Interesting Facts about Catherine Parr
Catherine Parr was the Queen of England and Ireland from 1543 to 1547 and was the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII. She outlived Henry by one year, and was the first woman to be queen of both England and Ireland. Keep reading for more interesting facts about this famous English monarch.
- She is thought to be named after Catherine of Aragon. Catherine Parr was born in 1512 and her mother, Maud Green was a lady-in-waiting (a personal assistant) to King Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. It is believed that she was named after Henry’s first wife.
- Catherine Parr was fluent in French, Italian and Latin. She was very well educated and had a passion for learning. When she became queen she also started to learn Spanish.
- Catherine was married four times. Before she met and married Henry VIII, she had previous been married to Edward Borough, who died in 1533, and also to John Neville who was the 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle. They married in 1534 and were together until he died in 1543. Finally, six months after Henry VIII died, Catherine married Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley.
- Catherine married Henry VIII on July 12, 1543. The wedding took place at Hampton Court Palace in London, England. It was a palace that was given to the King as a gift by Thomas Wolsey in 1528.
- She had a close relationship with Henry’s children. Catherine and her step-children Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, had a close relationship and she was personally involved in their education. Both Elizabeth and Edward became English monarchs and helped Henry to pass the Third Succession Act in 1543 to restore Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession to the throne.
- Henry ordered that Catherine be given £7,000 a year after his death. This was so she could support herself and the King also ordered that she should be given the same respect of a queen of English, as if he were still alive.
- Catherine Parr retired from the court after her stepson, Edward VI’s, coronation. After retiring she went back to her home at Old Manor in Chelsea.
- In 1547 she married her 4th husband and former love, Sir Thomas Seymour. Only six months had passed since the death of King Henry VIII and they knew the council would not agree, so they were married in secret in May of 1547. Thomas Seymour was brother to Henry’s 3rd wife, Jane Seymour.
- In 1548, Parr invited Lady Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey to her castle. She had promised to provide education for them both and Catherine Parr’s house, Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, became known as a respected place for young women to learn.
- At 35, Catherine fell pregnant for the first time in 1548. She gave birth to her daughter, Mary Seymour on August 30, 1548. She was named after Catherine’s stepdaughter Mary.
- Catherine Parr died on September 5, 1548 – just 6 days after giving birth. It is believed that the cause of death was childbed fever, which wasn’t uncommon due to lack of hygiene in childbirth at the time. Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, also died from the same illness.
- Catherine Parr has published three books. The first book, Psalms or Prayers, was published anonymously in 1544. She later published Prayers or Meditations in 1545 and The Lamentation of a Sinner in 1548.
- Prayers or Meditations was the first book published by a woman under her own name and in English.
- Catherine Parr is often portrayed as an old woman. She was only 31 when she married Henry though, and most likely wasn’t an old lady caring for the King as he had poor health.