his pregnant wife on an arduous two week journey north over execrable roads to give birth in a crumbling castle in which neither of them seemed to spend much time. Her father died when she was young and she was close to her mother as she grew up.

Catherine's initial education was similar to other well-born women, but she developed a passion for learning which would continue throughout her life. She was fluent in French, Latin, and Italian and began learning Spanish when she was Queen. According to David Starkey
David Starkey
David Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British constitutional historian, and a radio and television presenter.He was born the only child of Quaker parents, and attended Kendal Grammar School before entering Cambridge through a scholarship. There he specialised in Tudor history, writing a thesis on King...

, Catherine was most likely better educated overall than Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

. As a child, Catherine could not tolerate sewing and often ironically said to her mother "my hands are ordained to touch crowns and scepters, not spindles and needles".

Until recently, many sources stated that Catherine married the elderly Edward Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh in 1529, at the age of seventeen. However since the release of Antonia Fraser
Antonia Fraser
Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE , née Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, best known as Antonia Fraser...

 The Wives of Henry VIII in 1994, and David Starkey
David Starkey
David Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British constitutional historian, and a radio and television presenter.He was born the only child of Quaker parents, and attended Kendal Grammar School before entering Cambridge through a scholarship. There he specialised in Tudor history, writing a thesis on King...

's 2004 book on the six wives, Catherine's first husband has been identified as Sir Edward Borough. Some blame for this mistake could be attributed to 19th century historian Agnes Strickland
Agnes Strickland
Agnes Strickland was an English historical writer and poet.-Biography:The daughter of Thomas Strickland of Reydon Hall, Suffolk, Agnes was educated by her father, and began her literary career with a poem, Worcester Field, followed by The Seven Ages of Woman and Demetrius...

's book on the wives of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Research of documents (including Maud Parr's Will) conducted by Susan James and Linda Porter
Linda Porter (historian)
Linda Porter was born in Exeter, Devon in 1947. Her family have long-standing connections to the West Country, but moved to the London area when she was a small child. She was educated at Walthamstow Hall School in Sevenoaks and at the University of York, from which she has a doctorate in History...

 for their biographies on Catherine confirm that she married the 2nd Baron's grandson, also called Edward. Sir Edward Borough
Sir Edward Burgh
Sir Edward Burgh was the eldest son and heir to Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh and his wife Agnes Tyrwhit. He is known for being the first husband of Catherine Parr, later Queen consort to King Henry VIII...

 was the eldest son of the 2nd Baron's eldest son, Sir Thomas Borough
Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh
Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh or Borough , 1st Baron Borough of Gainsborough, also de jure 5th Baron Strabolgi and 7th Baron Cobham of Sterborough, was an English peer. He was knighted on Flodden Field in 1513 where he was one of the King's Spears . He was a Member of Parliament in 1529 and Lord...

, who would become the 1st Baron Burgh in December 1529 after his father was declared insane. In her will, dated May 1529, Maud Parr says she is 'indebted to Sir Thomas Borough, knight, for the marriage of my daughter'. At the time of his son's marriage, Thomas was thirty-five which would have made Edward
Sir Edward Burgh
Sir Edward Burgh was the eldest son and heir to Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh and his wife Agnes Tyrwhit. He is known for being the first husband of Catherine Parr, later Queen consort to King Henry VIII...

 around Catherine's age. Edward was in his twenties and may have been in poor health. He served as a feoffee
Feoffee
A Feoffee is a trustee who holds a fief , that is to say an estate in land, for the use of a beneficial owner. The term is more fully stated as a feoffee to uses of the beneficial owner. The use of such trustees developed towards the end of the era of feudalism in the middle ages and became...

 for Thomas Kiddell and as a justice of the peace. His father, Sir Thomas, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

's chamberlain, also secured a joint patent in survivorship with his son for the office of steward of the manor of the soke
Soke (legal)
The term soke ), at the time of the Norman Conquest of England generally denoted "jurisdiction", but due to vague usage probably lacks a single precise definition....

 of Kirton in Lindsey
Kirton in Lindsey
Kirton-in-Lindsey, also abbreviated to Kirton Lindsey, is a small town and civil parish in North Lincolnshire, England.-Geography:It is south of Scunthorpe, near the A15 road, and has a total resident population of 2,694....

