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Today in history - The execution of Kathryn Howard

On 13 February 1542 Kathryn Howard -the fifth consort of Henry VIII and cousin of his second consort Anne Boleyn who also faced the same end- was executed  grounds of treason for committing adultery.  The night before her execution, Catherine is believed to have spent many hours practising how to lay her head upon the block, which had been brought to her at her request.She died with relative composure, but looked pale and terrified, she required assistance to climb the scaffold. She made a speech describing her punishment as “worthy and just” and asked for mercy for her family and prayers for her soul. According to popular folklore, her final words were, “I die a Queen, but I would rather have died the wife of Culpeper”. Catherine was beheaded with a single stroke of the executioner’s axe.Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford, was executed immediately thereafter on Tower Green. Both their bodies were buried in an unmarked grave in the nearby chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, where the bodies of Catherine’s cousins, Anne and George Boleyn, also lay. Other cousins were also in the crowd, including the Earl of Surrey. Henry did not attend. Catherine’s body was not one of those identified during restorations of the chapel during Queen Victoria’s reign. She is commemorated on a plaque on the west wall dedicated to all those who died in the Tower.Upon hearing news of Catherine’s execution, Francis I of France wrote a letter to Henry, regretting the “lewd and naughty [evil] behaviour of the Queen” and advising him that “the lightness of women cannot bend the honour of men”


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Catherine Howard did not have an impact upon English history.
She is perhaps the most inconsequential of Henry VIII’s six wives, her reign as queen a very brief eighteen months. She bore no children and made no lasting impression upon those who knew her. But it should be remembered that she was thirty years younger than her husband, a silly young girl who never understood the dangers of royal regard. Her life was over before it had truly begun; we can only wonder how it might have ended differently. [
x]

Catarina Howard não teve impacto na história inglesa. Ela foi talvez a mais inconsequente das seis esposas de Henrique VIII, e seu reinado como rainha foi muito breve, totalizando 18 meses. Ela não deu à luz a filhos e não causou nenhuma impressão duradoura para aqueles que a conheciam. No entanto, não devemos culpar a jovem Catarina – 30 anos mais nova que seu marido. Pois afinal, qual foi seu crime? O de ser uma jovem imatura que não compreendia o que era adentrar o perigoso ninho de cobras da realeza?

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[Anne] married for love. Her relationship with Henry was deeply personal in a way kings had risked only once before, and never did again until the twentieth century. The couple’s attempt to have an affectionate marriage, with perceptible hints of modernity in the context of a Tudor court, explains much of the life and death of Anne Boleyn. Eric Ives {x}