12 July 1543 – Henry VIII marries for a sixth and final time
Posted By Claire on July 12, 2017
On this day in history, 12th July 1543, King Henry VIII took Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, as his sixth and final wife.
The wedding took place in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, which can still be visited today, and was performed by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and was attended by around twenty courtiers and friends.
Catherine had been married and widowed twice. Her first marriage had been to Edward Burgh (or Borough), son of Sir Thomas Burgh and grandson of Edward, 2nd Baron Burgh, whom she married in 1529. Burgh died in 1533 and Catherine went on to marry John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape in Yorkshire, in 1534. Latimer died in March 1543.
Henry VIII was not to be Catherine’s last husband; just a few months after the king’s death in January 1547, Catherine married Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley.
Henry VIII had been married five times. He had had his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled in 1533 after just less than 24 years of marriage; his marriage to Anne Boleyn lasted just three years and ended in her execution in May 1536; his marriage to Jane Seymour lasted from May 1536 to October 1537 when Jane died following complications from childbirth; his fourth marriage, to Anne of Cleves, lasted six months and was annulled due to an alleged pre-contract and the fact that it was not consummated; and, Catherine Howard was his wife from July 1540 to her execution in February 1542.
10 thoughts on “12 July 1543 – Henry VIII marries for a sixth and final time”
I found it sad the way these women were treated I married young when women were treated like crap by men and few rights these women never stood a chance I’m glad Katherine of Aragon stood by her beliefs and didn’t fold she was a strong woman
Henrys sixth and final wife Catherine Parr who survived old Bluebeard, after his fifth queens death he had sunk into a deep depression and only after a few years had passed did he think about marrying again, Catherine was a good choice she was a widow, was sensible and mature and had nursed her ailing husband before his death, therefore she was used to illness and had the patience and kindly manner needed to become Henrys wife, she was also an intelligent educated woman and was the first queen to have her works published, though many at court suspected her of being a heretic and she was a friend of Anne Askews, Gardiner certainly suspected her of being one and had her apartments searched, though the queen having wind of this had her ladies hide all her books, she could well have gone the same way of his second and fifth wife for certainly there was a faction at court working to overthrow her yet Henry was fond of his wife who was patient and fussed around him when he was unwell, she was good with his children and they all grew very fond of her, Catherine was a successful queen and I doubt Henry expected her to have children, he being practically infirm by then and had to be wheeled about he wanted the companionship of a good woman, Catherine was attractive and although was serious she also had a sense of fun and loved to dress in beautiful gowns, she loved fine jewels and loved to dance and she took her role of queenship seriously yet she must have had many a sleepless night as Henry’s sixth wife, she was married to a man who had killed two wives and she must have felt trapped like a fly in the spiders web, the wedding ceremony was witnessed by only a few of the queens close family and her stepchildren in Hampton Court, the scene of so much of Henrys marital history and a witness of Catherine Howard’s hysteria, the palace must have looked beautiful that day did they decorate it with flowers I wonder? The ceremony was followed by a wedding breakfast and the finest swans and venison and boar must have been on the table, with tankards of the finest clarets and wines and fruits and dishes of sweet desserts, a Royal Tudor wedding feast was magnificent and the table must have groaned under the weight of its fare, Henry was in good spirits munching away happily and drinking yet I can see a rather pensive Catherine trying to make the best of her unwanted situation, she was not in love with the King, she had promised herself to another and had no choice when Henry had proposed to her, how could she say no to the King Of England, to wear the crown was an enviable thing, Katherine Of Aragon had fought so hard to keep her position as his wife and her status as Queen and Anne Boleyn had trod over her body to achieve that end, Jane Seymour had died because of it and Anne Of Cleves had regretted losing it, Catherine Howard had not respected it and now that sorry position fell to her, she did however succeed in keeping Henrys respect and affection and I believe she did come to regard him with affection also.
I find Katherine Parr as the wife Henry married too late. She was intelligent, good for his family, could debate and discuss everything with him, although she went too far one night and talked herself into almost being arrested for heresy, had the experience needed to nurse him if she had to and calm his moods, was well educated and mature and a capable regent. I can’t help but think that had Katherine Parr been available in 1538 and around the Court she may well have been the best fit for a fourth wife and married for quite some time. Who knows she may even have given him children. She had the education of the first and the subtle patience of Jane Seymour. However, Katherine could also speak her mind like Anne Boleyn and that almost got her into hot water. She was a published author and a natural patroness. Katherine Parr had many of the better qualities of the first three wives in one package and certainly brought everything Henry looked for in a long term partner as well as a genuine interest in his children.
