Parthenope and Iphigenia: The Posthumous Reputations of Queen Catherine Howard by Gareth Russell

Posted By on May 30, 2017

Catherine Howard from a Victorian sketch

I’m delighted to welcome my dear friend Gareth Russell, author of Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII, to the Anne Boleyn Files today. This article is the first of two and there will be a giveaway of a copy of Gareth’s book tomorrow so do look out for the second part.

Over to Gareth…

“You have heard of King Henry’s amours, always dissolute – sometimes fatal?” – Alexandre Dumas, Catherine Howard (1834)

After she was executed on February 13th, 1542, Catherine Howard, Queen of England and Queen of Ireland,1 passed not just from this life, but also into memory and its kinsman, fiction. Tolstoy’s remark that a king’s life becomes history’s slave is particularly apt in the case of Catherine Howard, who has given the world two spectres – one of sin, the other of sorrow. While she remained in living memory, interest in Catherine survived to produce spasms of remembrance for the rest of the sixteenth century. Almost immediately, there was an attempt to rewrite Catherine’s story as a grand love affair, a task undertaken by a Spanish merchant living in Tudor London. His tale, which included and possibly invented one of the most famous misquotes associated with Catherine Howard, proved enduringly influential.

The account, generally nicknamed “The Spanish Chronicle”, does not get off to a promising start with its Howard narrative when it misidentifies Catherine as Henry VIII’s fourth wife, rather than his fifth. The chronicler, whose identity is still a subject of debate, writes, “The King had no wife who made him spend so much money in dresses and jewels as she did, who every day had some fresh caprice. She was the handsomest of his wives, and also the most giddy. The devil, who is never idle, put it into this Queen’s heart to fall in love with a gentleman who, before the King’s marriage with her, was very much in love with her, and who was well beloved by him”. When this adulterous affair is discovered, the chronicle recounts how Queen Catherine was questioned by Thomas Cromwell, still alive in the merchant’s faulty but energetic memory. (Cromwell was executed over a year before Catherine’s downfall.) Queen Catherine and her lover are subsequently executed on the same day as one another (in fact, Culpepper perished on December 10th, 1541, two months before Catherine). On the scaffold, the chronicler’s Catherine addresses the crowd with the following words, “Brothers, [I swear] by the journey upon which I am bound I have not wronged the King, but it is true that long before the King took me I loved Culpepper, and I wish to God I had done as he wished me, for at the time the King wanted to take me he urged me to say that I was pledged to him. If I had done as he advised me I should not die this death, nor would he. I would rather have him for a husband than be mistress of the whole world, but sin blinded me and greed of grandeur, and since mine is the fault mine also is the suffering, and my great sorrow is that Culpepper should have to die through me.” The executioner kneels to ask her pardon, and Catherine then utters the unforgettable romantic vow, “I die a Queen, but I would rather die the wife of Culpepper. God have mercy on my soul. Good people I beg you pray for me.”2

The Spanish Chronicle’s story, and particularly Catherine’s third-to-last sentence, is without a scintilla of evidence. It is Catherine’s “let them eat cake” equivalent – a memorable piece of oft-repeated nonsense. The eyewitness accounts of the real execution are very clear that Catherine made a conventional speech – had she said anything like the words given to her in the Chronicle’s story, it would have been one of the most remarkable exits in Tudor history and one condemned, and remarked upon, by her contemporaries.3

A more thoughtful and honest contemporary reflection on Catherine Howard’s downfall comes from George Cavendish, a talented writer who had once served as a gentleman-usher to Cardinal Wolsey. In retirement, Cavendish wrote a series of first-person monologues which he put into the mouths of the Henrician court’s most famous casualties. Cavendish’s depiction of Catherine and Culpepper is remarkable for the restrained but tangible sympathy he displayed for the dead queen. I discuss Cavendish’s depiction of Catherine, and other sixteenth-century attitudes towards her, in the final chapter of my book “Young and Damned and Fair”.4 Rather than repeat myself too much here, I will move on to later depictions, after everyone who had known the historical Catherine was long dead.

