“Your Excellency, what I have done for the Lady Mary is much less than I would like to do; as well as being my duty in every respect. As for the friendship between our two countries, I have done and will do nothing to prevent it from growing still further as the friendship is so necessary and both sovereigns [are] so good.”
Katherine’s relationship with Mary was one of friendship rather than motherly. When Katherine became queen the royal children were by then acquainted with her. It is not known whether it was Katherine herself that suggested meeting the Ladies Mary and Elizabeth before the wedding, but Henry obviously approved. In any case, Katherine wanted to establish a good rapport with the king’s daughters before the wedding. While Katherine had been contemplating the kings proposal there is no doubt that the three children and the role in which she would play came to mind. With Mary, Katherine wanted nothing more than to become a supporter and friend to her. Being a mother to another woman’s child was a responsibility that Katherine assumed with grace and dedication.
History may not have viewed Henry as an attentive parent but he cannot be judged by our modern standards as times were different back then. Henry did not visit his children’s establishments on a regular basis, but claimed to love them all. Royal children were brought up separately. A separate household was always established for the Prince of Wales while princesses, often living together, had smaller establishments. As in Katherine’s time, court was not a place for small children and Mary as Princess had a household of her own until her parents’ divorce when she was forced to live with her half-sister, Elizabeth. Buried in a legacy of failed marriages and just the everyday duties of a king, Henry’s affections towards his children were understandably lacking. Katherine was convinced that Henry needed to be more involved with his children. The uncertainty that filled all of their lives, especially Mary and Elizabeth, needed to be relieved. Katherine promised and made sure as long as Henry was alive and she was consort that the children would have a stable future.
Katherine’s marriage to the King gave Mary the longest period of unbroken happiness she had known since childhood. It was much needed after a decade of turmoil. Katherine was a staunch champion of the princess and her regard for Mary certainly helped improve her prospects, as well as enriching her life. Soon after the wedding, Katherine gave Mary a present of gold bracelets. Katherine would go on to exchange purses of money with Mary as was done throughout the aristocracy as a token of female friendship. The two shared a love for clothes and jewels. They also had a love of music in common. The two thrived on conversation and diversion. Both were dedicated to studying and religion. History has made it seem that Katherine and Mary were so set in their ways of religion that they had absolutely nothing in common. In fact some people have gone as far as saying that if Katherine had lived into Mary’s reign, Mary would have had Katherine burned at the stake! Truth be told, within their relationship, neither was firmly set in their ways and their relationship never suffered. Mary had somewhat accepted her father’s religious changes. Katherine’s faith as queen would eventually develop along different lines than that of Mary. But much would change in Mary’s life before she became pegged as “Bloody Mary”.
The Imperial Ambassador, Chapuys, recounts that the two were almost always together and would come to thank Katherine in time, in the name of his Master Charles V, for all that she had done and would continue to do for the Lady Mary.
By 1544, a new act of succession was introduced. Since becoming queen, Katherine had set out to reconcile Henry and Mary and to restore her as a potential heir to the throne. Chapuys was most impressed with the queen’s attempts at favoring the Princess and wrote frequently to Charles V about it. Charles was also most pleased and encouraged Chapuys to continue good relations with Queen Katherine. The act was the first succession act in England to give females the right to succeed to the throne as queen. Lady Mary and Elizabeth were again part of the succession after their brother Edward. Though both Mary and Elizabeth remained illegitimate and were denied the title of princess, they were Henry’s official heirs. This Act signified the rehabilitation of the royal children with their father; which Katherine could take more than a little credit for. Based on ambassadorial reports, it was Katherine who was the chief instrument of Henry’s decision to name all of his children in his will as heirs to the throne. The terms of Henry’s Will would later legitimize both Mary’s seizure of the crown from Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth’s succession after Mary’s death. It was Katherine who helped insure their legitimacy as queens.
It was in 1544, that Mary would be painted by an artist commemorating her re-in-statement to the succession. In the portrait, attributed to Master John, Mary is still young and quite beautiful. Portraiture was another common interest of Katherine Parr. Throughout her reign she would have portraits done of her and the two daughters of Henry. It is thought that perhaps these portraits of Katherine were done to make up for the fact that Henry had commissioned a painting of the royal family during her reign; only to put Jane Seymour in posthumously as queen. Perhaps that is the case, but the portrait of Mary is memorable and a favorite of many admirers to this day.
By summer of 1544, Katherine had been appointed Regent of England as Henry went off to battle in France. During her reign, most historians believe it was Elizabeth who was most affected by watching her step-mother rule over the country. Mary, herself, would also pay close attention to Katherine’s regency which no doubt influenced her. Both daughters would come to see that it was possible for a queen to handle all that was expected of a king; that perhaps one day they too could rule as queen of England. As regent, Katherine possessed a considerable amount of power. During Katherine’s regency five proclamations were issued and she was granted the right to disburse money from the Treasury. Throughout his time in France, Katherine would write often informing Henry of her progress. Often included were her sentiments, her time with the children, and worries about his health.
