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The Tudor Society

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  • February 20 – Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, wife of Black Will Herbert and sister of Catherine Parr

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th February 1552, Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, died at Baynard’s Castle in London.

    Anne was the younger sister of Queen Catherine Parr and served Queens Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.

    Let me give you a few facts about this Tudor countess…

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  • April 25 – A Tudor troublemaker, Catherine Parr publishes a book, and the Tudors celebrate St Mark’s Day

    On this day in Tudor history, 25 April 1557, Tudor troublemaker Thomas Stafford, grandson of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, proclaimed himself “Protector of the Realm”. It didn’t go down well!

    Find out why he did this, what happened and how it wasn’t his first brush with trouble…

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  • Catherine Parr Places Word Search

    As today is the anniversary of Catherine Parr’s death on 5th September 1548, I thought we’d pay tribute to her by testing your knowledge of places linked to her.

    Grab your favourite snack and beverage, make yourself comfortable, and get those little grey cells working with this Word Search!

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  • 5 September – The deaths of Bloody Bonner and Catherine Parr

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th September 1569, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London and a man nicknamed “Bloody Bonner”, died in Marshalsea Prison. He had started his career in Henry VIII’s reign and was not just a churchman, he was also a diplomat.

    In this video, I flesh out this Tudor bishop who got his nickname from being in charge of burning reformers in London. Find out about his life, career and how he ended up dying in prison…

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  • 30 August – A treaty and Catherine Parr gives birth

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th August 1525, the Treaty of the More was agreed between King Henry VIII of England and Louise of Savoy, who was acting as regent for her son, King Francis I of France, while he was imprisoned by imperial forces.

    Why was Francis in prison? What were the terms of the Treaty of the More? How did this treaty affect Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary? And what happened next.

    Find out all about the Treaty of the More and its consequences…

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  • 14 August – William Parr, brother of Queen Catherine Parr

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1513, William Parr, Marquess of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born.

    William Parr is a fascinating man. He had a wonderful court career, his first wife eloped and left him, his divorce was granted and then rescinded, he was imprisoned in the Tower but then released, his marital happiness was rather shortlived… but he died a natural death!

    Find out more about William Parr in today’s talk.

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  • 13 June – A pregnant Catherine Parr goes to Sudeley

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th June 1548, Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, and his wife, Catherine Parr, the dowager queen, set off from Catherine’s manor of Hanworth in London to travel to Seymour’s seat of Sudeley Castle. They were accompanied by Lady Jane Grey and around 100 others.

    Seymour wanted his wife to enjoy the final months of her pregnancy safe in the Cotswolds away from the Plague in London and for his first-born child to be born at Sudeley.

    In today’s talk, I share details on who accompanied the couple, what Sudeley was like and what happened next.

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  • 25 April – Catherine Parr publishes a book

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th April 1544, an English translation of John Fisher’s Latin work, “Psalms or Prayers”, was published. It had been translated by none other than Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife.

    It was published anonymously, but there’s rather a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing towards Queen Catherine as the translator. Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • Catherine Parr’s resting place

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Catherine Parr, queen dowager, on 5th September 1548, so I thought I’d share some photos I took of her resting place in St Mary’s Church at Sudeley Castle:

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  • 5 September – Death of Catherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th September 1548, the sixth and final wife of the late King Henry VIII, Catherine Parr, died at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

    At the time of her death, Catherine Parr was the wife of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, her fourth husband, and she had given birth to a daughter, Lady Mary Seymour, on 30th August 1548.

    Catherine Parr was buried in the chapel at Sudeley Castle with Lady Jane Grey acting as her chief mourner. In today’s talk, I give details of Catherine Parr’s burial and the discovery of her remains in the 18th and 19th centuries, and her present resting place.

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  • 31 July – A young Elizabeth writes to Catherine Parr

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st July 1544 and 1548, the future Queen Elizabeth I wrote letters to her stepmother, Catherine Parr.

    The letters were written at very different times in Elizabeth’s life, the first when Catherine was queen and Elizabeth had been separated from her for a while, and the second after Catherine had actually removed Elizabeth from her and Thomas Seymour’s household.

    I share Elizabeth’s letters and explain the context.

    Book recommendations: “Elizabeth” by David Starkey”; “Elizabeth I: Collected Works” ed. Leah S. Marcus, Mary Beth Rose, Janel Mueller.

