Born: 1512 at Kendal Castle, Westmorland
Queen of England
Died: 5th September 1548 at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
Catherine Parr, the sixth and last Queen of Henry
VIII, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green. Her father was Controller of the Household of King Henry at the beginning of his reign.
Catherine and her brother, William, afterwards Marquis of Northampton, received
an excellent education and she became one of the most learned ladies of the age. She was twice married before her Royal wedding: the first time to Sir Edward Borough, who died in 1529, and the second time to John Neville, Lord Latimer,
who died in 1543. Being sought in a third marriage by Sir Thomas Seymour, the
brother of the late Queen Jane, she was about to accept his hand when Henry
intervened and married her himself in July 1543.
Catherine was an excellent woman, already
inclined towards the reformed doctrines and successfully interceded for many
so-called 'heretics,' who would otherwise have suffered death. She also induced
Henry to restore, to Royal rank, the Princesses Mary and
legitimacy his remarkable matrimonial arrangements had left in doubt. Henry
named Catherine as Regent when he designed an expedition to France in 1544. Her
main functions, in the last two years of her husbandís reign, were those of
his nurse as he suffered agonies of pain from an ulcer in his leg. There is a
famous story told in Foxe's Book of Martyrs to the effect that the Catholic party had planned
her ruin and were actually about to arrest her as a heretic when Henry
intervened and saved her life.
After Henry's death, Catherine took, as her
fourth husband, her old lover, Thomas Seymour, now Lord Seymour of Sudeley: a
scoundrel of the worst type who ill-treated and perhaps poisoned her, for he had
designs to marry the Princess Elizabeth. She died in child-birth at Sudeley
Castle, in Gloucestershire, in 1548.
Edited from Emery Walker's "Historical