At the end of Henry’s reign as King he started to not only distant himself from Queen Katherine, but also from his children. Henry knew that his health was failing and that he must make provisions for his son Prince Edward’s minority as the next Tudor king. Henry’s final Christmas was spent alone at Whitehall, apart from Katherine and Mary who were at Greenwich Palace. On 11 January, it is accounted that the queen’s apartments were prepared for her arrival, but there is an uncertainty as to whether or not Katherine saw her husband one last time. On 28 January 1547, King Henry died. Neither Katherine nor his children were present.
After the death of King Henry, Mary was not told of his death for several days. Edward’s minority council took elaborate precautions to ensure all was in place before they made an official announcement. This action made Mary extremely angry, but she could do nothing about it. Yet how ever wary Edward’s councillors were, nothing could alter the fact that Mary was in her own right heiress to the throne. For the time being, Mary would stay with Katherine who was again for the third time, a widow. At the time of her father’s death Mary was aged 31. Mary’s reaction to her father’s death was never recorded as she never publicly mourned his death. She was apparently more irritated at the fact that no one had told her that her father had died until days later. Most likely her reaction to the news was mixed grief and some kind of relief. At Henry’s death both Mary and Elizabeth became two of the richest women in England. They both had an income, the promise of a dowry, and extensive holdings of property. Mary was now an owner of 32 houses and manors. These lands had previously belonged to the Duke of Norfolk and his son Surrey but were attained by the King after their arrest. It is noted that after all that the Howard’s had put Mary through she still came out on top owning most of Norfolk, Suffolk, and land in Essex.
Until April 1547, Mary remained in the household of the Dowager Queen Katherine. Mary went into deep mourning and it is not recorded whether or not she attended her father’s funeral or even her brother’s coronation. In her mourning, Mary went into deep reflection upon the way the country was now being run. While Henry was alive, she didn’t dare questioning his advisers. Now with Edward’s council, many of the members she had known for quite a while now, she came to her own opinion and was no longer afraid to voice her opinion as she did not think much of the men who ruled in her brother’s name. By Spring, Mary had left the household of the Dowager queen as a dispute between the Lord Protector and his family was about to devolve. Truth being that Mary was a lady with many households and of age; she was mistress of her own manors and needed to start living her own life. While her father had been alive, Mary had been denied her very own family. She missed out on many marriage proposals and the chance to bear children of her own. Before Henry died, he promised the queen many things and gave her permission to marry again if it pleased her. Within months of his death Mary would find that her step-mother had renewed her liaison with her former love, Sir Thomas Seymour. Thomas was the younger brother of the Lord Protector. Thomas was jealous of his older brother as he had no part in the regency council. Therefore it has been proposed that perhaps he saw that by marrying the queen dowager he would obtain some sort of recognition. After surviving nearly four years of marriage to Henry, which was a feet among itself, Katherine was now letting her heart rule over her head. As she had no political role in Edward’s reign, Katherine looked to the possibility of her own happiness. The two would marry on an unknown date. Of course Katherine’s marriage was solemnized by God, but it had not been sanctioned by the king and his council. There was nothing in the will of Henry saying that Katherine could not marry again – but some saw the marriage as untimely as it was too soon after the king’s death. In attempts to gain favour and have the marriage be accepted, Seymour wrote to Mary asking for her approval and consent. The jest of the letter was strong, but at the same time clever and revealing. Mary knew what had been happening in the household before she left and was not one to play dumb. Mary knew Seymour’s reputation with women and was not fooled by his appeal to win her favour. Mary was still upset over the fact that Katherine would even consider marrying so soon after her father’s death and in a way felt it insulted the memory of her father. Although Mary was unhappy about Katherine’s choices, she realized that she would no longer share in the company of her step-mother who had done so much to re-store her relationship with her father and to re-instate her into the Act of Succession. Katherine had been regarded as an equal by Mary. The two had shared so much time together that it most likely hurt her deeply when she heard the news of Katherine’s death.
Throughout the reign of Henry VIII, as many know, he had six different wives. The first of these wives was the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, Infanta Catalina; or as most have come to know her in England – Katherine of Aragon. Katherine came to England to marry the older brother of Henry who was then heir to the throne of England; Arthur, Prince of Wales. Shortly after their marriage Arthur died and Katherine was left a widow at an early age. To avoid returning her large dowry to her father Katherine was married to Arthur’s younger brother, then Henry, Duke of York. The marriage between Katherine and Henry produced only one child who would live to adulthood, a girl, the future Queen Mary I of England. In Tudor times, not having a male heir was particularly troublesome as the country had just been through a civil war in which Henry’s father seized the crown. Henry VIII was only the second Tudor monarch, a son of both the houses of Lancaster and York. Henry felt that a male heir was essential; after all, the last woman to reign as queen regent was the tumultuous reign of Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I.
