Catherine Parr

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Catherine Parr
Catherine Parr from NPG.jpg
Queen consort of England and Ireland
Tenure12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547
Born1512 (1512)
Blackfriars, London, England
Died5 September 1548 [1] (aged 36)
Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England
Burial
St Mary's Chapel, Sudeley Castle
Spouse
Issue Mary Seymour
Father Sir Thomas Parr
Mother Maud Green
Signature Catherine Parr Signature.svg

Catherine Parr (sometimes alternatively spelled Katherine, Katheryn, Kateryn or Katharine) (1512 – 5 September 1548 [1] [2] ) was Queen of England and Ireland (1543–47) as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, and the final queen consort of the House of Tudor. She married him on 12 July 1543, and outlived him by one year. With four husbands she is the most-married English queen.

House of Tudor English royal house of Welsh origin

The House of Tudor was an English royal house of Welsh origin, descended in the female line from the Tudors of Penmynydd. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including their ancestral Wales and the Lordship of Ireland from 1485 until 1603, with five monarchs in that period: Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Tudors succeeded the House of Plantagenet as rulers of the Kingdom of England, and were succeeded by the House of Stuart. The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII of England, descended through his mother from a legitimised branch of the English royal House of Lancaster. The Tudor family rose to power in the wake of the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), which left the House of Lancaster, to which the Tudors were aligned, extinct in the male line.

Contents

Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry's three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth I and Edward VI. She was influential in Henry's passing of the Third Succession Act in 1543 that restored both his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne. [3]

Third Succession Act United Kingdom legislation

The Third Succession Act of King Henry VIII's reign was passed by the Parliament of England in July 1543, and returned both his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the line of the succession behind their half-brother Edward.

Mary I of England Queen of England and Ireland

Mary I, also known as Mary Tudor, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. The executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents.

Succession to the British throne Law governing who can become British monarch

Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.

Catherine was appointed regent from July to September 1544 while Henry was on a military campaign in France and in case he lost his life, she was to rule as regent until Edward came of age. However he did not give her any function in government in his will. In 1543, she published her first book, Psalms or Prayers , anonymously. [4] On account of Catherine's Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of anti-Protestant officials, who sought to turn the King against her; a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1545. However, she and the King soon reconciled. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name. She assumed the role of Elizabeth's guardian following the King's death, and published a second book, The Lamentation of a Sinner .

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".

The will of Henry VIII of England was a significant constitutional document, or set of contested documents created in the 1530s and 1540s, affecting English and Scottish politics for the rest of the 16th century. In conjunction with legislation passed by the English Parliament, it was supposed to have a regulative effect in deciding the succession to the three following monarchs of the House of Tudor, the three legitimate and illegitimate children of King Henry VIII of England. Its actual legal and constitutional status was much debated; and arguably the succession to Elizabeth I did not respect Henry's wishes.

Psalms or Prayers was the first book published by Katherine Parr, queen consort of England. It is an English translation of the Latin Psalms, published by John Fisher around 1525.

Henry died on 28 January 1547. After the king's death, Catherine was allowed to keep the queen's jewels and dresses as queen dowager. About six months after Henry's death, she married her fourth and final husband, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley. The marriage was short-lived, as she died on Wednesday, 5 September 1548 due to complications of childbirth. [1] [5] Parr's funeral was held on 7 September 1548. [6] Parr's funeral was the first Protestant funeral held in English in England, Scotland, and Ireland. [5]

A queen dowager, dowager queen or queen mother is a title or status generally held by the widow of a king. In the case of the widow of an emperor, the title of empress dowager is used. Its full meaning is clear from the two words from which it is composed: queen indicates someone who served as queen consort, while dowager indicates a woman who holds the title from her deceased husband.

Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley Brother of the English queen Jane Seymour

Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was a brother of Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII. With his brother, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of England, he vied for control of their nephew, the young King Edward VI. In 1547 Seymour became the fourth husband of Catherine Parr, who had been the sixth and last wife and queen of Henry VIII. During his marriage to Catherine Parr, Seymour involved the future Queen Elizabeth I, who resided in his household, in flirtatious and possibly sexually abusive behaviour.

