10 JULY 1543: Archbishop Cranmer’s License for the Marriage of Henry & Kateryn

Marriage Certificate

The actual Marriage Certificate of King Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr. The certificate was on display in 2012 at Hampton Court Palace where they were married on 13 July 1543.

ARCHBISHOP THOMAS CRANMER’S LICENSE FOR THE MARRIAGE OF KING HENRY VIII AND KATHERINE PARR LATIMER, INCLUDING DISPENSATION OF THE REQUIRED PROCLAMATION OF BANNS, JULY, 10, 1543

To the most excellent and most invincible prince on a throne, and our supreme lord Henry VIII, by the Grace of God King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and on earth Supreme Head, under Christ, of the Churches of England and Ireland: Thomas, by divine compassion Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, dully and lawfully invested therein by the subscribed authority of the Parliament of England:

Health and perpetual happiness, with honor.

Since by your most excellent royal majesty it has been considered worthy to lead into matrimony the noble and distinguished woman Lady Katherine Latimer, lately the wife of the distinguished and powerful man, Lord Latimer, during his natural life, now deceased, she being favored by the most good and most great God and by your initiatives:

Therefore, that marriage between your most excellent kingly majesty and the said noblewoman, Lady Katherine, in whatever Church, chapel, or oratory or wherever else your kingly majesty may wish to choose, without any proclamation of banns, may be solemnized by any bishop or priest whatsoever; and that you may exempt from actual constraints,

We and our soul, moved in this regard duly and legitimately by the honor of your estate and concerned for the benefit of the whole realm of England, with the authority established by these presents, do dispense with constitutions and ordinances propounded to the contrary, nothing whatsoever standing in the way.

Given at our manor of Lambeth, under our seal for enactments, the tenth day of the month of July, the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred forty-three; and of your majesty’s most happy and most illustrious reign, the thirty-fifth; and of our consecration, the eleventh year.

[Witnessed by]

Nicholas Wotton, Comissioner

Richard Lyell, Clerk for enactments by the said very Reverend [Lord Archbishop]

Source: Kew, Surrey: The National Archives, E 30/1472(6). A formulaic Latin writ in the engrossing hand of Richard Lyell, Cranmer’s clerk for enactments, sealed with the archbishop’s outsized seal.

  • From Katherine Parr: Complete Works & Correspondences, edited by Janel Mueller.
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20 JUNE 1543: Lisle to Parr

On 20 June 1543: John Dudley, Lord Lisle writes to Lord William Parr from Greenwich Palace.

“Thanks for his letter of the 11th and for taking Lisle’s servants during the time of his abode there. In reply to his desire for news; the King is well, and is newly come from Harwiche, where he perused and saw two notable havens but liked Coulme Water best. Wrote that it was like to grow to war with France; and this is now intimated, and the King sends Mr Treasurer to Guisnes with 4,000 footmen and 500 horsemen; and Sir Rice Mansfeld is gone to the seas with 10 ships. This for a beginning. When the Emperor comes into Flanders, who is already past Italy and arrived in Almayne, you shall hear of greater going both by land and sea. Other news “is none but that my lady Latymer, your sister, and Mrs Herbert be both here in the Court with my lady Mary’s grace and my lady Elizabethe.” Will write again when he has news. Made his commendations as directed, and also to other friends, of whom there be numbers that desire his “short return.”

Greenwich 20 June Signed P 1 Flyleaf with address lost

1Dudley,John02(sig)

Family of Queen Katherine: Lady Anne Clifford

Lady Anne Clifford, Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery, suo jure 14th Baroness de Clifford (30 January 1590 – 22 March 1676) was an English peeress in her own right. She descended from Princess Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, the daughter of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York by Mary’s daughter, Lady Eleanor Brandon (aunt of Lady Jane Grey). She married into the Herbert family; Sir Philip, 4th Earl of Pembroke. Pembroke was the grandson of Lady Anne Herbert; the Queen’s sister.
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Title page of a 1923 edition of Lady Anne Clifford’s diaries, with an introduction by Vita Sackville-West. Folger Library Collection, District of Columbia, USA.

Lady Anne become an important woman in her time. She was an important patron of literature and due to her own writings in the form of letters and the diary she kept from 1603 to 1616, was a literary figure in her own right. John Donne said of her that she could “discourse of all things from Predestination to Slea-silk”.
thegreatpicture_anneclifford_1646_byjanvanbelcamp

The Great Picture, a huge triptych measuring 8ft 5″ high and 16ft 2″ wide, commissioned in 1646 by Anne Clifford, attributed to Jan van Belcamp (1610-1653). Abbott Hall Art Museum. Kendal, UK.

