Facts About King Henry VIII's Wives: Catherine Howard

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Facts about Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII's fifth wife.

King Henry VIII is the most famous of English Kings, a man who turned from a talented and admired renaissance prince to a cruel, fat, tyrant. He is renowned for being the only King with more wives than mistresses, marrying an incredible 6 times.

So who were the women King Henry VIII married? Read on to find out the crucial facts about Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, who became the second of Henry's wives to be executed by him.

Name: Catherine Howard, Katherine Howard, Katheryn Howard

Parents: Lord Edmund Howard, younger son of the Duke of Norfolk, and Jocasta Culpepper

Birth: After 1520, and before 1527. Probably 1525.

Siblings: Catherine had either 8 or 9 full brothers and sisters, and 5 half-siblings from her mother's first marriage. She was a first cousin of Queen Anne Boleyn, executed for treason and adultery in 1533.

Appearance: Catherine was small, short and plump, but petite overall. She had dark red hair and was considered very attractive and engaging.

Religion: There is nothing to suggest that Catherine was much interested in religion, but she came from a powerful Catholic-leaning family, and that brought her both Catholic friends at court, and Protestant enemies.

Marriages: Catherine appears to have had some sort of sexual relationship, not necessarily fully sexual, with Henry Manox, when a very young teenager. She was, at the time, living with a number of other young relatives in her step-grandmother's household. Agnes Tilney was the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

Catherine formed a more serious relationship when she was about 13 or 14 with Francis Dereham, an officer in the Duchess' household. They almost certainly had a full sexual relationship, and probably were engaged, as they referred to each other as “husband” and “wife”. The Duchess found out about the relationship, and Dereham was banished to Ireland, and Catherine sent to court as Queen Anne of Cleves' lady-in-waiting in 1540.

In the early part of 1540, 50 year old Henry VIII turned from his unwanted new wife, Anne of Cleves, and pursued the 15 year old Catherine Howard. In July 1540, the same month as his marriage to Anne of Cleves was annulled, Henry VIII married Catherine Howard.

Catherine unwisely appointed her previous lovers, Henry Manox and Francis Dereham, to her royal household, and embarked on a romantic (quite possibly also sexual) relationship in 1541 with Henry Culpepper.

Children: No children.

Marriage end: Catherine was arrested in early November 1541, and charged with treason (relating to her conduct before marriage) and adultery (which she denied). Culpepper and Dereham were executed in December 1541.

Death: Catherine Howard was executed on 13th February 1542, in the Tower of London, and buried in the same chapel as her cousin, Anne Boleyn. Catherine was probably aged about 17 at the time of her execution.

Souces: Death and terror: executions at the Tower of London - http://www.webhistoryofengland.com/?p=86

King Henry VIII and his six wives - love, marriage, and children - http://hubpages.com/hub/King-Henry-VIII-and-his-six-wives—love–marriage–and-children

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Posted on Oct 31, 2011