Queen Catherine Howard of England1

Female, #8512, (circa 1521 - 13 Feb 1542)
Father*Edmund Lord Howard of Flodden Field (s 1483 - 1539)
Mother*Joyce Culpeper (1480 - a 1525)
Name-Comm Her was commonly known as Catherine. 
Birth*circa 1521 Catherine was born at Lambeth, co. Surrey, England, circa 1521. 
Death of Father1539 Her father Edmund Lord Howard of Flodden Field died in 1539. 
Marriage*28 Jul 1540 She married King Henry VIII of England at Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, co. Surrey, England, on 28 Jul 1540. 
Biography*circa May 1541 Letter of Queen Catherine Howard of England to Thomas Culpeper (Catherine Howard's lover)
     This is the only surviving letter written by Henry VIII's fifth wife. It was written in the spring of 1541, roughly eight months after she married the king. After Catherine's fall from grace, Culpeper was among the men charged with committing adultery with the queen. It was a treasonable offense, and he was executed for it (along with Francis Dereham.) Culpeper tried to save himself by arguing that he had met with Catherine only because the young queen was 'dying of love for him', and would not let him end the relationship. Catherine, for her part, argued otherwise; she told her interrogators that Culpeper ceaselessly begged her for a meeting, and she was too fearful to refuse. However, the letter clearly supports Culpeper's version of events. After all, the queen did write 'it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company.'
     Catherine was not as well educated as Henry's other wives, though her mere ability to read and write was impressive enough for the time. This letter taxed her greatly, as she points out in the closing lines. It is transcribed here as originally written, and the grammatical mistakes are Catherine's own (she messes up her tenses, for instance.)


Master Culpeper,
     I heartily recommend me unto you, praying you to send me word how that you do. It was showed me that you was sick, the which thing troubled me very much till such time that I hear from you praying you to send me word how that you do, for I never longed so much for a thing as I do to see you and to speak with you, the which I trust shall be shortly now. That which doth comfortly me very much when I think of it, and when I think again that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company. It my trust is always in you that you will be as you have promised me, and in that hope I trust upon still, praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford is here for then I shall be best at leisure to be at your commandment, thanking you for that you have promised me to be so good unto that poor fellow my man which is one of the griefs that I do feel to depart from him for then I do know no one that I dare trust to send to you, and therefore I pray you take him to be with you that I may sometime hear from you one thing. I pray you to give me a horse for my man for I had much ado to get one and therefore I pray send me one by him and in so doing I am as I said afor, and thus I take my leave of you, trusting to see you shortly again and I would you was with me now that you might see what pain I take in writing to you.

Yours as long as life endures,

One thing I had forgotten and that is to instruct my man to tarry here with me still for he says whatsomever you bid him he will do it.2
Death*13 Feb 1542 She died at Tower of London, London, England, on 13 Feb 1542. 
Biography* Catherine HOWARD (d. Feb. 13, 1542, London), fifth wife of King Henry VIII of England. Her downfall came when Henry learned of her premarital affairs. Catherine was one of 10 children of Lord Edmund Howard (died 1539), a poverty-stricken younger son of Thomas Howard, 2nd duke of Norfolk. Henry VIII first became attracted to the young girl in 1540, when he was seeking to end his politically motivated marriage to Anne of Cleves, to whom Catherine was a maid of honour. He had his marriage to Anne annulled on July 9, and on July 28 Henry and Catherine were privately married. He publicly acknowledged her as queen on August 8. For the next 14 months Henry appeared to be much enamoured of his bride. But in November 1541, he learned that before their marriage Catherine had had affairs: Henry Mannock, a music teacher; Francis Dereham, who had called her his wife; and her cousin, Thomas Culpeper, to whom she had been engaged. After her marriage to Henry, Catherine had made Dereham her secretary, and it is probable--though still unproved--that she had committed adultery with Culpeper. The King, initially incredulous, became incensed with these revelations. On Feb. 11, 1542, Parliament passed a bill of attainder declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king. Two days later Catherine was beheaded in the Tower of London. Her life is recounted in Lacey Baldwin Smith's A Tudor Tragedy (1961). Source: "Catherine HOWARD" Britannica Online. [Accessed 14 February 1998].

For more detail, see on this webiste: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/howard/default.htm


King Henry VIII of England (28 Jun 1491 - 28 Jan 1547)
Marriage*28 Jul 1540 She married King Henry VIII of England at Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, co. Surrey, England, on 28 Jul 1540. 
ChartsCatherine Howard (Fifth Queen of Henry VIII): Culpeper Ancestral Chart
Last Edited8 Feb 2012


  1. June Ferguson, Royals Gedcom.
  2. Marilee Hanson, Tudor England, 1485-1603, "Letters of the Six Wives of Henry VIII."