Katherine Parr

The exact date of Katherine Parr's birth is unknown but is believed to be around 1512. The location is in dispute and could have been either at home in Kendal or at the Royal Court in London.

She was the oldest surviving child of Thomas Parr and Maud Green and during her early life Katherine showed a passion for learning and was fluent in French, Latin and Italian. She was to continue her education whilst married to Henry VIII, learning Spanish.

Katherine had already been married and widowed twice before she met Henry. She had also started a relationship with Thomas Seymour the brother of Henry’s third wife Jane.

Katherine desired to marry Seymour but accepted Henry when he asked for her hand in marriage becoming his sixth wife.

They were married on 12 July 1543 at Hampton Court Palace.

Henry was by now 52 years old and so obese that he had to be reliant upon mechanical devices to move about.

Katherine was to become more of a carer to Henry than a wife. She used to keep him occupied with theological debates, which became heated at times but they both seemed to enjoy the arguments and disagreements they had.

Although Henry’s third wife Jane had reconciled him to his two daughters it was Katherine who was responsible for the agreement to place them back in the line of succession after Edward, Prince of Wales.

In 1546, there was a plot against Katherine as she was interested in taking the Reformation further which made her unpopular with the conservatives in Henry’s court and they convinced him to have an arrest warrant drawn up for her

Katherine reconciled with Henry explaining that she only argued with him about religion to take his mind off his other troubles.

Henry’s health continued to deteriorate and in December 1546 he wrote his Will.

He died on 28 January 1547 and was buried at his own request next to his third wife Jane Seymour. His current wife Katherine Parr outlived him.

After the coronation of Henry’s successor Edward VI, Katherine retired from court and went to live in her old home, Old Manor in Chelsea.

She married her former suitor Thomas Seymour and gave birth to a daughter, Mary at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

She died shortly afterwards on 5 September 1548 and is buried in St Mary’s Gardens in the grounds of Sudeley Castle.

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