For the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ debates over the importance of Protestantism and the power of monarchy, Catherine Howard’s story offered little to excite historians, polemicists, or playwrights, unlike that of her cousin and predecessor, Anne Boleyn, who began her long ghostly career as a favourite of scholars, novelists, and dramatists. With her typical panache for a grand debut, Anne’s first foray into fiction was courtesy of William Shakespeare – since then, for better or worse, Boleyn has never been out of the spotlight for very long. In contrast, it was not until the nineteenth century that Catherine once again became an object of sustained interest.

Alexandre Dumas

On 2 June 1834, audiences at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris watched the premier of “Catherine Howard”, a three-act play written by Alexandre Dumas, twelve years before he published his most famous novel, “The Three Musketeers”. Dumas had previously enjoyed great success with a melodrama set in the court of King Henri III, who had ruled France from 1574 until his assassination in 1589. Five years after his triumph with “Henri III et sa cour”, Dumas hoped to recapture that applause with his take on Catherine Howard.

Dumas’s play begins with a romance between an eighteen-year-old Catherine, scion of an ancient noble house yet raised in genteel poverty, and a young man called Athelwold. Fearful that Catherine’s earlier hardships have made her greedy, Athelwold has hidden from her the fact that he is the Earl of Northumberland and that, when they are apart, he resides at court where Henry VIII is divorcing Anne of Cleves and looking for a new wife. In the King’s words, “this time my queen shall be chosen from amidst the people – she must be young that I may love her, beautiful that she may gratify my pride, and wise that I may fearlessly confide in her discretion.”5 Catherine Howard’s ancestry and beauty make her a perfect candidate. One courtier assures the King that Catherine even excels “the beauty of Anne Boleyn, the grace of Jane Seymour” and that she will thus make a wonderful queen consort. A horrified Athelwold tries to save Catherine from Henry’s advances by offering her a potion that will produce a temporary coma with the appearance of death, not too dissimilar to the one taken by Shakespeare’s Juliet. However, when she hears that the King desires her, Catherine’s ambitions persuade her to leave Athelwold, present herself as a single woman, and accept Henry’s proposal. Driven mad by despair, Athelwold fakes his own death and then proceeds to “haunt” Queen Catherine. One evening, Catherine and an unhinged Athelwold are caught in her bedroom by the King, who assumes the worst. Athelwold chivalrously forgives Catherine for her earlier mistreatment of him and chooses to accompany her in death, since “We have reposed in the same bed – we will mount the same scaffold – [we] will lie within the same tomb.”6

Like many of Dumas’s works, “Catherine Howard” owed much to earlier authors. In this case, the premise is highly similar to a successful play called “Virtue Betray’d”, first published in English in 1682, and inspired by the life of Anne Boleyn, who had been actually been romantically involved with the future Earl of Northumberland as a young woman. Unlike “Virtue Betray’d”, Dumas’s “Catherine Howard” was neither a financial nor critical success. Although the play was translated into English two decades later, it did not enjoy many subsequent revivals.

However, just over one hundred years later when the British motion picture “The Private Life of Henry VIII” premiered at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, Catherine’s story had become a financial goldmine.7 “The Private Life of Henry VIII”, which focuses most of its narrative on Catherine’s rise and fall, made nearly a 1000% profit on its initial run. Twenty years later, when it continued to be periodically re-released in British and American cinemas, it was still capable of bringing in about £10,000 a year.8 Like Dumas, the film’s director and co-writer Alexander Korda portrayed Catherine as a young, beautiful, charming but greedy woman, who pursued a path of deliberate self-aggrandisement until she is destroyed by falling in love. In many ways, they echoed the Catherine of “The Spanish Chronicle” when she spoke of her “greed of grandeur, and since mine is the fault mine also is the suffering, and my great sorrow is that Culpepper should have to die through me.” Catherine is both condemned and redeemed by love, having fallen into trouble through ambitions that are unnatural or unlikable in a woman.