. The younger Sir Edward Borough died in the spring of 1533, never fulfilling the title of Lord (Baron) Borough.

Lady Latimer


In the year of 1533, it is thought that Catherine spent her time with the widow of her cousin Sir Walter Strickland, the Dowager Lady Strickland, Catherine Neville at the Strickland's family residence of Sizergh Castle in Westmorland
Westmorland
Westmorland is an area of North West England and one of the 39 historic counties of England. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974, after which the entirety of the county was absorbed into the new county of Cumbria.-Early history:...

 (now Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

). Parr was not only related to Neville by blood, but also by marriage. Catherine's great-aunt, Agnes Parr married Sir Thomas Strickland, son of Sir Walter and Douce Crofte. Another relation was through Elizabeth Ros, daughter of Sir John Ros of Kendal and Catherine Strickland who married Sir William Parr; the two were Catherine's paternal great-great grandparents. The Dowager Lady Strickland was kin to Parr's next husband, John Neville. In the summer of 1534 she married John Neville, 3rd Baron Latymer, of Snape, North Yorkshire
Snape, North Yorkshire
Snape is a large village in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England, located about 3 miles south of Bedale and 3 miles west of the A1, it has a population of 350...

. At age 40, Lord Latimer was twice Catherine's age. Latimer was her father's second cousin, a twice-widowed descendant of George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer, Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

, the 'Kingmaker's', 'idiot uncle'. From his first marriage to Dorothy de Vere, sister of the John de Vere, Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford was born to John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford and Elizabeth Trussel, daughter of Edward Trussel...

, he had two children, John
John Nevill, 4th Baron Latimer
John Nevill or Neville, 4th Baron Latimer or Latymer was an English nobleman of the House of Neville.-Early life:...

 and Margaret. Neville was one of fifteen children born to Richard Neville, Lord Latimer and Anne Stafford, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford. Latimer's branch of the Neville
House of Neville
The House of Neville is a noble house of early medieval origin, which was a leading force in English politics in the later middle ages...

 family was in line for the title of Earl of Warwick
Earl of Warwick
Earl of Warwick is a title that has been created four times in British history and is one of the most prestigious titles in the peerages of the British Isles.-1088 creation:...

 and because of this, Lord Latimer, dealt with quite a bit of sibling rivalry. Legal actions were taken by his younger brothers and Latimer, at the time of his marriage to Catherine, was having financial difficulties. But as Lady Latimer, Catherine now had a home of her own, a husband with a position and influence in the north, a ready-made family, and a title. Catherine would be the only female from the Parr family, apart from her great-aunt, Mabel, to marry into the peerage. From the beginning of the marriage, Catherine made an attempt to be a good wife. Her affection for her husband would grow deep enough to cherish a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, which she kept until her death. Catherine would also prove to be a good step-mother to her step-children; a trait which she would again show after her marriage to the King
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Her teenage stepson, John, proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was their father's favourite. Nevertheless, Catherine would continue a relationship with the two after her marriage to King Henry, bringing Margaret to court as her lady-in-waiting and securing a position for John's wife in her household.

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion and had bitterly opposed the king's divorce, his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

 and its religious ramifications. In 1536, within two weeks of the riot in Louth
Louth, Lincolnshire
Louth is a market town and civil parish within the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England.-Geography:Known as the "capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds", it is situated where the ancient trackway Barton Street crosses the River Lud, and has a total resident population of 15,930.The Greenwich...

, a mob appeared before the Latimer's home threatening violence if Lord Latimer did not join their cause. Catherine watched as her husband was dragged away by the rebels. As prisoner of the insurgents, conflicting stories of which side Latimer was truly on began to reach Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, , was an English statesman who served as chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540....

 and the King in London. The rebellion
Pilgrimage of Grace
The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular rising in York, Yorkshire during 1536, in protest against Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances. It was done in action against Thomas Cromwell...

 in Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

 put him in a terrible dilemma. If he was found guilty of treason his estates would be forfeited, leaving Catherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself wrote to the Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal was a prominent Tudor politician. He was uncle to Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, two of the wives of King Henry VIII, and played a major role in the machinations behind these marriages...