Lady Anne Clifford was also a patron of art. She commissioned a large scale portrait that includes three separate panels detailing her life. The Great Picture, a huge triptych measuring 8ft 5″ high and 16ft 2″ wide, commissioned in 1646 by Anne Clifford. The artwork is attributed to Jan van Belcamp (1610-1653). It formerly hung in Appleby Castle, but is now displayed in the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria. The portrait depicts Anne as a girl at left and as a mature woman at right. The central panel shows her parents and young brothers. The painting is replete with significant elements referring to her life and to her succession to her paternal inheritance, gained after a lengthy legal dispute.
Abbott Hall Art Gallery had Lady Anne featured in an exhibition, Anne Clifford: A Life of Portrait and Print. Abbott Hall is in the Lake District where the Parr family originated. The Huddersfield University in Kendal, UK, wrote a feature PDF on two pieces presented in the exhibition.
  1. “Great Books of Record” which preserves Anne’s ancestral records and her own children and grandchildren. Three volumes were made specifically to highlight the inheritance the women of the Clifford family brought to their marriages. A nod to what would become “feminism” I suppose.
  2. The Great Picture” which is previously discussed and a portrait is provided in this post.

Problems with Identification: Tudor Portraits

Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth active 1540-1573

Portrait of an Unknown Lady c.1565-8 by Hans Eworth (1540-1573), Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

There is a yet another discrepancy as to who the sitter is in another Hans Eworth portrait from the Tudor era. This time around, the actual sitter is, in fact, unknown. The proposed sitter of the painting was (and still is often) Lady Eleanor Clifford. Wikipedia has the portrait as Lady Eleanor’s main portrait. However, there has been a nod to perhaps the sitter being Eleanor’s daughter, Lady Margaret Clifford. As to who is really is–we’re not sure, so let’s study the background of each woman.

Lady Clifford was born Lady Eleanor Brandon in 1519 – 27 September 1547) She was the second daughter of Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and his wife the former Princess Mary, Queen of France. Her mother was the younger sister of King Henry VIII; making Eleanor a grandchild of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. In March 1533, a marriage contract was written up for Lady Eleanor and Lord Henry Clifford, the eldest son and heir of Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland by Lady Margaret Percy.[2] However, since her mother died nine months later, she waited to go and live with her young husband and in-laws. Eleanor officially married Lord Clifford at Brandon house, Bridewell, in 1537; her uncle King Henry VIII was present.[3][4][5][6] 

Lady Clifford served several of her uncle’s queens. In 1536, she was Chief Mourner to Queen Katherine of Aragon; the deposed wife Henry put aside for his second, Anne Boleyn.

Lady Eleanor and her husband had one surviving child, Lady Margaret, who was born in 1540. Eleanor died on 27 September 1547, nine months after her uncle Henry VIII. At the time of her death, her cousin Edward VI was King.

Lady Margaret Clifford would have been born in the process of King Henry VIII’s wife swaps. In 1540, Katherine Howard was consort. A short lived marriage that put Katherine on the chopping block dissolved and Henry was single again. In 1543, the King would marry for the 6th and final time to the widowed Lady Latimer (born Katherine Parr). Queen Katherine had a sturdy circle of religious women around her at all times. In her list of ladies-in-waiting, we see that both Lady Cumberland (mother to Margaret) and the Duchess of Suffolk (Lady Frances Brandon; aunt to Margaret) are listed. Margaret would have only been three when her granduncle married Katherine Parr.

The scandal of Lady Jane Grey hit Lady Margaret’s immediate family hard. Her cousin, Jane was in line to the throne after King Edward VI and his two sisters; Ladies Mary and Elizabeth. King Edward saw fit to bypass his sisters in his will and give his cousin Lady Jane the crown. Jane was the daughter of Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk. As such, Jane was the niece of Lady Eleanor Clifford; mother of Lady Margaret. The scandal was quickly suppressed and the will of Henry VIII (Edward’s father) was upheld. Lady Mary Tudor came to court to denounce her cousin Jane. The will of Henry VIII held more sway over Edward’s. Also, the blood descendants of King Henry VIII were preferred over the descendants of his father, Henry VII. There were two still living. Mary claimed her right to the throne and Jane was disposed. Jane, her father, her husband, and a few others were implicated and eventually executed under the new queen. As for Lady Margaret? She joined the court of Queen Mary. Queen Mary consented to the marriage of Lady Margaret to the heir of the Earldom of Derby and the two were married at Westminster Palace on February 12, 1555.

