The Tudor Society

February 21 – The burial of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford

Lady Katherine Grey (Katherine Seymour), Countess of Hertford, with her eldest son, Edward, by an unknown artist.On this day in Tudor history, 21st February 1568, Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford, was buried at Yoxford. Her remains were later re-interred, by her grandson, in the Seymour family tomb at Salisbury Cathedral.

Katherine, commonly known as Lady Katherine Grey, was the second daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and his wife, Frances Brandon, and the granddaughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Mary Tudor, Queen of France. She was also the younger sister of Lady Jane Grey, or Queen Jane.

Katherine was only about twenty-seven years of age at her death on 27th January 1568, but had had rather an eventful life.

Here are a few facts about Katherine:

  • In May 1553, she married Lord Henry Herbert in a triple wedding service which saw her sister Jane marry Lord Guildford Dudley and Guildford’s sister, Catherine, marry Lord Henry Hastings. Katherine’s marriage to Herbert was annulled following the accession of Queen Mary I in July 1553.
  • Katherine’s sister was queen for just thirteen days in July 1553 before being deposed and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Jane was executed in February 1554 and the sisters’ father was executed on 23rd Katherine was then placed in the household of Anne Seymour, Dowager Duchess of Somerset, wife of the late Edward Seymour.
  • Katherine served as a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth I on her accession in 1558.
  • In late 1560, Katherine secretly married the Duchess of Somerset’s eldest son, Edward, Earl of Hertford, without the queen’s consent, and Katherine quickly became pregnant. When their marriage came to light, Katherine and Hertford were imprisoned in the Tower, where Katherine gave birth to a son, Edward, in September 1561.
  • In 1562, the couple’s marriage was declared invalid and their son declared illegitimate. Katherine and Edward remained in the Tower but were able to see each other, thanks to the kindness of Sir Edward Warner, Lieutenant of the Tower. Katherine got pregnant again and gave birth to a second son, Thomas in February 1563.
  • After this, Katherine and Hertford never saw each other again. Katherine was released into house arrest in the summer of 1563 due to plague but she spent the rest of her line in house arrest due to her her royal blood and those who viewed her as the queen’s successor.
  • She died on 27th January 1568 at Cockfield Hall, Yoxford, in Suffolk, home of Owen Hopton, in whose custody she’d been since October 1567.
  • Katherine’s widower, Hertford, was released from confinement in 1571, when he was allowed back at court. You'll find my video on Hertford - who went on to have another two secret marriages! - below. You’d think he’d learn!
  • Katherine’s younger sister Mary also had a secret marriage and was kept under house arrest while her husband was imprisoned. You’ll find my video on her below.

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February 21 – The burial of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford