12 July 1543 – Henry VIII and Catherine Parr Tie the Knot at Hampton Court Palace

Catherine ParrOn 12th July 1543, Henry VIII married Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace. The ceremony was performed by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and was attended by around twenty courtiers and friends of the couple. Catherine’s supporters at the ceremony included her sister, Anne Herbert; Henry VIII’s daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; his niece, Lady Margaret Douglas; Anne Stanhope, the Countess of Hertford; Catherine Willoughby, the Duchess of Suffolk; and Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle and wife of John Dudley. The men included Catherine’s brother-in-law, William Herbert; Anthony Denny; Sir Thomas Speke; Sir Edward Baynton; Sir Richard Long; Sir Thomas Darcy; Sir Henry Knyvet; Sir Thomas Heneage; Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford; John, Lord Russell, the Lord Privy Seal, and Sir Anthony Browne, Captain of the King’s Pensioners

This was Henry VIII’s sixth marriage and Catherine had been married and widowed twice before, firstly to Edward Burgh (or Borough), son of Sir Thomas Burgh and grandson of Edward, 2nd Baron Burgh, and secondly to John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer, of Snape in Yorkshire.

The wedding was followed by a special wedding breakfast and a proclamation that Catherine was Queen. Catherine was the wife who “survived”, surviving a plot in 1546 and outliving the King, who died in January 1547. You can read more about her in the following articles:

If you’re interested in a book on Catherine Parr, I’d recommend Susan James’ Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love, Linda Porter’s Katherine the Queen and Elizabeth Norton’s Catherine Parr.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1537 – Execution of Robert Aske, lawyer and rebel. He was hanged in chains outside Clifford’s Tower, the keep of York Castle. Aske was one of the leaders of the rebels in the 1536 northern uprising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Notes and Sources

  • LP xviii. i. 873

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8 thoughts on “12 July 1543 – Henry VIII and Catherine Parr Tie the Knot at Hampton Court Palace”
  1. To me Catherine was the REAL lucky wife not Anne of Cleves as some people believe.Although they are both survivors I think that Anne may have had some feelings either for Henry himself or rather the position of being queen of England.So I think this may have been a bitter disappointment to her all her life.Of course we may never know the truth but I think if that was the case for her I wouldn’t consider her that lucky.Dreams unfilled and such.

    But Catherine on the hand was a crowned queen of England and actually out lived him.No unresolved feelings there.What happened to her after is another matter but as far as living through the experience I think Catherine came out the winner.

    1. I think Anne of Cleves simply might have felt herself useless for many years, since she couldn’t be queen and she couldn’t do much of anything else. However, I think she ended up with the happiest ending, outliving all of Henry’s other wives and becoming good friends with Mary I. Catherine, OTOH, was badly hurt by Thomas Seymour before she died … and her marriage to Seymour also hurt her good relationships with both of Henry’s daughters.

      1. I wasn’t really thinking about what happened to each wife after their experience with Henry was over but rather how he more or less left Catherine unscathed by it where as Anne was perhaps marked as failed women or wife in front of the whole of europe.Catherine was an acknowledged queen where Anne was not.I think Catherine came out if with more of her dignity in tact.

        1. I misunderstood you. I agree that, during Henry’s lifetime, Catherine may have been able to keep more of her dignity. However, after Henry’s death Catherine lost a lot of her status when she remarried. IIRC, Anne Stanhope (Edward Seymour’s wife) wanted the jewelry that Henry left to Catherine, on the theory that they were part of the royal jewels that she would get as the Protector’s wife, whereas Catherine was only married to the Protector’s kid brother. I don’t recall Anne of Cleves losing her gifts like this when someone tried to “pull rank on her”.

