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Catherine Parr, Queen Consort and Queen Regent as played by Joely Richardson
Motto: "To Be Useful In All That I Do"
UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES
DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
Motto: "To Be Useful In All That I Do"
| Born c. July/August 1512 - Died 5 September 1548 |
Queen Consort of England & Ireland from 12 July 1543 to 28 January 1547 (Henry's death)
Queen Regent from July to September 1544
Catherine (or Kateryn) was the eldest surviving child of Sir Thomas Parr, Lord of Kendal and Maud Green. Before the birth of Catherine, her mother had given birth to a boy, but the child died and there is no record of his name. Maud would go on to have three more children, but her youngest surviving child would be Anne Parr, Lady Herbert (later Countess of Pembroke) who was born in 1515. During her fourth pregnancy c. 1517, Sir Thomas died leaving Maud, who was then 22, alone with three young children to raise and another on the way. Due possibly to the stress of her husband's death, the child, another boy, was stillborn or died shortly after birth. The only male heir to Thomas Parr would be his son, William Parr, later 1st Marquess of Northampton.
Catherine's mother, Maud Green, was a lady in waiting and good friend to Queen Katherine of Aragon, and probably named her daughter after her mistress. Maud was co-heiress, along with her sister Anne, of her father Sir Thomas Green, Lord of Greens Norton and Joan Fogge. Maud's mother, Joan, was a descendant of the Woodville family and first cousin to queen consort Elizabeth Woodville, consort of King Edward IV (grandfather of King Henry VIII). Catherine's father was Sir Thomas Parr, Lord of Kendal who was Controller to the Household of Henry VIII. Thomas was part of Henry's close knit circle which also included Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn. Through her paternal grandmother, Catherine was a direct descendant of King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault by their third surviving son, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (father of King Henry IV and the Lancastrian line of Kings) and his mistress and later wife, Katherine Swynford. Their daughter, Lady Joan Beaufort married into the powerful Northern gentry Neville family. Their children included Henry VIII's great-grandmother, Lady Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (mother of Edward IV and Richard III) and Catherine's ancestor, Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury.
In 1529, at the age of 17, Catherine married Sir Edward Borough of Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire, of whom very little is known. It had been thought that Catherine had married the elderly Sir Edward Borough, 2nd Baron Borough of Gainsborough in 1529, at the age of seventeen, but the 2nd Baron died in August 1528. Until recently, many online sources stated that Catherine had married the 2nd Baron. Truth be told, Antonia Fraser's "The Wives of Henry VIII" published in 1994, and David Starkey's book in 2004 both named Sir Edward Borough as Catherine's husband. Sources online somehow confused the 2nd Baron with his grandson for 17 years; blame could mostly be attributed to 19th century historian Agnes Strickland's take on the wives, lack of research, or lack of interest in Catherine. Coincidentally, recent interest in Catherine sparked the release of two biographies written by Susan James and Linda Porter. Through research of documents and the will of Catherine's mother by biographers both authors confirm that she married 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 1st Baron Burgh under a new writ in December 1529 due to the fact that his father was found insane and never summoned to Parliament as the 2nd Baron. In her will, dated May 1529, Maud (Green) Parr, mentioned Sir Thomas, father of Edward, saying 'I am indebted to Sir Thomas Borough, knight, for the marriage of my daughter'; establishing that she had not fully paid Catherine's dowry. At the time of his son's marriage, Thomas, was thirty-five which would have made Edward around Catherine's age. Edward 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, Sir Thomas, Anne Boleyn's chamberlain, 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. Sir Thomas held the train of Anne Boleyn's coronation robe and was responsible for ransacking the barge of Queen Katherine of Aragon. His son, Sir Edward Borough, died in the spring of 1533 before fulfilling the title of his father, Lord Burgh of Gainsborough.
After the death of her first husband, it is thought that Catherine spent a year with her cousin's, the Strickland's, in Sizergh Castle. The Dowager Lady Strickland, Katherine Neville, was not only related by blood but by marriage. Catherine's great-aunt, Agnes Parr, had married her 3rd cousin once removed, Sir Thomas Strickland, grandfather of her husband, Sir Walter. It is possible that Catherine met her second husband at court functions after Anne Boleyn had married Henry VIII or through her hostess Lady Strickland as Neville was her relative. John Neville, Lord Latimer had been married twice and had two children aged nine and eleven when he married Catherine in 1534. At the time of the marriage, Neville was forty-two.
