Catherine Parr Historical Profile

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Joely Richardson as Catherine Parr
The History
Catherine Parr

"The Clerk"
"Kind Mother Kate"
1512 - 1548 (aged 36)
Queen Consort
3 1/2 years
July 12, 1543 - January 28, 1547
(until King Henry VIII's death)
Catherine Parr

  • Catherine was not the oldest child of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green, but was the eldest surviving child out of five. Maud become pregnant before giving birth to Catherine, but the baby, a boy, died shortly afterwards and his name was never recorded. After her mother gave birth to her sister Anne, Maud again became pregnant again in 1517, the year Sir Thomas died, but the baby was either stillborn or died shortly after birth.
  • Catherine was the first English and Irish queen to publish a book under her own name. She would go on to publish two books within her own lifetime.
  • Catherine is usually seen as the Queen who came from nowhere, a nobody. Actually, Catherine was the daughter of a substantial northern knightly family that - like the Boleyn's - had gone up in the world due to royal favour and advantageous marriages.
  • Catherine Parr's lineage is better than both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour; her family was also more established at court. Her grandfather was close to Edward IV and the Parr's were part of the household of Catherine's ancestor, Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Her paternal lineage, the Parr family, was of royal blood descending from Kings such as King John of England and William "the Lion" of Scotland. Catherine's father was a descendant of Edward III by his son Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Lord Thomas Parr was the great-grandson of the Duke of Lancaster's illegitimate daughter, Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland. Lady Joan was mother to Lady Cecily Neville, Duchess of York; mother of King Edward IV, Richard III, and George, Duke of Clarence. The Duchess was sister to Parr's great-grandfather Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury who was killed during the War of the Roses alongside his brother-in-law the Duke of York and his nephew Edmund, Earl of Rutland [brother to Edward IV, Richard III, and the Duke of Clarence]. The Earl of Salisbury was father to the infamous "Warwick, the Kingmaker" who was father to queen consort Anne Neville and Isabel, Duchess of Clarence.
  • Catherine's lineage included women who served the queens of England. Her maternal great-grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to her cousin Queen Elizabeth Woodville, consort of Edward IV [grandparents of King Henry VIII]. Her paternal great-grandmother and grandmother were ladies to Queen Anne Neville, consort of Richard III [her great-grandmother being aunt to Queen Anne]. Catherine's mother Maud, Lady Parr was a maid of honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon.
  • Lady Maud Parr was also head of the Royal School at court, where Catherine was educated alongside her sister Anne and other daughters of the nobility. Catherine would have been taught French, Latin, philosophy, theology, and the Classics. Lady Parr had already taught her children to read and write when they were small.
  • Catherine's mother, in the tradition of the nobility in renaissance England began the search for Catherine's first husband when she was just nine years old. She was offered in marriage to Lord Scrope’s son. As the decision from Lord Scrope was delayed for quite some time, Maud decided to look elsewhere. Maud had already spent much of her husband's money securing the marriage of her son to Anne Bourchier, daughter of the Earl of Essex; Maud had little left for Catherine and her other daughter Anne. Maud looked to the Borough family of Gainsborough, who was kin to the Parr family.
  • Catherine was the first woman in her family other than her great-aunt, Mabel Parr, to marry into the peerage and receive a title of her own.
  • Although the Parr's had been gaining power at court throughout Catherine's marriage to Lord Latimer, both she and her brother William were entirely at Henry's disposal.
  • Catherine had been set to marry Thomas Seymour (Jane Seymour's brother) when she caught the King's eye. She probably had no choice, but she did reject Seymour's proposal in favor of the King's. She came to the conclusion that it was God's will she marry the King.