Early life

Catherine Parr was born in 1512, probably in August. [7] She was the eldest child (surviving to adulthood) of Sir Thomas Parr, lord of the manor of Kendal in Westmorland, (now Cumbria), and of the former Maud Green, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Green, lord of Greens Norton, Northamptonshire, and Joan Fogge. Sir Thomas Parr was a descendant of King Edward III, and the Parrs were a substantial northern family which included many knights. Catherine's paternal grandparents were Sir William Parr and Elizabeth FitzHugh, a daughter of Henry, Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth Castle and Lady Alice Neville, sister of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick ("Warwick, the Kingmaker"). Catherine had a younger brother, William, later created first Marquess of Northampton, and younger sister, Anne, later Countess of Pembroke. Sir Thomas was a close companion to King Henry VIII, and was rewarded as such with responsibilities and/or incomes from his positions as Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Master of the Wards, and Comptroller to the King, in addition to being the lord of Kendal. Catherine's mother was a close friend and attendant of Katherine of Aragon, and Catherine Parr was probably named after Queen Katherine, who was her godmother. [8]

Lord of the manor title from the feudal system of manorialism

Lord of the manor is a title given to a person holding the lordship of a manor in the Anglo-Saxon system of manorialism which emanated from feudalism in English and Irish history. In modern England and Wales, it is recognised as a form of property, one of three elements of a manor that may exist separately or be combined, and may be held in moieties:

  1. the title ;
  2. the manorial, comprising the manor and/or its land; and
  3. the seignory, rights granted to the titular holder of the manor.
Kendal town and civil parish in South Lakeland, Cumbria, England

Kendal, once Kirkby in Kendal or Kirkby Kendal, is a market village and civil parish in the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, England. Historically in Westmorland, it lies some 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Windermere, 19 miles (31 km) north of Lancaster, 23 miles (37 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness and 38 miles (61 km) north-west of Skipton, in the valley (dale) of the River Kent, from which comes its name. The 2011 census counted a population of 28,586. making it the third largest settlement in Cumbria after Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. Kendal today is known mainly as a centre for tourism, as the home of Kendal mint cake, and as a producer of pipe tobacco and tobacco snuff. Its buildings, mostly in the local grey limestone, have earned it the nickname "Auld Grey Town".

Westmorland historic county in England

Westmorland is a historic county in north west England. It formed an administrative county between 1889 and 1974, after which the whole county was administered by the new administrative county of Cumbria. In 2013, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Westmorland.

It was once thought that Catherine Parr had been born at Kendal Castle in Westmorland. However, at the time of her birth, Kendal Castle was already in very poor condition. [9] During her pregnancy, Maud Parr remained at court, attending the Queen, and by necessity the Parr family was living in their townhouse at Blackfriars. Historians now consider it unlikely that Sir Thomas would have taken his pregnant wife on an arduous two-week journey north over bad roads to give birth in a crumbling castle in which neither of them seemed to spend much time. [10] [11] Catherine's father died when she was young, and she was close to her mother as she grew up. [12]

Kendal Castle

Kendal Castle is a medieval fortification to the east of the town of Kendal, Cumbria, in northern England. The castle, which is atop a glacial drumlin, was built in the 12th century as the Caput baroniae for the Barony of Kendal. By the 15th century, the Parr family owned the castle. Queen Catherine Parr was once thought to have been born at the castle; however, modern research has shown that it was in great disrepair by the 16th century and she was most likely born in Blackfriars, London.

Blackfriars, London Area of central London, England

Blackfriars is an area of central London, which lies in the south-west corner of the City of London.

