In common parlance, the wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry between 1509 and his death in 1547. In legal terms, King Henry VIII of England had only three wives, because three of his marriages were annulled. Annulments essentially declare that a true marriage never took place, unlike a divorce, in which a married couple end their union.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
Annulment is a legal procedure within secular and religious legal systems for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place. In legal terminology, an annulment makes a void marriage or a voidable marriage null.
The six women who were married to Henry VIII, in chronological order:
|No.||Name||Marriage dates and length||Fate of marriage||Fate of wife and issue|
|1||Catherine of Aragon||11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533|
(23 years, 11 months and 12 days)
|Divorced||Died 7 January 1536. Mother of Queen Mary I.|
|2||Anne Boleyn||28 May 1533 – 17 May 1536|
(2 years, 11 months and 19 days)
|Beheaded||Died 19 May 1536. Beheaded at the Tower of London.|
Mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
|3||Jane Seymour||30 May 1536 – 24 October 1537|
(1 year, 4 months and 24 days)
|Died||Died 24 October 1537, twelve days after giving birth due to complications.|
Mother of King Edward VI.
|4||Anne of Cleves||6 January 1540 – 9 July 1540|
(6 months and 3 days)
|Divorced||Died 16 July 1557, possibly of cancer.|
|5||Catherine Howard||28 July 1540 – 23 November 1541|
(1 year, 3 months and 26 days)
|Beheaded||Died 13 February 1542. Beheaded at the Tower of London.|
|6||Catherine Parr||12 July 1543 – 28 January 1547|
(3 years, 6 months and 16 days)
|Survived||Survived Henry VIII. Later remarried to Thomas Seymour.|
Died 7 September 1548.
Henry's first marriage lasted nearly 24 years, while the following five lasted less than 10 years combined.
A mnemonic device to remember the names of Henry’s consorts is “Arrogant Boys Seem Clever, Howard Particularly”; a mnemonic for their fates is "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived". There are also two rhymes:[ citation needed ][ year needed ]
King Henry VIII,
To six wives he was wedded.
One died, one survived,
Two divorced, two beheaded.
Boleyn and Howard lost their heads,
Anne of Cleves he would not bed,
Jane Seymour gave him a son – but died before the week was done,
Aragon he did divorce,
Which just left Catherine Parr, of course!
It is often noted that Catherine Parr survived Henry, but Anne of Cleves also survived him and was the last of his queens to die. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour each gave him one child who survived infancy: two daughters and one son. All three of these children eventually ascended to the throne as King Edward VI, Queen Mary I, and Queen Elizabeth I.
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, and England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant. During his reign, the realm was governed by a regency council because he never reached maturity. The council was first led by his uncle Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1547–1549), and then by John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick (1550–1553), who from 1551 was Duke of Northumberland.
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.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were first cousins and were both beheaded. Several of Henry's wives worked in service to another wife, typically as a lady-in-waiting. Anne Boleyn served Catherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour served both Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Howard served Anne of Cleves.
A lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a court, royal or feudal, attending on a royal woman or a high-ranking noblewoman. Historically, in Europe, a lady-in-waiting was often a noblewoman, but of lower rank than of the woman on whom she attended. Although she may either have been a retainer or may not have received compensation for the service she rendered, a lady-in-waiting was considered more of a courtier or companion to her mistress than a servant.
Catherine of Aragon (16 December 1485 –7 January 1536; Spanish: Catalina de Aragón) was Henry's first wife. In modern sources her name is most commonly spelled Catherine, although she spelled and signed her name with a "K," which was an accepted spelling in England at the time. After the death of Arthur, her first husband and Henry's brother, a papal dispensation was obtained to enable her to marry Henry, though the marriage did not take place until after he came to the throne in 1509. Prospects were looking good when Catherine became pregnant in 1510, just 4 months after their marriage, but the girl was stillborn. Catherine became pregnant again in 1511, and gave birth to a boy, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, who died almost two months later. In 1513, Catherine gave birth to a stillborn boy, and gave birth to a boy who died within hours in 1515. Finally, Catherine bore him a healthy daughter in 1516, Mary. It took her two years to conceive again. This pregnancy ended in a short-lived girl. It is said that Henry truly loved Catherine of Aragon, as he himself professed it many times in declarations, etc.