 pressing him to make sure Latimer would 'condemn that villain Aske and submit [himself] to our clemency'. Latimer was more than happy to comply. Both Catherine's brother, William Parr
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1st Earl of Essex and 1st Baron Parr, KG was the son of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife, Maud Green, daughter of Sir Thomas Green, of Broughton and Greens Norton...

 and uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton fought with the Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal was a prominent Tudor politician. He was uncle to Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, two of the wives of King Henry VIII, and played a major role in the machinations behind these marriages...

 and the Duke of Suffolk
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, 1st Viscount Lisle, KG was the son of Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn. Through his third wife Mary Tudor he was brother-in-law to Henry VIII. His father was the standard-bearer of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond and was slain by Richard III in person at...

 against the rebellion. It is to most likely to Catherine's credit that Lord Latimer survived; both her brother and uncle probably intervened at one point and saved Lord Latimer's life.
Between October 1536 and April 1537 Lady Latimer lived alone in fear with her step-children, struggling to survive. It is probable that, in these uncertain times, Catherine's strong reaction against the rebellion strengthened her adherence to the reformed church
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. In January 1537, Catherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North
Pilgrimage of Grace
The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular rising in York, Yorkshire during 1536, in protest against Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances. It was done in action against Thomas Cromwell...

. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle, he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath would prove to be taxing on the whole family.

The family would later move south after the executions of the rebels which pleased Cromwell and the King. Although no charges were found, Latimer's reputation, which reflected upon Catherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. He spent the last seven years of his life blackmailed by Cromwell. Catherine would spend much of her time in the south during the years of 1537-42. Her husband was called away frequently to do the biding of Cromwell and the King and be present during Parliament. With Cromwell's fall in 1540, the Latimers reclaimed some dignity and as Lord Latimer attended Parliament in 1542 he and Catherine spent time in London that winter. Her brother, William
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton
William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1st Earl of Essex and 1st Baron Parr, KG was the son of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife, Maud Green, daughter of Sir Thomas Green, of Broughton and Greens Norton...

 and sister, Anne
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, Baroness Herbert of Cardiff was lady-in-waiting to each of Henry VIII of England's six wives. She was the younger sister of his sixth wife, Catherine Parr.-Early years:...

 had been present at court. Anne entered court service in 1531 as maid-in-waiting to Henry's queens. It was here that she became acquainted with her future fourth husband Sir Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

. The atmosphere of the court was much different from the rural and parochial estates. It was here that Catherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in less weighty secular matters such as fashion and jewellery.

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer's health had deteriorated. Catherine spent the winter of 1542-1543 nursing her husband. John Neville, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. In Lord Latimer's will, Catherine was named guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of Lord Latimer's affairs until his daughter's majority. Latimer left Catherine Stowe Manor and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Catherine was to take £30 per annum out of the income to support her step-daughter. Catherine was left a rich widow faced with the possibility of having to return north after Lord Latimer's death.

Using her late mother's relationship with Henry's first queen Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

, Catherine took the opportunity to renew her friendship with Lady Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

. By 16 February 1543, Catherine had established herself with Mary and was now part of her household. It was in the household of King Henry
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 and Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

's daughter, Lady Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, that Catherine Parr caught the attention of the King. After the death of Parr's second husband, Catherine began a relationship with Sir Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

, the brother of the late queen Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of...

, but the King took a liking to her and she saw it as her duty to accept Henry's proposal over Seymour's. Thomas Seymour was given a posting in Brussels to remove him from court.

Queen of England and Ireland



Catherine married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543 at Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London; it has not been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century. The palace is located south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames...

. Her previous husband had died on 2 March 1543. She was the first Queen of England also to be Queen of Ireland following Henry's adoption of the title King of Ireland
King of Ireland
A monarchical polity has existed in Ireland during three periods of its history, finally ending in 1801. The designation King of Ireland and Queen of Ireland was used during these periods...

. As Queen, Catherine was partially responsible for reconciling Henry with his daughters from his first two marriages, who later became Queen Mary I
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 and Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

. She also developed a good relationship with Henry's son Edward, Prince of Wales
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

, later King Edward VI. When she became Queen, her uncle Lord Parr of Horton became her Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

.