Born Princess Mary of England, Mary was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife Katherine of Aragon. Her mother, after two decades of marriage to the King, had given birth to six children. Out of the six, only one would survive infancy, their daughter Mary. Katherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heiress presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. At this time is when Henry began to take interest in one of Katherine’s ladies, Anne Boleyn. In Anne, Henry saw the possibility of having a male heir; to continue his father’s legacy. After going through a great bit of trouble – which included a break from Rome – Henry “divorced” Katherine and “married” Anne under his Church of England. This break and marriage would come to change England and inevitably changed Henry for the rest of his life. Henry would go on to have again, one daughter, with Anne. During this marriage, Princess Mary, now within her teens, went from being a legitimate Princess and daughter of Henry VIII to an illegitimate “bastard” under Henry’s new succession act. Mary was forced to live below the standards of what she had become accustomed to and was forced to accept that her mother was no longer queen of England. After only a few years of marriage to Anne, Henry became convinced that his second wife could not produce a male heir and literally disposed her for yet another lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. During her short reign, Jane tried to reconcile Henry with his daughter Mary. It was through this “precious” lady that Henry finally got what he wanted; a male heir, named Edward. To Henry’s misfortune, only twelve days after giving birth to Edward, Jane died. Henry would go on to marry three more times after Jane. Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and a woman named Katherine Parr. It was the last of Henry’s wives who would come to reconcile Mary, along with her half-siblings, with Henry.
Katherine Parr was born in 1512. By both parents, Princess Mary was related to Katherine Parr. By her paternal grandparents, Mary was related by Katherine’s descent from the Beaufort’s, children of John of Gaunt, a son of Edward III making Mary by her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth of York, a 4th cousin. By the Woodville connection, they were 4th cousins. By her paternal grandfather, Henry VII (by Beaufort and Holland), Mary was a double 5th cousin, once removed. By her maternal grandmother, Isabel of Castile (by John of Gaunt), she was a fifth cousin and a fifth cousin, once removed. Jane Seymour is the next closest after Parr sharing Edward III (6th cousins, once removed).
Katherine was a few years older than Mary who was born in 1516. Katherine’s mother, Maud, had become a lady-in-waiting to Princess Mary’s mother shortly after her marriage to Sir Thomas Parr. Katherine was named after the queen and it is thought that the queen was her godmother.
Maud’s relationship with the Queen was unlike that of most queens and their ladies. It was a relationship that went much deeper than “giddy pleasure”. Both knew what it was like to lose a child in stillbirths and in infancy. It was Katherine Parr’s mother, Maud, who shared in the horrible miscarriages and deaths in which Queen Katherine would endure from 1511 to 1518. The two bonded over the issue, as Maud had experienced the death of her eldest, an infant boy, and later a miscarriage or early infant mortality after the birth of three healthy children. Because of these shared experiences, the queen and Maud became close.
After her husband died in 1517, Maud continued her position at court as one of Katherine of Aragon’s household and stayed close to the Queen even when her relationship with Henry started to decline in the 1520s. In 1525, when Henry’s infatuation with one of Katherine’s ladies, Anne Boleyn, became apparent, inevitably the ladies began to take sides. In these times, Queen Katherine never lost the loyalty and affection of women like Maud Parr, Gertrude Courtenay, and Elizabeth Howard, who had been with the Queen since the first years of her reign. Maud stayed with Queen Katherine until the end of her own life in 1531.
It has been said that Katherine Parr and Princess Mary were educated together. While Katherine’s mother attended on the queen, Katherine was at Parr house in Blackfriars, London. Katherine was not brought to court with her mother and probably the only time, if any, that she was in contact with the royal family was at her christening. Katherine and other daughters of the court were taught separately while Princess Mary, who had her own household, was taught by private tutors.
After the disastrous marriage of the King and Katherine Howard, the King was no longer looking for flighty relationships that stirred his passions. Henry had learned a tough lesson with Katherine Howard and was determined more than ever to find an intelligent, honest, loving, and devoted wife. He wanted someone he could hold an actual conversation with; a companion. Another quality Henry looked for in a wife was someone who could be a perfect companion to his eldest daughter, now styled The Lady Mary Tudor. After years of tension and multiple step-mothers whom Mary had mixed relations with, Henry must have felt he owed her that much.
After the death of Katherine Howard, Mary enjoyed far greater favor from her father and presided over court feasts as if she was queen herself. For New Year’s, Mary was showered with lavish gifts from her father. Within the presents were ‘two rubies of inestimable value.’ However, it was during this time that Mary suffered from chronic ill-health linked to anxiety, depression, and irregular menstruation. These health issues along with others would continue until Mary’s death. Thankfully by Christmas 1542, Mary had recovered and was summoned to court for the great Christmas festivities. Her quarters at Hampton court were worked on day and night to prepare for her arrival. The Imperial Ambassador, Chapuys, reported that the King ‘spoke to her in the most gracious and amiable words that a father could address to his daughter.’
