Part 7: Katherine Parr
A new law made it treason for any future queen to conceal her
It would take a bold or a modest woman to
become fifty-two year-old Henry's wife. When, in 1543, thirty-two
year-old widow Katherine Parr came to court, she had been married
twice. She was independently well off, with neither parents nor
Immediately Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane
and one of the most eligible bachelors at Henry's court, was
attracted to the wealthy, good-looking widow. The feeling was
mutual, but Henry had fallen in love with Katherine and showered her
In May, Henry cleared his path by sending Seymour to be resident
ambassador in Brussels and proposed marriage to Katherine. She
accepted not for personal, political or dynastic ambitions, but
because God had told her to. They married on 12 July 1543 at Hampton
Both Mary and Elizabeth were present at the wedding and
Katherine took a keen interest in the children's learning.
Katherine believed it was her task to complete the conversion of
king and country to the reformed religion, an ambition which drew
sympathies from Archbishop Cranmer.
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, disliked nothing more
than a woman with opinions, especially anti-Catholic opinions. By
1545 his hunt for heretics began to close in on the queen.