The Queen Who Survived

Portrait of Catherine Parr, 1545

Portrait of Catherine Parr, 1545

Yesterday marked the 463rd anniversary of Catherine Parr’s death. She was the last of Henry VIII’s wives, although he also predeceased Anne of Cleves. Catherine had been married twice before she became queen in 1542 and married for a fourth time, making her the most married queen of England, only six months after Henry’s death (considered indecently quick at the time).

Her fourth husband was Sir Thomas Seymour, brother to Henry’s third wife Jane. By 1547 she had been dutifully married and widowed three times and now, finally, married where she chose. She was pregnant less than a year after her marriage (although she had no children from previous marriages). Her joy was short-lived, though, as her ambitious husband pursued her step-daughter and charge, Lady Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I). Catherine caught the two in an embrace and banished Elizabeth from her house.

On 30 August 1548, Catherine gave birth to a daughter, named Mary, at Sudeley Castle, a property given to Thomas Seymour by hi nephew Edward VI. Catherine contracted puerpal fever and died only six days after the birth. Thomas was executed for treason a little over six months later, leaving their daughter an orphan. Sadly, Mary disappears from the historical record after her second birthday and it is likely that she too died not long after.

Catherine is buried in he chapel at Sudeley Castle.

Sudeley Chapel

Catherine Parr's tomb in the chapel at Sudeley

Tomb in the chapel at Sudeley

Catherine Parr's tomb at the chapel at Sudeley

Monument closer

2 thoughts on “The Queen Who Survived

  1. Sara

    i know the feeling! you’re so lucky to have a gift for fioticn, even if it hides from you now and then. i tried for several years to do a novel on catherine willougby got a couple of drafts written. but except for a few sections, it totally stinks. never comes off the page .i saw sudely years back, when i was researching divorced, beheaded, survived. beautiful spot. also visited the remains of mary tudor [henrys sister] home, just bits and pieces of the home and gate, but picked up a stone that looks like it was part of a gate at one point surronds a home for the elderly, which i think mary would have liked ..have you written a katherine howard novel? send me info and i’ll get a copy. i’ve read only your first novel, re the vampire countess, and would love to read more, especially if it’s about the tudor women. what a crew they were!!will you be at the 25th kasteel reunion in june? should be fun ..glad you had a good england time

  2. Chinmoy

    They’re going to reenact Katherine Parr’s funarel at the Sudeley event, which should be interesting. Maybe some lucky volunteer will get to play Lady Jane Grey, the chief mourner.


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