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The Wives of Henry VIII - Kathryn Howard

The Wives of Henry VIII - Kathryn Howard

The fifth wife of Henry VIII was Kathryn Howard. A young girl at the time of her marriage and a close relation of Anne Boleyn, Kathryn had grown up in Norfolk with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk away from the gossip and scandal of the English court. At 19 Kathryn became a lady in waiting for Anne of Cleves and, like many of the previous wives, caught the attention of the King in serving the Queen. Just over two weeks after the annulment of Anne of Cleves Kathryn and the king were married, Henry being thirty years older than his new wife. Known to Henry as his ‘rose without a thorn’ because of her supposed innocence and how happy she made the king Henry spoiled Kathryn with lavish gifts and presents. However rumours soon spread that Kathryn was not being faithful in her marriage to the king and she began to fall from favour. Thomas Culpeper, among others, were accused of having affairs with the Queen and were executed after lengthy trials and investigations. Kathryn too was executed for her affairs on Tower Hill at the Tower of London in 1542 and buried near her cousin Anne, who had too been beheaded on the same spot and under similar charges. Kathryn’s marriage lasted two years to Henry, and was for the most part a happy one as the king’s previous marriage to Anne had been miserable. Kathryn followed in the footsteps of her cousin and other members of her family such as her uncle in being beheaded in the Tower of London. A short marriage, the King was nearing the end of his life, but was still to take another wife.

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