21 January 1542 – The Bill of Attainder against Catherine Howard and Lady Rochford

Posted By on January 21, 2014

Catherine Howard sketch On 21st January 1542 a bill of attainder against Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Rochford was introduced into the House of Lords. According to this bill, the women were guilty of treason and could be punished without there being any need for a trial.

Retha Warnicke points out that although the bill was introduced into Parliament on 21st January 1542, it was not passed on that day. She writes that there seemed to have been “uncertainty among the judges, however, about whether the former queen’s offence constituted treason”, so it was read again on 28th and again postponed. It finally “received the king’s assent, given in absentia by letters patent, on 11 February”.

Here is the record of the attainder from Letters and Papers:

“Attainder of Katharine Howard and others.—Katharine Howard whom the King took to wife is proved to have been not of pure and honest living before her marriage, and the fact that she has since taken to her service one Francis Dereham, the person with whom she “used that vicious life before,” and has taken as chamberer a woman who was privy to her naughty life before, is proof of her will to return to her old abominable life. Also she has confederated with lady Jane Rocheford, widow, late wife of Sir Geo. Boleyn, late lord Rocheford, to “bring her vicious and abominable purpose to pass” with Thos. Culpeper, late one of the King’s Privy Chamber, and has met Culpeper in “a secret and vile place,” at 11 o’clock at night, and remained there with him until 3 a.m., with only “that bawd, the lady Jane Rocheford.” For these treasons, Culpeper and Dereham have been convicted and executed, and the Queen and lady Rochford stand indicted.

 

The indictments of such as have lately suffered are hereby approved, and the said Queen and lady Rochford are, by authority of this Parliament, convicted and attainted of high treason, and shall suffer accordingly; and the said Queen, lady Rocheford, Culpeper, and Dereham shall forfeit to the Crown all possessions which they held on 25 Aug. 33 Hen. VIII. The Royal assent to this Act shall be given by commission. And where Agnes duchess of Norfolk, widow, and Katharine countess of Bridgewater, wife of Henry earl of Bridgewater, are indicted of misprision of treason for concealing the first treasons, and lord William Howard, lady Margaret Howard his wife, Edw. Walgrave, Kath. Tylney, Alice Restwold, Joan Bulmer, Anne Howard, Robt. Damporte, Malyn Tylney, Marg. Bennet, and Wm. Assheby have been convicted of the said misprision, all of them shall forfeit their goods to the King, and be imprisoned for life, and the King shall take the revenues of their lands from 1 Oct. 33 Hen. VIII. for term of their lives. To avoid doubts in future, it is declared that the Royal assent given by commission shall be valid in all cases hereafter, that any lightness of the queen for the time being may be revealed to the King or his Council, and that an unchaste woman marrying the King shall be guilty of high treason.”

As an eye-witness to the proceedings later pointed out, Catherine was not attainted for adultery, but rather for her “dissolute life previous to her marriage” and this bill of attainder also made it treason for “an unchaste woman” to marry the King. This emphasis on Catherine’s colourful past, rather than her alleged adultery with Thomas Culpeper, may explain why Francis Dereham suffered a full traitor’s death (he was hanged, drawn and quartered) whereas Thomas Culpeper was beheaded. Of course, it may just have been because Culpeper was Henry VIII’s groom.

Catherine and Jane were beheaded at the Tower of London on 13th February 1542 and laid to rest in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1556 – Death of Eustace Chapuys, former Imperial ambassador, in Louvain, the place he had retired to in 1549. He was laid to rest in the Chapel of Louvain College, the college he had founded. See Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador for more on him.

Notes and Sources

  • Warnicke, Retha (2004) ‘Katherine [Katherine Howard] (1518×24–1542)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press.
  • LP xvii. 28 ii Acts printed in the Statutes at Large, but not entered on the Parliament Roll, C21
  • Hansard, Thomas Curson (1821) The Parliamentary Debates, Volume 3, Great Britain. Parliament, p754

34 thoughts on “21 January 1542 – The Bill of Attainder against Catherine Howard and Lady Rochford”

  1. Tracy says:

    I will never understand Henry VIII hypocrisy on this matter. I try too decide was it is ego, his pride, etc. i know the mindset was different for how men and women were looked at, but went too far I believe. Rather then charging her, and beheading her, he simply should of dismissed her. I think her actions were wrong but no different from his. Too bad Catherine of Aragon just didnt do too him, what Catherine the Great did too Peter. Usurped an incapable leader.