Catherine's initial education was similar to other well-born women, but she developed a passion for learning which would continue throughout her life. She was fluent in French, Latin, and Italian, and began learning Spanish after becoming queen. [13] According to biographer Linda Porter, the story that as a child, Catherine could not tolerate sewing and often said to her mother "my hands are ordained to touch crowns and sceptres, not spindles and needles" is almost certainly apocryphal. [14]

Lady Burgh

In 1529, when she was seventeen, Catherine married Sir Edward Burgh (pronounced and sometimes written as Borough), a grandson of Edward Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh. Earlier biographies mistakenly reported that Catherine had married the older Burgh. [15] [16] Following the 2nd Baron Burgh's death in December 1528, Catherine's father-in-law Sir Thomas Burgh was summoned to Parliament in 1529 as Baron Burgh. [15]

Catherine's first husband was in his twenties and may have been in poor health. He served as a feoffee for Thomas Kiddell and as a justice of the peace. His father also secured a joint patent in survivorship with his son for the office of steward of the manor of the soke of Kirton in Lindsey. The younger Sir Edward Burgh died in the spring of 1533, not surviving to inherit the title of Baron Burgh. [15] [11]

Lady Latimer

Following her first husband's demise, Catherine Parr may have spent time with the Dowager Lady Strickland, Katherine Neville, who was the widow of Catherine's cousin Sir Walter Strickland, at the Stricklands' family residence of Sizergh Castle in Westmorland (now in Cumbria). In the summer of 1534, Catherine married secondly John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer, her father's second cousin and a kinsman of Lady Strickland. With this marriage, Catherine became only the second woman in the Parr family to marry into the peerage. [17]

The twice-widowed Latimer was twice Catherine's age. From his first marriage to Dorothy de Vere, sister of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford, he had two children, John and Margaret. Although Latimer was in financial difficulties after he and his brothers had pursued legal action to claim the title of Earl of Warwick, Catherine now had a home of her own, a title and a husband with a position and influence in the north. [17]

Snape Castle Snape Castle - geograph.org.uk - 467688.jpg
Snape Castle

Latimer was a supporter of the Catholic Church and had opposed the king's first annulment, his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, and the religious consequences. In October 1536, during the Lincolnshire Rising, Catholic rebels appeared before the Latimers' home threatening violence if Latimer did not join their efforts to reinstate the links between England and Rome. Catherine watched as her husband was dragged away. Between October 1536 and April 1537, Catherine lived alone in fear with her step-children, struggling to survive. It is probable that, in these uncertain times, Catherine’s strong reaction against the rebellion strengthened her adherence to the reformed Church of England. [17] In January 1537, during the uprising of the North, Catherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle in Yorkshire. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Latimer returned to the castle, he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath would prove to be taxing on the whole family. [17]

The King and Thomas Cromwell heard conflicting reports as to whether Latimer was a prisoner or a conspirator. As a conspirator, he could be found guilty of treason, forfeiting his estates and leaving Catherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself wrote to the Duke of Norfolk, pressing him to make sure Latimer would "condemn that villain Aske and submit to our clemency". [18] Latimer complied. It is likely that Catherine’s brother William Parr and his uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton, who both fought against the rebellion, intervened to save Latimer's life. [17]

Although no charges were laid against him, Latimer's reputation, which reflected upon Catherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. Over the next seven years, the family spent much of their time in the south. For several years, Latimer was blackmailed by Cromwell and forced to do his bidding. After Cromwell's death in 1540, the Latimers reclaimed some dignity. In 1542 the family spent time in London as Latimer attended Parliament. Catherine visited her brother William and her sister Anne at court. It was here that Catherine became acquainted with her future fourth husband, Sir Thomas Seymour. The atmosphere of the court was greatly different from that of the rural estates she knew. There, Catherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in less weighty secular matters such as fashion and jewellery. [17]

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer's health had worsened. Catherine nursed her husband until his death in 1543. In his will, Catherine was named as guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of his affairs until his daughter's majority. Latimer left Catherine the manor of Stowe and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter, and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Catherine was to take £30 a year out of the income to support her step-daughter. Catherine was left a rich widow, but after Lord Latimer's death she faced the possibility of having to return north. It is likely that Catherine sincerely mourned her husband; she kept a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, until her death. [17]

