On this day in Tudor history, 2nd November 1541, All Souls' Day, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer gave King Henry VIII a letter that would spark off the beginning of the end for Queen Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife.
Catherine Howard's past, her romances with Henry Manox and Francis Dereham, were about to come back to haunt her, and her present relationship with Thomas Culpeper would soon be uncovered.
In today's talk, I explain exactly what was in Archbishop Cranmer's letter and what happened next.
Here is my video on the executions of Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford:
Also on this day in history:
- 1470 – Birth of Edward V, son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, in Westminster Abbey sanctuary during his father's exile. He was baptised there. In June 1471, his father made him Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. His father died in April 1483, making Edward King Edward V, but his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, claimed the throne as Richard III. Edward and his brother, Richard, Duke of York, disappeared and their fate is unknown. They became known as the Princes in the Tower, and there is still controversy today over whether they were murdered on the orders of Richard III.
- 1581 – Death of Gilbert Berkeley, Bishop of Bath and Wells, at Wells. He was buried at the cathedral and his tomb chest can still be seen today, in the aisle of the north chancel.
Poor King Henry. Here Henry was having prayers said for his perfect young wife and giving thanks for Kathryn Howard and thanks for delivery of his six year old son from serious illness, only to be given a letter from Thomas Cranmer claiming the Queen had a past, of a sexual nature. It was treason to slander the Queen and it was misprison to conceal knowledge affecting the succession or the morals of the Queen. Here we have Henry hoping it was false, only for the witnesses to confirm the rumours were true and that Kathryn had lovers before him and then it was worse because Henry also faced reports that Kathryn had committed adultery. Not a great time for the King.