Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard
1520?-42, fifth queen consort of Henry VIII of England.

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born с 1520
died Feb. 13, 1542, London, Eng.

Fifth wife of Henry VIII of England.

The granddaughter of the 2nd duke of Norfolk, she became a maid of honour to Anne of Cleves, Henry's fourth wife. After Henry had his marriage to Anne annulled, he married Catherine (1540). In 1541 he learned that Catherine had had several affairs before their marriage and that she also had probably committed adultery. Incensed, he had Parliament pass a bill in 1542 declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king. Catherine was beheaded two days later in the Tower of London.

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▪ queen of England
died Feb. 13, 1542, London

      fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. Her downfall came when Henry learned of her premarital affairs.

      Catherine was one of 10 children of Lord Edmund Howard (died 1539), a poverty-stricken younger son of Thomas Howard, 2nd duke of Norfolk. Henry VIII first became attracted to the young girl in 1540, when he was seeking to end his politically motivated marriage to Anne of Cleves, to whom Catherine was a maid of honour. He had his marriage to Anne annulled on July 9, and on July 28 Henry and Catherine were privately married. He publicly acknowledged her as queen on August 8.

      For the next 14 months Henry appeared to be much enamoured of his bride. But in November 1541, he learned that before their marriage Catherine had had affairs: Henry Mannock, a music teacher; Francis Dereham, who had called her his wife; and her cousin, Thomas Culpepper, to whom she had been engaged. After her marriage to Henry, Catherine had made Dereham her secretary, and it is probable—though still unproved—that she had committed adultery with Culpepper.

      The king, initially incredulous, became incensed with these revelations. On Feb. 11, 1542, Parliament passed a bill of attainder declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king. Two days later Catherine was beheaded in the Tower of London.

Additional Reading
Lacey Baldwin Smith, A Tudor Tragedy (1961).

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Universalium. 2010.

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