In the Spring of 1543, shortly after Lord Latimer's death, it was thought that the King proposed marriage to Catherine who answered “It were better to be your mistress than your wife”. Rather than being angered or offended by this answer, Henry simply increased the pressure and Catherine realized that she had no choice. Catherine prayed for guidance and became convinced that it was God’s will that she should marry the King. She put her feelings for who she intended to marry at the time, Sir Thomas Seymour, to one side and agreed to marry the King. But before the public ceremony could take place, Catherine insisted on a considerable period of mourning for Lord Latimer.
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 next to the Chapel. Similarly, the wedding itself was a quiet, almost a private affair. But it was by no means a hole-in-corner one. The celebrant was Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. Both Henry's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present. Catherine's family was represented only by her sister and brother-in-law, Anne and William Herbert. The Duchess of Suffolk (Catherine Brandon) and the Countess of Hertford (Anne Stanhope) were present as well.
After Anne Askew, a Protestant who was arrested, those who opposed Queen Catherine tried to gain a confession from Askew that the Queen, her sister, and other women of her inner circle were Protestants. Askew refused to name any names, even under the pain of torture; still, warrants for the arrest of the Parr sisters and two others were sent out. Gardiner and his new ally Wriothesley got Henry's agreement to a coup against the Queen. Her favourite ladies and leading women, Anne Parr, Lady Herbert, Maud Parr, Lady Lane (Catherine's cousin) and Lady Tyrwhitt, would be arrested; their illegal books seized as evidence; and the Queen herself was to be sent 'by barge' to the Tower. That night, accompanied by her sister and Lady Lane, they made their way to the king's bedchamber, where he was chatting with several gentlemen. Catherine made a great speech on the topic of religion that concealed her true views in the presence of everyone. Henry was shrewd enough and had already guessed why the Council wanted the Queen out of the way. On the following day, Wriothesley (Risley) came to take the Queen to the Tower, when the king shouted 'Knave! Arrant knave! Beast! Fool!' and ordered him out of his presence. Catherine and the ladies in waiting were saved. Catherine and Henry VIII remained devoted to each other until his death on January 28, 1547.
Gentility: Nobility; daughter of two courtiers in Henry VIII's court
Lady Burgh (1529-1533),
The Dowager Lady Burgh (1533-1534),
The Lady Latimer of Snape (1533-1543),
The Dowager Lady Latimer of Snape (1543)
Her Majesty The Queen (1543 to 1547), (Catherine was the first Queen consort of Ireland)
Her Majesty, Queen Regent (1544),
Her Majesty, Queen Catherine (1547),
Her Majesty Queen Catherine, The Lady Seymour of Sudeley (1547-1548)
Survivalist, devoted to her husband and family, intelligent, well educated, strong in her faith, adored by all three of Henry's children. Believed that women should be allowed to deepen their knowledge of 'protestantism,' and to read and write devotional works as well. Praised for her "certain virtue, wisdom and gentleness."Well educated, Catherine was fluent in French and later in life taught herself Italian, Latin, and Greek. While married to Henry VIII she took an interest in all three of his royal offspring and encouraged their education, especially in the 'New Religion.'
Thought to stand about 5'10", Catherine would have been the tallest of Henry VIII's six wives. The colour of her hair is disputed since in some portraits it is shown as an auburn--or even deeper brown--colour. A lock of her hair at Sudeley castle is blonde, but that may be due to depigmentation of melanin coloring over the centuries. Her biographer Susan James has identified a lady with blonde hair as Catherine (see below), but agreement on this portrait's identity has not been universally acknowledged. She was known for her love of impressive jewels, sumptuous French and Italian gowns, and shoes (in one year, she would order 117 different pairs). Her favorite colour was crimson (deep red), which adorned just about everything she used.
Her compassion, her closeness to her stepchildren (especially to Elizabeth) and her sense of duty.
She began the first "Bible Study" group within the court in 1544, allowing only highly regarded court members into the royal chambers to participate in the group. Here, the members studied the translated word of God, deepened their understanding of the Holy Spirit, meditated, prayed, and held fellowship with one another. Henry allowed this activity under strict supervision, often claiming: "I think at times my Kate hath taken Jesus Christ as her bridegroom o'er me."
She was very involved in her three step children's lives; for their part, they were very taken by her kindness and gentle nature.