Using her late mother's friendship with Henry's first queen, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine took the opportunity to renew her own friendship with the former queen's daughter, Lady Mary. By 16 February 1543, Catherine had established herself as part of Mary's household, and it was there that Catherine caught the attention of the King. Although she had begun a romantic friendship with Sir Thomas Seymour, the brother of the late queen Jane Seymour, she saw it as her duty to accept Henry's proposal over Seymour's. Seymour was given a posting in Brussels to remove him from the king's court.[ citation needed ]

Queen of England and Ireland

The Six Wives of
Henry VIII
The Melton Constable or Hastings portrait of Queen Catherine Queen Catherine Parr.jpg
The Melton Constable or Hastings portrait of Queen Catherine

Catherine married Henry VIII on 12 July 1543 at Hampton Court Palace. She was the first Queen of England also to be Queen of Ireland following Henry's adoption of the title King of Ireland. Catherine and her new husband shared several common royal and noble ancestors making them multiple cousins. By Henry's mother and Catherine's father they were third cousins once removed sharing Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort (granddaughter of Edward III) and by their fathers they were double fourth cousins once removed sharing Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent (son of Princess Joan of Kent) and Lady Alice FitzAlan (granddaughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster) and John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (son of Edward III) and Katherine Swynford.[ citation needed ]

On becoming queen, Catherine installed her former stepdaughter, Margaret Neville, as her lady-in-waiting, and gave her stepson John's wife, Lucy Somerset, a position in her household. [17] Catherine was partially responsible for reconciling Henry with his daughters from his first two marriages, and also developed a good relationship with Henry's son Edward. When she became queen, her uncle Lord Parr of Horton became her Lord Chamberlain.[ citation needed ]

Henry went on his last, unsuccessful, campaign to France from July to September 1544, leaving Catherine as his regent. Because her regency council was composed of sympathetic members, including her uncle, Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) and Lord Hertford, Catherine obtained effective control and was able to rule as she saw fit. She handled provision, finances and musters for Henry's French campaign, signed five royal proclamations, and maintained constant contact with her lieutenant in the northern Marches, Lord Shrewsbury, over the complex and unstable situation with Scotland. It is thought that her actions as regent, together with her strength of character and noted dignity, and later religious convictions, greatly influenced her stepdaughter Lady Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I of England). [20]

Catherine Parr's arms as queen consort Coat of Arms of Catherine Parr.svg
Catherine Parr's arms as queen consort
Rose Maiden badge used by the Queen-consort Rose Maiden Badge.svg
Rose Maiden badge used by the Queen-consort

The Queen's religious views were viewed with suspicion by anti-Protestant officials such as Stephen Gardiner (the Bishop of Winchester) and Lord Wriothesley (the Lord Chancellor). [22] Although brought up as a Catholic, she later became sympathetic to and interested in the "New Faith". By the mid-1540s, she came under suspicion that she was actually a Protestant. This view is supported by the strong reformed ideas that she revealed after Henry's death, when her second book, Lamentacion of a synner (Lamentation of a Sinner), was published in late 1547. The book promoted the Protestant concept of justification by faith alone, which the Catholic Church deemed to be heresy. It is unlikely that she developed these views in the short time between Henry's death and the publication of the book. Her sympathy with Anne Askew, the Protestant martyr who fiercely opposed the Catholic belief of transubstantiation, also suggests that she was more than merely sympathetic to the new religion.[ citation needed ]

Title page of Parr's Prayers or Meditations, published in 1545 1550 Parr Prayers or Meditations.jpg
Title page of Parr's Prayers or Meditations , published in 1545

In 1546, the Bishop of Winchester and Lord Wriothesley tried to turn the king against her. An arrest warrant was drawn up for her and rumours abounded across Europe that the King was attracted to her close friend, the Duchess of Suffolk. [22] However, she saw the warrant and managed to reconcile with the King after vowing that she had only argued about religion with him to take his mind off the suffering caused by his ulcerous leg. [23] The following day an armed guard who was unaware of the reconciliation tried to arrest her while she walked with the King. [24]