Binnie Barnes and Charles Laughton as Catherine and Henry VIII in “The Private Life of Henry VIII” (1933)

The role of Catherine in “Private Life” went to Binnie Barnes, a night-club singer with a few bit parts on her résumé when she was offered the contract to play Henry’s queen. The movie’s famous banqueting scene, in which a bejewelled and glamorous Catherine, one part Tudor queen to one part “Vogue” Art Deco cover star, cheers on a group of wrestlers while her husband tosses chicken bones over his shoulder, had to be shot so many times that poor Barnes felt physically unwell at the amount she had to eat. The sight of a new delivery of chickens and cooked boar’s head arriving every day from the grills of the nearby Savoy Hotel apparently nearly made her weep with frustration.9

In the century between Dumas’ and Korda’s versions of her, there had been an explosion of interest in Catherine Howard and the Tudor clan. As mentioned, Anne Boleyn had, like Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, been an object of fascination for centuries, but it was only in the Victorian era that Catherine and other less significant members of the family became the focus of sustained academic and popular attention. Far more so than anything left by her contemporaries, the ways in which Victorian scholars approached Catherine Howard shaped how she was, and is, viewed. Victorian historians performed their craft with unrepentant solecism. The growth of Victoria’s empire, the increasing prosperity throughout her kingdom, and corresponding faith in the superiority of Britain’s political system had nurtured a widespread belief in the manifest destiny of Britannia. To this worldview, Britain’s history was one in which she had moved with inexorable, glorious momentum through Magna Carta, the Reformation, the Elizabethan age, and the Glorious Revolution to rid herself by a process of cultural evolution of despotism, superstition, and foreign interference. For his role in the Break with Rome, “the hinge on which all [our] modern history turned”, Henry VIII was often presented as one of the founding fathers of the British Empire by his Victorian and Edwardian admirers, who argued that his actions “averted greater evils than those they provoked”.10

J. A. Froude, who considered Catherine a “foul” person

Unsurprisingly, this patriotic chauvinism did not generally view Henry’s wives with much kindness, since to praise one often requires condemning the other. In his twelve-volume “History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth”, published between 1856 and 1870, James Anthony Froude, a future Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford, described Catherine Howard as someone who “had disgraced herself as a woman, and cruelly injured him her husband”; Froude judged Catherine’s morals as “foul” and Henry’s conduct towards her “manly, honourable, and generous.”11 Victorian concepts of sexual propriety inevitably influenced their presentation of a queen who had apparently been executed for adultery. When he wrote a biography of his ancestor Sir Ralph Sadler, who had been one of Henry VIII’s private secretaries in 1542, the Victorian F. Sadleir Stoney could barely bring himself to sully his work with a discussion of Catherine’s career: –

The less I say about this scandalous matter, the purer my pages will be… Catherine Howard blackened the blue blood of the Howards, but fortunately she left no descendant to bear the stain; and whatever doubt there may be about Anne [Boleyn]’s guilt, there is none about Catherine’s.12

Yet, the nineteenth century was also an era of purple-prosed romanticism and its preoccupations with the perils of temptation against feminine frailty. Jane Austen excoriated Henry VIII, while praising the martyr-like virtues of Anne Boleyn; Charles Dickens thought Henry VIII had been “a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of blood and grease upon the History of England”, and the historian and Conservative MP Sir Charles Oman was repulsed by “Henry’s unbounded selfishness, of his ingratitude to those who had served him best, of his ruthless cruelty to all who stood in his way … [the] story of his reign develops each of these traits in its own particular blackness.”

Perhaps the most influential defence of Catherine came from the pen of Agnes Strickland, a strikingly beautiful and equally confident author whose works of history were so successful that they arguably birthed the genre of popular history.13 Agnes’s multi-volume “Lives of the Queens of England”, co-written with her more publicity-averse sister Elizabeth, presented Catherine as the victim of an abusive upbringing. Victorian publications were often heavily didactic and, while Strickland accepted that Catherine Howard as a “fallen woman” could not be presented as inspirational, she insisted that she could be pitied as well as held up as a warning: –

The career of Katharine Howard affords a grand moral lesson, a lesson better calculated to illustrate the fatal consequences of the first heedless steps into guilt, than all the warning essays that have ever been written on those subjects. No female writer can venture to become an apologist of this unhappy queen, yet charity must be permitted to whisper, ere the dark pages of her few and evil days is unrolled.14

