In my latest video, I’m looking at the fall of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII, in 1541 and 1542.

Catherine Howard’s fall is surrounded by misconceptions, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen social media posts about her being executed for committing adultery. That’s just not true.

Find out exactly what Catherine Howard, Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpeper were charged with…

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One thought on “Catherine Howard’s Downfall: Unveiling the True Charges Against Her”
  1. Yes it was considered treason to speak of the kings death also, Anne Boleyn made a foolish comment to Henry Norris and immediately panicked, telling him to go to his confessional and state that she was a good and virtuous woman, she was executed on charges of high treason adultery and incest, but with Catherine there were no actual charges of adultery rather the intention to commit such an act, it was her foolish beau who confessed to the intention of being lovers with her thus condemning them both, he must have known they would both suffer therefore I find his behaviour odd, I have said in the past I think he was insufferably arrogant and his confession sounds more like bragging, he showed no respect to the king who he had enjoyed a warm relationship with up to then, indeed his position at court was enviable, he was groom of the stool, a much longed for and exalted role as you were with the king in his most intimate moments, as for Catherine no matter how innocent she claimed the meetings were, being queen she was expected to be above reproach and her behaviour was not, but I feel the bill of attainder was unfair, there was no proof of adultery except her meetings with Culpeper which did look suspicious and one would be forgiven for thinking that they were not entirely innocent, it was no way for a queen to behave but she should have had the right to defend herself, instead the bill of attainder was passed and this shows the rage she had incurred in her husband, he had married for love and with her had begun to feel almost young again, it was said he even lost some weight he was happy and contented, they had not been married long and had just returned from a triumphant journey to the north, he had showed her of to his subjects and had later in the chapel given thanks to god for his perfect jewel of womanhood, then it all came crashing down about him, his rage was terrible, had she been in the same room with him I feel he would have murdured her as he said he would do, a law was passed that declared only virgins were allowed to marry the king in future, which as one contemporary noted, reduced the numbers somewhat! Henry V111’s court was just as licentious as the French court yet where it’s king actually encouraged immorality the English king did not, known to be prudish and finding coarse jokes off putting, Henry liked to see himself as a gallant, and he was indeed cultured a poet and an artiste, yet he had had lovers in the past in fact it was natural , to have mistresses was expected of kings from early times, yet he had been discreet knowing his first queen would be very hurt at his infidelity and he had respected her too much, but queens had to be pure and untouchable they were responsible for the bearing of children and the blood line had to be of her husbands, it was endangering the succession if she took lovers, and every other European country was the same, even so he enjoyed the game of courtly love, where poets sang of unattainable love to their mistress the queen, it was after all traditional but that’s where it ended, Catherine had over stepped the boundaries and she could not explain her meetings at dead of night with her husbands handsome young groom of the stool, worse they had a history, it was soon discovered that they had a thing for each other when she first was at court and he left her for another lady which devastated her very much, the damning note was found in his apartments where she spoke of her longing to be with him, it was inflammatory, Henry V111 has not inspired much sympathy amongst scholars and historians because of his tyranny and his execution of two wives, yet if we try to put ourselves in his mind at the time of his discovery of the betrayal of his fifth queen he does indeed deserve some of ours, he was apart from king, an elderly man in poor health who thought he had found happiness again with a woman whom he thought perfect, whom he adored and had esteemed very highly, now he was left disappointed again and worse – foolish, his feelings over rode hers and he disregarded her ignorance her extreme youth, the fact she had not been properly supervised in her girl hood and also his own very hasty decision to marry a girl young enough to be his granddaughter, I have often pondered on what his great rival the French king would have done with such a wife? Francois would have asked her no doubt who was the greatest bed fellow, him or her young lover, that would have bothered him more I suppose, but apart from jesting on his reaction to Claude has she been found guilty of the same behaviour as Englands queen, we know he would never have executed her for such weakness, there were shock waves throughout Europe when Henry beheaded Anne Boleyn, now she looked on aghast at the English kings latest matrimonial scandal with his fifth queen, although I have always had the utmost compassion for Catherine Howard she had the example of his second queen as to what happened to an errant wife, although Anne was innocent he had shown her no mercy, one would have thought the image of her tragic cousin on the scaffold would have warned the young girl queen of what could happen if she displeased him, but the feelings of desire she had for Culpeper overrode her common sense, her fear of discovery thus it happens to all women, not for nothing are we known as the daughters of Eve.

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