Catherine Howard Facts and Biography

Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard Biography Summary: Catherine Howard (1521 - 1542) was famous for being Henry VIII’s fifth wife. Catherine Howard would prove to be a very silly and very poor maker of decisions. Having been neglected by her carer, the dowager Duchess of Norfolk, was largely responsible for the lack of education and decorum that Catherine should have been taught.

Instead, as a flighty girl of very little worldliness she was dreadfully led astray and ultimately paid the very highest price for her 'crimes' and was beheaded for treason under the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII.

Catherine Howard Fact Sheet: Who was Catherine Howard? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Catherine Howard.


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Catherine Howard Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1521 - 1542 *** Full Name: Catherine Howard *** Occupation: Henry VIII’s Fifth Wife *** Date of Birth: Catherine Howard was born in 1521 *** Place of Birth: Catherine Howard was born in Lambeth, London, England *** Family background: Her father was Lord Edmund Howard and her mother was Joyce Culpeper. Her father’s sister was Elizabeth Howard the mother of Anne Boleyn. Although the family was of noble birth, being a younger son he was not entitled to anything from his father in terms of inheritance which meant he often went cap in hand to other relatives for financial assistance *** Early life and childhood: She grew up after the death of her mother in the home of her father’s stepmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk *** Education: Catherine Howard was poorly educated *** Catherine Howard was beheaded on February 13, 1542

Catherine Howard Fact 1: Catherine Howard was born in 1521 and during the 16th century period in history when Portugal and Spain were exploring the oceans of the world and colonizing new lands.

Catherine Howard Fact 2: Her mother died when she was on seven years of age and so Catherine was deposited with her father's step mother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who would take on her numerous wards of usually aristocratic but financial poor relatives, the only problem being she herself spent much of her time at court leaving the children largely unsupervised other than by servants.

Catherine Howard Fact 3: As a direct result of her lack of any authoritative figure in her life and totally lacking in supervision, with older girls also in the household she was easily led astray and when aged just fifteen an intimate relationship developed between Catherine Howard and her music teacher, Henry Mannox.

Catherine Howard Fact 4: Following her fling with Mannox, Catherine Howard began a relationship with Frances Dereham, a distant cousin and secretary to the her grandmother. They also became intimate although as soon as the Dowager Duchess became aware of the relationship she instantly put a stop to it and Catherine Howard was severely beaten.

Catherine Howard Fact 5: Her ambitious uncle, the Duke of Norfolk found her a suitable position at court in the household of Anne of Cleves and as such caught the eye of King Henry VIII.

Catherine Howard Fact 6: Catherine Howard had been described as a brisk, giggly vivacious girl and it would be this that caught his attention.

Catherine Howard Fact 7: Having been in favor with King Henry VIII during his marriage to his second wife Anne Boleyn, the men of the Howard family were devastated at the Queen's downfall and desperate to regain power at court. Catherine Howard, who was Anne Boleyn's cousin, was the perfect pawn and pushed to gain the attention of King Henry.

Catherine Howard Fact 8: King Henry began giving Catherine Howard many gifts including land and expensive cloth. She revelled in his attention and the admiration of other courtiers.

Catherine Howard Fact 9: King Henry became infatuated with the young girl and would refer to Catherine as the ‘very jewel of womanhood’ and his ‘rose without a thorn.’

Catherine Howard Fact 10: King Henry VIII married Catherine Howard on July 29, 1540, after Henry divorced his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

Catherine Howard Fact 11: Queen Catherine Howard's colorful past came to haunt her as more and more people she had known, when she had lived with the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, were given positions in her household. In particular, the appointment of her personal secretary was given to Francis Dereham at the insistence of Dowager Duchess of Norfolk gave her considerable concern.

Catherine Howard Fact 12: Young, foolish Catherine Howard, ever susceptible to flattery and attention, would never learn and began a secret and dangerous affair with a young, handsome man called Thomas Culpeper.

Catherine Howard Fact 13:  Queen Catherine Howard and Thomas Culpeper were aided in their liaison by one of her ladies-in-waiting, Lady Jane Rochford, who was the widow of George Boleyn, Catherine’s cousin who was executed with his sister, Queen Anne Boleyn.

Catherine Howard Fact 14: Rumors began to circulate about the Queen's conduct. Many of her previous indiscretions came to fore as members of her household were questioned 

Catherine Howard Fact 15: John Lascelles was a Protestant reformer of the time whose own sister, Mary Hall, had worked within the home of the dowager Duchess and so was aware of Catherine’s reputation and was also familiar with her handwriting. Mary would give witness to having seen a letter written in Catherine’s very distinctive hand in the possession of Culpeper.

Catherine Howard Fact 16: The Howard family abandoned the queen as the distraught King Henry VIII of England was publically exposed as a cuckold who had been betrayed by his young wife.

Catherine Howard Fact 17: Catherine Howard was arrested and held on charges of adultery and treason. It was remarked how completely incoherent Catherine Howard was during questioning,  In such a state was she that Thomas Cranmer had doubts as to her guilt because of her level of distress.

Catherine Howard Fact 18: Her life could have been spared if she had admitted a pre-contract between herself and Dereham, but she steadfastly denied this to be true, instead insisting that he had raped her. When the allegations of a further relationship with Thomas Culpeper emerged this made her situation impossible.

Catherine Howard Fact 19: Her titles stripped and imprisoned in Middlesex’s Syon Abbey was where she stayed until the winter of 1541 when both Dereham and Culpeper were executed on December 10th at Tyburn. Dereham was hanged, drawn and quartered with Culpeper was beheaded.

Catherine Howard Fact 20: Catherine was held until February 1542 when Parliament passed a bill of attainder. The Royal Assent by Commission Act 1541 declared it was a treasonable act and thus punishable by death, that a Queen consort must reveal her sexual history to that of the King within a twenty one day period of the marriage. This in effect declared Catherine guilty as charge.

Catherine Howard Fact 21: Catherine Howard was transported, by boat, to the Tower of London. The journey caused them to pass directly under London Bridge exactly where the heads of Dereham and Culpeper were on display, the flotilla entering through Traitors’ Gate and she was led to a cell.

Catherine Howard Fact 22: Catherine Howard was executed with one blow of the executioner's axe on February 13, 1542. Her body laid to rest in an unmarked grave in St Peter AD Vincula’s chapel.

Influence and Legacy of Catherine Howard: The Wives of King Henry VIII: The wives of King Henry VIII are remembered by the short verse "Divorced, Beheaded, Died - Divorced, Beheaded, Survived". Catherine of Aragon was divorced, Anne Boleyn was beheaded, Jane Seymour died, Anne of Cleves was divorced, Catherine Howard was beheaded and Catherine Parr survived after the death of King Henry VIII.

Short Facts about Catherine Howard for Kids:
The above short facts detail interesting information about the life, milestones, history and key events that occurred during the life of Catherine Howard. A fast, simple way to present a short biography of Catherine Howard with important dates and info that provides details such as the date of birth (birthday), place of birth, education, family, work and career. An ideal educational resource for kids, schools, teachers and social studies.



Learn about this famous person, Catherine Howard, with concise and facts which provide answers to all of your questions in an easy timeline format for kids. Our short, interesting fact sheet about Catherine Howard contains all the facts and info you need to know and more! Enjoy our fast, fact sheet for kids  which helps to make the learning process fast and easy.

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