Katherine Parr would marry twice before her marriage to King Henry in 1543. Her first marriage would be to her distant relative, Sir Edward Borough in 1529; which ended in about 1533 with his death. Her next marriage was to her father’s second cousin, Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape in 1534. With this marriage, Katherine became Lady Latimer. She was the first of her family to marry into peerage since her great-aunt, Maud Parr, Lady Dacre. With this marriage also came two step-children from Latimer’s first marriage to Dorothy De Vere. For about a decade, Katherine would experience the joy of being a step-mother. It was during this time that she became extremely close to her step-daughter, Margaret, which was somewhat of a pre-cursor to Katherine’s future relationship with the Lady Elizabeth, Henry’s youngest daughter. By the time Lord Latimer had died, Katherine was left a rich widow and was asked by Latimer to look after his daughter until the age of her maturity. It has been said that Katherine became a lady in the household of Lady Mary during this time, but biographers Susan James and Linda Porter have different opinions. It was thought by James that because Mary remembered the kindness Katherine’s mother had shown her mother that she gladly took Katherine as one of her ladies. Porter disputes this saying it would have been below Katherine’s standing as the widow of a peer who had her own establishments and a large settlement from her husband’s death. Truth be told, many courtiers and wives of peers were ladies to royals in Tudor England. It was a wonderful opportunity, kept them busy, and at the center of court. Katherine’s sister, Anne, would serve all of Henry’s wives, including her. After the death of Lord Latimer, Katherine began a fling with the brother of former queen Jane Seymour, Sir Thomas Seymour. The two were most likely planning to be wed, but before the two could marry, Katherine would first catch the attention of King who quickly proposed.
In spring before the wedding, Katherine would appear at court with both Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth. The fact that the two had not been together earlier that spring and were now with Katherine and her sister at court was seen as significant. Katherine believed that a good relationship with the two was fundamental to her strategy. Once married, and confident as queen, she could develop the relationships further.
Katherine would go on to marry the King in July of that year. Within those who were present were the Ladies Mary and Elizabeth. With the marriage came three new step-children for Katherine to take care of. Instead of seeing it as her “duty”, she saw it as an opportunity as she had still not produced any children of her own.
Susan James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love, The History Press, 2009.
Linda Porter. Katherine the queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII, MacMillan, 2010.
Linda Porter. The Myth of “Bloody Mary”: A Biography of Queen Mary I of England, St. Martin Griffins, 2010.
Anna Whitelock. Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2009.
This book was a major disappointment and had major flaws in The Tudors section. First off, Henry VII was basically skipped over, no picture — the Tudors section starts with the portrait of Elizabeth I. According to the author “Henry Tudor’s blood was barely blue being five generations from Edward III” and “Henry was not born to the crown” — the latter being true, but to skip such an important figure along with Elizabeth of York is unforgivable.
Another major error was the portrait of Anne Boleyn; the style of the clothes and hair is from the late 16th/early 17th century – Anne would not have worn the ‘Elizabethan collar’. It may be a modern interpretation, but to use it as the sole portrait of Anne is rather odd.
I also disliked how Katherine Parr’s section was full of errors and made her look like a harlot after the death of Henry VIII.
First off, there is no proof that Katherine was romantically involved [meaning sleeping with] with Thomas Seymour before the death of Lord Latimer or before the marriage of Henry and Katherine. Also, Thomas was sent away on business for the king, he didn’t make himself scarce.
The statement that four out of six wives were redheads is incorrect.
Historians are not 100% sure that Katherine was part of Lady Mary’s household.
The discussion of theology became a problem when Katherine started preaching to the King — after the whole scandal they continued talking about religion, but it was more toned down.
I’m not sure where the info is coming from that Henry told his physician that he wanted to “get rid of” Katherine Parr. There were rumors, set up most likely by the Catholics at court, which also included Henry wanting to marry the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, Queen Katherine’s friend, who was even more prone to speak her mind when it came to matters of religion. There was no doctor involved in telling Queen Katherine about Henry’s intentions. A warrant was drawn up which was taken to Queen Katherine. She went to King Henry arguing that she was “but a woman” and that she was merely trying to distract the King from his infirmities.
Katherine pushed Henry’s wheelchair in the gardens?? The correct info has the two sitting in the garden when they were approached by Henry’s guards.
The Queen Dowager, Katherine, waited a few MONTHS, not weeks, before re-entering into her “relationship” with Seymour. I don’t think Katherine would have been that disrespectful, but just to be clear — the King gave her the go ahead to re-marry who she wanted. They were thought to be married in the spring months, possibly May of that year.
Where the statement that Katherine was acting like a “trollop” came from, I would love to know. Seymour asked the King for permission to marry the Dowager Queen. Yes, Lady Mary was upset and thought Catherine should have waited a tad longer but in the two biographies I’ve read on Mary (Anna Whitelock and Linda Porter) she never once called Katherine a trollop. In fact, Mary disliked Seymour more than anything as he pestered her about matters of state. Mary eventually came to forgive Katherine — Katherine received a letter from Mary while she was pregnant and Katherine named the baby girl after her step-daughter.