  2. Hello….back on planet earth after heavenly visit to Ludlow, left part of me there and on planet internet as free wifi was crap. This aside back on the site and back live…. very good post above and reminded me of another holiday in 2009 the 500th anniversary of the glorious succession of Henry VIII. On that visit we by pure coicidence went to Hampton Court on 12th July and they were doing the first of several reconstructions of the marriage of Katherine Parr and Henry VIII. You could spend the morning with the bride choosing her gowns and the dresses and materials were explained to you, you could spend the noon day with Henry in the wine cellar playing cards with Sir Thomas Seymour (who historically was actually sent on a mission abroad to get him out of the way as Katherine and he had the hots for each other) and with his favourite gambling buddy (sorry foget his name). Henry actually was not that good at cards and often lost the games. He seems not to have minded, paid up and just had a good laugh. It was a favourite pass time. Sorry I digress. You could then join Lady Anne Herbet for a backstairs tour of the royal apartments and learn more about Katherine and Henry and then come with her to the presentation of Katherine to Henry in the Great Watching Chamber. Here the King entered and was greeted by the visiting tourists, and performed again for the crowd; then he was formally escorted by two gentlemen and waited his bride who was escorted in by a male and female to be presented to the King. As you see with Anne of Cleves in the Tudors, Katherine had to make three genulfections to Henry, each deeper than the former. Henry and Katherine then went to the Queens closset to be married. This part of the palace is not open to the public and is probably in a later part of the palace now. So it was later in the day that we catch up with the newly married Queen Katherine and rather jolly King Henry. Greeting them in the main courtyard where the new fountain now stands was rather fun and got some great shots. Had also at some point in the day a close encounter of the Henry kind as he likes to roam the galleries and have of the cuff encounters and talks with the visitors. He was suddenly right behind me and gave me a fright. I managed a suitable bow. He was actually rather charming and full of whit and as I would have imagined Henry on a good day to be. The council chamber had been redone, as had the hall and the great gallary and the tiles had been replaced as they where back then. The room had an interesting display on at the time and was about the wives of Henry VIII with very rare objects and portraits of them and all about them. Some items where at the British Library for a special exhibition.

    One such item was the prayer book of Katherine Parr with very lovely red and golden velhem around the outside. It has her initials in golden thread on the outside. There was also a copy of the book that she wrote after Henry died: Lamentations of a Sinner. As you all probably know, especially if you saw the Tudors, something they actually took pains to get correct; Katherine was influenced by the reformers and educated with the children of Henry in whom she took a special interest and concern as a mother. She became more aware of the good of reading scripture and she became a convinced Protestant Christian. Katherine had ladies around her who shared this faith. The Duchess of Suffolk, Katherine Willoughby and Lady Herbert, her sister, and the Countess of Hertford, Anne Seymour where amongst them. They met to share and read regularly and patronised other reformers. Unfortunately Katherine went too far, debating and preaching to the King, who one night was not so much in a good mood and listened to Gardiner, who had married them, but now wanted to destroy the heretical influences at court. Henry was convinced that the Queen was a ‘heretic’ and agreed to her arrest. By a fluke the person who took the warrant had it shown to the poor Queen and she was warned. She was indeed lucky and wise as she made a plan to go to the King and make a humble apology.

    Katherine was very afraid and upset as her ladies had been arrested and questioned, their rooms searched, and a Lady of the Court, Anne Askew was arrested, illegally put to the rack and sadly she was burnt for her reformist beliefs. All the ladies hid their books and Gardiner was forced to give up. So he aimed for the Queen. Having seen the warrant before it could be enforced; the Queen came to the King and told him that she had meant no harm by her talks and that she had believed the King enjoyed their debates. She was a mere woman and only wanted to learn from Henry as her Head and King. She submitted to him and she vowed to herself not to push her religion further. By the encouragement of her friend, Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk, in the reign of the Kings son King Edward VI, who was a Protestant; Katherine Parr published her book and became a confident reformer. Both ladies patronised reformers and invited them to the palace and to their homes. This may also account for the King allowing his son to be raised by reformist tutors.

    I believe that Katherine had a great deal of common sense, much as Anne of Cleves did and that both ladies had fortune because they knew how to use that intelligence and common sense well. She was less fortunate however in her last choice of husband Sir Thomas Seymour as his wandering eye, his alleged abuse of Princess Elizabeth and his eye for her; and his neglect of his wife may have led to a decline in her health during her pregnancy. She was well into her 30s when she gave birth to her daughter and she died soon afterwards. Katherine died in 1548 and is buried in a fine tomb in the chaple at Sudley House a home firmly connected with the Parrs and the Seymours.

    1. I was there too, Hampton that is on the 500th anniversary, and saw the re-constructions of the wedding, Catherine being dressed, her introduction by Henry of his ‘New’ wife etc. It was a great day, and over too quickly… one I will remember for ever. Did you wear one of the tudor design ‘coats’ that were available for the public?

  3. In her painting she looks anxious she doesn’t look happy hardly surprising, must have been awful being married to Henry I bet Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard was never far from her thoughts, how must she have felt when he asked her to marry him, I bet she felt like topping herself.

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