  2. Jamie says:

    Perhaps the reason the emphasis in the attainder is on the sexual behavior before her marriage rather than the adultery during the marriage is to establish her as being a corrupt and sexually promiscuous woman from the start. Henry and his advisors might have thought this was the best way to protect him from the inevitable cliche about the aging man cuckolded by a younger wife ( with a younger man.) By emphasizing her early sexual behavior, they might have been trying to portray her as an insatiable sexual deviant who could not be satisfied. Doubt had already been raised about Henry’s virility during the trial of the Boleyns. Wanting to keep his options open in the European marriage market (if only as a bargaining tool,) he would not have wanted to chance another reason for his “manhood” to be questioned.

  3. Jamie says:

    Perhaps the reason the emphasis in the attainder is on the sexual behavior before her marriage rather than the adultery during the marriage is to establish her as being a corrupt and sexually promiscuous woman from the start. Henry and his advisors might have thought this was the best way to protect him from the inevitable cliche about the aging man cuckolded by a younger wife ( with a younger man.) By emphasizing her early sexual behavior, they might have been trying to portray her as an insatiable sexual deviant who could not be satisfied. Doubt had already been raised about Henry’s virility during the trial of the Boleyns. Wanting to keep his options open in the European marriage market (if only as a bargaining tool,) he would not have wanted to chance another reason for his “manhood” to be questioned.

  4. Mary Ann Cade says:

    I wonder if the reason they chose to focus on her behavior before her marriage to Henry VIII is because of the familiarity she had with Francis Dereham. When it came out that they had called one another “husband” and “wife” by their own admissions, it constituted something like a common law marriage despite no formal ceremony having occurred.

    Because of this, in Henry’s mind, Dereham had “ruined” Henry’s “rose without a thorn” and shattered her virginal and innocent image forever, taking Henry’s second chance at being young again with a young wife and the possibility of more heirs. This is why, I believe, he exerted the full punishment of a traitor’s death on Dereham and only beheaded Culpepper.

    I also believe that in Henry’s mind, Dereham’s behavior in coming back to court, presumably for a position (either out of blackmail or the possibility of resuming their relations) made Henry look like a cuckold and laughing stock to the rest of the European world, which was also unforgivable.

    By focusing on her behavior before her marriage to the King, specifically, her relationship with Dereham, it made it easy to annul the marriage to the King.

    1. Lisa H says:

      I think you have the right of it. If there was one thing Henry couldn’t stand, it was to be made to look a fool; it was damaging to his reputation as a monarch. For his Rose Without a Thorn to be revealed as having a rather thorny past was bad enough, but to bring Derham into her household – that would have been the worst.

    2. Sunny Rowe says:

      She precontracted herself to Dereham, thus making her ineligible for marriage without causing the king to be a bigamist. It also made him a laughing stock to his enemies, and Henry would never have tolerated that. However, the fact remains that he had his marriage to Anne of Cleeves annulled because she wa “precontracted”. He couldn’t do it twice and hope to hold any form of respect. He couldn’t do marriage adultry or witchcraft, because he had already gone through that with Anne Boleyn. He had put asside Catherines because she supposedly had consummated her marriage to Arthur. Henry was a brilliant mind, with an ability to plan and implement that which was in his interest. So Catherine had to die. If he couldn’t have her, nobody could. It’s called jealousy.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery, incest and treason, not witchcraft.

        1. Nicholas says:

          Ann wasn’t formally charged with witchcraft, but she most certainly was accused by some of being a witch. Henry for example said that he only married her because she “bewitched him”. No one in 16th century England used the word “bewitched” to imply “persuaded me to marry her with her good looks and manners”. In her last miscarriage, Ann gave birth to what Chapuys – ambassador to Chares V – called, a “monster”. Such births were associated then in the popular mind with witchcraft, being either caused by it, or by God in response to it.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Nicholas, yes some people thought Anne capable of anything but there is no evidence to support the myth about her being accused of witchcraft or even people calling her one. It’s a myth. Unfortunately it’s a popular myth which persists today.