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  • 12 July 1543 – The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr according to a primary source account

    On this day in history, 12th July 1543, the fifty-two-year-old King Henry VIII married thirty-one-year-old Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer, in the Queen’s Closet of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.

    Here is a primary source account of Henry VIII’s sixth, and Catherine’s third, marriage. It is the notarial attestation by Richard Watkins, the King’s prothonotary, and can be found in Letters & Papers:

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  • Psalms or Prayers and Catherine Parr

    On this day in history, 25th April 1544, Queen Catherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII, had her English translation of Bishop John Fisher’s Latin Psalmi seu Precationes (Psalms or Prayers) published anonymously by Thomas Berthelet, the King’s printer.

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  • Catherine Parr Quiz

    Catherine Parr was a fascinating lady, but how much do you know about this queen consort of Henry VIII?

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  • Catherine Parr by Sarah Bryson

    Catherine was born in 1512, most likely in London or Buckinghamshire. Her parents were Sir Thomas Parr, a favourite of King Henry VIII during his early reign, and Maud Parr, who served as a lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s first wife Katherine of Aragon. It is believed that Catherine was named after the Queen. Catherine had a younger brother named William, born in 1513 and a younger sister named Anne born in 1515.

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  • 31 July 1548 – Letter from Elizabeth to Catherine Parr

    On 31st July 1548, the fourteen year-old Elizabeth, future Elizabeth I, wrote to her stepmother Catherine Parr, the Dowager Queen. The letter was written just before the pregnant Catherine took to her chamber, and just weeks before Catherine died of puerperal (childbed) fever. Elizabeth wrote:

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  • August 14 – William Parr and Margaret Pole

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1513, in the reign of King Henry VIII, William Parr, Marquess of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born.

    William Parr is a fascinating man. He had a wonderful court career, his first wife eloped and left him, his divorce was granted and then rescinded, he was imprisoned in the Tower but then released, his marital happiness was rather shortlived… but he died a natural death!

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  • Blog: Parr’s Million Pound Mansion and Henry’s Regret

    With the end of the month nearing, it is time again to look back at what happened in the past few weeks. From a new discovery to History For Ukraine, March had a lot to offer. 

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  • 14 August – William Parr and Margaret Pole

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th August 1513, William Parr, Marquess of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born.

    William Parr is a fascinating man. He had a wonderful court career, his first wife eloped and left him, his divorce was granted and then rescinded, he was imprisoned in the Tower but then released, his marital happiness was rather shortlived… but he died a natural death!

    Find out more about William Parr…

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  • Celebrate spring with the two Catherine’s

    Today is the first day of Spring! As a celebration of this joyous occasion, we chose two spring looking portraits and moments from two of Henry VIII’s wives to talk about. 

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  • 7 September – Charles Brandon marries Catherine Willoughby

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, just over two months after the death of his previous wife, Mary Tudor. Queen of France, forty-nine-year-old Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, married his ward, fourteen-year-old Catherine Willoughby.

    Find out more about this Tudor couple, how they came to be married, what their marriage was like, and what happened to them, in today’s talk.

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  • 20 June – Anne of Cleves is cross about Catherine Howard

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1540, Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Queen Anne of Cleves, complained to her advisor about her husband’s interest in one of her maids of honour, a certain Catherine Howard. What was going on and what happened next?

    Find out more about the final weeks of Henry VIII’s and Anne of Cleves’ marriage in today’s talk.

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  • Anne Parr, Countess of Pembroke (1515-1552)

    Anne Parr was born on 15th June 1515, in the early years of Henry VIII’s reign. Her parents were Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green. Thomas was an English knight, courtier, and Lord of the Manor of Kendal in Westmorland (current day Cumbria). Perhaps more famously known in contemporary historiography as the younger sister of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, Anne Parr has remained a particularly elusive character in terms of research, when compared to her fashionable contemporaries. However, she led an equally interesting and eventful life. Despite the Parr daughters having a northern-born father, they grew up in the south of England. Their father’s seat at Kendal castle was, during their childhood, falling into disrepair, and living in the south was more practical in terms of their father’s role at court; Westmorland simply being too far from the centre of government and monarchy. In a manner more cosmopolitan, the Parr family resided at their modest house in Blackfriars, where Anne and Katherine were likely born and raised. This relative closeness to the court was convenient for Maud Parr, who was one of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s primary ladies in waiting.

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  • Thomas Cromwell and Catherine Howard Resources

    As today is the anniversary of the execution of Thomas Cromwell and the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Howard on 28th July 1540, I thought I’d share with you some Thomas Cromwell and Catherine Howard resources as we have plenty of videos, talks, quizzes and articles on these two famous Tudor personalities.

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  • Did Anne Seymour and Katherine Parr hate each other?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member RealTudorLady for asking this question: “I have been reading recently that Anne Seymour, wife of Edward Seymour was jealous of Queen Katherine Parr and that the two women hated each other. This was rumoured to stem from Anne Seymour (Stanhope) demanding precedence over the Dowager Queen as her husband was Lord Protector and although she was not entitled to this she demanded it anyway. She also told her husband to get rid of his brother. Is there any truth to these rumours?”

    Historian and author Conor Byrne answered the question…

    The suggestion that Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset, experienced conflict with the dowager queen, Katherine Parr, in 1547-8 can be dated to rumours circulating in the duchess’s lifetime. It has also long been claimed that Anne encouraged her husband, the Lord Protector, to assent to the execution of his younger brother Thomas Seymour, who was the husband of Katherine Parr.

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  • 14 August – The births of Margaret Pole and William Parr

    On this day in history, 14th August, two prominent Tudor people were born: Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, in 1473, and William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, in 1513.

    Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, born on 14 August 1473, was the only surviving daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, and his wife, Isabel Neville. She was the niece of Edward IV and Richard III, and cousin of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII’s consort. Her brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was executed by Henry VII in 1499 in response to a request forwarded by the Spanish monarchs during the marital negotiations between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Katherine of Aragon, since they feared that Warwick’s presence would encourage rebellion against the Tudor dynasty.

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  • Katherine Parr

    Born around 1512 to a family of gentry status, Katherine was the oldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, a late fifteenth-century courtier and knight. Her mother was Maud Green, a close friend and lady in waiting to Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon. The Parrs were a substantial northern family, with Thomas Parr tracing his ancestry to Edward III. Parr was a well-respected man and enjoyed the patronage of the young Henry VIII, who in 1515 sent him to Newcastle to escort his sister, the Princess Margaret, on her month-long progress south to London. Reports suggest he was charming and gallant, with the princess finding him particularly desirable; he soon became a favourite at Henry’s court. Upon his death in 1517 he left portions of £400 (£140,000 in modern value) to his two daughters, with a considerable amount more remaining for his son William.

    Without the presence of a male figure in what was a patriarchal period, Maud was dealt the challenging duty of raising her children while maintaining a presence at court. Throughout these challenges, Maud was successful; she managed her estates and finances accordingly, oversaw her children’s education and arranged suitable unions for them befitting their status and marriageability.

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  • William Parr, Marquis of Northampton

    William Parr, Marquis of Northampton and brother of Queen Catherine Parr, was born on 14th August 1513. He was the son of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and his wife, Maud (née Green).

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  • The Importance of Katherine Parr and Challenging Myths by Alex Taylor

    We tend to think of her as the woman who comes from nowhere, she’s not. In many ways she’s the most interesting, the most exciting, the best educated, and the cleverest of Henry’s wives. -David Starkey

    Katherine Parr has been remembered through history as King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. The fortunate wife that survived. She has been labelled as merely Henry’s nurse, tending to the sickly king’s infirmities. Essentially, she is believed to be little more than Henry’s companion in his final years, with no great achievements of her own. She is often viewed as a wife of lesser importance, in contrast to the hugely popular Anne Boleyn whose legacy has been carried through centuries of intrigue and fame. This article intends to demystify the myths associated with Katherine Parr’s turbulent life, thus to reveal a more realistic view of a women who was well read, deeply religious and ultimately important during her time.

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  • Was Katherine Parr a feminist? By Conor Byrne

    Katherine Parr was different to Henry VIII’s other consorts. She was several years older than his previous wives, she had been married twice before, and she had not spent considerable time in royal service. Above all, however, Katherine differs to her five predecessors by virtue of her status as an author. She was the first Queen of England to publish her own work.

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