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Catherine Howard

Picture of Catherine Howard

Picture of Catherine Howard

Short Biography and facts about the life of Catherine Howard - Fifth wife Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life Catherine Howard:

  • Nationality: English

  • Fifth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I
  • Lifespan: 1521 - 1542
  • Born: 1521
  • Married: 28 July 1540
  • Executed: 13 February 1542
  • Family connections: The powerful Howard family. Catherine Howard was the cousin of Anne Boleyn and the niece of the Duke of Norfolk
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Character of Catherine Howard : Kind, flirtatious, promiscuous and foolish
  • Appearance of Catherine Howard: Young, pretty and curvacious

Information, Facts & History about the life of Catherine Howard - Fifth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I
The following are additional facts about the life and history of Catherine Howard - Fifth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I:

  • Catharine Howard was a member of the powerful Howard family. She was the first cousin of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn
  • Her mother died when Catherine was nine years old and Catherine was brought up in the house of the Agnes, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. She was sadly neglected. She could barely read and write and had been allowed an amount of freedom which should never have been given to a young girl of noble birth
  • Consequently the young Catharine Howard had enjoyed illicit relationships with young men
  • The men that Catherine was associated with were:
    • Henry Mannox a music teacher to the 15 year old Catherine
    • Francis Dereham, a gentleman Usher to the Dowager Duchess - they referred to themselves as "husband and wife"
  • Members of the Dowager Duchess household knew of these relationships. And the Dowager Duchess was informed. The Dowager Duchess was horrified - she was responsible for Catherine's upbringing. Catherine was severely punished - she was whipped
  • The Dowager Duchess had been frightened by the incidents - the head of the Howard family the Duke of Norfolk had singled out his niece Catherine Howard as a pretty girl who could be useful to the fortunes of the Howard clan
  • Catherine was sent to the court of Henry VIII as a lady-in waiting and just as the Duke of Norfolk had planned and manipulated the young Catherine caught the eye of the ageing King Henry
  • King Henry VIII became obsessed with Catherine - it was described as a "pathetic infatuation"
  • He thought of her as a young, innocent and virginal young woman - his "Rose without a thorn"
  • Catherine was a kind and sweet natured girl. She was not frightened of the old, bloated king - he spoiled her and she loved the fine clothes and jewels that were showered upon her
  • King Henry VIII married his "Rose without a thorn" but was hardly a suitable partner for the young and rash Catherine who was only 19 years old
  • Catherine past started to catch up with her. She was approached by previous members of the household of the Dowager Duchess and felt obliged to give then positions at court
  • The foolish Catherine then fell in love and started a sexual relationship with Thomas Culpepper. Culpepper was a gentleman of the bedchamber - an honoured position at court - he tended to every intimate requirement of King Henry
  • The affair soon became known at the court. But King Henry would not hear a word against his Queen Consort, or her secrets
  • The Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cramner built a case against the young Catholic Queen based on Catherine's previous involvements and her current relationship with Thomas Culpepper ( this included love letters in signed by Catherine to Culpepper)
  • King Henry VIII was truly devastated. He banned Catherine from his presence and ordered her arrest. She desperately tried to see the King, but was dragged away screaming
  • She eventually admitted the affair with Culpepper and was found guilty of adultery and treason. Mannox, Dereham and Culpepper were tortured and then executed
  • Tragic Catharine Howard was executed by beheading at the Tower of London - she was just 21 years old
  • So ended the marriage of King Henry VIII and his fifth wife

Tudor Timeline of Catherine Howard
The Catherine Howard timeline details the key dates and events in her life story.

1521 : Catherine Howard was born
1530 : Her mother died and she was sent to live at the household of Agnes, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk
1533: The coronation of her cousin Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII of England
1533: Catherine was just 12 years old when she started a relationship with her music teacher - Henry Maddox. The affair ended when it was discovered by the Dowager Duchess
1536: Catherine Howard started a relationship with Francis Dereham. The relationship ended when Catherine left the household
1539: Catherine Howard was sent by her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, to the court of Henry VIII as lady-in-waiting for his proposed new German wife, Queen Anne of Cleves
1540 January 6:The wedding between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves took place on January 6th
1540 Catherine Howard caught the eye of King Henry VIII and soon became his mistress
1540 July 9 : English Parliament declared the marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves as null and void
1540 July 28: Catherine Howard married Henry VIII on July 28, 1540, at Oatlands Palace in Surrey
1540: By the end of the year Catherine Howard had met, fallen in love and started a relationship with Thomas Culpepper
1541 Spring: Rumours of the relationship between the young Queen and Thomas Culpepper started to circulate around the court
1541 Summer: Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cramner built a case against the young Catholic Queen based on Catherine's previous involvements and her current relationship with Thomas Culpepper
1541 Autumn: Catherine Howard was arrested and imprisoned and interrogated in an abbey in Middlesex
1541.December 8: Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were executed at Tyburn
1542 January: The Queen's case was brought before parliament in January
1542 February 10: Catherine Howard was taken to the Tower of London 
1542 February 13th - Catherine Howard was executed for adultery

Influence of Catherine Howard - Fifth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I on the life of Queen Elizabeth I
What influence did Catherine Howard - Fifth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I have on the life of Queen Elizabeth I? Catherine Howard was the cousin of Anne Boleyn and therefore a close relation of Elizabeth. Catherine was very kind to the young Elizabeth. It was a terrible shock when Catherine was beheaded.

Elizabethan Executions
The Execution by Beheading of Catherine Howard
Biography of King Henry VIII
Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabethan Era Index

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