          Henry made an off the cuff remark to a courtier about thinking he was bewitched which was a way of saying he was lurred by passion, a figure of speech and he didn’t really believe it. Henry could not accuse her anyway, as he would look forward saying everything he did up to now was influenced by witchcraft. Anne was called just about everything else, but never accused of being a witch.

        3. Banditqueen says:

          Chapuys didn’t say that Anne’s last miscarriage was a monster or mass of flesh and this is taken from Nicholas Sander, an exiled Catholic priest writing 60 years later. Contemporary evidence says her miscarriage was of a male child, her pregnancy being about four or five months. Nothing else. Two tracts from 1536 refer to some belief that a miscarriage could be down to malicious practice of witchcraft or bad behaviour but it was not generally held as a belief. Again this i is a myth taken from a theory by Professor Warnicke and made fanciful by novel writer, Philippa Gregory. It has no contemporary evidence to back it up and it is not accepted by most historians.

  5. Linda Joyce says:

    It’s almost incredible that Catherine should have behaved so recklessly and foolishly during her marriage with the spectre of what happened to Queen Anne perpetually looming over her. Talk about asking for trouble! In that tangled web of intrigue that was Henry’s court anyone with a ha’porth of sense would have realised the precariousness of Henry’s affections and modified their behaviour accordingly. It’s a case of making your bed and literally laying on it! I have always had difficulty trying to come to terms with Catherine’s personality, and I wouldn’t have touched Jane Rochford with a bargepole!

    1. margaret says:

      certainly agree with you .

  6. I really think that in Catherine’s case, it was a combination of her not being that bright, and not having been properly supervised as an adolescent in that house where she grew up. She has always seemed rather naive and immature to me in what I have read, although admittedly I have not really invested nearly as much reading into her life and sad end as I have Anne’s.

  7. Conor Byrne says:

    Linda, I think the problem is that Katherine’s situation is so often misunderstood. I agree with Retha Warnicke – the chances are that she was being forced, probably by blackmail, to meet with Thomas Culpeper. It’s no coincidence, I think, that she began meeting him at the same time that Henry VIII was ill and there were rumours of his death. Culpeper may have hoped to attain some influence over the young queen in order to maintain his own power at court should Henry, his protector, die.

    At the same time, Dereham was openly boasting about his conquest of Katherine during her youth and openly proclaimed himself to be her lawful husband, and he spoke of the king’s death. These were not noble young courtiers who admired a supposedly promiscuous young woman; they were ruthless political predators who knowingly exploited their control of a much younger girl to suit their own purposes.

    So it’s completely besides the point to talk of Katherine ‘not having any sense’ because what else could she have done – there were rumours practically from the moment she married Henry (caused by a priest in Windsor) that she was unchaste, and it’s clear to me that a crisis was building up in 1541 as more and more people got to know of her past. I think she was blackmailed into granting people favours to keep their silence.

    At the end of the day, it’s a very sad story, because it’s a case of a naive and harmless young woman who, by the way, was probably only about 17 at her execution (if you follow the 1525 birth date) who was neglected, abused and manipulated her entire life. Chapuys spoke of her “joy” when faced with news of her execution, and if it is true, I am not surprised that she wished to escape her woeful existence.

  8. As much as I admire Anne Boleyn, despite her not always decent behavior, her execution was horribly wrong. But the truly awful executions that took place during the reign of a Tudor monarch, were Lady Jane Gray, & Thomas More. Cardinal Fisher also comes to mind, of course. A holy man. That, alone, should have stopped Henry. But noone could prevent the “Great Hal” from having his way. The execution of these people was not only heartbreaking, but just wrong on so many levels. Katherine Howard does not even compare to Lady Jane Grey or Sir Thomas More…in any way. She may not have deserved to be put to death at such a young age, but she certainly did not leave any kind of legacy behind her. Thomas More & miss Gray were people that had so much potential, & I believe, strived to be good, decent people. Henry VIII , even being a king, had no right to take these three peoples lives.

    1. Nancy says:

      While Henry VIII was responsible for the executions of many people who didn’t deserve their fate, Lady Jane Grey was executed during the reign of Mary I, not Henry VIII.