In 1557, Lady Margaret started to cause somewhat of a ruckus by claiming a superior succession to the crown than her cousins, Lady Catherine Grey and Lady Mary Grey. Margaret stated that because her cousin Jane had been tainted, tried, and executed, the whole line of the Grey family should be barred from the succession.

The death of Queen Mary set Lady Margaret in the attendance of the new Queen, Elizabeth. She held the rank of two of the highest noblewomen in the country along with her cousin, Lady Margaret Douglas (daughter of the eldest sibling of Henry VIII; Queen Margaret of Scots). Lady Margaret Clifford’s status may have been enough for a portrait. Her cousin, Margaret Douglas, certainly got a few.

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Full-length portrait of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), standing with a Griffon at her feet. She is holding gloves in her left hand and resting her right on a table on which stands a clock in the form of a tempietto, the dial surmounted by a hound and a shield with the arms of Scotland. Inscribed: THE LADY MARGARET. HIR GRACE / LATE WIFE TO MATHEW ERLLE / OF LENNOX REGENT OF SCOTLANDE / AND MOTHER TO HENRY KINGE / OF SCOTLAND / Aetatis 55 Aí Dni. 1572.

 

What We Know About the Portrait

The coat of arms in the top left corner, which may have been added later, are the impaled arms (those of a husband and wife) of Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, and his wife Lady Eleanor, daughter of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France. As a result the painting has been frequently exhibited in the past as a portrait of Lady Eleanor, regardless of the fact that she died in 1547, well before the date of this portrait [the roman numerals MDLX at the top right = 1560]. It is, however, a rule of heraldry that impaled arms are not used by the children of a marriage, as they would have their own. Hence the later addition and erroneous use of the arms here suggests that the identity of the portrait was already unclear only two or three generations after it was painted, a situation by no means unusual amid the frequent early deaths, multiple marriages, and shifting alliances and fortunes of the most powerful families of the Tudor era. Later the portrait was thought to represent the only child of Eleanor and Henry to survive infancy, Margaret. Unfortunately the inscription on the right which might have provided a check (Margaret would have been aged 25-28 at the time of this portrait) has been truncated; although the Roman numerals of the year can apply only to 1565-8, the age of the sitter cannot be ascertained with any useful accuracy. The National Portrait Gallery has an online sketch of this portrait identified as Lady Eleanor, but the portrait remains in dispute.

Another unfortunate aspect of the portrait is the clothing; the clothing does not match the time period of Lady Eleanor Brandon. The dress is third quarter of the 16th century and is of Spanish influence.

According to Richard Davey. The sisters of Lady Jane Grey and their wicked grandfather, E.P. Dutton and co., 1912:

The Lady Eleanor Brandon was a better looking woman than her sister Frances. When her tomb in Skipton Church was disturbed in the seventeenth century her skeleton which was in perfect condition proved her to have been very tall and large boned whereas the Lady Frances was of medium stature. Lady Eleanor, if we may judge by her portrait, which hangs at Skipton Castle, was pretty rather than beautiful. The writer confesses that the portrait at Skipton did not impress him as that of one who could have put forward the slightest pretensions to good looks; the cheeks are high, the forehead abnormally broad, the eyes however are fine, and the hair fair but the complexion according to this venerable picture must have been quite ghastly. The portrait is very badly painted; a poor thing worth little as a work of art but none the less interesting.

The site for the Tate Gallery concludes that the painting is still unidentified, yet there is an identical sketch on the site for the National Portrait Gallery identified as Lady Eleanor. Who’s who?

Another proposal for the sitter is given as Hon. Margaret Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Baron and his wife Margaret Fortescue. Sir Thomas was a nephew of Queen Jane Seymour’s mother, Margaret Wentworth. Thomas’s daughter, Margaret, married three times; Sir John, Baron Williams of Thame; Sir William Drury; and Sir James Croft. The new identification is given by Dr. Roy Strong based on the comparison to her sister, Jane Wentworth, Lady Cheney [below].