For three months, from July to September 1544, Catherine was appointed regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 by Henry as he went on his last, unsuccessful, campaign in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Thanks to her uncle having been appointed as member of her regency council, and to the sympathies of fellow appointed councillors Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from...

 (the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

) and Lord Hertford
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

, Catherine obtained effective control and was able to rule as she saw fit. She handled provision, finances and musters for Henry's French campaign, signed five Royal proclamations, and maintained constant contact with her lieutenant in the northern Marches, Lord Shrewsbury
Earl of Shrewsbury
Earl of Shrewsbury is a hereditary title of nobility created twice in the peerage of England.-First creation, 1074:The first creation occurred in 1074 for Roger de Montgomerie, one of William the Conqueror's principal counselors...

, over the complex and unstable situation with Scotland. It is thought that her actions as regent, together with her strength of character and noted dignity, and later religious convictions, greatly influenced her stepdaughter Lady Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

).

Although she must have been brought up as a Catholic, given her birth before the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, she later became sympathetic to and interested in the "New Faith". She came under suspicion that she was actually a Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 by the mid-1540s, as we would now understand the term. This view is supported by the some strong reformed ideas that she revealed after Henry's death, when her second book, Lamentacions of a synner (Lamentations of a Sinner), was published in late 1547. The book promoted the Protestant concept of justification by faith alone
Sola fide
Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

, which the Catholic Church deemed to be heresy. It is unlikely that she developed these views in the short time between Henry's death and the publication of the book. Her sympathy with Anne Askew
Anne Askew
Anne Askew was an English poet and Protestant who was condemned as a heretic...

, the Protestant martyr who fiercely opposed the Catholic belief of transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

, also suggests that she was more than merely sympathetic to the new religion.
The Queen's religious views were viewed with suspicion by Catholic and anti-Protestant officials such as Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner was an English Roman Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I of England.-Early life:...

 (the Bishop of Winchester
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England diocese of Winchester, with his cathedra at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.The bishop is one of five Church of England bishops to be among the Lords Spiritual regardless of their length of service. His diocese is one of the oldest and...

) and Lord Wriothesley
Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton
Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, KG , known as The Lord Wriothesley between 1544 and 1547, was a politician of the Tudor period born in London to William Wrythe and Agnes Drayton....

 (the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

), who tried to turn the king against her in 1546. An arrest warrant was drawn up for her and rumours abounded across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 that the King was attracted to her close friend, the Duchess of Suffolk. However, she saw the warrant and managed to reconcile with the King after vowing that she had only argued about religion with him to take his mind off the suffering caused by his ulcerous leg. The following day an armed guard who was unaware of the reconciliation tried to arrest her while she walked with the King.

Final marriage, childbirth and death


Shortly before he died, Henry made provision for an allowance of £7,000 per year for Catherine to support herself. He further ordered that after his death, Catherine, though a queen dowager
Queen Dowager
A queen dowager or dowager queen is a title or status generally held by the widow of a deceased king. In the case of the widow of a deceased emperor, the title of empress dowager is used...

, should be given the respect of a Queen of England, as if he were still alive. Catherine retired from court after the crowning of her step-son Prince Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 on 31 January 1547, to her home at Old Manor
Chelsea Manor
Chelsea Manor, is a former royal residence acquired by Henry VIII of England in 1536. It was home to Elizabeth I of England, as Princess, between 1536 and 1548, and then to Anne of Cleves, who died there in 1557. Other famous owners included James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton, Charles Cheyne,...

 in Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

. During this time, Catherine began having altercations with the Lord Protector, the King's uncle, the Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

 and a rivalry developed between Catherine and his wife, her former lady-in-waiting, the Duchess of Somerset, which became particularly acute over the matter of Catherine's jewels. Catherine had personal jewels, including her wedding ring and many gifts from the King, but a question arose whether she still had the right to wear the jewelry worn by his former queens. These remained in a coffer within the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

. The duchess argued that the jewels belonged to the Queen of England, and that as queen dowager, Catherine was no longer entitled to them. Instead she, as the wife of the protector, should be the one to wear them. Eventually, the duchess won the argument, which left her relationship with Catherine permanently damaged; the relationship between the two Seymour brothers also worsened as a result, since Lord Seymour saw the whole dispute as a personal attack by his brother on his social standing.