The stories of Seymour and Elizabeth are quite interesting and many theories have been put out there, but what actually happened in that household is another story as Elizabeth’s lady, Kat Ashley, was the main contributor to the testimony. Kat herself encouraged Elizabeth to flirt with Seymour and had a crush on him herself. “But the doctor’s dirty hands caused an infection”… there are many contributing factors to the fever that caused Katherine to die, much like the death of Jane Seymour. And the last sentence of Lady Jane being raised as a surrogate daughter — she was a ward. This book and this chapter reads more like a romance novel then an actual history book.
The author put an actual biography of Katherine Parr (Susan James) within her chapter full of sources that is actually well respected; perhaps the author should have actually read the book before “quoting” it.
The chapter on The Tudors reads more like a romance novel than a history book; that might explain why the author chose the “romanticized” portrait of Anne Boleyn. No citations are given as to where the info comes from and major mistakes were made. The only good thing about the book is the reproduction of one of Anne Boleyn’s letters and the letter from Katherine Howard to Master Culpepper.
One positive note the author made about Katherine Parr:
“Perhaps the most mature and educated of Henry’s wives.”
So why did she paint Katherine as such a “trollop”?? You’ve got me! Other then that, don’t waste your money. Historically inaccurate indeed!
Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal (1407–1461/24 November 1464*) was an English landowner and elected Member of Parliament six times between 1435 and 1459. He was great-grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII.
Sir Thomas was the son of Sir John Parr and Agnes Crophull (or Crophill) (c.1371/72-3 February 1438). By his mother’s previous marriage to Sir William Devereux of Bodenham, he was the maternal half-brother of Elizabeth and Walter Devereux, Esq., the great-grandfather of Anne Devereux who married William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1468 creation) [grandfather of the 1st Earl who would marry Anne Parr] and the 5x great-grandfather of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. His father died before 6 October 1407 and when his mother remarried to John Merbury, Esq. he was made the ward of Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland castle, Lancashire.
Within a year of his coming of age Thomas was escheator of Cumberland and Westmorland, and was knighted about the same time. He was elected Member of Parliament for Westmorland five times (in 1435, 1449, 1450, 1455 and 1459) and once for Cumberland (1445). He was actively involved in local administration and law enforcement, and became very influential. In 1435 he acted as the Under-sheriff for Thomas, 8th Baron Clifford, the hereditary sheriff of Westmorland.
He became involved in a long-running feud with Sir Henry Bellingham, another local landowner, which came to a head in 1445 when he was attacked in London by Bellingham’s men when attending Parliament, which caused a Parliamentary outcry.
By the time of the War of the Roses, Parr had formed close links with leading Yorkist Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury [great-great-grandfather of Queen Katherine] and when hostilities began joined him at the Battle of Ludford Bridge near Ludlow in 1459. After a Yorkists were defeated, he was forced to flee to Calais with Salisbury and was attainted in Parliament, but returned to fight at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460.
He died in 1461. He left three sons and six daughters by his wife Alice Tunstall, daughter of Sir Thomas. His eldest son, William became elevated as Baron Parr and married a granddaughter of the Earl of Salisbury, Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, and by her was grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII; his second son, Sir John Parr was made sheriff of Westmorland for life in 1462. His third son, Thomas, was killed at the Battle of Barnet in 1471. His daughters all married members of prominent northern families. Mabel married Humphrey Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre; thus becoming the first female Parr to marry into the peerage and be given a title. The accession of the Yorkist King Edward IV in 1461 had saved most of Sir Thomas’s estates from confiscation.
Through his son William, the family continued in favour with the culmination of his granddaughter, Katherine, becoming Queen consort of England and Ireland to King Henry VIII in 1543. His other grandchildren and the siblings of Queen Katherine would be raised by being created Marquess of Northampton and Earl of Essex; while a granddaughter, Anne, would become Countess of Pembroke as the wife of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke of the 1551 creation. Anne’s descendants to this day hold the title of Earl of Pembroke among other prominent titles.
* There is a conflict with the death date of Sir Thomas; Richardson states 1464 while Katherine’s biographer Linda Porter states 1461.
^ Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry, Genealogical Publishing, 2005. pg 565. Google eBook
^ Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII, Macmillan, Nov 23, 2010.