  9. BanditQueen says:

    Let’s face it once the two men where condemned and executed it is not likely that Katherine had any chance of not being condemned as well. The choice of an Act of Attainer was I believe and some of the historians have commented on this; to avoid the embarrassing trial as with Anne Boleyn. Anne made a bold effort of defending herself in her public trial in the royal great hall at the Tower and made a lot of sympathy for herself. In fact if I recall, the judges and others were worried that she may sway things in her favour. Some books state that Catherine was given the chance to come to the Parliament to defend herself but did not take this chance. However, (sorry cannot recall which one) a recent study claims that the official chance was made but that it was not offered to the Queen; the council did not pass on Henry’s offer.

    I am actually a little perplexed that she would have been offered this chance as it seems rather unusual given former Acts of Attainer, but then one against a Queen is not a normal state of affairs. I am also perplexed as to how her actions before her marriage can suddenly become treason. Is this act also making it treason as well? From now on it would be treason for a woman marrying the King not to reveal her sexual past.

    Reading again the book by Baldwin Smith her early biograther he explains the law at this time and reminds us that it was taken that Katherine’s appointment of Dereham as her secretary was an intention by both parties or him to take up again their former sexual life so he was found guilty of presumption of treason. The same was for Culpepper who was wanting to have sex with the queen if given the chance and there seems to have been talk that Katherine would marry one of them had the King not been alive. So imagining the Kings death and presumption of treason and hey presto they were found guilty. But did that make the Queen also guilty? Did she have the same intentions or was she innocent and did they have the hopes of leading her astray; but she tried to remain faithful, not going further than conversation? Or did Katherine engage in or intend to engage in criminal intercourse with these men? That was the question that had to be answered

    But there appears to be a downgrading of the charges here in this Act and the council and King seem to be more concerned about the Queen’s previous life and the fact that she had not been pure before her marriage. Being condemned for leading an immoral life may seem a bit much to us in this century when so many do lead such a life with ease; but this was a different time with a different moral code and we cannot judge on our 21st century code. This was a time when religious belief and the code of life as laid down in the 10 commandments and the gospels ruled every aspect of life. The horror of this young woman leading such an unchaste life must have deeply offended the court and those who believed she should have kept herself to herself until she was married and this may have contributed to her condemnation. The Act makes it clear that there seems to be the concealment of her offences and unchaste life is the main offence and I believe this is crucial as it may have been this conceallment that placed any future children with the King in danger. I am not sure about 16th century thinking but the dishonesty of Katherine and her hiring of persons who knew about her life make the council, King and Parliament suspect that she had some devious purpose for doing so and that it was even worse as she was married to the King.

    Henry, however chose to put off the trial and the condemnation of the Queen and I also think this is odd. Did Henry still hope to save Katherine? Was he in shock by the revelations of her former life and the possible adultery? Did the doubts of the Parliament that the former behaviour constituted treason also find its origins in those of the council investigating this matter which took rather a long time or where they just trying to dig up as much muck and evidence that they could on the Queen as there was a lack of any real evidence of her actual guilt in the treason stakes? There are many gaps in the case against Katherine Howard and that she was condemned for her former life shows that they had a hardtime proving adultery and treason. It does not mean that she was innocent of these; I believe she was guilty of both and intended to go further; having a child to pass off as the King’s and then hoping to marry her lover after Henry’s death. I also believe these commissioners and members of Parliament believed that the Queen was guilty but could not prove it; so they did not find her so on the first reading of the bill; they were concerned and they attemped to find more evidence. More evidence was not to be had so they passed the bill with the King’s agreement. That is my thinking but who really knows what was going on here?

    I was also wondering why the case against Katherine Howard took so long to conclude when Anne Boleyn was arrested, tried and condemned and executed within 19 days?
    Anne some believed was the subject of a court conspiracy and as Henry wanted her out of the way it was all speeded up. There is also the enquiry of Oyer and Terminer that happened before the initial arrests were made and the so called confession of Mark Smeaton before the arrest of the other men and the Queen. This may have gathered enough so called evidence to bring a case against Anne and the rest of the case seems to have been contrived and very much rushed through. The investigations into the case of the men accused with Katherine took several weeks and then there is an almost two month gap again before Katherine is condemned and executed. There does not seem to be any rush at all in fact; the entire investigation is slow and more and more people are investigated and placed in prison for hiding the truth of her former life or that they knew about her treason. Where the Protestant elements in the court plotting the downfall of the entire Howard clan and their supporters or friends? I am not normally one for conspiracy theories, but in the case of 16th century court it is relevant as Henry’s life and rule was coming to an end and the factions were manouvering for places and stakes in the next reign. Get rid of the Howards and you get rid of one of the most powerful factions at the Tudor court, one with influence and wealth and one that had twice married into the royal family. The Howards had also married Henry’s son and had also married previous desendents of the Plantagenets; they had fingers in all the pies and were best placed to be named on a council for the protection of Prince Edward should he succeed as a child. The Seymours and others were the rising stars and were related to Henry’s heir by blood. They would have a reason to plan for the downfall of the Howard Queen and the last Catholic factions and those who wanted to go back to the old days. Her former life would give them free ammunition without any need for a trial and her lovers presumption of treason would provide the rest of the case. By interrogating the rest of the Howard relatives they hoped to find out other criminal intentions and use these to bring them down with the Queen. Those investigations took time and may account for the gap between her arrest and her final condemnation.

