Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Question from Kelly - Kathryn Howard's sexual activity before her marriage

It is a fact that Catherine Howard had had intercourse before and after her marriage. Why did she have intercourse after her marriage? Was it for pleasure and enjoyment?


Elizabeth M. said...

Katherine Howard carried on an affair with her distant cousin Thomas Culpeper after her marriage to King Henry VIII. She was a very young girl, perhaps as old as 20 at the time of her death, or as young as 17. She was married to a man over thirty years her senior, grossly fat, enfeebled by ailments, including an ulcerated leg which oozed foul smelling pus. For a girl as young and vivacious as Katherine, this was hardly a match made to satisfy the carnal desires of a young girl who had already been made love to by at least two men (Manox and Dereham) and who had enjoyed full sexual relations with at least Dereham.
By all contemporary accounts, Culpeper was a dashing young man, though somewhat cruel. He was accused of having some of his men hold down a peasant girl while he forcibly raped her.
Poor Katherine also just did not have much sense. She had none of the education of her cousin Anne Boleyn, and none of the intellect. She was kind-hearted, but still very childlike. You could use the adage that mentally she was a child in the sexually mature body of a woman.
Perhaps she believed Henry to be so in love with her, he would forgive her anything. Perhaps she felt secure in her position as queen, with her powerful uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, backing her. Perhaps she was naive enough to think her indiscretion would never come to light.
There have been stories that her Howard relations used her and encouraged the affair with Culpeper in order for her to get pregnant, as it was believed the King could no longer sire children. But this is just an innuendo, and no contemporary facts confirm such a story.
But in the end, she was a young girl who had grown up with little or no supervision in the dormitory of her step-grandmother's house. Her mother had died when she was very young, her father was a wastrel who really did not care about her and who basically dumped her off on his step-mother. Thus Katherine was pretty much able to do as she pleased from a young age, with very little consequences to herself.
The glory of being young, vivacious, pretty, and a queen probably went to her head and she was just not careful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you elizabeth m.

kb said...

And Katherine Howard had the misfortune to have Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford as a confidant. Jane was the widow of George Boleyn, Anne's brother. It is possible that Jane encouraged Katherine to get pregnant by any means possible in order to secure her position as queen. I SERIOUSLY doubt that she felt secure, or that her uncle the Duke of Norfolk felt her position was secure without an heir. After all, her uncle had been through all this before with his other niece Anne.

Elizabeth M. said...

Ah, yes, the devious Lady Rochford. I don't know if we will ever know her motives. Julia Fox's book paints her as kind of a saint. I think the woman definitely had some problems. Why she would have helped Katherine in flagrant adultery has been a mystery for over 460 years. Maybe, as Ms. Fox points out, she did it because she had no choice but to obey her mistress. Maybe she did it as some twisted revenge to the Duke of Norfolk for his role in the deaths of her husband George Boleyn and his sister Queen Anne.
We do not even know for sure if she actually did help willingly with the accusations against her husband. Julia Fox believes she did it out of fear for her own security. Who knows? It is safe to say she was not the wisest choice to have as a confidante. Before her execution, King Henry had a law passed clearing the way to execute insane persons. Perhaps she was nuts. My own opinion was that Lady Rochford was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Anonymous said...

David Starkey's excellent book "Six Wives" has deciphered the interrogations against Catherine. He argues that she fooled around with Mannox and slept with Dereham before her marriage; but that her affair with Culpepper afterwards had not yet become sexual. It's an interesting theory and one that certainly muddies the water on Catherine's fate.

Anonymous said...