Final marriage and death

Shortly before he died, Henry made provision for an allowance of £7,000 per year for Catherine to support herself. He further ordered that, after his death, Catherine, though a queen dowager, should be given the respect of a queen of England, as if he were still alive. Catherine retired from court after the coronation of her stepson, Edward VI, on 31 January 1547, to her home at Old Manor in Chelsea.[ citation needed ]

Following Henry's death, Catherine's old love and the new king's uncle, Thomas Seymour (who was soon created 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley), returned to court. Catherine was quick to accept when Seymour renewed his suit of marriage. Since only six months had passed since the death of King Henry, Seymour knew that the Regency council would not agree to a petition for the queen dowager to marry so soon. Sometime near the end of May, Catherine and Seymour married in secret.[ citation needed ] King Edward VI and council were not informed of the union for several months. When their union became public knowledge, it caused a small scandal. The King and Lady Mary were very much displeased by the union. After being censured and reprimanded by the council, Seymour wrote to the Lady Mary asking her to intervene on his behalf. Mary became furious at his forwardness and tasteless actions and refused to help. Mary even went as far as asking her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth, not to interact with Queen Catherine any further. [25]

During this time, Catherine began having altercations with her brother-in-law, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. Like Thomas, Edward was the King's uncle, and also was the Lord Protector. A rivalry developed between Catherine and his wife, her own former lady-in-waiting, Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset, which became particularly acute over the matter of Catherine's jewels. [26] The Duchess argued that as queen dowager, Catherine, was no longer entitled to wear the jewels belonging to the wife of the king. Instead she, as the wife of the protector, should be the one to wear them. Eventually, the Duchess won the argument, which left her relationship with Catherine permanently damaged; the relationship between the two Seymour brothers also worsened as a result, since Thomas saw the whole dispute as a personal attack by his brother on his social standing. [25]

In November 1547, Catherine published her second book, The Lamentation of a Sinner . The book was a success and widely praised.[ citation needed ]

In March 1548, at the age of 35, Catherine became pregnant. This pregnancy was a surprise as Catherine had not conceived during her first three marriages. During this time, Seymour began to take an interest in Lady Elizabeth. Seymour had reputedly plotted to marry her before marrying Catherine, and it was reported later that Catherine discovered the two in an embrace. On a few occasions before the situation risked getting completely out of hand, according to the deposition of Kat Ashley, Catherine appears not only to have acquiesced in episodes of horseplay, but actually to have assisted her husband. [27] Whatever actually happened, Elizabeth was sent away in May 1548 to stay with Sir Anthony Denny's household at Cheshunt and never saw her beloved stepmother again, although the two corresponded. Elizabeth immediately wrote a letter to the Queen and Seymour after she left Chelsea. The letter demonstrates a sort of remorse.[ citation needed ]

Kat Ashley, whose deposition was given after Catherine had died and Seymour had been arrested for another attempt at marrying Lady Elizabeth, had developed a crush on Seymour during her time at Chelsea and actually encouraged her charge to "play along." At one point she even made a comment at how lucky Elizabeth would have been to have a husband like Seymour. [28] Ashley even told Lady Elizabeth that Seymour had confided his sentiments to her of wanting to marry Elizabeth before Catherine. [29] After Catherine's death, Ashley strongly encouraged Elizabeth to write to Seymour offering her condolences; to "comfort him of his sorrow...for he would think great kindness therein." [29]

In June 1548, Catherine, accompanied by Lady Jane Grey, moved to Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. The dowager queen promised to provide education for her. It was there that Catherine would spend the last few months of her pregnancy and the last summer of her life. [30]