    There is also the possibility of the reluctance of the King to actually execute her. Herny did not believe the first accusations of immorality against his rose without a thorn and was calm when he asked Cramner to investigate and to question the Queen. As more and more of her former life came to life he still said he wanted to forgive her but when those accusations became more serious he had reacted violently making threats to kill her himself. This had given way to distress and shock. There is the possibility of making sure that he had enough evidence and that the two men found guilty were also having relations with the Queen; but why still wait after they had been executed on December 10th. Did Henry still feel he could find a way to forgive Katherine? Was he simply too much upset to care or to be able to make any decisions? Now there are natural delays; Parliament could not be summoned until after Christmas and New Year and the Lords had to be summoned back to court. The bill needed to be prepared and the actual charges sorted out and decided upon. Other than this; why delay? I think Henry was as uncertain and even as detatched about the entire thing as his ministers; there was a lot of confusion as to what was treason in this case and whether or not the truth had come out in full. Was there more to be revealled? The truth is that there are more questions and answers about all of the entire Queen Katherine Howard case and affair; and I believe that much of it has been lost through time.

    I still believe that Katherine was guilty of treason and adultery; her former life should not have been a reason to kill her. But then I cannot make the same judgements as her judges were able to; I do not come from her time or have their absolute sense of morality. I believe people can repent and be given more chances. If Katherine was seen as having a shocking former life then it was assumed that she did not intend to chance and this constituted in their moral compass and world view reasons to condemn her; and the simple thing was Henry agreed; the men had been executed; the Queen had to go as well.

  10. margaret says:

    Basically I would think any off the wives of henry 8 ,had to be almost saint like,and without any whisper of low morals ,scandal or anything previous to to their marriage to henry ,henrys wives had to be above all that ,for their own sake ,far too dangerous ,they would have known that anything could be brought against them by their enemies and indeed it was .

  11. HollyDolly says:

    It might be as you say Bandit Queen. Maybe what decided Henry on Katherine’s execution was his worry that maybe her ,,Culpepper and Dereham might be plotting to kill him maybe by some means. She certainly was no Catherine de Medici with her poisons and certainly wasn’t that bright or politically savy like Catherine.
    As far as blackmail from the two men it’s unfortunate she didn’t have Thomas Cromwell to turn to for advice on the matter if that was what was going on.
    As far as Lady Jane Rochford goes I think historians after all this time still don’t understand why or how she got invovled in the whole mess. Catherine may have turned to her becuase she was kin by marriage having been the wife of her cousin George Boleyn. But Jane after what happend to her sister in law Anne,, and having spent so much time at court should have known better than to get invovled in such a dangerous enterprise.

  12. Adrienne says:

    @Patricia – Thomas More had the chance to escape execution by signing the oath. He knew what he was getting into when he didn’t. And he did leave a legacy behind. Ever read Utopia? The tragedy is that Catherine Howard did not even have the chance. The idea that it her execution wasn’t a tragedy at all is ridiculous. All the executions of Henry’s wives and advisors were horrific. None of them deserved that fate.