Catherine of Aragon was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII; she was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother Arthur.
Arthur Tudor was Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall. As the eldest son and heir apparent of Henry VII of England, Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor. His mother, Elizabeth of York, was the daughter of Edward IV, and his birth cemented the union between the House of Tudor and the House of York.
Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was the first child of King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and though his birth was celebrated as that of the heir apparent, he died within weeks. His death and Henry VIII's failure to produce another surviving male heir with Catherine led to succession and marriage crises that affected the relationship between the English church and Roman Catholicism, giving rise to the English Reformation.
Henry, at the time a Roman Catholic, sought the Pope's approval for an annulment on the grounds that his marriage was invalid because Catherine had first been his brother's wife, using a passage from the Old Testament (Leviticus Chapter 20 Verse 21) to justify his stance: "If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an impurity; he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.” Henry had begun an affair with Anne Boleyn, who is said[ by whom? ] to have refused to become his mistress (Henry had already consummated an affair then dismissed Anne's sister, Mary Boleyn, and most historians believe that Anne wanted to avoid the same treatment)[ citation needed ]. Despite the pope's refusal, Henry separated from Catherine in 1531. In the face of the Pope's continuing refusal to annul his marriage to Catherine, Henry ordered the highest church official in England, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, to convene a court to rule on the status of his marriage to Catherine. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer ruled the marriage to Catherine null and void. On 28 May 1533, he pronounced the King legally married to Anne (with whom Henry had already secretly exchanged wedding vows, probably in late January 1533). This led to the break from the Roman Catholic Church and the later establishment of the Church of England.
Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry's marriage to her, and her execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Mary Boleyn, also known as Lady Mary, was the sister of English queen Anne Boleyn, whose family enjoyed considerable influence during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.
Shakespeare called Catherine "The Queen of Earthly Queens."
Marriage to Henry VIII: 11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533 (23 years, 11 months, 19 days); marriage annulled.
Anne Boleyn (c.1501/1507 –19 May 1536) was Henry's second wife and the mother of Elizabeth I. Henry's marriage to Anne and her execution made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval at the start of the English Reformation. She was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Boleyn (born Lady Elizabeth Howard), and she was of nobler birth than Jane Seymour, Henry's later wife. She was dark-haired with beautiful features and lively manners; she was educated in Europe, largely as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude of France.
Anne resisted the King's attempts to seduce her in 1526, and she refused to become his mistress as her sister Mary Boleyn had been. It soon became the one absorbing object of the King's desires to secure a divorce from his wife Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne. He wrote a love letter which provides evidence of some level of intimacy between them, in which he admires her "pretty duckies" (breasts). It eventually became clear that Pope Clement VII was unlikely to give the king an annulment, so Henry began to break the power of the Roman Catholic Church in England.
Henry had Thomas Wolsey dismissed from public office and later had the Boleyn family's chaplain Thomas Cranmer appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1533, Henry and Anne went through a secret wedding service. She soon became pregnant and there was a second, public wedding service in London on 25 January 1533. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Catherine null and void. Five days later, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Anne to be good and valid. Soon after, the Pope launched sentences of excommunication against the King and the Archbishop. As a result of Anne's marriage to the King, the Church of England was forced to break with Rome and was brought under the king's control. Anne was crowned Queen Consort of England on 1 June 1533, and she gave birth to Henry's second daughter Elizabeth on 7 September. However, she failed to produce a male heir, her only son being stillborn, and the King grew tired of her and annulled their marriage. Thomas Cromwell then devised a plot to execute her.
The evidence was unconvincing against Anne, but she was nonetheless beheaded on 19 May 1536 on charges of adultery, incest, and high treason. After Elizabeth's coronation as queen, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, she has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic and cultural works.
