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Queen Katherine Parr: The First Woman and Queen of England to be Published

First published in 1545, "Prayers or Meditations" by Queen Katherine Parr became so popular that 19 new editions were published by 1595 (reign of Elizabeth I). This edition was published in 1546 and bound by a cover made by the Nuns of Little Gedding. Located at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe.
First published in 1545,

First published in 1545, “Prayers or Meditations” by Queen Katherine Parr became so popular that 19 new editions were published by 1595 (reign of Elizabeth I). This edition was published in 1546 and bound by a cover made by the Nuns of Little Gedding. Located at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe.

Queen Katherine Parr published two books in her lifetime. The first, ‘Prayers and Meditations’, was published while King Henry VIII was still alive [1545]. Some sources state 24 April 1544 as being the day that the book was available.

Folger Shakespeare Library PDI Record: --- Call Number (PDI): STC 4824a Creator (PDI): Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Title (PDI): [Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions] Created or Published (PDI): [1550] Physical Description (PDI): title page Image Root File (PDI): 17990 Image Type (PDI): FSL collection Image Record ID (PDI): 18050 MARC Bib 001 (PDI): 165567 Marc Holdings 001 (PDI): 159718 Hamnet Record: --- Creator (Hamnet): Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Uniform Title (Hamnet): Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions Title (Hamnet): Praiers Title (Hamnet): Prayers or meditacions, wherein the minde is stirred, paciently to suffre all afflictions here, to set at nought the vayne prosperitee of this worlde, and alway to longe for the euerlastinge felicitee: collected out of holy workes by the most vertuous and gracious princesse Katherine Queene of England, Fraunce, and Ireland. Place of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet): [London : Creator or Publisher (Hamnet): W. Powell?, Date of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet): ca. 1550] Physical Description (Hamnet): [62] p. ; 8⁰. Folger Holdings Notes (Hamnet): HH48/23. Brown goatskin binding, signed by W. Pratt. Imperfect: leaves D2-3 and all after D5 lacking; D2-3 and D6-7 supplied in pen facsimile. Pencilled bibliographical note of Bernard Quaritch. Provenance: Stainforth bookplate; Francis J. Stainforth - Harmsworth copy Notes (Hamnet): An edition of: Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions. Notes (Hamnet): D2r has an initial 'O' with a bird. Notes (Hamnet): Formerly STC 4821. Notes (Hamnet): Identified as STC 4821 on UMI microfilm, reel 678. Notes (Hamnet): Printer's name and publication date conjectured by STC. Notes (Hamnet): Running title reads: Praiers. Notes (Hamnet): Signatures: A-D⁸ (-D8). Notes (Hamnet): This edition has a prayer for King Edward towards the end. Citations (Hamnet): ESTC (RLIN) S114675 Citations (Hamnet): STC (2nd ed.), 4824a Subject (Hamnet): Prayers -- Early works to 1800. Associated Name (Hamnet): Harmsworth, R. Leicester Sir, (Robert Leicester), 1870-1937, former owner. Call Number (Hamnet): STC 4824a  STC 4824a, title page not for reproduction without written permission. Folger Shakespeare Library 201 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC 20003

Folger Shakespeare Library
PDI Record:

Call Number (PDI):
STC 4824a
Creator (PDI):
Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548.
Title (PDI):
[Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions]
Created or Published (PDI):
[1550]
Physical Description (PDI):
title page
Image Root File (PDI):
17990
Image Type (PDI):
FSL collection
Image Record ID (PDI):
18050
MARC Bib 001 (PDI):
165567
Marc Holdings 001 (PDI):
159718
Hamnet Record:

Creator (Hamnet):
Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548.
Uniform Title (Hamnet):
Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions
Title (Hamnet):
Praiers
Title (Hamnet):
Prayers or meditacions, wherein the minde is stirred, paciently to suffre all afflictions here, to set at nought the vayne prosperitee of this worlde, and alway to longe for the euerlastinge felicitee: collected out of holy workes by the most vertuous and gracious princesse Katherine Queene of England, Fraunce, and Ireland.
Place of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
[London :
Creator or Publisher (Hamnet):
W. Powell?,
Date of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
ca. 1550]
Physical Description (Hamnet):
[62] p. ; 8⁰.
Folger Holdings Notes (Hamnet):
HH48/23. Brown goatskin binding, signed by W. Pratt. Imperfect: leaves D2-3 and all after D5 lacking; D2-3 and D6-7 supplied in pen facsimile. Pencilled bibliographical note of Bernard Quaritch. Provenance: Stainforth bookplate; Francis J. Stainforth – Harmsworth copy
Notes (Hamnet):
An edition of: Prayers stirryng the mind unto heavenlye medytacions.
Notes (Hamnet):
D2r has an initial ‘O’ with a bird.
Notes (Hamnet):
Formerly STC 4821.
Notes (Hamnet):
Identified as STC 4821 on UMI microfilm, reel 678.
Notes (Hamnet):
Printer’s name and publication date conjectured by STC.
Notes (Hamnet):
Running title reads: Praiers.
Notes (Hamnet):
Signatures: A-D⁸ (-D8).
Notes (Hamnet):
This edition has a prayer for King Edward towards the end.
Citations (Hamnet):
ESTC (RLIN) S114675
Citations (Hamnet):
STC (2nd ed.), 4824a
Subject (Hamnet):
Prayers — Early works to 1800.
Associated Name (Hamnet):
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Sir, (Robert Leicester), 1870-1937, former owner.
Call Number (Hamnet):
STC 4824a
STC 4824a, title page not for reproduction without written permission.
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Henry was said to be proud and at the same time jealous of his wife’s success. ‘Lamentations of a Sinner’ was not published until after Henry died [in 1547]. In ‘Lamentations‘, Catherine’s Protestant voice was a bit stronger. If she had published ‘Lamentations’ in Henry’s lifetime, she most likely would have been executed as a heretic despite her status as queen consort. Henry did not like his wives outshining him [i.e. Anne Boleyn]…hence her compliance and submission to the King when she found that she was to be arrested by the Catholic faction at court. Her voice may have been dialed down a notch, but once her step-son, the Protestant boy King Edward took the throne — she had nothing to hold her back. Her best friend, the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, and brother Northampton encouraged Parr to publish.

A publication of the book c.1550 [after the death of Queen Katherine]

A publication of the book  The Lamentation of a Sinner c.1550 [after the death of Queen Katherine]

Published in 1547 [according to Sudeley Castle] after the death of King Henry VIII, “The Lamentation of a Sinner” was Catherine’s second book which was more extreme than her first publication. She was encouraged by her good friend the Duchess of Suffolk and her brother, the Marquess, to publish. The transcription of the title page here is… “The Lamentacion of a synner, made by the most vertuous Lady quene Caterine, bewailyng the ignoraunce of her blind life; let foorth & put in print at the inflance befire of the right gracious lady Caterine, Duchesse of Suffolke, and the ernest request of the right honourable Lord William Parre, Marquesse of Northampton.”

I was lucky enough to see a copy both a Sudeley Castle and at the Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Queen Katherine's

Queen Katherine’s “Lamentations” on display at the Vivat Rex Exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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About tudorqueen6 (139 Articles)
Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown."

7 Comments on Queen Katherine Parr: The First Woman and Queen of England to be Published

  1. Queen Catherine (Sixth wife of Henry VIII) Parr
    1512–1548
    BIRTH 20 DECEMBER 1512 • Kendal Castle, Kendal, Westmorland, England
    DEATH 5 SEP 1548 • Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England.
    My 14th great-grandmother

    • There is no official date for Katherine’s birthday. We also know that she was not born at Kendal Castle. As there was no surviving issue of Katherine, she has no descendants. So, I’m not sure where the 14th great-grandmother comes from.

  2. Lee Montgomery // September 2, 2015 at 10:36 AM // Reply

    There is a book out now called “Lamentations” by CJ Sansom. It’s a “Shardlake mystery”. It’s about the theft of the Lamentations manuscript from Queen Catherine’s rooms before Henry’s death and the concern of who might have it and for what purposes.

  3. I enjoyed this post. You may wish to add that Parr actually published THREE books during her life. The first was an anonymous translation of Psalms or Prayers (that was the book printed on April 25, 1544, not Prayers or Meditations). I have recently published an article in the Times Literary Supplement demonstrating that Parr’s “Prayer for the King” (from her 1544 and 1545 books) was later revised by Elizabeth I and put into the Book of Common Prayer in 1559. This prayer is still used today around the globe, so Parr’s words are alive and well. The Prayer also shows that Parr was one of Henry’s most important “spin doctors” during the war of 1544. The piece appeared in the 3 April edition of the TLS. If you would like more information about Parr’s first book, don’t hesitate to contact me through my work email.

  4. DR Arathoon // April 25, 2015 at 6:39 AM // Reply

    Would it read instead, “set forth and put into print”

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