After having lived many years abroad on command of King Henry himself, Catherine's old love, Sir Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

 returned to court. Catherine, who still harbored feelings for Seymour, was quick to accept when Seymour renewed his suit of marriage. Since only six months had passed since the death of King Henry, Seymour knew that the Regency council would not agree to a petition for the Dowager queen to marry so soon. Seymour decided to go directly to his nephew, King Edward, and ask for permission. Sometime near the end of May, Catherine was able to marry her old love in secret. The King and council were not informed of the union until summer 1547. When their union became public knowledge, it caused a small scandal. The King and Lady Mary were very much displeased by the union. After being censured and reprimanded by the council, Seymour wrote to the Lady Mary asking her to intervene on his behalf. Mary became furious at his forwardness and tasteless actions and refused to help. Mary even went as far as asking her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth, not to interact with the Dowager Queen any further.

In November 1547, Catherine published her second book, Lamentations of a Sinner. The book was a success and widely praised.

In early 1548, Catherine invited Lady Elizabeth and her cousin, Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

 to stay in the couple's household at Sudeley. The Dowager Queen promised to provide education for both. Queen Catherine's house came to be known as a respected place of learning for young women.

In March 1548, Catherine became pregnant for the first time at age thirty-five. This pregnancy was a surprise as Catherine had not conceived a child during her first three marriages. As sex during pregnancy was frowned upon during the sixteenth century, Seymour began to take an interest in Lady Elizabeth. Seymour had reputedly plotted to marry her before marrying Catherine, and it was reported later that Catherine discovered the two in an embrace. On a few occasions before the situation risked getting completely out of hand, Catherine appears not only to have acquiesced in episodes of sexually charged horseplay, but actually to have assisted her husband. Whatever actually happened, Elizabeth was sent away in May 1548 to stay with Sir Anthony Denny's household at Cheshunt
Cheshunt
Cheshunt is a town in Hertfordshire, England with a population of around 52,000 according to the United Kingdom's 2001 Census. It is a dormitory town and part of the Greater London Urban Area and London commuter belt served by Cheshunt railway station...

 and never saw her beloved stepmother again, although the two corresponded.
Catherine gave birth to her only child — a daughter, Mary Seymour, named after Catherine's stepdaughter Mary — on 30 August 1548, and died only six days later, on 5 September 1548, at Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle is a castle located near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. It dates from the 10th century, but the inhabited portion is chiefly Elizabethan. The castle has a notable garden, which is designed and maintained to a very high standard. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial...

 in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

, from what is thought to be puerperal fever
Puerperal fever
Puerperal fever or childbed fever, is a bacterial infection contracted by women during childbirth or miscarriage. It can develop into puerperal sepsis, which is a serious form of septicaemia. If untreated, it is often fatal....

 or puerperal sepsis, also called childbed fever. Coincidentally, this was also the illness that killed Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of...

. It was not uncommon, due to the lack of hygiene around childbirth. Nevertheless, a theory exists that Catherine's husband, Sir Thomas Seymour, may have poisoned her in order to carry out his plan to marry Lady Elizabeth Tudor.

Lord Seymour of Sudeley was beheaded for treason on 20 March 1549, and Mary Seymour was taken to live with the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, a close friend of Catherine's. Catherine's other jewels were kept in a coffer with five drawers at Sudeley and this was sent to the Tower of London on 20 April 1549, and her clothes and papers followed in May. After a year and a half, on 17 March 1550, Mary's property was restored to her by an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

, easing the burden of the infant's household on the duchess. The last mention of Mary Seymour on record is on her second birthday, and although stories circulated that she eventually married and had children, most historians believe she died as a child at Grimsthorpe Castle
Grimsthorpe Castle
Grimsthorpe Castle is a country house in Lincolnshire, England four miles north-west of Bourne on the A151. It lies within a 3,000 acre park of rolling pastures, lakes, and woodland landscaped by Capability Brown...

.

Remains


In 1782, a gentleman by the name of John Locust discovered the coffin of Queen Catherine at the ruins of the Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle is a castle located near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. It dates from the 10th century, but the inhabited portion is chiefly Elizabethan. The castle has a notable garden, which is designed and maintained to a very high standard. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial...

 chapel. He opened the coffin and observed that the body, after 234 years, was in a surprisingly good condition. Reportedly the flesh on one of her arms was still white and moist. After taking a few locks of her hair, he closed the coffin and returned it to the grave.