The Victorians and Edwardians thus distilled two competing versions of Catherine as either vixen or victim, a dichotomy that was repeated with slight variations in most twentieth-century interpretations of her. Some continued in the vein of Strickland, portraying Catherine as a figure “surely more worthy of pity than condemnation”, a girl let down on all sides by those who knew her, manipulated as “a mere puppet in the hands of Norfolk and [Bishop Stephen] Gardiner”, who then abandoned her when she needed them most.15 In the early twenty-first century, Strickland’s version of a brutalised, betrayed pawn has been revitalised through claims by some of her biographers that Catherine Howard was a “vulnerable and abused child”.16 Elsewhere, the more critical school of thought espoused by Henry’s imperialist defenders has survived, albeit stripped of the florid patriotism that birthed it. A bestselling biography of Henry VIII, published in 1929, concluded that Catherine had been “a juvenile delinquent”, a phrase reused verbatim in Lacey Baldwin Smith’s acclaimed biography “A Tudor Tragedy: The Life and Times of Catherine Howard”.17 And, while Tudor enthusiasts often despair at the alleged inaccuracies of silver screen versions of Henry VIII’s family, the impact of non-fiction biographies reaches far beyond libraries and onto film sets. If they cannot always replicate every historical detail, it is still from the pens of academics that dramatists seek information when they research their scripts, thereby producing Catherines in popular culture that often closely reflect the interpretation of Catherine’s personality given by recent scholars.

Shallow and stupid: Angela Pleasence as Catherine in the BBC’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”

In 1970, nine years after Smith’s “A Tudor Tragedy” was published, the BBC commissioned a six-part series called “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, with each instalment penned by a different writer. The playwright Beverley Cross dramatised the story of Catherine, played by the fair-haired Angela Pleasence as a nightmarish, magnified version of Smith’s arrogant agent of Howard ambitions.18 The Catherine Howard episode opens with the eponymous character boasting in late-night conversation with her cousin Katherine Carey about recent love affairs with Francis Dereham and Henry Manox, bullying and dazzling the impressionable Carey in equal measure, until she is called downstairs to meet with her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who tells Catherine that he wants to bring her to court with the express intention of seducing the King and destroying Thomas Cromwell. After her marriage into the royal family, Catherine’s former lover Francis Dereham returns to London and blackmails her with the threat of revealing their former intimacy. The Queen runs in a panic to Norfolk, who is repulsed by her suggestion that he arrange for “an accident” that will remove Dereham from their lives. Instead, Norfolk advises his niece to become pregnant at the first available opportunity and when Catherine, who had wept with horror at the King’s obesity and impotence on their wedding night, hinted that conception might prove difficult, Norfolk replies that she should find another way. Shrill, vicious, duplicitous, snobbish and avaricious, the only real compliment paid to Cross’s Catherine comes from Francis Dereham, as he lies broken on the rack, when he concludes that the woman he loved was “shallow, vain, hot, stupid, but never evil.”19 The similarities between this Catherine and the conclusions of Lacey Baldwin Smith’s biography are striking.

Lynne Frederick as a tragic, innocent Catherine Howard in “Henry VIII and his Six Wives” (1972)

That trope first dramatised by Cross – of Catherine Howard as a girl with a past who is deliberately plucked from obscurity by her ambitious family to entice the King away from his German wife and who then takes to adultery in the hope of producing a son, either of her own volition or on her family’s advice – has been repeated many times since. (She is, for instance, given almost exactly the same storyline in a 2003 British television drama based on Henry VIII’s life.) However, not long after the BBC’s televisual version of her, a polar opposite characterisation was offered on the movie screen by “Henry VIII and his Six Wives”, where Catherine is portrayed as a clueless ingénue, almost illiterate, and touchingly naïve.20 Apart from their shared name and fate, the respective Catherines of 1970 and 1972 have almost nothing in common, reflecting once again the enduring dichotomy of Catherine as Parthenope or Iphigenia, siren or sacrifice.

As they grapple between the two, authors of modern fiction based on her life have reworked Catherine Howard’s friends, beaux, enemies and relatives many times. Her alleged lover Thomas Culpepper has been romantically involved with Catherine’s confidante Lady Rochford; Catherine has been innocent of adultery, guilty, or almost guilty; her confidante Lady Rochford has been mad, vicious, a saboteur or a bribe-taking sociopath. She has loved Catherine, hated Catherine, and remained coldly indifferent to her. Catherine has been a chaste and devout Catholic; she has been a seductress; she has harboured lesbian thoughts for Anne of Cleves. The Victorian dichotomy remains potently influential, yet it inevitably was also altered by interactions with feminism and changing attitudes towards gender.

