Who was Catherine Howard and why was she executed in 1542?


  • Catherine is born to Joyce Culpeper and to Edmund Howard in Lambeth. London. Catherine’s exact birth date is unknown
  • 21ST MAY: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, Catherine’s grandfather died.
  • Catherine’s mother Joyce Culpeper died
  • Catherine was sent with some of her siblings to live in the care of her father's stepmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.
  • Catherine spent her childhood at Chatsworth House West Sussex England Norfolk House in Lambeth which was across from Lambeth Palace
  • Catherine father Edmund is appointed controller of Calais
  • Catherine and her music teacher, Henry Mannox, began a sexual relationship. She was around 13yearold.
  • 19TH MAY Catherine's cousin Queen Anne Boleyn is executed for high treason.
  • 12TH JULY: Catherine’s father Edmund married for third time Margaret Munday
  • Catherine’s affair with Henry Mannox ended. After being discovered in an embrace with Mannxo by the Dowager Duchess. Then after locks Catherine in her room at night.
  • Catherine begins a relationship with Francis Dereham, a secretary of the dowager duchess, addressing each other as "husband" and "wife. Dereham gave her satin and velvet gifts while Catherine gave him an armband and an embroidered friar's knot. Catherine later confessed that Dereham "knew of a little woman in London with a crooked back, who was skilled in making flowers of silk". Catherine persuaded one of the maids, Mary Lascelles, "to steal the key and bring it to her". The door was unlocked and Dereham was admitted
  • The relationship came to an end when Henry Manox sent an anonymous letter to the Duchess. He suggested that she should visit Catherine's bedroom "half an hour after" going to bed. He added that "you shall see that which shall displease you." Dereham was sent away and Catherine was told off for her "banqueting by night" because she feared "it would hurt her beauty
  • 19TH MARCH: Catherine father Edmund Howard died, and her
  • SPRING: Catherine’s uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, found her a place at court in the household of the king's fourth wife, Anne of Cleve's.
  • King Henry VIII takes and interest in Catherine
  •  Henry VIII marriage to Anne of Cleve's is annulled, opening the door for him to marry Catherine. Anne of Cleve's received a generous settlement that included manor and estates, some of which had been recently forfeited by Thomas  Cromwell, worth some £3,000 a year. In return, Anne of Cleve's agreed that she would not pass "beyond the sea" and became the King's adopted "good sister". It was important for Henry that Anne remained in England as he feared that she might stir up trouble for him if she was allowed to travel to Europe.
  • 28TH JULY: Catherine married Henry VIII of England at the Oatlands palace, in surrey by Bishop Edmund Bonner.
  • Thomas Wyatt was charged again with treason and the charges were again lifted—though only thanks to the intervention of Henry's fifth wife, Queen Catherine Howard, and upon the condition of reconciling with his wife.
  • JUNE Catherine went on a northern progress with Henry VIII, her husband
  • 9TH AUGUST King Henry and Catherine stayed at the Bishop of Lincoln's little manor house at Lyddington.
  • 29th AUGUST Catherine and Henry visit Pontefract Castle. It was here that is was reported later in  testimony that Lady Rochford locked the room from inside after both Catherine and Culpeper went inside
  • John Lassells told Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of the queen's sexual indiscretions with her music master, Henry Manox, and a Howard kinsman, Francis Dereham, while she had been a young girl living in the dowager duchess's household at Lambeth.
  • 1ST NOVEMBER Catherine’s indiscretions of her past are revealed in an in a letter to the king by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop Canterbury. the king immediately ordered that the Queen be confined to her apartments. King Henry initially reacted with disbelief when he heard of the allegations, however still asked for investigations to be made.
  • Archbishop Thomas Cranmer visited the Queen in her apartment to interrogate and retrieve a confession.
  • 7TH NOVEMBER Archbishop Thomas Cranmer led a delegation of Councillors to Winchester Palace, Southwark, to question Catherine
  • Thomas Wriothesley interviewed Catherine’s servants. Katherine Tylney and Margaret Morton both gave evidence that Thomas Culpeper met the Queen in Lady Rochford's chamber
  • 23RD NOVEMBER:  Catherine is stripped of her title as queen, and imprisoned in the New Syon Abbey, Middlesex, formerly a convent,
  • 1ST DECEMBER Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpeper are on trial in Westminster Hall, on charges of treason. both were convicted and sentenced to death. Dereham and his friend William Damport were tortured in an attempt to wring concessions from them concerning queen Catherine’s alleged adultery
  • 10TH DECEMBER: Francis Dereham & Thomas Culpeper tower hill
       Francis was hung drawn and quartered and Thomas was decapitated.
  • 22ND DECEMBER: members of Catherine’s family were sentenced and imprisoned for witnessing and concealing Catherine’s sexual indiscretions in the past. this includes the dowager duchess Agnes Howard, and duchess’s son William Howard and his family.
  • 29th JANUARY: Catherine was condemned under a bill of attainder. “an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial “
  • 10TH FEBRUARY: Catherine is escorted to the tower. passing under London bridge where the heads of Culpeper and Dereham were impaled.
  • 12TH FEBRUARY the night before her execution, Catherine is believed to have spent many hours practising how to lay her head upon the block, which had been brought to her at her request.
  • 13TH FEBRUARY Catherine was led to Tower Green, she was so weak with crying, she struggled to stand. Catherine was executed at Tower Green.
Catherine Howard was buried beside Anne Boleyn at the chapel of St. peter ad vincula within the t Tower of London.