Jane Seymour (c.roughly 1508 –24 October 1537) was Henry's third wife. She served Catherine of Aragon and was one of Anne Boleyn's ladies-in-waiting. It is strongly believed[ who? ] that she is the mistress who disposed of Anne, who was executed just 10–11 days before Jane's marriage to the king. The daughter of a knight, she was of lower birth than most of Henry's wives. Finally, a year later, Jane gave birth to a healthy, legitimate male heir, Edward, but she died twelve days later, presumably because of postpartum complications. This apparently caused her husband genuine grief, as she was the only queen to receive a proper Queen's burial; when the King died in 1547, he was buried next to her.
Marriage to Henry VIII: 30 May 1536 –24 October 1537 (1 year, 4 months, 24 days); death from complications of childbirth.
Anne of Cleves (22 September 1515 –16 July 1557) was Henry's fourth wife, for only six months in 1540, from 6 January to 9 July. Anne of Cleves was a German princess. It has been stated that Henry referred to her as "A Flanders Mare", which may or may not be true; nevertheless, the label has stuck with Anne. Her pre-contract of marriage with Francis I, Duke of Lorraine, was cited as grounds for an annulment. Anne agreed to this, claiming that the marriage had not been consummated, and because she hadn't resisted the annulment, was given a generous settlement, including Hever Castle, former home of Henry's former in-laws, the Boleyns. She was given the name "The King's Sister", and became a friend to him and his children until his death. She outlived both the King and his last two wives, making her the last of the six wives to die.
Marriage to Henry VIII: 6 January 1540 –9 July 1540 (6 months, 3 days); annulled.
Catherine Howard (c.1523 –13 February 1542) was Henry's fifth wife between 1540–1542, sometimes known as "the rose without a thorn". Henry was informed of her alleged adultery with Thomas Culpeper on 1 November 1541.
Marriage to Henry VIII: 28 July 1540 –23 November 1541 (1 year, 3 months, 26 days); beheaded.
Catherine Parr (1512 –5 September 1548), also spelled Kateryn, was the sixth and last wife of Henry VIII, 1543–1547. She was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and his wife Maud Green. Through her father, Catherine was a descendant of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III. Through John of Gaunt's daughter Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmoreland (Henry's great-great grandmother), she was Henry's third cousin, once removed. By Henry's paternal descent from another of John of Gaunt's children, John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, the two were also fourth cousins once removed.
Catherine showed herself to be the restorer of Henry's court as a family home for his children. Catherine was determined to present the royal household as a close-knit one in order to demonstrate strength through unity to Henry's opposers.[ citation needed ] Perhaps Catherine's most significant achievement was Henry's passing of an act that confirmed both Mary's and Elizabeth's line in succession for the throne, despite the fact that they had both been made illegitimate by divorce or remarriage. Such was Henry's trust in Catherine that he chose her to rule as Regent while he was attending to the war in France and in the unlikely event of the loss of his life, she was to rule as Regent until nine-year-old Edward came of age.
Catherine also has a special place in history as she was the most married queen of England, having had four husbands in all; Henry was her third. She had been widowed twice before marrying Henry. After Henry's death, she married Thomas Seymour, uncle of Edward VI of England, to whom she had formed an attachment prior to her marriage with Henry. She had one child by Seymour, Mary, and died shortly after childbirth. Lady Mary's history is unknown, but she is not believed to have survived childhood.
Marriage to Henry VIII: 12 July 1543 –28 January 1547 (3 years, 6 months, 16 days); his death at the age of 55.
Henry was distantly related to all six of his wives through their common ancestor, King Edward I of England, through more than one ancestor.
The following family tree of Henry VIII's six wives is the closest lineage of him.