  • 18 months after Katherine Howard's execution. Henry and Catherine Parr were married. On the 12th of July the ceremony took place in the Queen's Privy Closet at Hampton Court. This was the more private of the Queen's two oratories. Similarly, the wedding itself was a quiet, almost private affair. But it was by no means a hole-in-corner one. The celebrant was Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. And the congregation, which numbered about twenty, was made up of the Gentlemen of the King's Privy Chamber, as well as close family members of the bride and groom. Both Henry's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present, as was Lady Margaret Douglas, the King's niece. Catherine's family was represented only by her sister and brother-in-law, Anne and William Herbert. But the three aristocratic ladies who were then closest to her - Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk, Anne, Countess of Hertford, and Jane Guildford, Viscountess Lisle - were also present.
  • On becoming Queen, the prudently political side of Catherine really came into practise. Rather than try and involve herself excessively in affairs of state like Anne Boleyn or prove that the Queen's role is one of decadence like Katherine Howard, Catherine Parr showed herself to be the renewer of Henry's court as a family home for his children. Lady Mary, who was only a few years younger than Catherine, respected her superior intellect and remembered the friendship her mother, Queen Katherine, had had with Catherine's mother Maud Parr (nee Greene). Prince Edward, motherless almost from birth was soon viewing Catherine as his own mother. Lady Elizabeth was more difficult. She was a highly precocious ten year old, and she was as suspicious of her father's actions as he was of hers. Eventually, she was won over and took her place at court within the household of the Lady Mary. Having the King's children dependent on her in this way meant that Catherine was in a far stronger position than any of Henry's previous wives had been.
  • Catherine was determined to present the royal household as a close knit one in order to demonstrate strength through unity to Henry's opposers. This was no mean feat considering Prince Edward's poor health which meant that Henry constantly moved the prince's household in order that he should avoid the extreme cold at various times of the year. Nevertheless it was achieved at Ashridge in Aug 1543 and the foreign ambassadors saw it as such a success that it was included in their dispatches.
  • One of Catherine's most significant achievements was her influence on Henry to introduce an Act in Parliament that confirmed both Lady Mary's and Lady Elizabeth's right to be restored in the line of succession to the throne after any children Catherine might have with the King and Prince Edward. The Act was passed in 1543, despite the fact that both Mary and Elizabeth had previously been made illegitimate by their mother's annulment/divorce. Despite the inclusion of the two in the Act of Succession, both Mary and Elizabeth would remain illegitimate.
  • She was also able to secure John Cheke and Roger Ascham (two of the greatest educators of the time) as tutors for Edward and Elizabeth; her own education was probably improved as a result of their appointment.
  • Catherine was a humanitarian, and had a keen interest in the Protestant church
  • Catherine secured the release of reformers imprisoned for their views. She placed leading Protestant thinkers in her own household and in that of the heir to the throne, Prince Edward. She conducted Bible studies among her ladies-in-waiting and discussed religion with the king.
  • "she carried with her small jewelled boxes of lozenges flavoured with liquorice or clove or cinnamon for sweet breath." So unlike Anne of Cleves, she seems not to have offended the king's sensitive nose.
  • Catherine had a fascination for clocks and watches, and was a keen patron of the arts.
  • A misconception about Catherine is that Henry married her so that he could have a nurse. By the time of their marriage, he was weakened by oozing leg ulcers. While Catherine was skilled in medicinal herbs, Henry had more than a dozen personal doctors. From time to time she may have helped out and kept him supplied with comfits, pastiles and suppositories. She also reportedly advised him to wear reading glasses.