Problems with Identifying Tudor Portraits

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Queen Katherine Parr attributed to Master John c. 1544. NPG, London. (c) National Portrait Gallery, London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

For years Queen Katherine Parr’s many portraits were thought to be Lady Jane Grey; it is just recently that the portrait in the NPG in London (first portrait) was finally changed permanently to Queen Katherine Parr based on the research of the Queen’s inventory of jewels which was recorded in the documents of King Henry VIII. They are also recorded in the back of the recently published book, “Katherine Parr: Works and Correspondences.” Those very same jewels that belonged to the Queens of England were last worn by Queen Katherine Parr. After the death of King Henry, and after Edward Seymour proclaimed himself Lord Protector, the jewels, along with her personal jewels, were put into the Tower for safekeeping. Since Edward VI had no queen the jewels would not have been in use unless Edward’s wife Anne Stanhope got a hold of them; which she was not entitled to. Lady Jane Grey was in the household of Queen Dowager Katherine Parr until her death in 1548, but as stated the queen’s jewels were not accessible to Lady Jane and the portrait which is dated in the early 1540s also proves that the person painted had to have possession of those jewels; and who had possession during that time — only Queen Katherine Parr.

Let’s Talk to an Expert

The portrait at the Tate is certainly not of Eleanor Brandon. The artist of that painting is identified as Hans Eworth, an artist who did not become active in England until after Brandon’s death. Too, the style of the sitter’s costume also quite firmly dates the painting to at least a decade after Brandon’s death.
It seems quite logical that a portrait of Eleanor would have hung at Skipton, since that castle belonged to the family of Eleanor’s husband Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. I do see that Richard Davey claims to have viewed the portrait in situ just prior to World War I. Whether or not his claim is factual is an open question, however. Davey too often simply invented the “facts” presented in his books. His list in Nine Days Queen of portraits of Jane Grey is packed with errors and deliberate falsehoods.
I understand that Skipton is now partially derelict, though it may still have some limited habitable spaces. Have you contacted Skipton Castle directly through their website to ask for any information they may have? That is certainly where I would start. I did check the Getty Research Institute’s Provenance Research Database, but that did not turn up any portraits of Eleanor Brandon Clifford appearing at public auction between 1700 and 1900. But the portrait may have been sold privately. –Dr. Stephan Edwards (Author of A Queen of a New Invention and The Lady Jane Grey Prayer Book)

I have contacted Skipton Castle looking for information. I have yet to receive and email. So for now, as of the end of 2016, the portrait remains unknown.

Sources

  • Lawrence Manley, “From Strange’s Men to Pembroke’s Men: 2 “Henry VI” and “The First Part of the Contention”.”, Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 54, No. 3 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 253-287.
  • Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of national biography, Volume 54, Smith, Elder, & co., 1898. pg 70.Google eBook 
  • Eleanor Clifford (née Brandon), Countess of Cumberland, probably by Alfred Thomas Derby, after Unknown artist, Purchased, 1893, Reference Collection NPG D23066. National Portrait Gallery 
  • The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.66-8. Tate Collections
  • Katherine Parr, attributed to Master John, circa 1545. Purchased with help from the Gulbenkian Foundation, 1965 Primary Collection. Reference Collection NPG 4451

  • Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78), c.1572, British School, 16th Century, Royal Collection Trust. RCIN 401183
  • Kathy Lynn Emerson Who’s Who in Tudor Women.

Queen Katherine Parr: Pregnant, At Last!

 

Katherine Parr (Deborah Kerr) and Lord Seymour (Stewart Granger) in “Young Bess” (1953); A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Picture.

In December of 1547, Queen Katherine Parr became pregnant for what most people believe to be the first time by her fourth and final husband, Sir Thomas Seymour. After four husbands and twenty years of marriage, Katherine was about to fulfill what she felt was the primary duty of a wife, to give birth to a healthy baby; boys being preferred in aristocratic circles. Like today, some titles still cannot be inherited by the eldest or only daughter of a peer; meaning a girl cannot inherit the title of her father which is usually then passed to the closest living male relative, that being usually an uncle or cousin.

Katherine Parr (Deborah Kerr), Lord Seymour (Stewart Granger), and Lady Elizabeth (Jean Simmons) in “Young Bess” (1953).