The wedding of Henry and Katherine, Dowager Baroness Latimer as recorded
Notarial instrument witnessing that, on 12 July 1543, 35 Hen. VIII., in an upper oratory called “the Quynes Pryevey closet” within the honor of Hampton Court, Westm. dioc., in presence of the noble and gentle persons named at the foot of this instrument and of me, Ric. Watkins, the King’s prothonotary, the King and lady Katharine Latymer alias Parr being met there for the purpose of solemnising matrimony between them, Stephen bp. of Winchester proclaimed in English (speech given in Latin) that they were met to join in marriage the said King and Lady Katharine, and if anyone knew any impediment thereto he should declare it. The licence for the marriage without publication of banns, sealed by Thos. abp. of Canterbury and dated 10 July 1543, being then brought in, and none opposing but all applauding the marriage, the said bp. of Winchester put the questions (recited) to which the King, hilari vultu, replied “Yea” and the lady Katharine also replied that it was her wish; and then the King taking her right hand, repeated after the Bishop the words, “I, Henry, take thee, Katharine, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth.” Then, releasing and again clasping hands, the lady Katharine likewise said “I, Katharine, take thee Henry to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonayr and buxome in bed and at board, till death us depart, and thereto I plight unto thee my troth.” The putting on of the wedding ring and proffer of gold and silver (described) followed; and the Bishop, after prayer, pronounced a benediction. The King then commanded the prothonotary to make a public instrument of the premises. Present : John lord Russell, K.G., keeper of the Privy Seal, Sir Ant. Browne, K.G., captain of the King’s pensioners, and Thos. Henage, Edw. Seymer, Hen. Knyvet, Ric. Long, Thos. Darcy, Edw. Beynton, and Thos. Speke, knights, and Ant. Denny and Wm. Herbert, esquires, also the ladies Mary and Elizabeth the King’s children, Margaret Douglas his niece, Katharine duchess of Suffolk, Anne countess of Hertford, and Joan lady Dudley, and Anne Herbert.
Notarial attestation by Ric. Watkins, Ll. B., King’s prothonotary. Large parchment.
Interesting blog on someone’s thoughts about William Parr and he getting what he deserved from his first wife who ran off with her lover and had illegitimate children by him. Right! Turns out the author of the blog DID use Alison Weir as her top source. Tudor Tart Anne Bourchier
Where are you getting your info? Just wondering. Is this Wikipedia material? They were both unhappy when they married; it was a marriage of advantage which Maud Parr paid quite a deal of money towards only for the two to be incredibly unhappy. They were married at a young age [she was about 10] and they didn’t even live together for over 10 years. William was at court while Anne stayed behind in the country. Not defending William here, but it was a two way street and both sides were already unhappy with each other and decided their own fates. William was at least somewhat discreet and didn’t run off and father a bunch of bastards with Bray. The “tale” about William trying to get his wife executed is not proved to be entirely true. In fact it is only promoted on Wikipedia by Alison Weir’s book, “The Six Wives” which is full of inaccurate facts, especially in Katherine Parr’s section. Adultery wasn’t punishable by death back then or else everyone would have been sent to the block. Only Henry had that power to send his queens to the block for “adultery.” This tale seems to be played up by Alison Weir in her “Six Wives” book. Adultery by non-royals did not carry an assumption of being a capitol offense. For details of the actual account and reference to the primary sources that document what actually happened between Parr and Bourchier, see Susan James’s Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s Last Love, pages 50-52 and 82. You could also take a look at this page: http://queryblog.tudorhistory.org/2009/07/question-from-marie-when-did-adultery.html
Also, the only reason Anne went to petition for her husband was most likely for money and land; because after she ran off with her lover she was exiled in poverty. The bill which had made her marriage to Parr null and void was reversed under Queen Mary so she most likely saw that as an opportunity. She wanted money and land and that is what she got from petitioning — December 1553 she was granted an annuity of 100 pounds; and in December 1556 she was further granted an annuity of 450 pounds and then retired to the country after Elizabeth succeeded Queen Mary. She obviously knew Elizabeth wouldn’t stand for her charades and she didn’t. Elizabeth promoted Parr who waited out Anne’s life to finally be able to marry again, this time for love.
Lady Anne Bourchier (1517 – 28 January 1571) was the suo jure 7th Baroness Bourchier, suo jure Lady Lovayne, and Baroness Parr of Kendal [by marriage]. She was the first wife of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1st Earl of Essex, and the sister-in-law of Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII of England.
She created a scandal in 1541 when she deserted her husband to elope with her lover, John Lyngfield, by whom she would have several illegitimate children. According to Alison Weir’s Six Wives, “he [Parr] was pressing the King to authorize the highest penalty for her offense, which in those days was death” and due to the intervention of Catherine, who at that time was still Lady Latimer, who spoke to King Henry VIII on her behalf, Anne avoided the possible penalty of execution.
Lady Anne Bourchier was born in 1517, the only child of Henry Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Essex, 6th Baron Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, 2nd Count of Eu, and Mary Say, who was a lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s first Queen consort, Katherine of Aragon. Her paternal grandparents were Sir William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and Lady Anne Woodville, a younger sister of the English queen consort Elizabeth Woodville. This connection made her a 3rd cousin of Queen Katherine Parr. Her maternal grandparents were Sir William Say and Elizabeth Fray. Anne was related to three queen consorts of Henry VIII; Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Catherine Howard who all shared the same great-grandmother Elizabeth Cheney.
As the only child of the last Earl of Essex, as well as the contingent heiress of the Countess of Oxford, Anne was one of the wealthiest heiresses in England. The Bourchier wealth derived from the 14th century marriage of Sir William Bourchier to Eleanor de Lovayne (27 March 1345 – 5 October 1397), a rich heiress in her own right.