  • His new confidence was instrumental in the initial unexpected English victory at Flanders (Boulogne in the series) in November 1543 while Catherine was Regent. Catherine's success was rewarded with her brother William Parr being created Earl of Essex in December of the same year, and she herself was somewhat morbidly rewarded with the settlement of all the lands that were originally intended for Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard.
  • Showing how much trust he had in her, Henry chose Catherine to rule as Regent while he was overseas at war in France. In the unlikely event of the loss of his life, she was to rule as Regent until the six-year-old Prince Edward came of age. However, despite Henry's obvious fondness and trust for 'Kate,' he did not name her as Regent in his will, or as having any particular function in government. Instead, she was to move on and enjoy life becoming a wealthy Queen Dowager with no particular involvement in politics free to marry whomever she chose.
  • Catherine was the first Queen of Ireland.
  • Catherine suggested to Lady Mary Tudor that she undertake a translation of Erasmus' paraphrases of the New Testament. Mary enjoyed this work, and had finally found a kindred spirit with whom to express her hopes and fears. Catherine wrote to Lady Mary after Henry's death and encouraged her to publish her translation.
  • On his deathbed, Henry reportedly thanked God for sending him "so faithful a spouse" and declared to the assembled Privy Council that they should pay Catherine the colossal annuity of £7,000 and the possession of all the jewels she had possessed as Queen.
  • A month after Henry's death in January 1547, Catherine was happy to rekindle her relationship with Thomas Seymour, whom she took as her fourth husband in March of 1547.
  • Less than four months after Henry's death, the Queen Dowager married the dashing Lord Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral and uncle to the new King Edward VI. As she wrote to Seymour, "God is a marvelous man." But many were scandalized by the secret marriage. Lady Mary Tudor counseled her half-sister Elizabeth to avoid Catherine Parr, and rebuked Seymour for requesting her help in convincing the Dowager Queen to publicize their marriage. The scandal eventually died down and Lady Mary forgave Catherine. Lady Mary never forsook Catherine despite their differences in religion (unlike in the series when Mary turns on Catherine).
  • Not long after, despite three barren marriages, Catherine became pregnant. Her daughter Mary was born at Sudeley Castle on 30 August 1548. Catherine. She was 36, but Seymour was confident that she was strong and would go on to bear him strong sons. However, the Admiral was proved wrong, as Catherine never rose from her childbed. She died seven days later, on 5 September 1548, from what is thought to be puerperal sepsis, also called childbed fever.
  • As there was no standardized spelling in the 16th century, her name has been alternately spelled, yet she signed her own name as Kateryn. Catherine Parr's handwriting
  • A unique characteristic of Catherine's signature, unlike any of Henry's other wives, as Queen consort and regent includes her maiden initials of KP.
  • After 500 years, Catherine Parr still holds the record for the most married Queen of England and Ireland.
  • Catherine has the distinction of having had the very first Protestant Royal funeral.
  • Catherine Parr had a spaniel dog named Rig. In keeping with her lavish household and lifestyle he wore a 'collar of crimson velvet embroidered with damask gold' and its rings of silver gilt for attaching his lead.
Young Catherine Parr by Hans Holbein
Copy of a Sketch by Hans Holbein of "Lady Borow"
was thought by some to be Catherine.
Catherine's father-in-law, Sir Thomas Borough, 1st Baron, during the time of Catherine's marriage to his son, Edward, commissioned a portrait by Holbein, of his wife Agnes Tyrwhitt, the Lady Borough at the time. Lord Borough had to pull his connections and power at court just to have this done, so this portrait is most likely Agnes.
(Linda Porter, Katherine the Queen, pg 55)
'Lord, hearken to my words.
Consider the thought of mine heart.
Behold, how loud I cry unto thee.
Let my just prayer enter into thine ears,
which unfeignedly cometh from mine heart. Hear me, Lord,
for I am poor and destitute of man's help.
Take care for my soul.
Save me, thy servant,
which wholly trust in thee.
Have mercy upon me,
O Lord, for I will never cease
crying to thee for help.'