Queen Katherine found pregnancy difficult. She still had an on-going feud with her brother-in-law, the Lord Protector and his rather nasty wife, had morning sickness, was constantly worrying about her step-daughter Lady Elizabeth, and the temper of her husband and lack of discretion towards his feelings for Lady Elizabeth must have made the early months of pregnancy extremely hard for the Queen Dowager.[1] In 1549, after the death of the Queen, two cramp rings for use against the pains of childbirth and three pieces of unicorn horn, sovereign remedy for stomach pains, were found in the chest of Katherine’s personal belongings which were talismans most likely from her husband and friend’s to alleviate the pains of childbirth and anticipated pangs of childbirth. Katherine was almost thirty-six, an advanced age to begin a pregnancy. The emotional strain of her household with Seymour’s infatuation with Lady Elizabeth couldn’t have helped her early months either.

As Katherine’s pregnancy progressed, her involvement in politics, if not her interest, diminished. She viewed her approaching motherhood with delight despite knowing the risks and the possibility that death in child birth was a very real possibility.

Compiled digital art featuring Hampton Court’s Katherine Parr over looking the gardens and Chapel on the grounds at Sudeley Castle. © Meg McGath, 2012.

Seymour decided that Katherine should be confined as far away possible from the press of business and turmoil of the court as well as the summer plagues of London. Katherine was taken to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, England, outside of Cheltenham. The castle has a long history stretching back to William de Tracy. Richard III used the castle as campaign headquarters during the Battle of Tawkesbury; in which Katherine’s grandfather fought. Upon the death of Richard III, the castle reverted to the crown and new monarch, Henry VII; who gave the castle to his uncle, Jasper Tudor. After the death of Jasper Tudor, Sudeley reverted to the crown again, to King Henry VIII. In fact, the King made a visit to the castle with Anne Boleyn in 1535. Upon the ascension of Edward VI, Sir Thomas was created Lord Seymour of Sudeley and was granted the castle. In preperation for her lying-in, Seymour spent 1,000 pounds having the rooms prepared for her in his newly aquired house at Sudeley in Gloucestershire.[2] With beautiful gardens and walks, the castle would have been a perfect place for Katherine to spend the last three months of her pregnancy.

One of several plaques on the wall in the exhibit for Katherine Parr at Sudeley. © Meg McGath, 2012.

On Wednesday, 13 June 1548, Seymour accompanied his wife, who was now six months pregnant, and his young ward, Lady Jane Grey, from Hanworth to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. Lady Elizabeth Tudor had been sent away that Spring so she did not accompany them. In this castle, Katherine spent the last three months of her pregnancy and the last summer of her life. Typical of Queen Katherine, she spared no expense when it came to attendants. She was attended by her old friend and doctor, Robert Huicke, and was surrounded by other old friends, Miles Coverdale, her chaplain, her almoner, John Parkhurst, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, and the ladies who had been with her over the years such as Elizabeth Trywhitt and Mary Wodhull. Katherine also had a full compliment of maids-of-honour and gentlewomen as well as 120 gentlemen and yeomen of the guard. In spite of his duties, Sir Thomas Seymour seems to have spent most of that summer with his wife. Katherine whiled away her summer days overseeing the education of Lady Jane Grey while preparing for her baby. Her affections for her husband seemed as strong as ever, as was her belief in the final analysis, Seymour would make the moral choice over the immoral one.

The nursery at Sudeley Castle.

While Katherine awaited her confinement, Katherine continued decorating the nursery which overlooked the gardens and the Chapel. The nursery of an expected heir was done up in crimson and gold velvet and taffeta, with furniture and plate enough for a royal birth. In Seymour’s eyes, the child would be a member of the royal family as Katherine was still officially the only queen in England. After his daughter’s birth, Seymour was overheard telling Sir William Sharington that,

“it would be strange to some when his daughter came of age, taking [her] place above [the duchess of] Somerset, as a queen’s daughter.”[3]

Besides the baby’s cradle was a bed with a scarlet tester and crimson curtains and a separate bed for the nurse.

The Queen’s Gardens at Sudeley Castle; Katherine Parr would spend her final days walking with Lady Jane Grey in these gardens. © Meg McGath, 2012.

The Queen continued to take the advice of her doctor and walked daily among the grounds of Sudeley, but she was still concerned about the politics and overseeing of the new boy king.

