Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Question from Helen - Lady Rochford's motivation in helping Kathryn Howard

Lady Rochford was mentioned in Katherine Howard's letter that showed the queen's relationship with her lover. Lady Rochford helped to organize secret meetings. I wonder what motives would lady Rochford have to do so? Why was she helping the queen? She knew that it was criminal and punishment would follow if that was discovered. She was familiar with punishments for treason, as in the case with her ex-husband.

11 comments:

MarkMM said...

Maybe she felt guilty for her roll in Anne's sham trial.

tudor fanatic said...

In the book by Julia Fox, Fox asserts that if Katherine at first asked Jane only to help with carrying letters to Culpepper, then perhaps by the time she found out what the letters said it was too late as she was already too far involved. I aren't entirely sure whether I agree with Fox, but it certainly is an interesting viewpoint and would explain a lot. Several fictional books and TV dramas have tried to use the explanation that Jane was still in league with the Duke of Norfolk and perhaps he wanted Katherine to have an affair so that she could conceive and pass the child off as Henry's, thus securing her position as queen. I don't think I agree with this at all, but again it shows another possible interpretation of her motives. Although to be honest, I don't think we will ever know the real reasons why Jane did what she did.

Luv said...

According to David Starkey (re: The Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VII) upon questioning both Culpepper and Catherine said it was all planned and encouraged by Jane Boleyn. Starkey suggest that perhaps Jane was living out some unfufilled romantic fantasy through Catherine and Culpepper which turned fatal for all of them. Culpepper stated that Jane concocted the idea and Catherine confessed that Jane even encouraged her to send Culpepper several gifts because it was important for the Queen to encourage admirers.

Alia said...

Hi, Helen. I've always been quiet interested in that as well, actually. There are a few different theories, but unfortunately as it was so long ago, I doubt we will ever know which is the truth.
One theory is that Jane Boleyn (Lady Rochford) as still quite connected to the Boleyns because of her deceased husband George Boleyn, was helping the Howards help Kathryn Howard. The Howard family put Kathryn forward and Jane was a part of this. She was still collaborating with the Duke of Norfolk and his cronies/allies, states this theory.
I think this is the most plausible theory, although David Starkey thought that Jane was guilt-ridden and was living the love story she lacked through Kathryn. Another is that she was possibly being bribed by the Howards do do this.
Hope this helped :)

Anonymous said...

I am working on a theory that Jane Parker had actually been one of Henry's bedfellows, and this may have contributed to her behaviour. You will find that a Mistress Parker was said to be his mistress at one stage. Why not Jane? It makes a lot of sense.

Katja said...

Maybe Lady Rochford thought it would get her higher up in the queen's regard and might help her regain her prominent place in court to higher level than it had ever been. We will never know. It could be all of the things posted.

Sheri said...

I am no expert but I'm inclined to think that Lady Rochford's position was precarious at best and that because her primary duties were to the Queen, she did what she felt she had to do to maintain her position.

It may be that, though she was aware of the potential dangers of being caught, refusing to assist the Queen most certainly would have left her without any position at all...perhaps a fate worse than death.

It's a very good question and makes for an interesting subplot to the whole Tudor saga.

Yoli said...

Possibly to obtain Culpepper's favor and attenion as well. As seen on the Tudors T.V. Show, Lady Rochford was attracted to Culpepper; she slep with him on several occations.

Yoli said...

I observed on The Tudors Lady Rochford was seeking Culpepper's favor and attentions as well. She felt a strong attractions towards Culpepper,and slept with him on several occasions. She wish to make him happy by facilitating secrete meeting with Katherine Howard.

Conor Byrne said...

I believe she assisted Katherine because of the awful situation the queen was in and wanted to provide her with comfort in a difficult time - she acted out of kindness.

Conor Byrne said...

Alternatively, there may have been a case of blackmail. Professor Warnicke suggested that Thomas Culpeper blackmailed Jane into helping him meet Katherine, following her interpretation of Culpeper as an aggressive manipulator who sought to control the queen.

I do not agree with this view because the prevailing view of Culpeper as a rapist and murderer, and thus by extension an aggressive and horrible individual, is I think erroneous. Interestingly, some contemporary reports suggested that the queen asked for Jane's assistance, promising her rewards if she helped her. It could make sense.

What we do know is that Jane had been at court for at least 20 years, she had served 4 queens previously, and she had seen her own sister-in-law Anne Boleyn and her husband George go to the scaffold on charges of adultery and incest. She would have been mad to have encouraged Katherine to do so the same, and by all accounts she did. Both the queen and Culpeper, as well as Katherine's ladies in fact, reported that Jane had encouraged the whole thing from the beginning. To me, this suggests that she WAS mad, or it indicates that she was being blackmailed, but by whom we cannot know. Quite conceivably, she may have been blackmailed by one of the reformists to entrap the queen into an adulterous situation and thus bring about her downfall.

The problem with that theory, I think, is that Jane's Catholic faith and kinship ties to the Howards do not suggest that she would have hoped to bring Katherine down in order for a reformist queen to replace her. Quite probably, Jane was aware of the connection between Katherine and Culpeper and, if the queen was known to be friendly towards Culpeper, Jane could have encouraged her to meet him and could have supervised the whole affair. I believe it was a case of courtly love gone wrong, similarly to Anne Boleyn in 1536. I do not think it was sex as most historians think, nor do I agree with Warnicke that it was a case of abuse from Culpeper. The gifts, the conversations of love, the assistance of Jane as matchmaker in a sense, the absence of sex - it points clearly to a game of courtly love.