Jessica Smith’s 1969 novel “Henry Betrayed” fixed on Catherine through the eyes of a fictitious childhood companion, Clarissa Daily, who befriends Catherine when she arrives at the Dowager Duchess’s mansion “without a trunk or any possessions whatsoever”.21 The Dowager, depicted as deliciously self-absorbed, barely notices that Catherine has arrived in penury and instead “drew the child in a kindly embrace, said she felt sure such a pretty little girl was as good as she looked, advised her to do as she was told, and put her in the charge of a Mistress Isabel, who was more preoccupied in her own forthcoming wedding than in the care of a poor relation”.22 “Henry Betrayed” is unusual in Catherine Howard-inspired novels, in depicting her as guilty of adultery with both Dereham and Culpepper. Lady Rochford accepts gifts from both men in return for arranging secret meetings with the Queen. The historical Dereham’s involvement with piracy when he was in Ireland was maximised and the novel writes of Catherine’s “delicious thrill in the masterful possessiveness of the bold buccaneer”.sup>23 Shortly before she is ruined, Catherine and Dereham are in bed together when they hear the King’s entourage approaching, so Dereham “escaped through the Queen’s window, this time stark naked, and Katharine hastily threw his clothes after him, taking great care that nothing was left behind, and then she opened the door to the waiting King”.24 The novel ends with Clarissa the narrator visiting Dereham, by then “just a heap of twisted humanity, groaning and crying out most pitifully”, shortly before his execution. The novel’s epilogue has the narrator kneeling in grief “beside the grave of the once-happy, thoughtless, kind-hearted girl who had been Queen of England”.25

“Henry Betrayed” is also noteworthy in its depiction of Catherine as both sympathetic and willingly sexually-active, a break from previous depictions that generally assumed she could not be the former if she had been the latter. Admittedly, in the same year as “Henry Betrayed” was published, a non-fiction study of the Tudor dynasty, written by a female historian, judged Catherine to have been “a poor, silly little trollop”, but as the impact of feminism and new views on sexuality grew such views became less prevalent.26 In 1995, the American writer Karen Lindsey praised Catherine as “a woman who enjoyed both sex itself and the admiration she got … from the perspective of a presumably more enlightened age, we should be able to recognize a kind of courage in her reckless affair with Culpep[p]er. Kathryn Howard was a woman who listened to her body’s yearnings, and in spite of all she had been taught, understood that she had a right to answer those longings. She was willing to risk whatever it took to be true to herself.”27 David Starkey, in his 2003 study of Henry VIII’s marriages, summarised the impact of the last half of the twentieth century on Catherine’s reputation when he wrote, “As a child of the sixties, I can describe Catherine’s promiscuity without disapproval … The long, withdrawing roar of Victorian morality inhibited generations of historians from treating this with anything other than disapproval and distaste. But we are past that now. We can confront sex as a fact, not as a sin. We can even, if pushed, see a sort of virtue in promiscuity.”28

Tamzin Merchant as Catherine in season 4 of “The Tudors”

