Monday, September 06, 2010

Question from Anonymous - Consummation of Henry VIII and Katherine Parr's marriage

Robert Hutchinson describes Katherine Howard as Henry VIII's 'last sexual love'. Do you think this was right and Katherine Parr was just a nurse to him?

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Laura said...

While I haven't devoted the time to reading about Katherine Parr that I have devoted to Anne Boleyn, my reading about Henry himself leads me to believe that the marriage between Henry and Katherine wouldn't have lasted so long and ended only with his death if the marriage was unconsummated. Despite Henry's advancing age and ill health, Henry, in my opinion, would have viewed complete impotence as a sign that the marriage was somehow invalid and that God was showing his displeasure of the marriage.

I doubt their marriage even vaguely resembled the passionate courtships of his earlier years, but a complete lack of consummation seems unlikely.

katja Stroke-Adolphe said...

What I have heard is that Henry lost all energy and Catherine Howard's death and that his marriage to Catherine Parr was not consummated but he was still recovering from the death of Catherine Howard, liked being cared for, and did not want to marry another young woman who would commit adultery like Catherine Howard. It is said Catherine's adultery opened his eyes to his own old age.

Scarlet said...

I'm terrible at recalling sources, sorry, but I remember seeing that it was recorded in household rolls that Catherine Parr purchased a black silk or satin negligee?

I guess male taste in lingerie hasn't evolved much in 500 yrs LOL

And would the Tudor notion of "negligee" merely be a nightdress, or something racier, as it would be thought of in modern terms?

Melissa Mazza said...

Scarlett, I remember reading that too about Catherine Parr's "negligee" and it was either in Ives' Anne Boleyn or Starkey's Six Queens. Whoever it was wrote that she had a black silk chemise and black overcoat and referred to it as "the first peignoir set." I googled "peignoir" and it seems even modern ones are relatively modest so I have to assume Catherine Parr's wasn't as sexy as we'd like to believe.