  13. Ms. Ariel says:

    I agree @Linda Joyce, how could she do that!? And @Debroah Fleming has a point. Catherine had such a bad past, she was very naive. My mother and I discussed this at a point, and the thing is, with Henry you never knew what you had. He married Anne’s relative, and expected her to stay faithful!? He was almost asking for trouble before he could get her to marry him. Anne Boleyn is so courageous. In the fact that she did her trail with such integrity, but Cat never got that- which is what was expected with Baby Henry. None of the queens had a say, they all had to be above reproach, maybe not real guarded but always being watched and criticized. I wonder how much of the allegation really counted for when we had a man who charged adultery, but did adultery? Not to mention her being naive and her past: did it all ever matter to him? I’m a bit confused on Catherine’s short reign, I want to know more about what she did and how did Henry get even an inclined motion to hurt a child?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Katherine Howard was not a child.

  14. La Plus Heureuse says:

    If Katherine Howard really did commit adultery or treason – sleeping with anyone besides Henry during their marriage, that is (because everything else is bullshit to me) – then good ole Henry kind of had it coming, didn’t he? Had one of his wives killed based on made up charges that she was unfaithful to him, and a few years later has his pure rose without a thorn supposedly really cheat on him.
    Same goes for wanting to get rid of Anne for not giving him a male heir and marrying another to fulfill his wish; the mother of his son dies soon after birth and said son dies in his teens. Just about no one who isn’t really interested in history even knows that Mary I and Elizabeth I had a brother who reigned before them.
    Our pal Henry makes me believe in karma.

    1. BanditQueen says:

      I do not believe that people have things coming to them just because they had made a poor decision earlier in life. Henry was convnced that Anne Boleyn was guilty as were many others. It is only with hindsight and common sense that we know that she was not guilty as the dates that she was meant to have had sexual relations with others do not make any sense: she was having a kid or just had one when one third of the sexual crimes are meant to have taken place.

      The death of a woman in child birth is a common thing even for a Queen in this period and was very dangerous and risky. Children often did not survive either. We do not really know why Edward died in his teens and the girls lived; there are an entire world full of theories, medical and otherwise; but it cannot be put down to karma or the King’s previous injustice towards Queen Anne. It is one of those things. Yes in those days Henry and others would have wondered why God was angry with them when so many misfortunes happened to them but he certainly did not deserve to have either his wife or his son taken from him.

      Nor did he deserve to have a woman cheat on him; no-one does. We all expect and should expect fidelity from our partners. We all should also be faithful to our partners and Henry did his own share of cheating: but in a King it was expected and he only did so when one of his Queens was pregnant. There are a few exceptions but Henry did not have as many flings or mistresses as is commonly believed. Adultery was not a crime: it was a sin. Neither Anne or Katherine should have been executed for adultery. That is why other crimes where added to make it treason for the council and Parliament and court to condemn them. An Act of Treason from the time of Edward III made imagining the King’s death treason and this was made stronger by the Act of 1534. This made it treason to imagine or to say anything or do any act that could be presummed to be treason under these acts. This was added to the case against the lovers of Anne and Katherine and to the Queen’s themselves. This allowed some twisting of the law to suit the needs of the time. In the case of Katherine she was not given the opportunity to defend herself in court but an act of attainer made her guilty by consent of Parliament. This allowed for her to be condemned.

      Whether Katherine was guilty or not: she was old enough to know better when it comes to cheating on Henry. The example of his beheading one Queen was shocking and many women did not want to marry him when it came to his search for a fourth wife. It is unlikely that he would have executed a foreign Princess under these same circumstances but an English gentlewoman was his subject and therefore subject to his laws; no matter how unjust they seem to us. Katherine should have known better than to even think about having lovers. She should have been the very model of virtue in fact; something demanded even more of a woman than a man. Unfortunately she was not of good moral fibre and her former life did not make her Queen to Henry VIII material. Henry was kept ignorant of her former life and it is not clear who knew at the time of her marriage to Henry; he certainly was led to believe she had led a pure and sheltered life and married her believing her to be so and expecting her to remain pure during their marriage and faithful. It was not fate or karma that Katherine was not so; it was poor judgement on her part and a deliberate choice if she was guilty. It was also poor judgement on the part of the King as he did not look too closely at the girl that he was courting. He was fascinated with her and he did not enquire into her background too much. It must have been presented with a Katherine who was of good Howard stock and as such a woman who had a good background. Her virtues must have been resounding in his ears from her relatives and family and supporters of her cause. He saw a beautiful young girl in her late teens; a young woman whom he hoped could provide him with more sons and he accepted that she was suitable to be a royal wife. If Katherine was not faithful, that was her choice and not some mysterious pay-back by the universe or fate that the King deserved. I do not believe anyone deserves to have an unfaithful partner; she could have come clean over her promise to Dereham and she could also have waited until after Henry’ s death if she fancied another. After all Katherine Parr was in love with Thomas Seymour but set him aside until after Henry’s death; Henry also knew about him and sent him abroad. She did not cheat on the King and neither did three of his other wives.