~ a prayer written by Catherine Parr

Earliest known portrait of Catherine Parr as Lady Latimer
This portrait, long thought to be that of Catherine Parr as Lady Latimer, is now labeled as Queen Katherine of Aragon. The portrait has been used in other depictions featuring all six wives as Catherine Parr. A miniature commissioned by Queen Victoria is based on this portrait; the title names the woman as Katherine Parr. Susan James and Linda Porter in their recent biographies believed that this portrait was the earliest known portrait of Catherine as Lady Latimer.
<a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">
<a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Catherine of Aragon reunited with </a><a>King Henry VIII... but only as an oil painting</a>

Four Marriages

1. Sir Edward Borough, Burgh (Borow)
Married from 1529 until 1533 (his death)
At age 17, Catherine's first marriage, arranged by her mother, was to Sir Edward Borough. It had been thought that Catherine married the elderly Edward Borough, 2nd Baron Borough of Gainsborough in 1529, but the 2nd Baron died in August 1528. This notion that she was the wife of Lord Borough was fueled by 19th century historian Agnes Strickland. Through the recent research of documents and the will of Catherine's mother by biographers Susan James and Linda Porter is had been confirmed that she married the 2nd Baron's grandson, who shared his first name. This discovery was not a new one as in 1994, Antonia Fraser, and again in 2004, David Starkey's book on Henry's wives also confirmed that Catherine's first husband was the 2nd Baron's grandson. Sir Edward Borough was the eldest son of the 2nd Baron's eldest son, Sir Thomas Borough, who would become the de jure 3rd Baron in 1529 (Thomas was summoned to Parliament as 1st Lord Burgh of Gainsborough, a new creation, as his father was never formally summoned as the 2nd Baron due to his state of mind). In her will, dated May 1529, Maud Parr, mentioned Sir Thomas, father of Edward, saying 'I am indebted to Sir Thomas Borough, knight, for the marriage of my daughter'. Edward died in the spring of 1533, predeceasing his father; he never fulfilled the title of Lord 'Borough' Burgh.

2. John Neville, Lord Latimer
Married from c. 1534 until March 1543
(his death)
Catherine could
have met her second husband at court functions when she was 22, after Anne Boleyn became queen. After her marriage to Edward Borough, Catherine stayed with her cousin's, the Strickland's. Lady Strickland was a cousin of Lord Latimer. John Neville had already been married twice. Neville was a cousin of Catherine's father. Neville had two children by his first marriage to Dorothy de Vere, when he married Catherine. He was at that time aged 42. Catherine was the lady of a huge household at Snape Hall in Yorkshire. Although Lord Latimer preferred to remain at Snape Hall, he and Catherine became embroiled in the intrigue of Anne Boleyn and Henry and Cromwell. In fact, after Anne Boleyn was executed, they came very close to losing their own lives during the Pilgrimage of Grace. They returned to London in 1536, when Queen Jane Seymour was three months pregnant. This had put the King in an exceptionally good mood, and --for the moment-- the political nightmare which had affected her family due to Neville's supposed involvement in the Pilgrimage came to an end for Catherine and her family. Latimer would be taxed by Cromwell for the rest of his life and the emotional scars never healed for Latimer. Queen Jane gave birth to Prince Edward in October.

3. King Henry VIII
married in 1543 until January 1547 (his death)
Catherine was aged 31, younger than Anne Boleyn had been when she married the King, and Henry was 52 and ailing. The two were married until Henry's death in January 1547

Thomas Seymour - The Tudors Wiki

4. Thomas Seymour (above)
Married from
March 1547 until her death in September 1548 (aged 36).
Catherine's only love match. It was later suggested that Seymour tried to initiate an affair with the young Lady Elizabeth Tudor. (see Controversies of the Tudors)
Elizabeth was eventually sent away, to prevent Seymour from further temptation. After Catherine's death, (most likely from childbed fever) Thomas Seymour was beheaded for treason within less than a year. Lady Mary Seymour--the daughter to whom Catherine had given birth--was taken to live with Catherine Brandon, now Dowager Duchess of Suffolk; she had been a close friend of Catherine Parr. After a year and a half, the infant Mary's property was restored to her by an Act of Parliament. The financial burden on the Dowager Duchess for the maintenenace of the child's household was thereby eased.

