Monday, April 12, 2010

Question from Sara Jane - Scandal of Kathryn Howard's age on "The Tudors"

Also on the show. they make it a mini scandal that Catherine is only 17 but at that time is that really considered that young for marriage?


Anonymous said...

Not really during Tudor times 17 was normal. There are also some historians who believe in real life Katherine Howard was anywhere from 14 to 17 years old. Henry VIII grandmother Margaret was married at 12 years old and had Henry VII at 13 years old. It just seems incredible by today's standard that girls could be married so young.

Roland H. said...

Margaret Beaufort (Henry VII's mother) was married around the age of 12.

Nonetheless, in general, young couples at the time were allowed to wed at about 15 or so.

Elizabeth S. said...

I believe that the scandal is not focused on Katherine's young age but the age gap between her and Henry. Katherine was probably around 17 when she married Henry and he was almost 50. Also, Katherine was very much older than Henry's eldest daugther Mary. So, while there would have scandal concerning Katherine's youth, it was because of the age of her husband and stepdaugther.

Anonymous said...

It was not uncommon for girls of 15 and older to marry men double and sometimes triple their ages. During Tudor times a woman of twenty five was considered old to still be bearing children, that's why girls got married so young, to ensure sons. Henry's own sister Mary married a man much older than her. When she married the King of France he had a daughter who was older than Mary Tutor herself.

Five of Henry's six wives were considered "older", all of them in their twenties. Kathryn was in her twenties when she married Henry because she had married Arthur first. Anne Boleyn held out on Henry for seven years, although scholars aren't sure exactly when she was born but she was estimated around 25 when she became Queen. Jane and Anne of Cleves were also in their twenties. Katherine Parr was roughly 30 when she married Henry. Henry was Katherine's third husband. Kathryn Howard was may have been the youngest of Henry's wives but she was considered to be the only one of a normal age.

Anonymous said...

I thought Anne was in her 30's when she tied the knot with Henry.

Anonymous said...

I've read she was somewhere between 25 and 30. Since no one is able to really pinpoint her birthday it is difficult to say for sure how old she was. She may have been closer to thirty since she held Henry off for approx. seven years.

Anne of Cleves was in her early twenties when she married Henry or that is my understanding.

Luv said...


Historian are not in agreement when it comes to Anne Boleyn's age. Both Weir and Ives believe that Anne was in her 30's when her and Henry VIII finally got married. While others think she might have been younger. William Roper, who was Thomas More's son -in -law believe that Anne was much much younger when Henry VIII started his courtship of Anne. I personally tends to agree with him, considering I can't see Henry VIII going through with marrying Anne if she was 30 and had little to no chance of having male issues. 30 years old would have been close to the cut off date for having kids. While a women in her 30 can still have kids, it would been cutting it close. I can't see a person like Henry VIII ,who wanted a male heir as badly as he did, marrying someone that old (in that ERA 30 was consider kinda old for bearing children) who "maybe" can have male issue.

kb said...

I think we should be careful about assumptions regarding child bearing age and 'that era'.

Many women during Elizabeth's reign had children well into their 30's. Anne Carey, baroness Hunsdon had a daughter, Philadelphia at age 33, a daughter, Margaret at 34. Katherine Carey Knollys gave birth to her daughter Anne when she was 31, her son Thomas when she was 34, her daughter Katherine at 35 and a son Dudley at age 38.

Margaret Cave Knollys was married at 16 but gave birth to her first child Elizabeth when she was 30. Her 2nd daughter, Lettice, was born when she was 32.

Lettice Knollys Devereux Dudley gave birth to her last son, Robert Dudley Baron Denbeigh when she was 37.

Anne Knollys West, baroness De la Warre, was 31 when she gave birth to her son Francis, 32 at the birth of her daughter Helena, 34 at the birth of her daughter Lettice, 37 at the birth of her son Nathaniel.

Katherine Vaughn married Robert Knollys when she was 32, had her first child at age 33 and her 2nd child at 34.

Mildred Cecil, baroness Burghley was married to William Cecil when she was 19. She was 29 at the birth of their daughter Anne, 33 at the birth of their son William, 34 at the birth of their second son also named William (the first one died in infancy), 36 at the birth of their son Robert 37 at the birth of their daughter Elizabeth.

I could go on and on but . . . .will spare you.

Luv said...


I never said that women couldn't have kids in their 30's (Katherine Parr had a daughter) I stated that 30 wasn't cutting it close ,and some people in that Era consider that 30 was rather old for bearing children. So I can't see a guy like Henry VIII who want to have a lot of sons, marrying Anne if she was past 30. Which is why I believe she was much younger than 30 when he married her.

kb said...

OK - got it

Anonymous said...

Umm Elizabeth S.....Katherine was younger then henrys eldest daughter

Alia said...

Back then, it wasn't really a full out "scandal." However, a 50-year-old marrying a 17-year-old could cause some whispers in Court. However, distinguished people like Margaret Beaufort married young (she was wed at 12 years old.) By late twenties, women were considered out of their prime.
Hope this helps :)