At times obsessively pious to the point of self-loathing, she would list her sins in a journal. She published them in her second book as "Lamentations of a Sinner." She was careful to have 'Lamentations' published only after Henry's death. Ironically, during Mary's reign, the book was banned. She would outwit the king and won a few arguments which would add to Henry's frustration and most likely led to her eventual arrest warrant being drawn up. Although a woman whose ideas were well ahead of her time, she still advocated that women and girls should serve their husbands and God to the best of their abilities. This view was stated in her first book, which was published while Henry was still alive.
Henry "had never a wife more agreeable to his heart." ~ Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley [[[Risley]]]
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Father: Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal
Mother: Maud (Matilda) Green
Brother: Sir William Parr, 1st Earl of Essex (later 1st Marquess of Northampton)
Sister: Anne Parr, Lady Herbert (later Countess of Pembroke)
Paternal Grandfather: Sir William, Baron Parr of Kendal
Paternal Grandmother: Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr (she later re-married as his 1st wife the Lancastrian Nicholas Vaux, later created 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden. By Nicholas she had three more daughters).
Uncle(s): Sir William, 1st Baron Parr of Horton; Sir John Parr
Aunt(s): Anne Parr, Lady Cheney; Katherine Vaux, Lady Throckmorton; Alice Vaux, Lady Sapcote; Anne Vaux, Lady Strange
Maternal Grandfather: Sir Thomas Green, Lord of Greens Norton
Maternal Grandmother: Joan Fogge
Aunt: Anne Green, Lady Vaux (2nd wife of Nicholas, 1st Baron Vaux)
Cousin(s): Bishop Tunstall, Sir George Throckmorton
* For more details on her ancestry, see her historical profile or Ancestors of Catherine Parr.
1st: Sir Edward Borough (Burgh) (1529 to 1533)
2nd : John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape (1534 to 1543)
3rd: King Henry VIII (1543 to 1547)
4th: Sir Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral (1547 to 1548) - her only "love match".
* Trivia Fact - Katherine Parr still holds the record for England's most married Queen, with four marriages in her lifetime.
Prince Edward Tudor, whom she loved as a son.
Lady Elizabeth Tudor, whom she loved as a daughter and with whom she was especially close.
Lady Mary Tudor. Catherine regarded Mary as a friend or sister rather than a stepdaughter, since she was herself only four years older than Mary. Queen Catherine gave Mary great love and support, even though the young woman knew that her stepmother was a reformer. Mary got along well with Catherine, but disapproved of her hasty remarriage to Thomas Seymour after King Henry's death.
Margaret Neville (1525-1546), betrothed to Ralph Bigod, son of Sir Francis. The two never married; Catherine cared for her until Margaret's death at the early age of twenty-one.
Sir John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer (1520-22 Apr 1577), married Lucy Somerset and had issue. Lucy would become lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine.
One natural child:
Lady Mary Seymour by her 4th husband Thomas Seymour who was given into the care of Catherine Willoughby (Brandon in the series) after her death. It is thought she died young because all record of her disappears after the age of 2. Mary was named after the Queen's step-daughter, Princess Mary Tudor.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Hugh Latimer - series shows her making him her private chaplain which is unlikely but she held daily evangelical Bible studies with her ladies-in-waiting & they listened to preachers such as him and Nicholas Ridley
Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk (Catherine Brandon in the series)
Anne Stanhope, Lady Seymour - the two were friends before the King's death. After he died, friction began and they became rivals.
Sir George Throckmorton
Lady Jane Grey (godmother to her daughter Mary Seymour)
Anne Askew (no proof that the two ever met, but Catherine no doubt had sympathy for Anne being a fellow Protestant)
Thomas Wriothesley (Risley in the series)
Bishop Stephen Gardiner
Sir Richard Rich
Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London
The Catholic Faction -- Many. [She had a few staunch Catholic friends like Mary who got along with her and never forsook her despite their differences in religion; but as for the bulk of traditional Catholics, many were keen on seeing Catherine Parr removed by any means necessary.]
Anne Stanhope, Lady Hertford [there was some rivalry between the two women after Henry's death; Lady Hertford felt she should be considered first lady of the court since her husband was Lord Protector and that the Dowager Queen had re-married below her "rank". She did not succeed in this; as Dowager Queen Catherine, Lady Mary, Lady Elizabeth, and Lady Anne of Cleves came before Lady Hertford in the order of precedence by the will of King Henry. Anne also insisted that the jewels of the Queens of England, which had been willed to Queen Catherine to use, be returned to her.]
Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford [after the death of Henry and her marriage to Edward's brother, Sir Thomas, Catherine started to experience problems not only with Edward, but with his wife Anne. Edward took possession of some of the Queen's lands and sold them off without consulting her. He also kept the jewels of Queen Catherine locked in the Tower of London. Catherine would never see her wedding ring and other jewels from King Henry, jewels and possessions she was willed by her mother, or the jewels of the Queens of England ever again. Edward was extremely cruel in his dealings with the Dowager Queen.]
|Ladies to Her Majesty from Kathy Lynn Emerson's "Women at the Tudor Court":|
There were thirty-three aristocratic women in Katherine’s household, including ten married to peers. These occasionally included Henry VIII’s two daughters and three nieces. The household in 1547 included twenty-seven ladies ordinary and eight queen’s maids.
Great Ladies of the Household and/or members of the queen's "inner circle":
Anne Parr, Lady Herbert (later Countess of Pembroke)
Jane Guildford, Lady Lisle (later Duchess of Northumberland and mother to Lord Guildford Dudley and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester)
Anne Stanhope, Lady Hertford
Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk (Catherine Brandon)
Lady Margaret Douglas (the King's niece)
Mary Arundell, Countess of Arundel
Anne Calthorpe, Countess of Sussex
Joan Champernowne, Lady Denny (supposed sister of Kat Ashley)
Lady Jane Grey (the King's niece, who joined the Dowager Queen's household at Chelsea and Sudeley Castle)
Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber and Bedchamber:
Anne Parr, Lady Herbert
Elizabeth Oxenbridge, Lady Tyrwhitt (was with the Dowager Queen when she died at Sudeley Castle)
Maud Parr, Lady Lane (Catherine's cousin by William, Baron Parr of Horton)
Mary Wotton, Lady Carew
Chamberers (there were 6):
Mary Woodhull, Lady Seymour (daughter of Queen Catherine's cousin, Hon. Elizabeth Parr)
Elizabeth Page, Mrs. Skipwith
___ Osborne (daughter of Edward Osborne)
|Maids of Honor:|
Dorothy Bray, Lady Chandos (former lover of Catherine's brother, Sir William Parr)
Sir Anthony Browne’s daughter
a relative of Dr. Robert Huicke
a Windsor of Suffolk
Mother of Maids:
Margaret (or Anne) Foliot, Mrs. Stonor
Lavina Bening, Mrs.Teerlinck
Christian Murset (wife of William)
In unspecified positions:
Lady Lucy Somerset (wife of Catherine's former step-son, John Neville, 4th Lord Latymer)
Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald, Lady Clinton
Hon. Margaret Neville, former step-daughter of Queen Catherine
Jane Cheney, Lady Wriothesley (later Countess of Southampton, wife of Risley)
Anne Sapcote, Lady Russell (Catherine's cousin)
Elizabeth Stonor, Lady Hoby
Anne Jerningham, Lady Walsingham
Eleanor Browne, Lady Fogge (married Catherine's cousin)
Margery Horsham, Lady Lister
Elizabeth Bellingham, Mrs. Hutton
Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Mrs. Garrett
Elizabeth Slighfield, Mrs. Huicke
Anne Blechingham or Blechington
Mistress Barbara ___
UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES
DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
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c.1546, a year before the death of Henry VIII.
By an unknown artist.
The inscription on the portrait reads –
CATHARINA REGINA UXOR HENRICI VIII
(QUEEN CATHARINE WIFE OF HENRY VIII)
[This portrait has recently been identified as
Catherine Parr by historian Susan James, but the identification is disputed. Many portraits of the era were misidentified, and subsequently bore incorrect labels]
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Catherine Parr, Attributed to William Scrots c. 1545
oil on panel, circa 1545, 25 in. x 20 in. (635 mm x 508 mm). Primary Collection, National Portrait Gallery 4618, London, England. On display in Room 2 at Montacute House.
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Catherine with her sister, Anne Parr.
The Tudors: The Debut of Catherine Parr
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The Tudors: You Have My Permission
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The Tudors: Candor and Honesty
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Catherine Parr talks about Anne Boleyn
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The Tudors: Henry spares Catherine Parr
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The Tudors Finale: The Queen's arrest
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The Tudors Season 4 Deleted Scene - Catherine Parr & Lady Elizabeth - A Letter From Prince Edward
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Something's Changed | The Tudors (Catherine Parr & Mary Tudor)
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