Today, the 12th July, in the year 1543, a young widow stood in the chapel at Hampton Court Palace.  She was stood next to her new husband, her third, listening to the Archbishop pronouncing their marriage.

She had not sought this marriage, her husband had set his sights upon her and she had had no choice but to obey.

Her first two husbands had been older men, she had been their nursemaid as much as their wife.  She had not wanted to face the same in her third husband, but knew that she could not expect much more.

She worried not about nursing him, she could do that, but this man had killed two of his previous wives, deserted another to a lonely death, allowed another to die from her childbed, and exiled yet another.  Would she even survive this marriage?

The widow was of course, Katherine Latimer (Parr was her birthname).  She was marrying King Henry VIII.

She did survive the marriage, and outlive her husband, who was already ailing, though she did come close to being sent to the Tower at one time.

She also made the perfect stepmother to Henry’s young children.  Edward knew no other mother as he grew from child to teenage King.  Mary respected her stepmother, though hated her religious beliefs.  Elizabeth would go on to live with Katherine after her father’s death, which would prove to be a bad decision in the long run, after Katherine married her fourth husband, Thomas Seymour.

Unfortunately the only natural child that would come from her four marriages was a little girl, whose birth would lead to Katherine’s own death within hours.

She is remembered as an intelligent Queen and generally a good Queen, but I feel she must have had a sad life.  She thought she had found happiness with Seymour, even managing to have her heart’s desire and become pregnant by him.  But his suspected abuse of the young Elizabeth ruined that happiness and by the time she gave birth, she was in such a depression, that she could not fight for her life.  Or maybe not want to fight for her life.

Poor woman.


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