The Tudor Society

Six Wives with Lucy Worsley Episode 3

Episode 3 of "Six Wives with Lucy Worsley" looked at Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

It's on iplayer for those of you in the UK who missed it and the series starts on PBS in the USA on 22nd January, but I found this on YouTube (courtesy of a user called Replay). Apologies for the size of screen and background, but that's the only one I've found so far.

Low Resolution Download: RIGHT CLICK HERE and select "Save as..."

Click here to find episodes 1 and 2.

There are 10 comments Go To Comment

  1. R

    Yes, Lucy Worsley is working from recent research and theories that Katherine may have been abused but her belief that her relationship with Thomas Culpeper was one of abuse is just her interpretation of the little known evidence from his affair with Katherine and the confessions, which are contradictory and problematic. Worsley, to be fair stated that this was her theory not that she had any new evidence. Conor Byrne, Josephine Wilkinson, Denny, have all explored this issue and I would recommend them for one point of view but David Loades and others for a more traditional Katherine Howard.

    It is reasonable to argue that KH was groomed and abused by Henry Manox her music teacher, when she was a girl, but there is a variety of debate over the nature of her relationship, much later, from the age of 14_or older with Francis Dereham. Conor believes this too was abusive and Katherine claimed that he raped her. I disagree as the evidence points to a sexually aware girl partying with friends in the dorm and enjoying a consensual relationship with a man that she exchanged gifts with, had sex several times and called husband. To Katherine there was no contract between them, but Dereham felt different. When he followed Katherine, Dereham may or may not have bribed her, but she was in debt to him and he was disrespectful, plus he boasted over their early relationship. It is possible that he used this for influence.

    Culpeper was a different matter. For one thing he could not be in her apartments save by command of the King, let alone sleep with or touch the Queen. He became her friend and she had her ladies set up meetings with him. He was there at her wish. She met with him late at night. They became close. But Culpeper could not have gone any further or been alone with her without her say so. Even if he persuaded her with gifts and tokens, had Katherine not wanted his attention she could scream or have him removed for his insolence. Katherine was not afraid to use her power as the Kings wife to get her own way, there is no evidence that she would not have gotten rid of Culpeper if she chose. Culpeper should have been asleep in the King’s room, not talking the night away in hers.

    Yes, there is doubt that Katherine and Culpeper committed adultery, but her confession and his are contradictory and state that both wanted more. I suspect that Katherine was in love with Culpeper. He may or may not have been a sexual preditor, but again evidence people, not reputation, please. It is stated that he was accused of rape and pardoned. Was he? Or was this a different Thomas Culpeper? Accused is not proof of guilt. George Boleyn in the Tudors was shown raping his wife, but there is nothing to support this. When we talk about myths making KH out to be a whore, should we not give the same test of truth on the reputation of Thomas Culpeper?

    Interesting as Worsley is, she is only reinterpreting the two sources of evidence as everyone else, the confessions and one letter to Culpeper from Katherine. There is no new evidence to support her ideas. Until there is, sorry but I still believe that her relationship with Culpeper was consensual and beneficial. I also believe that they had a sexual relationship, although I can’t prove this, only circumstances point to this being possible, no absolute evidence of adultery exists at present. I would be very cautious about the claims in this episode, they are still only theories and open to question.

