This article only covers a fictional portrayal of the person. Therefore, details contained in this article may differ from real world facts. For more information on the historical figure(s), consult the links provided at the bottom section of this article.
Catherine Howard (c. 1520 – February 13, 1542) was the fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. She was Queen for a short time, before being beheaded for past indiscretions. Catherine was also a lady-in-waiting to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, and the cousin of his second, Anne Boleyn.
Catherine was born around 1520 into the aristocratic Howard family. She was put in the care of Agnes Tilney, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, and the second wife of Catherine's grandfather. Catherine lived in Lambeth with a number of other girls, all under the guardianship of the Dowager Duchess. However, the Dowager Duchess was mostly at court and the security at her home was apparently lax.
Around age twelve, Catherine had an affair with her music teacher, Henry Manox. She later had a serious relationship with Francis Dereham. Reportedly, he called her his "wife" and allowed her to handle his money.
1540 – 1542
In 1540, Catherine joined court as a lady-in-waiting to King Henry VIII's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Catherine's uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, was the one that brought her to court in order for her catch the King's eye. Henry divorced Anne of Cleves in July 1540 and married Catherine just three weeks later at Oatlands Palace. After her marriage, Catherine was approached by several acquaintances for jobs, including Joan Bulmer and Francis Dereham. She felt that she could not refuse them, since they knew about her past.
On November 1, 1541, Mary Lascelles, who also use to live at the Dowager Duchess's, revealed Catherine's past relationships to Archbishop Cranmer. He promptly wrote a letter and sent it to the King. Catherine was confined to her chambers with her lady-in-waiting, Lady Rochford. Later, a damning letter was discovered in Thomas Culpeper's room that suggested an affair between the two. Catherine expressed her innocence, but was eventually found guilty. She was beheaded on February 13, 1542.
Personality and traits
Catherine was youthful, girlish, "full of life, fun and naughtiness." She brought joy and happiness to her husband, but became dismayed when he lapsed into depression. Catherine was left vulnerable during these bouts of sullenness, which eventually led to her downfall. She also did not read or write well, since she never received a proper education.
Behind the scenes
- Catherine appears in Henry VIII's Wives as a supporting character, her only major appearance.
- Elizabeth and Robin Dudley believed she haunted Hampton Court Palace in Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor.
- In Bloody Tower, Tilly Middleton indirectly mentions Catherine by saying an execution had not occurred at Tower Green since "a queen and her lady."
- My Tudor Queen (Mentioned in the Historical Notes)
- Anne Boleyn and Me (Mentioned in the Historical Notes)
- Henry VIII's Wives
- Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor (Mentioned only)
- Lady Jane Grey (Mentioned only)
- Catherine Howard at English History
- Catherine Howard at Tudor Place
- Catherine Howard at Tudor History
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