Before Kathryn howard married the king she was staying at a house in Horsham under the supervision of her step-Aunt Agnes their she met various people including her two cousins Henry Howard, Mary Howard and also a muscician called Henry Mannox and a man called Francis Dereham. At some point she became involved with Henry Mannox then later on her attentions moved to another man of the household.A man called Francis.I know that their courtship blossomed into a relationship but no one in the household had any idea of what was going on it was only some time later that the Duchess found out what catherine had been up to. I will tell you how henry mannox found out some how that catherine was seeing Francis and what he did was write a note of it and left it in the pew in the house then it was noticed by her step-Aunt on reading it she spoke to them both but I don't think they took any notice what they did was just calm it for a while but where to reunite later on.The whole household then moved on to Lambeth.(Lambeth palace)where they stayed before moving on to Hampton court this is where Kathryn was to meet a man called Thomas culpepper usher of the chamber,a page at court but as far as I know their relationship was only platonic and I think I beleive this,in other words it would not surprise me if this was true. so as far as I know and what I think is true catherine only had sexual relations before her marriage. I know that when catherine became Queen she appointed francis Dereham as her secretary now whether this was because they had been previously courted and she was now a Queen she thought that she would position him give him a reward of some kind or because she still had feelings and a love for francis.or it was both. I think it was both.
Their is a love letter that catherine sent to Culpepper and it expresses her love and desire for him. I like the way she signs it at the end she signs it yours as long as life endures kathryn. In other words as long as life goes on for but i am leaving this to the reader. Do you think she meant how ever long their life goes on for (which was a short one)or how ever long life on earth itself goes on for?
Obviously this was a girl who aswell as revelling in being married to a king and being a Queen she lived it to the full she also wanted a suitor of her own age and also attention from males of her own age.
but I think she had a real love for culpepper because I have never heard of her writing any letters like this to any other man or Dereham.Did you know that the when it was time for the execution the king had Dereham executed first and in a more brutal way then Culpepper? I think myself that this was because dereham had been Catherine's first love. but what I did notice was that nothing was ever said or brought up about Mannox at the time it was like he had been totally forgotten about.All I can say is lucky for him because he could have faced the chop.I do think that if catherine and Culpepper's relationship was only platonic then he was executed for nothing he meaning the king had executed an innocent man but what was he to think I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I dont know if it is fact that she did have intercourse with Thomas Culpeper. Obviously there was something there, but as for full intercourse, I doubt we will ever know. Both Culpeper and Katherine denied it, but of course they would have. Culpeper did state that while they did not engage in full intercourse,"he confessed his intention to do so". Which I believe at the time constituted treason as well. Lady Rochford confessed that she thought they did "considering all the things that she hath heard and seen between them. So, it was by no means a "fact" although I beleive they did indeed do the deed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Anonymous I understand what you are saying it is possible that there could have been more to it than is known and there is no really definate answer one way or the other but if this were to be the case this would not surprise me either.
your entititled to your opinion anyway.

Bandit Queen said...

katherine was both a victim and a criminal in the nature of things of the time. She had several relations with Francis Dereham before marriage and this Manox was abusive to her as she was quite young when he was her teacher. She gave in to Dereham because she promised to marry him. She should have made sure that others were aware of this and protected herself by being considered unsuitable to marry the King. But Norfolk was ambitious and came to Lambeth to find her. Her grandmother told him she was pure and he had no reason not to believe her. Katherine, had she made her vows to Francis before witnesses would have been able to show that she was already married and refuse to marry the King. But Francis had gone to Ireland and she was left alone to forget him and to become a pawn in the game of kings. However, she would have been prepared for her marriage with Henry and she knew he would demand faithfulness as if she gets pregnant, the succession is in danger.

It was never full established just how far her relationship with Thomas Culpepper went, but this much we do know. She met with him alone and in secret. She met with him alone in her bed-chamber and by the back stairs. She met with him under the watchful and helpful eyes of Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford. She sent him a love letter and she fell in love with him. She confessed to wanting to marry him. Thomas confessed to wanting to marry her and to have sexual relations with him and that she led him on. So, how far did it go? Far enough and far beyond talking, and her ladies said they heard sexual noises. What on earth were they doing for hours on end and why was he being hidden when the king turned up on the same night that he was in Katherine's bed?

We do not fully know just how far Katherine and Culpepper went, but it was far enough under the law at the time to constitute treason. And who cares if Henry was 49 and over-weight and Katherine 18 or 19? It was not unusual that as a second or third wife an older man would take a younger woman in order to give him another son. In fact it was common. Brandon was about 48 when he married his fourth wife, the young Katherine Willoughby, who was between 14-17 years old. Girls considered to be much more mature in those days than they are now!

Another example, was the 18 year old Princess Mary Tudor marrying the old (51) King Louis of France in 1514.

Yes he was by now over-weight because of his leg, but he was not past it. He still kept as active as he could, and he was still capable of being tender and good to his young wife. He treated her like a goddess and she betrayed him. She still had a duty to be faithful, or she could have confessed her past and asked him to divorce her. She did not have to marry him, nor did she need to betray her marriage vows. She acted like a stupid girl and she really did not care.

I have no sympathy for Katherine Howard. She may have been only 19 or 20 at the time of her execution, but she chose to have back stair liaisons with the kings groom. Gifts exchanged, kisses, the normal things of love, the meetings in secret places, tokens and hours spent alone and more. All show that they intended to commit adultery and before the law that was a capital crime.

We cannot know what else because we do not have definative evidence, but if she slept with young men before her marriage, what makes people believe she was not stupid enough to carry on with Culpepper and Dereham afterwards.

In any event, she let them have the hope that if the king died they could be her lovers and Dereham confessed to hope for this as well. That is also treason.

The law at the time is not the law now. Yes, she was guilty. Yes, by the law of the time, Katherine Howard and her lovers deserved to die.