King of England
Duchess of Brabant
Countess of Hereford
King of England
Duke of Brabant
1st Earl of
King of England
Countess of Flanders
Countess of Arundel
1st Duke of
1st Duke of
Countess of Flanders
Duchess of Norfolk
Duke of Burgundy
King of Castile
5th Earl of
Queen of Castile
Duke of Cleves
| Elizabeth |
Duke of Cleves
|Henry Wentworth||c. 1483–1517|
Duke of Cleves
|Anne of Cleves|
|Coat of Arms||Armiger|
(Date as Queen)
| Catherine of Aragon |
1509 – 1533
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her parents the Catholic Monarchs. The blazon: |
The sinister supporter came from the coat of arms of her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, who displayed his shield on the breast of a single-headed Apostolic eagle displayed. Catherine's badges were a commemoration of the conquest of Granada from the Moors, when the superiority of the Spanish archers gained a victory. Both badges were combined with the Tudor rose (Henry's dynastic symbol).
| Anne Boleyn |
1533 – 1536
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her own arms as Marquess of Pembroke, which alluded to several of her ancestors, however remote. The blazon: |
The noted antiquarian and heraldist Charles Boutell commented that the: "Arms of Queen Anne Boleyn are the first which exemplify the usage, introduced by Henry VIII, of granting to his Consorts "Augmentations" to their paternal arms. It is a striking illustration of the degenerate condition of Heraldry under the second Tudor Sovereign." The dexter supporter was intended to represent the leopard of Guyenne (Aquitaine). The sinister supporter was a heraldic creature from the badge of the Boleyn, as descended from Earls of Ormond (Butler). The falcon badge was granted to Anne as Countess of Pembroke, this badge was also used by her daughter Queen Elizabeth I.
| Jane Seymour |
1536 – 1537
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her own arms and that of the Seymour family. The blazon: |
An alternative set of supporters for Queen Jane was reportedly: "Dexter a unicorn argent, crowned and unguled or, collared with a double wreath of white daisies and red roses; Sinister, a panther incensed, striped with various colours, gorged with a coronet of crosses patée and fleurs de lys alternately and chained or." The badge of the phoenix rising from the flames was granted posthumously by her son King Edward VI to his maternal relations (who became the Dukes of Somerset), who continues to use it as a crest in their coat of arms to this day.
| Anne of Cleves |
January - July 1540
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her father John III, Duke of Cleves. The blazon: |
| Catherine Howard |
1540 – 1541
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her own as granted by the King. Her arms incorporated those of her family the Howards. Catherine's father Lord Edmund Howard, was the third son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Th blazon: |
| Catherine Parr |
1543 – 1547
|The Royal Arms, impaled with that of her own as granted by the King. The arms allude to those of her family and the titles of her father Sir Thomas Parr. The blazon: |
The sinister supporter was inherited from her maternal grandfather William FitzHugh, 4th Baron FitzHugh. Her badge was granted by the King, it combined the Tudor rose badge of Henry with a previous one used by the Queen's family. The House of Parr has assumed as a badge "a maiden's head, couped below the breasts, vested in ermine and gold, her hair of the last, and her temples encircled with red and white roses." This they inherited from the badge of Ross, of Kendal.
Six is a one act pop-rock musical featuring all of the wives of King Henry VIII. Starting on Off-West End in 2018, each queen in the all-female ensemble has a featured song that tells the story of her relationship with the King. In addition, each of the queens' style and sound is based off of a modern day pop/soul singer bringing a familiar breakup-anthem feel to the stories of these historic women. This show brings attention to how these women are often only remembered in history as ex-wives of Henry VIII and therefore remembered through their relationship with him. A major theme of the show is how women should be the ones to tell their story and how much more there is to their story than how their relationship with Henry ended. The musical was written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss . In May 2019, Six had its North American premier at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The tag line of the show alludes to the famous rhyme describing the queens' fates, "Divorced. Beheaded. LIVE in concert!"
Anne of the Thousand Days is a 1969 British costume drama made by Hal Wallis Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures. It was directed by Charles Jarrott and produced by Hal B. Wallis. The film tells the story of Anne Boleyn. The screenplay is an adaptation by Bridget Boland, John Hale and Richard Sokolove of the 1948 play by Maxwell Anderson. Anderson employed blank verse for parts of his play, but most examples of this were removed from the screenplay. One blank verse episode that was retained was Anne's soliloquy in the Tower of London. The opening of the play was also changed, with Thomas Cromwell telling Henry VIII the outcome of the trial and Henry then recalling his marriage to Anne, rather than Anne speaking first and then Henry remembering in flashback.