In much the same way as Lacey Baldwin Smith’s portrait of a woman who “never brought happiness or love, security or respect, into the world in which she lived” inspired the remorselessly unlikable Catherine on British television screens in 1970, the last decade has seen Catherine emerge as a figure of liberated, feverish sexuality based, however tangentially, on the shift in her biographers’ attitudes.29 As interest in the Tudors thrives unabated, Catherine Howard has become a queen of bright-eyed carnality and cheerful sensuality. In the aforementioned 2003 drama, where she was played by the wonderful Emily Blunt, Catherine’s uncle Norfolk thinks nothing of pulling down her shift to clinically inspect her breasts before bringing her to court. Later, she receives Thomas Culpepper in her bath.30 In the television series “The Tudors”, Catherine (Tamzin Merchant) rides a swing naked, covers her body in rose petals, and entices Henry VIII with humorously seductive puppet shows. While the real Catherine did practice laying her head on the block before her execution, “The Tudors” chose to have her doing it in the nude, a vivid demonstration of the inextricable link between Catherine’s sexuality and her death. These modern Catherines are often likeable, even occasionally vulnerable.31 Our attitudes to sex have changed and so too has our deference towards religion. A play inspired by Catherine’s downfall debuted at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1998, in which Catherine’s chief interrogator, Archbishop Cranmer, usually fictionalised as a gentle mild-mannered cleric, is instead a manipulative man of faith, prissily self-righteous and spry with the truth.32 It offered a Catherine for a more secular age. But if the judgements have changed, the focus has not, and many portrayals of Catherine continue to turn almost solely on the question of her love life. Even the recent popularity of the theory that she was the victim of abuse and that this abuse explains all of her subsequent major decisions is in many ways tied to defining Catherine through the men in her life. There is, of course, some justification in doing so – if Catherine was abused, as many of her fine biographers have argued, it would of course have influenced her personality.33 I do not believe that the evidence suggests she was abused, but I too believe that her romantic life was crucial in explaining why she fell. However, if it explains the finale, it still seems unfair and myopic that it craft the entire story. To gaze at the Catherine still presented in popular culture, who she slept with and why remains, unfortunately, the crucible upon which many of us make our judgements of her.

Gareth Russell is the author of Young and Damned and Fair, a new biography of Queen Catherine Howard, published in 2017. He is also the author of several history books and the Popular series of novels.

Gareth will be back with another article, “Haunted Galleries: Visiting the sites of Catherine Howard’s life”, and a giveaway tomorrow.

Book blurb:
In the five centuries since her death, Catherine Howard has been dismissed as ‘a wanton’, ‘inconsequential’ or a naïve victim of her ambitious family, but the story of her rise and fall offers not only a terrifying and compelling story of an attractive, vivacious young woman thrown onto the shores of history thanks to a king’s infatuation, but an intense portrait of Tudor monarchy in microcosm: how royal favour was won, granted, exercised, displayed, celebrated and, at last, betrayed and lost. The story of Catherine Howard is both a very dark fairy tale and a gripping political scandal.

Born into the nobility and married into the royal family, during her short life Catherine was almost never alone. Attended every waking hour by servants or companions, secrets were impossible to keep. With his research focus on Catherine’s household, Gareth Russell has written a narrative that unfurls as if in real-time to explain how the queen’s career ended with one of the great scandals of Henry VIII’s reign.

More than a traditional biography, this is a very human tale of some terrible decisions made by a young woman, and of complex individuals attempting to survive in a dangerous hothouse where the odds were stacked against nearly all of them. By illuminating Catherine’s entwined upstairs/downstairs worlds, and bringing the reader into her daily milieu, the author re-tells her story in an exciting and engaging way that has surprisingly modern resonances and offers a fresh perspective on Henry’s fifth wife.

Young and Damned and Fair is a riveting account of Catherine Howard’s tragic marriage to one of history’s most powerful rulers. It is a grand tale of the Henrician court in its twilight, a glittering but pernicious sunset during which the king’s unstable behaviour and his courtiers’ labyrinthine deceptions proved fatal to many, not just to Catherine Howard.

The book is available from, and other bookshops.