Marriage and inheritance
On 9 February 1527, Lady Anne was married to her 3rd cousin, William Parr. Parr was the only son of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal, Sheriff of Northamptonshire and Maud Green. Anne was approximately ten years old at the time of her marriage which had been diligently arranged by her ambitious mother-in-law. Anne later succeeded to the titles of suo jure 7th Baroness Bourchier and Lady Lovayne on 13 March 1540 at the time of her father’s accidental death. His viscounty of Bourchier and earldom of Essex did not pass to her, however, and both titles became extinct upon his death. Her husband had been created 1st Baron Parr of Kendal in 1539.
Anne and Parr were unhappy from the very start of their marriage. After their marriage in 1527, the couple did not live with each other until twelve years later. Anne was described as having been poorly-educated; and she appeared to prefer the peace of the countryside to the excitement of Henry VIII’s court, as her first recorded appearance at court where she attended a banquet was on 22 November 1539 when she was aged 22.
Lady Anne Bourchier abandoned her husband William Parr in 1541 and took up residence with a man now identified as John Lyngfield, the prior of St James’s Church, Tanbridge, in Surrey. Any wife acting in that manner was cause for public scandal, but the scandal was worsened when Anne became pregnant by Lyngfield. The birth of Anne’s child prompted Baron Parr to take action against her to protect his own interests, lest the baby should later in the future lay claim to his estates. In January 1543, William Parr then acted to protect his interests and secured a legal separation from Anne (but not a divorce or annullment). During 1541, after Anne had left, Parr started an affair with one of the ladies at court, Dorothy Bray.
From the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of Henry VIII, dated 22 January 1543, there is this item:
“Whereas lady Anne, wife of Sir Wm Parre lord Parre continued in adultery notwithstanding admonition, and, finally, two years past, left his company and has since had a child begotten in adultery and that the said child and all future children she may have shall be held bastards.”
Katherine Parr enters the picture in March 1543 when William relied on her influence to get a private bill through Parliament denouncing his wife’s behavior and declaring her child by Lyngfield a bastard. That bill did not include a sentence of execution for Anne Bourchier. All the bill actually did was publicly register William’s disapproval of his wife’s actions and prevent her son by Lyngfield from ever taking the Parr name. William and Anne remained legally married until 1552.
On 17 April 1543, he obtained an Act of Parliament, repudiating Anne and her child, who was declared a bastard, and unfit to inherit.
According to Alison Weir’s Six Wives: At this time, Parr’s sister Catherine was being courted by King Henry VIII. She was also a close friend of Anne, and according to Alison Weir, supported her against her brother who was pressing the King to apply the death penalty for his unfaithful wife. Weir states that Catherine petitioned the King to grant clemency for Anne; Henry agreed, provided Parr himself pardoned her, saying to Catherine that “if your brother can be content, I will pardon her”. After much pleading on Catherine’s part, Parr relented and Anne received the King’s pardon. She was, however, constrained to forfeit her titles and estates to her husband, and spent the next few years living in exile at the manor of Little Wakering, in Essex.
ARGUMENTS against Weir:
First off, someone said that Weir’s info came from the Spanish Calendar. In the translation of “Chronica del rey Enrico otavo de Inglaterra“, published 1889 by G. Bell and sons, the “story” is about an “Earl of Rochford” who was in love with the daughter of Lord Cobham. No names are mentioned. The only reference to making the story possibly about Parr is the quote calling the person “brother of Queen Katherine, the last wife of King Henry.” Parr was not Earl of Rochford and he didn’t have a servant that fooled around with his wife and then left and died in Wales. Anne left Parr with another man and went into exile with him in Essex at the manor of Little Wakering where she became pregnant and had an illegitimate child. There are also NO dates present in this Chronica. It also doesn’t state “Parr prosecuted..” it states “the Earl..” Anne was prosecuted against to keep her illegitimate children from inheriting Parr’s inheritance and estates; he also wanted a legal separation from Anne. The fact that Anne continued in adultery and had illegitimate children is recorded in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. I seriously think something either got lost in translation or I’m guessing by the time the news got to Spain it had been twisted into a completely different story which happened all the time in accounts of history. It’s like the Crusades — the 5 different accounts of the Speech of Pope Urban II at Clermont. The way word travels and the accounts of stories change over time unless they are immediately recorded at the time; which in England they were seeing how something was written in the LP’s of Henry VIII which deals nothing with Parr wanting Anne executed, just wanting her child declared illegitimate and wanting a separation. Unless you go into researching what Weir has to say, you are bound to agree with her and think that she knows what she’s talking about. This “account” is completely inaccurate and full of errors; somehow Weir twisted her story without really researching this document and then quotes it as a source when anyone who reads it can clearly see the constant errors.
Statement from Christine Hartweg,
The Spanish Chronicle is a bit notorious; it’s a typical gossip source, it’s also very likely this part was written some years after the events. I would think that he is in love with the daughter of the Lord Cobham is the ref to Elizabeth Brooke.
