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Katherine Howard
(1520-1542)

Born: 1520 at Lambeth, Surrey
Queen of England
Died: 13th February 1542 at Tower Green, London

Katherine Howard, fifth Queen of Henry VIII (and cousin of her predecessor, Anne Boleyn), was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper. Her mother died when she was a little girl and Katherine was brought up by her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, in whose household, at Horsham (Norfolk) and then Lambeth (Surrey), she was very carelessly looked after. Katherine seems to have allowed herself to grow accustomed to acts of impropriety. In the year 1540, she was brought to Court, perhaps with the intention of captivating Henry, by the agency of the Catholic party, then swayed by Bishop Gardiner; and she was secretly married to the King in the July of that year. Early in August, Henry acknowledged her as Queen. Her conduct in this capacity was light-minded, if not wicked. Before the next year was out, she was having secret interviews with some of her old lovers, one of whom she actually made her secretary. Henry was utterly taken aback when he discovered evidence of this and of the immorality of his wife's past life. When confronted with this evidence, however, Katherine admitted her previous guilt only, denying that she had ever been unfaithful to Henry. She was, attainted of high treason in January 1542 and executed on February 13th.

Edited from Emery Walker's "Historical Portraits" (1909).

 

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