Notes and Sources

  1. For the proclamation regarding Catherine’s Hibernian title, see LP, XVI, 974.
  2. Martin A. S. Hume (ed.), Chronicle of King Henry VIII of England, being a contemporary record of some of the principal events of the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, written in Spanish by an unknown hand (London: George Bell and Sons, 1889), pp. 77-86.
  3. For the author’s discussion of contemporary accounts of Catherine’s execution, see Gareth Russell, Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017), pp. 320-321.
  4. Russell, Young and Damned and Fair, pp. 331-33.
  5. Alexandre Dumas; W. D. Sutter (trans.), Catherine Howard: A Romantic Drama in Three Acts (London: Samuel French, 1855), Act I, scene i.
  6. Dumas, Catherine Howard, Act III, scene i.
  7. The Private Life of Henry VIII (London Film Productions, 1933), written by Lajos Biró and Arthur Wimperis; directed by Alexander Korda, with Binnie Barnes (Catherine Howard), Charles Laughton (Henry VIII), Elsa Lanchester (Anne of Cleves) and Robert Donat (Thomas Culpepper).
  8. Paul Tabori, Alexander Korda (London: Oldbourne, 1959), pp. 129-30.
  9. Tabori, Alexander Korda, pp. 126-7.
  10. A. F. Pollard, Henry VIII (Aberdeen: Longmans, Green and Co., 1951), p. 352. This edition is a reprint; Pollard’s biography was first published in 1905.
  11. James Anthony Froude, History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth (London: John Parker and Son, 1858), IV, ii, pp. 129, 131.
  12. F. Stoney Sadleir, A Memoir of the Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir Ralph Saldeir (London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1877), p. 70.
  13. For a good discussion of the impact of the Stricklands’ work, see Antonia Fraser Agnes Strickland’s Lives of the Queens of England (London: Continuum, 2011)
  14. Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest (Bath: Cedric Chivers, 1972), III, p. 98.
  15. Martin Hume, The Wives of Henry the Eighth and the Parts They Played in History (London: Eveleigh Nash, 1905), p. 396; Michael Glenne, Catherine Howard: The Story of Henry VIII’s Fifth Queen (London: John Long, 1948), p. 87.
  16. Joanna Denny, Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy (London: Portrait, 2005), p. 88.
  17. Francis Hackett, Henry the Eighth (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929), p. 456; Lacey Baldwin Smith, A Tudor Tragedy: The Life and Times of Catherine Howard (London: Reprint Society, 1962), p. 159.
  18. The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Episode 5, Catherine Howard (BBC, 1970), written by Beverly Cross and directed by Naomi Capon, with Angela Pleasence (Catherine Howard), Keith Michell (Henry VIII), Patrick Troughton (the Duke of Norfolk), Sheila Burrell (Lady Rochford), Simon Prebble (Francis Dereham) and Ralph Bates (Thomas Culpepper).
  19. Beverly Cross, Catherine Howard: A Play (London: Samuel French, 1973), Act III, p. 45.
  20. Henry VIII and his Six Wives (BBC, 1972), written by Ian Thorne and directed by Waris Hussein, with Lynne Frederick (Catherine Howard), Keith Michell (Henry VIII), Michael Gough (the Duke of Norfolk), Charlotte Rampling (Anne Boleyn) and Bernard Hepton (Archbishop Cranmer).
  21. Jessica Smith, Henry Betrayed (London: Robert Hale, 1969), p. 11.
  22. Ibid.
  23. For Dereham’s time in Ireland and alleged piracy, see Russell, Young and Damned and Fair, pp. 153-154, 268.
  24. Smith, Henry Betrayed, pp. 109-10.
  25. Ibid., pp. 130, 155.
  26. Alison Plowden, The House of Tudor (New York: Scarborough Books, 1976), p. 114.
  27. Karen Lindsey, Divorced Beheaded Survived: A feminist reinterpretation of the wives of Henry VIII Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1995), p. 169.
  28. David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (London: Vintage, 2004), pp. xxv, 654.
  29. Smith, A Tudor Tragedy, p. 189.
  30. Henry VIII (Granada Television, 2003), written by Peter Morgan and directed by Pete Travis, with Emily Blunt (Catherine Howard), Ray Winstone (Henry VIII), Mark Strong (the Duke of Norfolk) and Joseph Morgan (Thomas Culpepper).
  31. The Tudors, Series 4 (Peace Arch Entertainment, 2010), written by Michael Hirst, directed by various, with Tamzin Merchant (Catherine Howard), Jonathan Rhys Meyer (Henry VIII), Torrance Coombs (Thomas Culpepper), Allen Leech (Francis Dereham) and Joanne King (Lady Rochford).
  32. William Nicholson, Katherine Howard, first performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre on 9 September 1998, with Emilia Fox (Catherine Howard), Richard Griffiths (Henry VIII) and Julian Rhind-Tutt (Thomas Culpepper). In this script, Catherine does not commit adultery.
  33. For two well-received biographies that do argue for Catherine as the victim of abuse in her early years, see Conor Byrne, Katherine Howard: A New History (Lúcar: MadeGlobal, 2014) and Josephine Wilkinson, Katherine Howard: The Tragic Story of Henry VIII’s Fifth Wife (London: John Murray, 2016).