Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Wives of King Henry VIII - Chapter VI: Queen Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr
Katherine Parr was 31, yet widowed twice. She came from a noble family and married noble husbands. She was the quintessential noblewoman. She enjoyed learning and writing. Her godmother was Katharine of Aragon, and she was named after her. Perhaps this was ominous.

Katherine fell in love with Thomas Seymour, brother of Jane Seymour. They wanted to marry each other. The King, however, intervened. Katherine felt it was her duty to accept Henry's hand in marriage. After all, she only had one head.

On the 12th of July, 1543, Katherine became the new Queen of England. She cared for all of her stepchildren, and helped educate Elizabeth and Edward. Katherine was interested in Protestantism. This made her unpopular towards the Catholics at the court. Henry was concerned with her, as some courtiers tried to get him to turn against her. She told him she was only concerned with it to make him forget about his sore leg.

The sore leg was caused by a jousting accident. His doctors could not treat the nasty wound. It hurt so much that it stopped him from doing things he enjoyed doing. He also was very obese. It's been said only his jester, Will Sommers, could keep him happy during this time—but let's save that for another blog post.

The sickly King passed away on January 28th, 1547. He was only 55 years old. Now the second Tudor King had left the throne, and the third was to take it. The 9-year-old Edward VI became King of England.

Katherine was expected to act as regent for him until he was old enough, but she had other ideas. She married Thomas Seymour not long after she was widowed for the third time. Elizabeth lived with Thomas and Katherine, but when Thomas started flirting with his 14-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth's governess decided she had to move out.

Katherine passed away in 1548 due to childbirth—just how Thomas's sister did. She was only 36, but was married four times and was the Queen of England.

Thus passed King Henry VIII and his sixth and final Queen, Katherine Parr. Her motto was “To Be Useful in All That I Do.” The King's motto was “Coeur Loyal,” meaning “true heart.” His heart, ironically, was not exactly true to many of his wives.


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