The last mention of Lady Mary Seymour on record is on her second birthday. Stories circulated that Mary eventually married and had children, but most historians believe she died as a child.

Queen Catherine Parr -- NPG Portrait

Note at the National Portrait Gallery (London)...Lady Jane Grey or Catherine Parr

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; it was to be another eight years before her disastrous and short-lived reign. The distinctive crown shaped jewel which the sitter wears can be traced to an inventory of jewels belonging 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.

Portrait of a lady called Katherine Parr (1512-48)As Queen Regent

For three months, from July to September 1544, Catherine was appointed Queen Regent by Henry as he went on his last, unsuccessful, campaign in France.

Thanks to her uncle having been appointed as member of her regency council, and to the sympathies of fellow appointed councillors Thomas Cranmer and Edward Seymour, Catherine obtained effective control and was able to rule as she saw fit. She handled provision, finances and musters for Henry's French campaign, and five Royal proclamations were signed by her. She also maintained constant contact with her lieutenant in the northern Marches, the Earl of 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, as well as her later religious convictions, greatly influenced her stepdaughter Lady Elizabeth Tudor.

Catherine Parr's Prayer book at Sudeley Castle
Catherine's personal copy of The Sermons of St. John Chrysostom.

Sudeley Castle History of Catherine Parr

Links to Royalty

Most people are unaware that Catherine Parr was indeed a descendant of royalty. Her father's paternal lineage linked her back to William "the Lion" of Scotland and other Scottish nobility. Through her paternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth FitzHugh, Catherine Parr was a direct descendant of King Edward III of England (House of Plantagenet) and Philippa of Hainault, Queen consort of England through their son Prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster Plantagenet and his mistress, later wife, Katherine Swynford
née Roët.

Lady Elizabeth was the daughter of Lord FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville. Lady Alice was the sister of Richard Neville, "Warwick the Kingmaker." Both her and her daughter Elizabeth were personally chosen by Richard III's queen consort, Lady Anne Neville, to be her ladies-in-waiting. Lady Anne was daughter of "Warwick" and thus niece to Lady Alice.

The Green family also descended from royal blood and Maud Green was a cousin of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen consort of Edward IV of England.
Red Rose of the House of LancasterWhite Rose of the House of York
Despite being a descendant of the House of Lancaster by her grandmother, her grandfather and the Parr family sided with the White Rose of York until the rise of King Henry VII.

Like Katherine of Aragon, Catherine Parr was cousin to her husband through her ancestor Prince John of Gaunt Plantagenet.

But unlike the other wives, Catherine Parr was the only wife of Henry VIII's to descend from the Beaufort family from which Henry's father, Henry VII declared his right to the throne. Catherine descended from Prince John of Gaunt's daughter Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (the maternal great-great-grandmother of Henry). By this relation Catherine was a maternal 3rd cousin, once removed of her husband, Henry VIII.

Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, was the grandniece of Lady Joan Beaufort. Through this relation, Catherine was also a 4th cousin, once removed of Henry VIII on his paternal side.

Through Margaret's line her descendants had a strong claim to the throne and after the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485, her only son Henry, became King Henry VII of England. His claim to the throne was that he was the last reasonably legitimate male descendant of Edward III. Thus through him the Tudor dynasty rose to power.

Ancestors of Catherine Parr:

Catherine was a direct descendant of every King from William 'the Conqueror' of England, except for William II, Stephen I, Henry 'the Younger,' Richard 'the Lionheart,' Richard II, and Henry IV Plantagenet through Henry VIII Tudor (who were her cousins).

Because Catherine was a descendant of two of the most powerful families in England, the Neville's and Plantagenet's she was kin to most of the nobility and royalty at court.