The coffin was opened a few more times in the next ten years and in 1792 some drunken men buried it upside down and in a rough way. When the coffin was officially reopened in 1817, nothing but a skeleton remained. Her remains were then moved to the tomb of Lord Chandos whose family owned the castle at that time. The tomb was carefully restored by order of the late Duchess of Buckingham, Lady Anne Greville, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Chandos
James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos
James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos PC , styled Marquess of Carnarvon from 1744 to 1771, was a British peer and politician.-Background:...

. In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir John Scott and a proper altar-tomb was erected for Queen Catherine.

Iconography



The full length portrait of Catherine Parr by Master John in the National Portrait Gallery
National gallery
The National Gallery is an art gallery on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom.National Gallery may also refer to:*Armenia: National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan*Australia:**National Gallery of Australia, Canberra...

 was for many years thought to represent Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

. The painting has recently been re-identified as Catherine Parr, with whose name it was originally associated. The full-length format was very rare in portraits of this date, and was usually used only for very important sitters. Lady Jane Grey, although of royal blood, was a relatively obscure child of eight when this was painted; it was to be another eight years before her disastrous and short-lived reign. The distinctive crown shaped jewel which the sitter wears can be traced to an inventory of jewels belonging to Catherine Parr and the cameo beads appear to have belonged to Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard , also spelled Katherine, Katheryn or Kathryn, was the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, and sometimes known by his reference to her as his "rose without a thorn"....

, from whom they would have passed to her successor as queen.

Film and Stage


Catherine first appeared in cinemas in 1934, in Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

's film The Private Life of Henry VIII
The Private Life of Henry VIII
The Private Life of Henry VIII is a 1933 film about Henry VIII, King of England. It was written by Lajos Biró and Arthur Wimperis, and directed by Sir Alexander Korda.Charles Laughton won the 1933 Academy Award as Best Actor for his performance as Henry...

. Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton was an English-American stage and film actor, screenwriter, producer and director.-Early life and career:...

 played the king, with actress Everley Gregg appearing as Catherine Parr. The film makes no attempt to depict the historical Parr's character, instead portraying the Queen for comic effect as an over-protective nag.

In 1952, a romanticised version of Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

's obsession with Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 saw Stewart Granger
Stewart Granger
Stewart Granger was an English-American film actor, mainly associated with heroic and romantic leading roles. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s rising to fame through his appearances in the Gainsborough melodramas.-Early life:He was born James Lablache Stewart in Old...

 as Seymour, Jean Simmons
Jean Simmons
Jean Merilyn Simmons, OBE was an English actress. She appeared predominantly in motion pictures, beginning with films made in Great Britain during and after World War II – she was one of J...

 as the young Elizabeth and screen legend Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr, CBE was a Scottish film and television actress from Glasgow. She won the Sarah Siddons Award for her Chicago performance as Laura Reynolds in Tea and Sympathy, a role which she originated on Broadway, a Golden Globe Award for the motion picture The King and I, and was a three-time...

 as Parr in the popular film Young Bess
Young Bess
Young Bess is a 1953 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about the early life of Elizabeth I, from her turbulent childhood to the eve of her accession to the throne of England...

.

In 1970, in "Catherine Parr", a 90-minute BBC television drama (the last in a 6-part series, entitled The Six Wives of Henry VIII) Catherine was played by Rosalie Crutchley
Rosalie Crutchley
Rosalie Crutchley was an English actress. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Crutchley was best known for her television performances, but had a long and successful career in the theatre and in films, making her stage debut at least as early as 1932 and her screen debut in 1947...

 opposite Keith Michell
Keith Michell
Keith Michell is an Australian actor, particularly noted for his television and film performances as King Henry VIII of England.- Early life :He was born in Adelaide and brought up in Warnertown, near Port Pirie...

