Monday, November 22, 2010

HENRY VIII AND HIS SIX WIVES. PART 5: KATHRYN HOWARD


5. Kathryn Howard

BORN: c. 1521 
MARRIED: 28 JULY 1540 
EXECUTED: 13 FEBRUARY 1542

NO OTHER WILL THAN THIS
Kathryn Howard was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard, a younger brother of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. She was also first cousin to Anne Boleyn, Henry’s ill-fated second Queen. She was brought up in the household of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. Kathryn came to court at about the age of 19 as a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves and there is no doubt that the spirited young girl caught Henry’s attentions. Kathryn’s uncle probably encouraged the girl to respond to the King’s attentions and saw it as a way to increase his own influence over the monarch. The Duke of Norfolk also took advantage of the debacle of the Anne of Cleves marriage as a chance to discredit his enemy, Thomas Cromwell. In fact, Cromwell was executed shortly after the marriage was nullified. Sixteen days after he was free of Anne, Henry took his fifth wife, Kathryn Howard, on July 28, 1540. Henry was 49 and his bride was no older than 19.
For all that can be said against this match, Kathryn did manage to lift the King’s spirits. The vivacious young girl brought back some of Henry’s zest for life. The King lavished gifts on his young wife and called her his “rose without a thorn” and the “very jewel of womanhood”. Kathryn, however, may well have found her marital relations unappealing. Henry weighed around 21 stone (about 140 kilograms or 300 pounds) at the time, and had a foul-smelling, festering ulcer on his thigh that had to be drained daily. Less than a year into Kathryn’s marriage, the rumors of her infidelity began. In a way, one couldn’t blame her for seeking the company of handsome young men closer to her own age. But to do so, even if only in courtly flirtations, was dangerous for a Queen, especially one who came from a powerful family with many enemies. Kathryn didn’t help matters much by appointing one of her admirers as her personal secretary.
By November 1541, there was enough evidence against the Queen that Archbishop Cranmer informed the King of Kathryn’s misconduct. At first Henry did not believe the accusations, but he agreed to allow further investigations into the matter. Enough evidence was gathered that the Queen had been promiscuous before her marriage and may have had liaisons after becoming Henry’s wife. She was beheaded with one stroke on February 13, 1542, and her body was buried in an unmarked grave in the nearby chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where the body of her cousin, Anne Boleyn, also lay. Henry did not attend.

DIRECTOR: MARCUS GAAB
FASHION: SARAH COBB
MAKE UP: DEANNA MELLUSO
HAIR: JOHN RUGGIERO
PRODUCTION: JAMES JOLLY (AFG MANAGEMENT)
MODEL: MARTHE (SUPREME MODELS)


TEXT: LARA E. EAKINS

VIDEO EDITING: THALIA DE JONG
TEXT: LARA E. EAKINS
SOUND: "If Love Now Reigned as it Hath Been" by King Henry VIII

leather dress GEMMA SLACK

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