Catherine gave birth to her only child, a daughter, Mary Seymour, named after Catherine's stepdaughter Mary, on 30 August 1548. Catherine died on 5 September 1548, at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, from what is thought to have been "childbed fever". [1] [5] This illness was common due to the lack of hygiene around childbirth.[ citation needed ]

Catherine's funeral was held on 7 September 1548. [6] It was the first Protestant funeral held in English. [5] Her chief mourner was Lady Jane Grey. She was buried in St. Mary's Chapel on the grounds of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, England. She is the only royal to be buried in a private residence. [5]

Marble tomb of Catherine Parr, St. Mary's Chapel, Sudeley Castle Tomb of Katherine Parr.png
Marble tomb of Catherine Parr, St. Mary's Chapel, Sudeley Castle

Lord Seymour was beheaded for treason on 20 March 1549, and Mary Seymour was taken to live with the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, a close friend of Catherine's. Catherine's other jewels were kept in a coffer with five drawers at Sudeley and this was sent to the Tower of London on 20 April 1549, and her clothes and papers followed in May. [31] After a year and a half, on 17 March 1550, Mary's property was restored to her by an Act of Parliament, easing the burden of the infant's household on the duchess. The last mention of Mary Seymour on record is on her second birthday, and although stories circulated that she eventually married and had children, most historians believe she died as a child at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. [32]

Remains

In 1782, John Locust discovered the coffin of Queen Catherine in the ruins of the Sudeley Castle chapel. The coffin was identified by a lead plate with an inscription on the coffin. [6] He opened the coffin and observed that the body, after 234 years, was in a surprisingly good condition. Reportedly the flesh on one of her arms was still white and moist. After taking a few locks of her hair, he closed the coffin and returned it to the grave.[ citation needed ]

The coffin was opened a few more times in the next ten years and in 1792 some drunken men buried it upside down and in a rough way. When the coffin was officially reopened in 1817, nothing but a skeleton remained. Her remains were then moved to the tomb of Lord Chandos whose family owned the castle at that time. [33] The tomb was carefully restored by order of the late Duchess of Buckingham, Lady Anne Greville, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Chandos. [34] In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who erected a canopied tomb with a recumbent marble figure by John Birnie Philip. [35]

Iconography

This portrait originally and now identified as Catherine Parr was wrongly identified as Lady Jane Grey for decades. Catherine Parr.jpg
This portrait originally and now identified as Catherine Parr was wrongly identified as Lady Jane Grey for decades.
Detail of Catherine's headdress and jewels Catherine Parr, attributed to Master John.jpg
Detail of Catherine's headdress and jewels

The full-length portrait of Catherine Parr by Master John in the National Portrait Gallery was for many years thought to represent Lady Jane Grey. The painting has recently been re-identified as Catherine Parr, with whose name it was originally associated. The full-length format was very rare in portraits of this date, and was usually used only for very important sitters. Lady Jane Grey, although of royal blood, was a relatively obscure child of eight when this was painted (circa 1545); it was to be another eight years before the short-lived attempt at placing her on the throne. The distinctive crown-shaped jewel the sitter wears can be traced to an inventory of jewels that belonged to Catherine Parr, and the cameo beads appear to have belonged to Catherine Howard, from whom they would have passed to her successor as queen. [36] [37] [38]

In media

Film, stage and literature

Catherine Parr first appeared as a character in cinemas in 1934, in Alexander Korda's film The Private Life of Henry VIII . Charles Laughton played the king, with actress Everley Gregg appearing as Catherine. The film makes no attempt to depict the historical Parr's character, instead portraying the Queen for comic effect as an over-protective nag. In 1952, a romanticised version of Thomas Seymour's obsession with Elizabeth I saw Stewart Granger as Seymour, Jean Simmons as the young Elizabeth and screen legend Deborah Kerr as Parr in the popular film Young Bess . In 1970, in "Catherine Parr", a 90-minute BBC television drama (the last in a 6-part series, entitled The Six Wives of Henry VIII ) Catherine was played by Rosalie Crutchley opposite Keith Michell's Henry. In this, Catherine's love of religion and intellectual capabilities were highlighted. Crutchley reprised her role as Catherine Parr for the first episode of the 6-part follow-up series on the life of Elizabeth I in 1971, Elizabeth R . In 1972, Barbara Leigh-Hunt played a matronly Catherine in Henry VIII and his Six Wives , with Keith Michell once again playing Henry.[ citation needed ]