's Henry. In this, Catherine's love of religion and intellectual capabilities were highlighted. Crutchley reprised her role as Catherine Parr in Part 1 of a 6-part series on the life of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 in 1971, called Elizabeth R
Elizabeth R
Elizabeth R is a BBC television drama serial of six 85-minute plays starring Glenda Jackson in the title role. It was first broadcast on BBC2 from February to March 1971, through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia and broadcast in America on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.- Episodes...

with Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
Glenda May Jackson, CBE is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate...

 in the title role.

In 1973, Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Barbara Leigh-Hunt , Bath, England, is a British actress who has appeared on stage, film, television and radio.-Career:...

 played a matronly Catherine in Henry VIII and his Six Wives
Henry VIII and His Six Wives
Henry VIII and His Six Wives is a 1972 film version of the famous BBC television series The Six Wives of Henry VIII, it was written by Ian Thorne and directed by Waris Hussein.-Description:...

, with Keith Michell once again playing Henry. In 2000, Jennifer Wigmore played Catherine Parr in the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 television drama aimed at teenagers, Elizabeth: Red Rose of the House of Tudor. A year later, Caroline Lintott played Catherine in Professor David Starkey's documentary series on Henry's queens.

In October 2003, in a two-part British television series on Henry VIII
Henry VIII (TV serial)
Henry VIII is a two-part British television serial produced principally by Granada Television for ITV. It chronicles the life of Henry VIII of England from the disintegration of his first marriage to an aging Spanish princess until his death following a stroke in 1547, by which time he had married...

, Catherine was played by Clare Holman
Clare Holman
Clare Margaret Holman is an English actress, perhaps most famous for her role of forensic pathologist Dr. Laura Hobson in the television series Inspector Morse and Lewis.-Acting:...

. The part was relatively small, given that the drama's second part focused more on the stories of Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for trumped up charges of high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of...

 and Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard , also spelled Katherine, Katheryn or Kathryn, was the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, and sometimes known by his reference to her as his "rose without a thorn"....

.

In March 2007, Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

 performed the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition winner "Highness" which documents the life of Catherine Parr and her relationships with King Henry and his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I, to whom she was a stepmother.

She has been the subject of several novels, including two entitled The Sixth Wife, and she is a supporting character in both the fourth and fifth Matthew Shardlake mystery, Revelation
Revelation (C. J. Sansom novel)
Revelation is a crime novel by British author C. J. Sansom. It is Sansom's fifth novel, and the fourth in the Matthew Shardlake series. Set in 1543 during the reign of King Henry VIII, it follows hunchbacked lawyer Shardlake and his assistant, Jack Barak as they hunt the killer of a fellow...

and Heartstone
Heartstone (Sansom novel)
Heartstone is a historical crime novel by British author C. J. Sansom. It is Sansom's sixth novel, and the fifth in the Matthew Shardlake series. Set in the 16th century during the reign of King Henry VIII, the events of the novel take place in the summer of 1545...

.


She was portrayed by actress Joely Richardson
Joely Richardson
Joely Kim Richardson is an English actress, most known recently for her role as Queen Catherine Parr in the Showtime television show The Tudors and Julia McNamara in the television drama Nip/Tuck...

 on the fourth and final season of Showtime’s The Tudors
The Tudors
The Tudors is a Canadian produced historical fiction television series filmed in Ireland, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable television channel Showtime...

, which was first broadcast in Spring 2010.

Catherine features in The Dark Rose, Volume 2 of The Morland Dynasty
The Morland Dynasty
The Morland Dynasty is a series of historical novels by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, based around the Morland family of York, England and their national and international relatives and associates.There are currently thirty-two books in the series...

 a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is a prolific and successful British novelist, best known for her Morland Dynasty series.Cynthia Harrod-Eagles was born in Shepherd's Bush, London and educated at Burlington School. Her first successful novel was The Waiting Game , and she became a full-time writer in...

. The lead female character, Nanette Morland, is educated alongside Catherine and is later re-acquainted with her when she becomes Queen.

Music

  • Rick Wakeman
    Rick Wakeman
    Richard Christopher Wakeman is an English keyboard player, composer and songwriter best known for being the former keyboardist in the progressive rock band Yes...

     recorded the piece "Catherine Parr" for his 1973 album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII (album)
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII is the debut studio album from the English keyboardist and composer Rick Wakeman, released in January 1973 on A&M Records. It is an instrumental progressive rock album with its concept based on his interpretations of the musical characteristics of the six wives of Henry...