On the eve of August 30th, Katherine went into labour.
Sources

  1. Linda Porter. ‘Katherine, the queen,’ Macmillan, 2012.
  2. Susan James. ‘Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,’ The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008, 2009 [US Edition].
  3. Janel Mueller. ‘Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondences,’ University of Chicago Press, Jun 30, 2011.
  4. Emma Dent. ‘Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley,’ London, J. Murray, 1877. Out of copyright; use of images and info.

The original post from which this was taken

copyright_meg_tudorqueen

30 December 1460: The Debt is Paid

On the 30th of December 1460, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and his forces were caught by surprise by the Queen’s forces at Sandal Castle near Wakefield where they had been stationed for over two weeks. Richard knew the battle was lost and that he would likely die so he sent his son (Edmund, Earl of […]

https://tudorsandotherhistories.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/30-december-1460-the-debt-is-paid/

Katherine Parr: Why the Queen is implicated with Seymour and His misconduct with the Lady Elizabeth

From Rebecca Larson’s article at TudorDynasty: Why Queen Elizabeth I Never Married

“Elizabeth also experienced an improper male relationship while she was living with her step-mother Katherine Parr and her new husband Thomas Seymour. Thomas would flirt with Elizabeth in an improper fashion – and to thwart him from continuing these escapades Katherine would participate (to keep a watchful eye) by holding down young Elizabeth while Thomas tickled her. Inevitably, Katherine found them alone in an embrace and she immediately put a stop to this behavior. She was after all Elizabeth’s guardian. Katherine was also pregnant with Thomas’ child at the time. She sent young Elizabeth away to her own household.”

Insert MY frustration and anger here…

These articles never research the info on Katherine Parr! They always throw Katherine Parr under the bus without even questioning where the info came from and from whom.

First off, “young Elizabeth?” Elizabeth during her stay with Seymour and Parr was of age. If her father had cared for her and his country–Elizabeth would have been wed earlier. As the daughter of a King, Elizabeth was seen as a commodity and a political pawn in these times. Her paternal great-grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was pregnant by twelve and gave birth at thirteen. It wasn’t uncommon for women to be wed by the age of twelve. So to call Elizabeth “young” is a modern day concept based on how we live today.

Stewart Granger as Thomas Seymour and Jean Simmons as Lady Elizabeth in “Young Bess” (1953)

“There are many witnesses, who under pressure, have testified to this shameless love affair. A love affair of which even Queen Katherine accused you on her death bed.” — Edward, Duke of Somerset

“You’re lying! She knew me, she loved me, she was my friend.” — Lady Elizabeth

“But you were not hers.” — Edward, Duke of Somerset (“Young Bess” 1953)

The testimony and the statements accusing Parr of joining in Seymour’s antics came from Kat Ashley (Elizabeth’s governess) who was threatened to be tortured until she spoke up about Seymour and Parr.

Katherine Parr had been dead for several months by the time Ashley was arrested and put in the Tower. Ashley knew that women were no longer spared from torture (i.e Anne Askew). The interrogators of Ashley were trying to implicate and charge Seymour after he had tried to marry Elizabeth again and kidnap Edward. Everyone had tired of his lunatic moves to take some power.

When Elizabeth was staying with the couple, they were seated at Chelsea Manor–in what is now known as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Manor was situated on the Thames and was close to several important establishments used by the Lord Protector and his council. At the time Ashley claims Parr was involved in Seymour’s damaging antics. Parr had a HUGE household with a lot of staff on watch. If Parr had participated in these acts, why did no one else contribute, with the SAME story? Ashley was the only one to speak of Parr is such a demeanor.

We also have evidence that Ashley encouraged Elizabeth to play along with Seymour. Ashley told Elizabeth that she would be lucky to have such a man. This was ALL done while Seymour was still married to Parr. Evidence also states that Ashley was jealous and had a crush on Seymour — so the weight of her testimony … Is basically worth a grain of salt. Parr never had any inappropriate relations with her stepchildren recorded as described by Ashley. Parr had stepchildren from 1534 until her death in September of 1548. If she was not trustworthy, her second husband never would have left his daughter in Parr’s care. Also, King Henry never would have left Parr in control of everything while he was in France if he believed her to be a bad influence and what not. Her Regency during this time in her reign, could have become a permanent status if Henry had died in France–The behavior fits Seymour, but not Parr.

Sources

  • Susan James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History PressDec 26, 2010.
  • Linda Porter. Katherine the QueenThe Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII. St. Martin’s Press, Nov 23, 2010.
  • David Starkey. Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne. Harper CollinsSep 25, 2007.