Catherine Parr's Arms
Catherine Parr's Greatest Challenge came in the Summer of 1545:

Some courtiers who were jealous of her influence over the King tried to link her with heresy. Bishop Stephen Gardiner warned Henry against harboring "a serpent within his own bosom." A list of charges had, in fact, been drawn up by early July 1545, and the stage was set for the Queen's arrest. Henry had become sufficiently irritated lately by some of his wife's freely expressed progressive views. She had on one recent occasion been unwise enough to forget that in any debate--especially one of a theological nature--the King had always to win hands down. Unfortunately, Henry had at that point been willing to listen to hints being dropped about Kate's dangerous opinions, so 'stiffly maintained.' Ultimately, however, he apparently decided that matters had gone far enough. At that point, he allowed Catherine to be warned of what was being prepared for her.

Henry steered the conversation to religion, commenting that "ye are become a doctor, Kate, to instruct us . . .," but Catherine had the perfect response: "I am but a woman, with all the imperfections natural to the weakness of my sex; therefore in all matters of doubt and difficulty I must refer myself to your Majesty's better judgment, as to my lord and head."

She had quickly seized her chance to explain that she had only been bold enough to seem to engage in argument with her lord and master, in order to distract him from the pain of his ulcerated leg. She also claimed that through this surface-only 'debate,' she herself might profit from hearing the King's learned discourse.

When Wriothesley arrived with 40 yeomen of the guard and a warrant for the Queen's arrest in his pocket, he was greeted with a tirade of royal abuse from the King, who shouted: "Knave!," "Fool," and "Beast!," and sent Wriothesley packing with his tail between his legs. Henry 'made it up to' Catherine with a set of gorgeous new jewels.

Royal Crest of Queen Catherine Parr

Catherine's patron saint was Saint Catherine of Alexandria also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel; Catherine Parr used her depiction as part of her royal emblem of a maiden with flowing blonde hair blooming from a Tudor Rose.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Catherine of Alexandria, by Carlo Crivelli.

Neat fact: Parr's ancestor Katherine Swynford used the wheel of Saint Catherine in her coat of arms.


  • Catherine Parr in her own words - When Henry VIII invaded France in 1544, Catherine Parr acted as Regent. Mindful of the king's sensitivity to perceived threats to his authority, she leavened her letters with strong doses of affection and humility. Click the above link for her letters.


Tomb of Katherine Parr, Queen of England and Ireland

Tomb of Catherine Parr in the renovated St. Mary's Church, Sudeley Castle. Because of the destruction of her tomb and the re-burial of her coffin it is most likely why, of all of Henry's wives, Catherine has the most magnificent tomb.
Picture courtesy of Keith Featherstone.
Catherine Parr - The Tudors Wiki
Close-up of Catherine's effigyCatherine Parr's effigy
Sudeley Castle, St. Mary's Chapel, burial place of Catherine Parr
In 1782, a gentleman by the name of John Locust discovered the coffin of Queen Catherine in the ruins of the chapel at Sudeley Castle. 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.

The coffin was opened a few more times over the next ten years, and in 1792 some drunken men buried it upside down in a rough manner. 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 by orders of the late Duchess of Buckingham. In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir John Scott, and a proper altar-tomb was erected for Queen Catherine.

Sudeley Castle
A piece of Katherine Parr's dress
A piece of fabric said to be from the dress Catherine Parr was wearing in her coffin.
Katherine Parr's hair
A lock of Catherine's hair. [Source: Nasim Tadghighi]
Catherine Parr -- piece of her original marble tomb
A piece of the original tomb Catherine was found in; on display at Sudeley Castle.
Catherine Parr
Another lock of hair believed to belong to Catherine.
The inscription reads "Hair of Queen Catherine Parr,
last consort of Henry, the night she dyed September 5th 1548 was in the Chapel of Sudeley Castle, near Winchcombe."
This artifact was on display at Hampton Court Palace in the "Henry's Women" collection of paintings and other artifacts.
Catherine Parr's gravesite

