Catherine Howard: The Rose without a Thorn, 1520-1542

Catherine Howard

A strumpet in the finest tradition, Catherine Howard was a rather silly, vivacious girl of nineteen when her uncle the Duke of Norfolk tossed her into Henry’s lap. Unlike her cousin Anne Boleyn before her, Catherine was apparently guilty of the “crimes” attributed to her, having galavanted about with some lad named Culpepper both before and after her marriage to Henry, for which she was tried and beheaded. The youngest and prettiest of Henry’s brides, she was wedded at a buxom 19 to a fat, doting, cantankerous Henry. We can hardly blame her for seeking comfort and refuge elsewhere. What we can blame her for is for being daft enough to get caught.
On Sunday evening, 12 February 1542, she was told that she was to die the following day. She merely asked for the block to be brought to the apartment, so that she might rehearse the scene, so as not to falter or appear nervous at the crucial moment on the following day.