      Knowing that Henry had executed her cousin for treason and adultery should have in fact made her even more determined to be a paragon of virture.

      1. Hannele says:

        When a prominent man in his fifties with poor health marries a beautiful young girl chiefly interested to have a good time, common sense should tell to him, that she marries him for his position and not because she cares for him as a man, and especially if he cannot satisfy her sexually, it is quite probable that she soon begins to look at younger men.

        Henry had evidently learned nothing of his own marital experiences nor f.ex. tales of Chaucer and Boccaccio.

  15. margaret says:

    The more I read about these people of tudor times,i more I am convinced they (all of then) had serious mental issues .

  16. margaret says:

    also their behaviour just beggars belief ,they all had blood on their hands in some form or another ,jane rochford and Thomas Boleyn both lost family members and what do they do ,crawl back to court .I just cant get my head around their mentality ,even if it was 500 years ago

  17. Wendy says:

    A bit trivial I know, but I always thought it was Katheryn, not Catherine? She signed her name Katheryn.

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Wendy,
      There was no standardized spelling in Tudor times and Catherine’s name is spelled differently in the primary sources. Historians handle it in different ways, some, e.g. David Starkey, pick the same spelling for all the Catherines (in his case Catherine), some differentitate between them by using a C for some and a K for others, some use the way that the woman spelled her own name etc. There’s not really a right way of doing it.

  18. The Rose crowned says:

    The “Act of attainder” making it treason by law to commit adultery not to mention non disclosure of ones past discretions last but not least even those who were deemed insane.

  19. Ann says:

    Catherine was a young woman and Henry was hoping for a second son — the Spare. Discovering that a wife had been unchaste before marriage and very likely during marriage wasn’t just about Henry — offended as he must have been — but also threatened the succession, should she have had a child sired by someone other than the King.

  20. Susan says:

    We all have opinions and we all think these times could be very cruel ! But u pissed the king off and you payed for it !! Katherine new she was playing with fire but was blinded by love she didn’t love Henry but loved the royal life ! Also let’s not forget the ladies in waiting boy could they be trouble makers perhaps if Rochford had not instigated the situation her past would never had come to light who knows !!

  21. Tammy Monroe says:

    You know she was still a child and had been wrongly used by both men & women for some time. I think everyone can see Henry had a “knight insshining armor” complex. He rescued Katharine of Aragon and restored her good name by marrying her right away. He rescued Anne by making her family nobility, the Anne nobility in her own right, then queen. Jane Seymour was a nobody and then she was Queen of England. Thomas Cromwell, Duke of Northumberland, the list goes on and on of people Henry pulled out of obscurity and in his mind, saved them. In fact it was normally when he had nothing left to save them from he began losing interest quickly. Had Catherine Howard asked Henry to protect her from the vicious players surrounding her, he would have silenced them all. I’m certain Henry knew she was no innocent maid but young and naive which produced the picture of innocence. It bothered him not, what bothered him was her appointment of said people into her service because of their past history. If she would have told Henry of their attempts of blackmail he would have stopped them and probably quickly enough to prevent any damage to her reputation. However, as I stated she was very young and some of these people had been manipulating her for a large portion of her life and therefore she gave into their demands because that is what she had learned to do at a very young age. That’s to bad, because Henry lived to play the hero.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      There was one other thing that Katherine could have done if she didn’t want to ask her ladies to arrange to meet with Culpeper anymore. All women have a good loud pair of lungs. You open your mouth and scream. Katherine Howard was not afraid to use her position as Queen to get Mary’s ladies dismissed when she allegedly disrespected her so why not use her position now? Culpeper could not even be in her presence without being sent by the King or her say so. Even though as a member of the privy chamber of the King he could share a table with her ladies, he could not come into the Queens private space. He certainly could not touch or speak to her without leave….she was the Queen…Culpeper was a servant. Servants could be dismissed, beaten, thrown out, even executed for looking at you the wrong way. Open your mouth luv, that’s what it’s there for.

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.