In a way the Spanish Chronicle is rather interesting, for example it is in many ways less biased in a purposeful sense than many of the ambassadorial reports; however it is completely garbled, clearly a source that interesting in respect what was talked AND then this got mixed up with the cultural prejudices and misunderstandings of the Spanish writer, who seems to have been in England for some time.
Statement from Hannah Stewart to make things clear about what we are dealing with [The Spanish Chronicles],
It is the Spanish Chronicle that also has Thomas Cromwell engaged in conversation with Katherine Howard shortly after her arrest (when in fact Cromwell had been dead for nearly two years). It is to be treated with a high degree of caution.
Secondly, it was highly unlikely that Anne would have been sentenced to death, as adultery was not a capital offense in 16th century England. Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were both executed for treason. The act of adultery, when committed by a queen consort of England, was legally a crime of High treason, and punishable by death. What is interesting is that Weir gives no support or citation as to where she found the info on the execution of Anne Bourchier. As stated, adultery wasn’t punishable by death in the Tudor era and adultery by non-royals did not carry an assumption of being a capitol offense.
For details of the actual account and reference to the primary sources that document what actually happened between Parr and Bourchier, see Susan James’s Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s Last Love, pages 50-52 and 82. First off, James never states anything about an execution and that Parr used his influence with Catherine to secure a separation. It then says that after all that was done with Anne, Parr embarked in an affair with Dorothy Bray. It was after Anne had committed adultery and run off, not before!
In 1543, William Parr had begun his courtship of the Hon. Elizabeth Brooke, who was a niece of Dorothy Bray, and a former Maid of Honour of Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard. He was created 1st Earl of Essex on 23 December 1543 by his brother-in-law, King Henry VIII. On 31 March 1552, a bill was passed in Parliament which declared the marriage between Parr and Bourchier to be null and void. Parr had married Elizabeth Brooke in 1547. Their marriage was declared valid in 1548, invalid in 1553, and valid again in 1558 upon the ascension of Queen Elizabeth I. Three monarchs had influenced the status of Elizabeth Brooke; Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.
Later years and death
Upon the ascension of Queen Mary, Parr was arrested and was committed to the Tower after his traitorous complicity with John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland’s failed plot against Mary to place Lady Jane Grey upon the throne. After Parr was sentenced to death on 18 August 1553, Anne intervened on Parr’s behalf with Queen Mary I in hopes that they [she] would be able to keep their estates. Parr was released. The bill which had declared their marriage null and void was reversed on 24 March 1554. That December, Anne used the reversal to her advantage and was granted an annuity of £100. Again in December 1556, Anne was granted another annuity of £450. She remained at court until the ascension of Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth held Parr in high favour and Anne most likely knew that her charades would not be welcomed by the queen. Parr was restored to blood and was re-created Marquess of Northampton, re-elected to the Order of the Garter, and was made a privy councillor among other things.
She had several more children by John Lyngfield but they, like her first child, were legally declared bastards. Only one daughter, Mary, is documented as having lived to adulthood. She married a Thomas York by whom she had children, but they all lived in obscurity. Author Charlotte Merton suggested that Katherine Nott, who held an unspecified position in Queen Elizabeth I’s household from 1577 to 1578, was also a daughter of Anne.
Sir Robert Rochester and Sir Edward Waldegrave held Benington Park, in Hertfordshire, as feoffees for her use; however, upon the death of Rochester in 1557, Waldegrave transferred the property to Sir John Butler. In response, Anne brought a lawsuit against Waldegrave and Butler which was heard in the Court of Chancery. She won the case but Butler petitioned to retry the case and continued to regard the park as his own. Butler’s petition was apparently unsuccessful because following Queen Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne in November 1558, Anne had retired to Benington Park where she quietly spent the rest of her life.
Anne Bourchier died on 28 January 1571 at Benington. Parr died the same year and was buried in the Collegiate Church of St. Mary in Warwick. His funeral and burial was paid by the Queen. He had married two times after Anne, but only his third wife, Helena Snakenborg, whom he had married after Anne’s death in May was considered legal. He fathered no children by any of his wives and the little money and estates he had left were passed to his cousins.
Upon Anne’s death, the barony of Bourchier passed to her cousin, Walter Devereux (husband of Lettice Knollys, cousin of Elizabeth I), who eventually was created Earl of Essex in 1572 after the death of Lady Anne’s husband, William Parr, the Earl of Essex, in 1571.
Alison Weir. The Six Wives of Henry VIII, p. 492.
What is interesting is that Weir gives no support or citation as to where she found the info on the execution of Anne Bourchier. Adultery wasn’t punishable by death in the Tudor era and adultery by non-royals did not carry an assumption of being a capitol offense. For details of the actual account and reference to the primary sources that document what actually happened between Parr and Bourchier, see Susan James’s Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s Last Love, pages 50-52 and 82.
Emerson, Kathy Lynn. A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, Bo-Brom.
Martienssen, Anthony (1973). Queen Katherine Parr. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. p. 39.
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06
The Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic of Henry VIII, Vol. 18, Part 1, Item 66, Part III, cap. xliii, dated 22 January 1543