    . On his 2009 live version of the album
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII Live at Hampton Court Palace
    -DVD and Blu-ray:-Personnel:* Rick Wakeman – Roland JD-800, Hammond Organ, Moog Mini-moog, Korg M3, Korg OASYS, Roland Fantom-X , Moog Voyager, Manikin Memotron , Roland V-Synth, keytar, piano.* Dave Colquhoun – electric guitar...

     the track's spelling is changed to "Katherine Parr".

Historiography


The popular myth that Catherine acted more as her husband's nurse than his wife was born in the 19th century from the work of Victorian moralist and proto-feminist, Agnes Strickland
Agnes Strickland
Agnes Strickland was an English historical writer and poet.-Biography:The daughter of Thomas Strickland of Reydon Hall, Suffolk, Agnes was educated by her father, and began her literary career with a poem, Worcester Field, followed by The Seven Ages of Woman and Demetrius...

. This assumption has been challenged by David Starkey
David Starkey
David Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British constitutional historian, and a radio and television presenter.He was born the only child of Quaker parents, and attended Kendal Grammar School before entering Cambridge through a scholarship. There he specialised in Tudor history, writing a thesis on King...

 in his book Six Wives in which he points out that such a situation would have been vaguely obscene to the Tudors, given that Henry had a huge staff of physicians waiting on him hand and foot, and Catherine was a woman expected to live up to the heavy expectations of Queenly dignity. Parr is usually portrayed in cinema and television by actresses who are much older than the queen, who was in her early 30s when she was Henry's wife and was about 36 years old at the time of her death.

Catherine's good sense, moral rectitude, compassion, firm religious commitment, and strong sense of loyalty and devotion have earned her many admirers among historians. These include David Starkey
David Starkey
David Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British constitutional historian, and a radio and television presenter.He was born the only child of Quaker parents, and attended Kendal Grammar School before entering Cambridge through a scholarship. There he specialised in Tudor history, writing a thesis on King...

, feminist activist Karen Lindsey
Karen Lindsey
Karen Lindsey is a feminist writer and historian. She is the author of Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII, published by Perseus Books. She is also the co-author of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, with Susan M...

, Lady Antonia Fraser, Alison Weir
Alison Weir (historian)
Alison Weir is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British royalty.-Personal life:...

, Carolly Erickson
Carolly Erickson
Carolly Erickson is an author of historical fiction and non-fiction. She lives in Hawaii.-Novels:* The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette * The Last Wife of Henry VIII...

, Alison Plowden
Alison Plowden
Alison Margaret Chichele Plowden was an English historian and biographer well known for her popular non-fiction about the Tudor period....

 and Susan James and Linda Porter. Biographers have described her as strong-willed and outspoken, physically desirable, susceptible (like Queen Elizabeth) to roguish charm, and even willing to resort to quite obscene language if the occasion suited.

Some of Catherine Parr's writings are available from the Women Writers Project
Women Writers Project
The Women Writers Project is an initiative based at Brown University, with the aim of making texts by pre-Victorian women writers more accessible. The eventual goal of the project is to make available all English language works written or co-authored by women up to 1850...

.

Historical fiction

  • Catherine Parr's life as Henry VIII's queen is told in Jean Plaidy's novel The Sixth Wife (1953)
  • Catherine Parr is the subject of Mary Luke's biographical novel The Ivy Crown published 1984
  • Catherine Parr's life story is also told in The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson
    Carolly Erickson
    Carolly Erickson is an author of historical fiction and non-fiction. She lives in Hawaii.-Novels:* The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette * The Last Wife of Henry VIII...

  • Catherine Parr's life is also told in Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
    Alison Weir
    Alison Weir is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British royalty.-Personal life:...


Titles and styles

  • Mistress Catherine Parr (1512–1529)
  • Lady Burgh (1529–1533)
  • Dowager Lady Burgh (1533–1534)
  • Lady Latimer (1534–1543)
  • The Dowager Lady Latimer (1543)
  • Her Majesty The Queen (1543–1547)
  • Her Majesty Queen Catherine, The Lady Seymour of Sudeley (1547–1548)

Ancestry





External links


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