Queen Katherine Parr tomb, Sudeley Castle
Old Gainsborough Hall - Home of the Burgh family
Old Gainsborough Hall
built in 1460 by Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh of Gainsborough, great-grandfather of Sir Edward Borough (Burgh), Catherine's first husband. Catherine and Edward lived with her in-laws until 1530; when the couple moved to their own manor in Kirton-in-Lindsay.
Catherine Parr -- All Saint's Church, Gainsborough
All Saint's Church in Gainsborough near where Catherine lived. She most likely worshiped here. Like many structures, the original church was destroyed during the English Civil War. This is the restored church which was built in the same style as St. Martin-in-the-Field's in London.
Katherine Parr's copy of Vellutello's edition of Petrarch's works (1544)Copy of Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’A. Vellutello; con le figure a i triomphi et con piu cose utili in varii luoghi aggiunte (1544) owned by Catherine Parr British Library, C.27.e.19.

This volume of Petrarch’s works, with an exposition by Alessandro Vellutello, was first published in Venice. The book is bound in purple velvet and embroidered with gold and silver thread and coloured silks. The coat of arms topped with the royal crown may have been embroidered by Catherine. The arms are not Catherine's royal arms, but rather that of her brother, William Parr. The book appears to have been bound after the death of Henry VIII (in January 1547) and before Catherine’s marriage to Sir Thomas Seymour. Had it been bound whilst Henry was still alive, it would be expected that the supporters (the creatures flanking the coat of arms) would be the lion and the greyhound. As there is no reference to Seymour, it seems it was made sometime in the short space of Catherine’s widowhood.

It was subsequently owned by the Fitzhugh family (whose emblem of the creature breathing flames and gorged with a coronet, is depicted on the left). The FitzHugh's were cousins of Catherine through her grandmother, Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh. The creature on the right – a wyvern argent also gorged with a coronet – belongs to the Parr family.

The book went on public display in 2009 for the Henry VIII: Man and Monarch exhibit at the British Library. The event was to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession

Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondences

  • <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Katherine Parr: Complete Works and Correspondences</a> by Katherine Parr. Editor: Janel Mueller. Release date: 30 June 2011.
  • Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII by Porter, Linda. (23 Nov 2010).
  • Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr by Porter, Linda. (2010).
  • Katherine Parr: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Reformation Queen by Withrow, Brandon. Philipsburg, NJ: P&R: (2009).
  • Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love by James, Susan (2008-9).
  • Kateryn Parr: the Making of a Queen by James, Susan (1999).
  • Queen Katherine Parr by Martienssen, Anthony (1973).

Katherine Parr by Jean Evans; historical fiction
  • Revelation, A Matthew Shardlake Mystery by C.J. Sansom (2008).
  • The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn (2007).
  • The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson (2006).
  • Her Royal Destiny by Carol Maxwell Eady (1985).
  • Ivy Crown by Mary M. Luke (1984).
  • Katherine Parr (The Six Wives of Henry VIII); Series by Jean Evans (1972)
  • Sixth Wife, A Novel by Jean Plaidy (1969).
  • Mistress Parr's Four Husbands by Jessica Smith (1967).

Katherine Parr - GoldenAged.ER
Stained glass window showing Catherine's badge in Hampton Court Palace

Catherine Parr - Stained Glass Window at Hampton Court - GoldenAged.ER
Pictures courtesy of GOLDENAGED.ER

Parr - Greene COA, Catherine Parr's Family Pedigree - GoldenAged.ER
Catherine Parr's Pedigree Window at Hampton Court, her parents arms.
Sir Thomas Parr (left) and Maud Green (right).

Katherine Parr window in St. Mary's Church, Sudeley
Catherine (center) with her third (right)
and fourth (left) husbands.

Katherine Parr Arms as Queen - COPYRIGHT GOLDENAGED.ER
Stained Glass window in Hampton Court Palace showing Catherine Parr's coat of arms.
Courtesy of
<a href="../account/GoldenAged.ER" target="_self">GOLDENAGED.ER</a>

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