Jane Seymour was Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution in May 1536. She died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who became King Edward VI. She was the only one of Henry's wives to receive a queen's funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Anne of Cleves was Queen of England from 6 January to 9 July 1540 as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Not much is known about Anne before 1527, however in that year, before marrying Henry, Anne was betrothed to Francis I, Duke of Lorraine, son and heir of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, although their marriage was never accomplished. In March 1539, negotiations for Anne's marriage to Henry began, as Henry believed that he needed to form a political alliance with her brother William, who was a leader of the Protestants of western Germany, to strengthen his position against potential attacks from Catholic France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, when he was beheaded on orders of the king.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII is a series of six television plays produced by the BBC and first transmitted between 1 January and 5 February 1970. The series was later aired in the United States on CBS from 1 August to 5 September 1971 with narration added by Anthony Quayle. The series was rebroadcast in the United States without commercials on PBS as part of its Masterpiece Theatre series.
Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford née Parker, was the wife of George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford, brother of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. Jane had been a member of the household of Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon. She had a role in the judgements against, and subsequent executions of, her husband and Anne Boleyn. She was later a lady-in-waiting to Henry's third and fourth wives, and then to his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, with whom she was executed.
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk was a prominent English politician of the Tudor era. He was an uncle of two of the wives of King Henry VIII, namely Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both of whom were beheaded, and played a major role in the machinations affecting these royal marriages. After falling from favour in 1546, he was stripped of the dukedom and imprisoned in the Tower of London, avoiding execution when Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.
Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire was an English noblewoman, noted for being the mother of Anne Boleyn and as such the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth I of England. The eldest daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his first wife Elizabeth Tilney, she married Thomas Boleyn sometime in the later 15th century. Elizabeth became Viscountess Rochford in 1525 when her husband was elevated to the peerage, subsequently becoming Countess of Ormond in 1527 and Countess of Wiltshire in 1529.
Elizabeth Blount, commonly known during her lifetime as Bessie Blount, was a mistress of Henry VIII of England.
Agnes Howard was the second wife of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Two of King Henry VIII's queens were her step-granddaughters, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Catherine Howard was placed in the Dowager Duchess's care after her mother's death, and the Duchess's lax guardianship allowed her to commit sexual indiscretions that ultimately led to her execution while queen.
Henry VIII is a two-part British television serial produced principally by Granada Television for ITV from 12 to 19 October 2003. It chronicles the life of Henry VIII of England from the disintegration of his first marriage to an aging Spanish princess until his death following a stroke in 1547, by which time he had married for the sixth time. Additional production funding was provided by WGBH Boston, Powercorp and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Henry VIII and His Six Wives is a 1972 British film adaptation, directed by Waris Hussein, of the BBC 1970 six-part miniseries The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Keith Michell, who plays Henry VIII in the TV series, also portrays the king in the film. His six wives are portrayed by different actresses, among them Frances Cuka as Catherine of Aragon, and Jane Asher as Jane Seymour. Donald Pleasence portrays Thomas Cromwell and Bernard Hepton portrays Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, a role he had also played in the miniseries and briefly in its follow-up Elizabeth R.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII is a 2001 television documentary series about the wives of King Henry VIII presented by historian David Starkey from historic locations with added re-enactments.
Murder Most Royal (1949) is an historical fiction novel by Jean Plaidy.
Anne Berkeley, Baroness Berkeley was a lady-in-waiting and companion of Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England. She was one of the witnesses at the secret wedding ceremony of the King and Anne Boleyn which occurred on 25 January 1533.
Catherine Howard was Queen of England from 1540 until 1541, as the fifth wife of Henry VIII. Catherine was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper. Through her father, Catherine was a cousin to Anne Boleyn and niece to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, who was a prominent politician at Henry's court and found a place for her at the household of Henry's fourth wife Anne of Cleves, where she caught the king's interest. She married him on 28 July 1540, at Oatlands Palace, in Surrey, almost immediately after the annulment of his marriage to Anne was arranged.
The Mistresses of Henry VIII allegedly included many notable women between 1509 and 1536. They have been the subject of biographies, novels and films.