On this day in Tudor history, 12th July 1543, the twice widowed Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, married King Henry VIII as his sixth and final wife.
The thirty-one-year-old Catherine married fifty-two-year-old Henry in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.
In the video and transcript below, I share a contemporary account of the wedding service, and give details on who attended the ceremony.
On this day in Tudor history, 12th July 1543, the fifty-two-year-old King Henry VIII married thirty-one-year-old Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.
Here is an account of the service by Richard Watkins, the King’s prothonotary:
“On 12 July 1543, 35 year Henry VIII., in an upper oratory called “the Queen’s Privy closet” within the honor of Hampton Court, Westminster. diocese, in presence of the noble and gentle persons named at the foot of this instrument and of me, Richard Watkins, the King’s prothonotary, the King and lady Katharine Latymer, alias Parr, being met there for the purpose of solemnising matrimony between them, Stephen bishop of Winchester proclaimed in English (speech given in Latin) that they were met to join in marriage the said King and Lady Katharine, and if anyone knew any impediment thereto he should declare it.
The licence for the marriage without publication of banns, sealed by Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury and dated 10 July 1543, being then brought in, and none opposing but all applauding the marriage, the said bishop of Winchester put the questions (recited) to which the King, hilari vultu, [with a smiling face], replied “Yea”, and the lady Katharine also replied that it was her wish.
And then the King taking her right hand, repeated after the Bishop the words, “I, Henry, take thee, Katharine, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth.” Then, releasing and again clasping hands, the lady Katharine likewise said “I, Katharine, take thee Henry to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonair and buxom in bed and at board, till death us depart, and thereto I plight unto thee my troth.”
The putting on of the wedding ring and proffer of gold and silver (described) followed; and the Bishop, after prayer, pronounced a benediction. The King then commanded the prothonotary to make a public instrument of the premises.”
Watkins also recorded who was present at the wedding: John, Lord Russell, keeper of the Privy Seal; Sir Anthony Browne, Captain of the King’s pensioners; Thomas Heneage; Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford; Henry Knyvet; Richard Long; Thomas Darcy; Edward Baynton; Thomas Speke; Anthony Denny; William Herbert, Catherine’s brother-in-law; the king’s daughters, Ladies Mary and Elizabeth; Margaret Douglas his niece; Katharine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk; Anne Stanhope, Countess of Hertford; Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, and Anne Herbert, Catherine’s sister.
Catherine was King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife, and Henry was her third husband. Catherine had been 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.
The king and Catherine’s marriage lasted until Henry VIII’s death on 28th January 1547 and Catherine went on to marry Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, just a few months later. Catherine died on 5th September 1548 at Sudeley Castle, just a few days after giving birth to a daughter, Mary.