  • Catherine Howard was Queen of England for eighteen months.



  • Catherine was only eighteen years old when she married the Fifty year-old King Henry the VIII of England. King Henry was not in the best of health. The abscess on his leg was slowing him down, and there were days when he could hardly walk, let alone ride. Worse still, it oozed pus continually and had to be dressed daily.

  • Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII the second wife was a first cousin to Catherine. Jane Seymour was Catherine’s distant cousin. All three queens shared the same great—great“Elizabeth Cheney.


  • Edmund Howard, Catherine’s father, was a spendthrift who soon dissipated his first wife's lands in Kent and Hampshire and fled abroad to avoid his creditors, leaving his numerous children to be brought up by relatives


  • Catherine uncle Thomas Howard 3rd duke of Norfolk was a powerful member of the king’s council at the time of Catherine rise in court.


  • Henry called Catherine, his and the “”


  • When Catherine became queen, she had many people approach from her life in the past, asking for favours in regard to a position in court, in exchange for their silence about her own past.


  • King Henry spoiled Catherine with lavish gifts, regularly. Gifts of magnificent jewels, gold beads decorated with black enamel, emeralds lozenges with gold, brooches, crosses, pomanders, clocks, whatever could be most splendidly encrusted in her honour". Soon after the wedding, he gave her a habiliment containing "eight diamonds and seven rubies" and a necklace of "six fine table diamonds and five very fair rubies with pearls in-between" and a muffler of black velvet with thirty pearls on a chain of gold


  • Thomas Culpeper, Catherine’s lover, was also Catherine’s cousin from her mother’s side of the family.


  • Thomas Cranmer had never approved Henry's marriage to Catherine. He did not personally dislike her but he was a strong opponent of her grandfather, Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.


  • It was John Lassells, who had brought to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s attention, Catherine Howard’s lose behaviour in her past. This led to the investigation that would lead to Catherine’s execution. John’s sister Mary Hall, who had worked as a maid at Chesworth House had witnessed Catherine lose behaviour.


  • During the investigation, a love letter written in the Queen's distinctive handwriting was found in Culpeper's chambers


  • Catherine eventually did confess to parts of her inappropriate behaviour in the past.That Francis Dereham called her "wife" and she used the term "husband" and that it was common gossip in the household that they would marry. He had "many times moved me unto the question of matrimony" but she refused all his proposals. Catherine made a serious mistake with this confession. Under the law of the time, if she had made a pre-contract of marriage with Dereham, her marriage to Henry was invalid and therefore she could not be convicted of adultery


  • According to popular folklore, her final words were, "I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper". However, f no eyewitness accounts support this


  • Legend, claims, while Catherine was confined to her apartments at Hampton she briefly escaped her guards and ran through what is now known as The Haunted Gallery, to beg Henry for her life.


  • Sir Richard Rich and Sir John Gage were given the task of questioning Thomas Culpeper, Francis Dereham and Henry Manox. Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpeper were executed. Henry Manox was released with no charge, maintain his innocence under torture.


  • Janes Rochford was Catherine’s lady-in-waiting. Jane was arrested and then executed along with Catherine for aiding Catherine in her affair with Thomas Culpeper. Jane was the widow of George Boleyn, the brother of the late Queen Anne Boleyn.


  • Upon hearing news of Catherine's execution, Francis I of France wrote a letter to Henry, regretting the "lewd and naughty [evil] behaviour of the Queen" and advising him that "the lightness of women cannot bend the honour of men


Master Coulpeper, I hertely recomend me unto youe praying you to
sende me worde how that you doo. Yt was showed me that you was
sike, the wyche thynge trobled me very muche tell suche tyme that I
here from you praying you to send me worde how that you do.
For I never longed somuche for [a] thynge as I do to se you and
to spekewyth you, the wyche I trust shal be shortely now, the
wychedothe comforthe me verie much whan I thynk of ett and
wan Ithynke agan that you shall departe from me agayne
ytt makes my harte to dye to thynke what fortune I have
that I cannot be alwaysyn your company. Y[e]t my trust ys
allway in you that you wolbe as you have promysed me
and in thathope I truste upon styll, prayng you than that
youwyll com whan my lade Rochforthe ys here, for then
Ishalbe beste at leaysoure to be at your commarendmant.
Thaynkyng you for that you have promysed me to be so
good unto that porefelowe my man, whyche is on of the
grefes that I do felle to departe from hym for than I do
knownoone that I dare truste to sende to you and therfor
I pray you take hym to be wyth you that I may sumtym
here from you one thynge. I pray you to gyve me a horse
for my man for I hydmuche a do to gat one and
thefer I pray sende me one by hym and yn so doying I
am as I sadeafor, and thus I take my leve of you
trusting tose you s[h]orttele agane and I wode you was
wythe me now that yoo maitte se what pane I take
yn wryte[n]g to you.

Yours as long as
lyffe endures

One thyng I had forgotten and
thathys to
instruct my man to tare here wyt[h] me still, for he
sas wat so mever you bed hym he wel do et and [...]




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