I agree Catherine Parr had many good qualities, however your right about she went a bit too far one night and Henry growled that he didn’t need educating by his wife, it must have been hard in those days for intelligent women who wanted their voice to be heard and were suppressed by society’s rule that women were inferior and only fit for housekeeping and bearing children, this is where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr both rebelled, in Regency England Jane Austen wanted to write her first novel and yet that was a field dominated by men, women artists found their work was not as appreciated as their male counterpoints yet their skill was just as great, it was far far worse in Tudor times especially for Henry’s wives who had to be silent on such matters, Catherine with her orthodox views was treading on shaky ground here, Lacey Baldwin Smith in his book on Henry’s last days relates the tale where Catherine was bought the document for her arrest, she immediately fell into a fit of hysterical sobbing which he overheard and went to see her, he soothed her fears and next day they were in the gardens when Gardiner appeared with the gaurds, Henry enraged swore at him and the red faced Gardiner departed gaurds in tow, Smith says this type of behaviour was normal of Henry who liked to see how his people reacted after playing them off against the other, such behaviour he says is typical of a psychopath, Henry moved to pity by his wife’s tears decided she would not be arrested yet, she was a good nursemaid, she was a stable influence in his household and a loving mother to his three children especially little Edward who was just a child, like many men Henry did not like seeing women cry, it made him uncomfortable, Catherine herself had learnt a valuable lesson keep your mouth shut, her association with Anne Askew was dodgy and she had in her close circle many who were believed to be heretics also, when Askew was racked it was in the hope she would betray the queen and others yet this incredibly brave woman did not, Henry abhorred heresy and was determined to stamp it out, it is to Catherine’s credit that against all the odds she survived, Henry valued her caring nature and I believe he turned a blind eye to her views, he was old let her believe what she wanted, he wanted a calm woman who soothed him when he was irritable and in pain, that was more important to him, on his deathbed she was bought to him and he spoke of his regret that they should part, Catherine Parr is seen as a Bluestocking and Henry V111’s nursemaid but she was so much more than that, she was a loving maternal woman who throughout her marriage to him lived in the shadow of his other queens, how did she compare to them, he had loved Anne Boleyn like no other yet had ordered her death, Henry had married her for her companionship as well as her other qualities yet if she displeased him, would he order her death to? Henry did not love her with the same passion, It must have been in her mind constantly and we can safely assume when he did die she breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Perhaps it’s best that she did marry him late on. She may well have been brought down for her religious faith if she’d married the king earlier don’t you think? Hard to know, really, but I think it worked out for the best. I do agree with you, though, about her being the perfect wife for him. She had a good mix of the characters of the other wives to hold Henry’s attention but also to know when it was best to put up and shut up.
Yes I think what was in Catherine’s favour was the fact that she was his last wife, had they met and married in her youth I believe she would have suffered for that, she would not have had the discretion of an older woman and quite possibly would have spouted her mouth of too often but who know’s, she could have given him a healthy son, I think that would have made up for everything.
Probably did work out well. Truth is Henry is often hard to work out, but there may not be a perfect time to marry him, save at the beginning. He was definitely over his odd phase when he married Katherine Parr and chose a lady of maturity and dignity, experience, who could be a help in many ways, practical, not afraid to care for him or his children, of education, intelligence and had something in common with him, rather than for passion or lust and Katherine was a neat fit. Henry was grieving in 1538, but it is possible he would have found contentment and comfort in a Lady close to his experience and expectations. I don’t think it is possible to say how he would have reacted then to her heresy or if she would have worked her magic, but she only escaped in 1546 because she got wind of her forthcoming arrest. However, I think a King who had a young son in need of a mother, would certainly have found one in Katherine Parr.
Catherine Parr was Queen for the longest, next to KOA. There were rumours swirling around that Henry was looking to replace her when he got sick for the last time, so who knows? Could just have been talk. Henry had grown so restless that it was a miracle she lasted as long as she did. Given she survived the heresy crisis, I think Henry was really happy with her. Had he really wished to be rid of her, he had his chance. He put her in what he considered her place, and let it go at that. Had to suck for her, though, being married to a cranky, sick, stinky old man who could kill her at will. Henry only rarely seems to have been directly rude or cruel to his wives, he seems to have generally put on a kind face. She may have liked him, but she can never have felt safe.
I’m not totally convinced Henry wanted rid of Katherine Parr, despite the plot against her and her attempt to teach him but I think it was a bit close for comfort. He was obviously in a bad mood and could be put upon to open an investigation into her very obvious reformation ideas. By the next day he seems to have been more favourable towards her any way. She was lucky she got wind of the arrest warrant but was he just trying to scare her? I know the late David Baldwin and others have written that he seriously looked at Brandon’s widow, whose company he did find charming, based partly on the gossip of the Delft ambassador and his visits to her at home, but that doesn’t mean he was actually looking for wife no seven. Besides Katherine Brandon was even more outspoken and pro reform than her friend, Queen Katherine. I am now thinking Henry had had enough of moving through wives and was settled with KP. He hit a moment of madness, but realised he was better off as he was. Besides, this was one Lady who was prepared to look after his leg, which did smell, even though he tried to hide it and cover it up. It isn’t easy looking after someone with an embarrassing illness and in constant pain, but Katherine had cared for two other husbands with long term health problems, so she had the skill and patience to care for Henry. Another, younger wife may not have been so willing or able to manage the aging King.
Yes I agree I think by now even Henry was beginning to tire of weddings!.