On this day in Tudor history, 15th November 1527, a woman who called herself ““the excellent Princess Katherine, Countess of Devon, daughter, sister and aunt of kings”, died at Tiverton Castle in Devon.
Katherine of York, Countess of Devon, daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was just forty-nine when she died and had taken a vow of chastity after her husband’s death.
In today’s talk, I give an overview of Henry VIII’s aunt’s life and explain why she took her vow of chastity. Find out all about her.
King Edward IV married the Lancastrian widow Elizabeth Wydeville [Woodville] in the spring or summer of 1464. In nineteen years of marriage, Elizabeth gave birth to ten children, seven of whom were daughters. The eldest daughter Elizabeth, born in 1466, remains the most well known in popular and scholarly circles and Edward IV’s other four daughters are significantly neglected both in factual and fictional accounts of their lives. The emphasis on Elizabeth and the neglect of her sisters are perhaps understandable, in that Elizabeth married Henry Tudor in 1485 and gave birth to Henry VIII in 1491. A queen of England undoubtedly attracts more attention than a countess or viscountess. Yet the lives of Elizabeth of York’s younger sisters are interesting in shedding light on the marriage policies of the houses of York and Tudor in an era of intermittent dynastic and political conflict. They also illuminate the contrasting fortunes of members of a side-lined royal dynasty.