  2. L

    I did feel this episode fell a little flat, especially when it came to K.H. I don’t believe the Thomas Culpepper and the “rapist” Thomas Culpepper were one and the same person. The so called “Love letter” that K.H allegely found in Culpepper’s belongings, I have always had issues with, something that I can’t quite put my finger on, but feel that it was cobbled together from other letters K.H may have written, for her friends when she was in the Duchess’s household.
    Yes I agree that she and Dereham had sex, and I believe there was perhaps an understanding between them to marry, although it was just between them. Mannox I think was an out and out rogue, although I don’t think he had sexual intercourse with her, I’ve mentioned it before in the forum and when we have pastime in good company in chatroom. I believe that Mannox indulged in intercural sex with K.H as he knew that if she had got her pregnant, his head would roll. But I also believe that K.H may well have had fetilaty problems of her own. Of course I have no proof of that but it does seem strange that given Dereham was with her almost every night there seems to be no hint of a pregnancy. They could of course been using a rudementary for of birth control, there were many tried and tested methods of birth control and perhaps they found something that worked for them.
    I don’t think she had a sexual relationship with Culpepper, I think she knew how dangerous it would be to risk getting involved with him too deeply, but I think their friendship was a very close one. K.H was rather thrown in the deep end, when that cretinous toad Norfolk threw her at P.B, and think that she was terrified. Culpepper being close to P.B was used to his temper tantrums and knew what to say and do to calm him down. K.H didn’t, so Culpepper helped teach her how to cope with P.B in a strop. In that I feel K.H did an admirable job.
    However I think the series would have been better as a 6 part series, as save for Katherine of Aragon and Anne B the rest of the wives seems lightly skated over. Jane was so much more than the “doormat” that Lucy seemed to imply that she was. Anne of Cleves was another formidable and very clever woman. She managed to remain friends with P.B and I believe he probably had great respect for her. Their marriage may well have worked out very well if he had given it time. She may have even produced a spare or 2 as well although I do think P.B’s days of a prize stud bull were as rare as rocking horse manure, but stranger things have happened. Katherine Parr again was much more than just a nursemaid to an ailing old fart, it was entirely down to her that both Mary and Elizabeth were reinstated as heirs to the throne. It was down to her that she managed to give the Tudor family some stability. She sailed a little too close to the wind sometimes (P.B was all wind and no substance) but somehow she managed to keep her head on her shoulders and ride out the storm. Sadly once P.B had kicked the bucket (Hooray) she was cruelly betrayed by the man she had loved, before P.B set his sights upon her.

    1. M

      Just out of curiosity, what does P.B stand for?

      1. L

        Hello Margaret, P.B stands for Plump Buttocks, it’s just one of my nick names for H8.

  3. R

    Good evening, Lorna and all the best for the festive season. I completely agree with everything. Love your description of Norfolk. The series was sadly too short and cramped to do the Six Queens justice. While it was great to see more on these remarkable ladies, it was not enough to cover their achievements. The letter has historians debating right now, some think it is very much a fake, others written in haste, others had many different reasons, such as concern rather than love and the letter finishes abruptly. That it was in two hands is not a problem, but yes, it certainly could have been manufactured. No doubt there is some research out there published on this letter. It would be useful to know more about it.

    Anne of Cleves certainly deserved better coverage. There is much more to her life as Elizabeth Norton showed in her biography. It was nice to see her tomb, though.

    1. L

      Happy Christmas, Real Tudor Lady Xx.

      One of the things that has bugged me about K.H’s letter is the word Master Culpepper, to me at least it seems to have been squeezed in at the top. There is also “It was showed me that you was sick” Showed? how can you show someone you was sick?
      This bit seems to make no sense at all to me, “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”
      Will be interesting to see how the historians feel about this letter, as it has been taken for granted for so many years, that K.H wrote it.
      Somewhere on the forum or on our big sister site, someone posted a picture he/she believed was Anne dressed in English style. If it is her the result is quite dramatic, she looks very different, and I think one of Anne’s major problems from the start was her dress. It made her look awful in my opinion, after all the reason P.B was first attracted to Anne.B was because of the way she dressed. Anne B clothes stood out like a sore thumb and turned P.B’s head as well as many others, Anne C’s however turned P.B’s stomach.
      I have often wondered just what Anne C was told about P.B? Did she even know what he looked like? Given the fiasco at Rochester castle I don’t think so. Must have been a wonderful sight when Anne C flotilla came up the Medway. I live 5 minutes car ride from Rochester castle, and whenever Dinosaur and I drive past it I always think of Anne. Yes I agree it was nice to see where Anne is buried.

  4. T

    I really liked the series but yes it was short but interesting. I wish they would make a series of all Henrys wives from beginning to end. i would love that

    1. L

      I think we all would Tisha. David Starkey did a good 6 part series about them many years ago but I’m dashed if I can find it anywhere now.

  5. D

    Lorna, is it the 4 part series, not a 6 done in 2001that you mean? If it is its on youtube, channel 4 website and on dvd. I have it on audio book too, it is very good

  6. D

    okay, I finally caught up with watching this episode…and I confessed I liked it. I don’t have any problems with the portrayal of Catherine Howard since Worsley quite appropriately labeled upfront that she was presenting her own theory, and did give some service to mentioning other views. This is a responsible approach and quite common in academe. She owned her own opinion.

    I did catch one mistake though since Margaret Beaufort was the first woman to be published in English, not Catherine Parr… Not a big mistake.

Leave a Reply

Six Wives with Lucy Worsley Episode 3