In 2000, Jennifer Wigmore played Catherine Parr in the American television drama aimed at teenagers, Elizabeth: Red Rose of the House of Tudor. A year later, Caroline Lintott played Katherine in Professor David Starkey's documentary series on Henry's queens. In October 2003, in a two-part British television series on Henry VIII , Catherine was played by Clare Holman. The part was relatively small, given that the drama's second part focused more on the stories of Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard.[ citation needed ] In The Simpsons episode "Margical History Tour," Catherine is portrayed by Agnes Skinner as an elderly widow during Marge's retelling of Henry's reign. Henry (portrayed by Homer) regrets his marriage to her because of her age. In March 2007, Washington University in St. Louis performed the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition winner Highness, which documents the life of Catherine Parr and her relationships with King Henry and his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I, to whom she was a stepmother. [39]

Catherine Parr was portrayed by actress Joely Richardson on the fourth and final season of Showtime's The Tudors , which was first broadcast in spring 2010. [40] Richardson's portrayal was largely faithful to what has been recorded of Parr's character. Catherine features in The Dark Rose, Volume 2 of The Morland Dynasty a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. The lead female character, Nanette Morland, is educated alongside Catherine and is later re-acquainted with her when she becomes Queen. She has been the subject of several novels, including two titled The Sixth Wife, and she is a supporting character in C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries, Revelation , Heartstone and Lamentation .[ citation needed ]

In 2015, the Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario debuted a new play called The Last Wife about Catherine Parr and her relationships with Henry VIII, Thomas Seymour and Henry's three children. The play was written by Kate Hennig. Maev Beaty played Katherine Parr. In the retelling of Henry VIII's sixth wife by Sara Pascoe in Drunk History (UK version, series 2, episode 9) Catherine Parr is portrayed by Emma Bunton.[ citation needed ] Catherine Parr is a character in the 2017 musical Six, by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. It is currently on in the West End, with the role of Catherine Parr being played by Maiya Quansah-Breed, having previously being played by Izuka Hoyle. A United States run in Chicago is set to start in May 2019 with Catherine to be played by Anna Uzele.[ citation needed ]

Music

Rick Wakeman recorded the piece "Catherine Parr" for his 1973 album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII . On his 2009 live version of the album the track's spelling is changed to "Katherine Parr".

Historiography

The popular myth that Catherine Parr acted more as her husband's nurse than his wife was born in the 19th century from the work of Victorian moralist and proto-feminist, Agnes Strickland. David Starkey challenged this assumption in his book Six Wives, in which he points out that such a situation would have been vaguely obscene to the Tudors—given that Henry had a huge staff of physicians waiting on him hand and foot, and Catherine was expected to live up to the heavy expectations of Queenly dignity. Parr is usually portrayed in cinema and television by actresses who are much older than the queen, who was in her early 30s when she was Henry's wife and was about 36 years old at the time of her death. This change is usually an artistic licence taken to highlight Parr's maturity in comparison to Henry's previous queens, or at least a symptom of the longer lifespans enjoyed by modern audiences (who might be confused as to why a 30-year-old is considered much older and more experienced).[ citation needed ]

Catherine's good sense, moral rectitude, compassion, firm religious commitment and strong sense of loyalty and devotion have earned her many admirers among historians. These include David Starkey, feminist activist Karen Lindsey, Lady Antonia Fraser, Alison Weir, Carolly Erickson, Alison Plowden, Susan James and Linda Porter. Biographers have described her as strong-willed and outspoken, physically desirable, susceptible (like Queen Elizabeth) to roguish charm and even willing to resort to obscene language if the occasion suited. [41] [ full citation needed ] Some of Catherine Parr's writings are available from the Women Writers' Project.[ citation needed ]

Historical fiction

Several novels also feature Katherine Parr:

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 4 James 2009, pp. 294.
  2. Catherine Parr's tomb at Sudeley Castle has a plaque that says her death date is 5 September 1548. The inscription comes from a lead plate that is on her coffin.
  3. Jones 2010.
  4. Parr 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Campbell, Sophie. Sudeley Castle: the curious life and death of Katherine Parr, Telegraph. 14 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 Parr, Katherine (2011). Mueller, Janel, ed. Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondence (hardback). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 182 ISBN   0-226-64724-2.
  7. James 2012.
  8. Porter 2011, p. 25.
  9. Nicholson & Burn 1777 , pp. 45–46, and the archaeological findings during the excavation of Kendal Castle by Barbara Harbottle as published in Quarto , V(4). January 1968; Quarto , VI(4). January 1969; Quarto , VII(4). January 1970; Quarto , X(1). August 1972
  10. Farrer & Curwen 1923, p. 54.
  11. 1 2 James 2009, pp. 60–63.
  12. Robin, Larsen & Levin 2007, p. 289.
  13. Starkey 2004, p. 690.
  14. Porter 2011, p. 37.
  15. 1 2 3 Porter 2011.
  16. Mosley 1 2003, p. 587.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 James 2009, pp. 61–73.
  18. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, 11, 1174.
  19. Edwards 2010.
  20. Porter 2011, p. 348.
  21. Boutell 1863, pp. 243–244.
  22. 1 2 Hart 2009.
  23. Foxe, John. "Katherine Parr". The Acts and Monuments of John Fox. Exclassics.com. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  24. Starkey 2002, p. 129.
  25. 1 2 James 2009, pp. 268–276.
  26. James 2009 , p. 271; citing British Library, Add. Ms. 46,348, f.67b: Starkey 1998 , pp. 77–80; 122 items of jewellery.
  27. Deposition of Katherine Ashley in Haynes 1740 , pp.  99–101; Christopher Hibbert (1990) The Virgin Queen; Antonia Fraser (1992) The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Alison Weir (1996) Children of England; David Starkey (2000) Elizabeth; Porter 2011 Most biographers of Catherine, Thomas Seymour, or Elizabeth refer to Catherine and Seymour tickling Elizabeth in her bed and Catherine holding down Elizabeth while her husband cut her dress into shreds. Although extant evidence does not support the notion of a fully-fledged ménage à trois , or even that Seymour's flirtation with Elizabeth led to sexual intercourse with her, Starkey has speculated as to how such behaviour would play in front of a modern panel of social workers and pediatricians (Elizabeth, op.cit.) Nor is it clear from contemporaneous evidence that Catherine's "pert and pretty stepdaughter", to use Starkey's description, was a wholly unwilling participant in such antics.
  28. Starkey 2000.
  29. 1 2 Haynes 1740, pp.  102–103.
  30. James 2009, pp. 291.
  31. Starkey 1998, pp. 94–96; jewel inventory of 116 items; pp. 434–437, wardrobe 133 items.
  32. James 2009, pp. 299–300.
  33. "Sudeley History Timeline". Sudeley Castle. Sudeleycastle.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  34. "Sudeley Castle". Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. Dukesofbuckingham.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  35. A Handbook for Travellers 1872, p. 162.
  36. Williamson 2010, p. 91.
  37. Gittings 2006, p. 14.
  38. James 1996, pp. 20–24.
  39. Otten 2007.
  40. Ausiello 2009.
  41. See generally James 2012; Porter 2011; Porter, History Today 60 (4): 17–22. April 2010 (subscription required)
  42. "Project Gutenberg".
  43. "Intractable Heart".

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References

Further reading

English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Catherine Howard
Queen consort of England
12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547
Vacant
Title next held by
Anne of Denmark
New title Queen consort of Ireland
12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547