25 Interesting facts about Catherine Howard

I’m continuing my “facts about” series on The Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel with a look at Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

Here are 25 interesting facts about Queen Catherine Howard…

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2 thoughts on “25 Interesting facts about Catherine Howard”
  1. Catherine was a daughter of the illustrious house of Howard one of England’s noblest and whose uncle held the title Earl Marshall, they were descended from the ancient Earls of Mowbray who had came from Normandy with the conqueror, snobbish and well aware of their royal pedigree, they had a descent from Edward 1st, they believed themselves superior in lineage to the Tudors, a fact that those monarchs were well aware of, the Howard’s did produce some colourful members, one of them was the arrogant Earl of Surrey who flaunted the arms of the confessor on his coat of arms, something which infuriated Henry V111 and led to his death on the scaffold, he was handsome charming and a very talented poet, there was Queen Anne Boleyn, whose mother was also a Howard and she is known to history for being the beheaded wife of Henry V111, strong minded opinionated highly intelligent, not pretty but striking and possessed of some kind of magnetism that attracted men to her, including the king, then we have Queen Catherine Howard, the daughter of the youngest son of the Duke of Norfolk lord Edmund Howard, she was from a large family having many siblings, but sadly lost her mother when she was a baby and was sent to live in the care of her step grandmother, her father was impoverished and believed Catherine would have the upbringing she deserved with her grandmother, the Howard’s it seemed were an attractive family because sadly for Catherine like her cousin before her, she to caught the eye of the king and was to tread the same path as she, Henry was enchanted by her but he did not know of her rather unsavoury upbringing and thought she was pure and unsullied, Catherine attracted several men in her youth and later at court, she had a rather sweet love affair with her music master Henry Manox and he was her first love, however this behaviour was deemed unsuitable when it was discovered, and Manox then left and left his sweetheart free to indulge in an affair with a certain master Francis Dereham, it seemed her grandmothers household was rather lax, and the ladies who were sent in her care entertained their lovers in the dormitory at night, feasting went on and it was an enchanting adventure for Catherine and the others, we can say in hindsight she was led astray by these women who were older than her and whose immoral example she followed, history has often painted Catherine as being an uneducated air head but she had a proper education befitting a Howard and could read and write play music, ride and dance well and learnt how to run a large household, she spoke no foreign languages but was certainly not ignorant, and although she could be imperious, was also very kind and generous spirited, and her portraits testify to her winsome attractiveness, she was very young when she came to court and was in attendance to the kings fourth wife Anna of Cleves, and later supplanted her as queen, but she was kind to her and the two became friends, Catherine liked everyone to share in her glory, history does not say much on her numerous siblings, her father had remarried and taken another wife, so she had several half siblings but her brother was involved with Lady Margaret Douglas the daughter of Henry V111’s sister Margaret, her mother had brought her to England after her divorce from her father, and a lady whose name was also romantically linked to another, and before that Sir Thomas Boleyn, Catherine went on a triumphant summer progress to the north with the king and her eldest step daughter the Lady Mary, it is said Mary did not approve of her fathers new wife who after all, was younger than her and we can see the two must have had little in common apart from their Catholic upbringing, there was some tension when the queen dismissed one of her ladies which must have angered Mary a lot, secretly she must have thought her father was acting like a foolish old man in his dotage, lavishing his young wife with gifts of puppies and jewellery and lavish gowns, and Mary was very pious like both her parents but particularly like her mother, and it seemed she preferred those who were of a said nature, maybe she thought Catherine a little too frivolous for her taste, one can be over protective towards parents when they know they are smitten by another, and she could have suspected that Catherine and her father were ill suited, there could have been some envy to, but Catherine made her father happy and their marriage it seemed was a success, but then temptation appeared in the form of a certain gentleman of the court, a member of the kings household and a favourite of his to, Catherine had had some thing going with Thomas Culpeper before her marriage, she had been hurt when he had courted another and she had then wed the king, but it seemed she still felt strongly about him, she should have left well alone which a much older wiser woman would have and it is her tragedy she did not, she became the second beheaded wife of Henry V111 and has sometimes been the object of derision and criticism amongst historians down the ages, I think Catherine was far too young to be queen, particularly to a dangerous monarch like Henry V111, she was a slave to her emotions and youth was her folly, she came from a very interesting and affluent family and when she fell, their fortunes suffered, and they never really regained their credibility with Henry V111, she lies now in the the grounds of the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula near the grim and forbidding Tower of London, where she spent her last days, whatever any can say about Henry’s fifth wife, she died boldly befitting of her noble blood, in Victorian times the floor of the chapel was unearthed and many skeletons were found, Queen Anne Boleyn was discovered it is believed and those of Lady Salisbury, who had been elderly when she died, the two dukes of Somerset and Northumberland, Lady Rochford also but Lady Jane Grey was never discovered and neither was Catherine Howard, their bones it is believed being tender because of their young age, dissolved in the limestone and so what is all that is left of them, is hidden amongst the earth, but Catherine at least does have a memorial amongst the other souls who suffered and died, which is testament to her sad story, which I feel really is the saddest of all the stories written about King Henry V111’s wives.

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