Thursday, May 13, 2010

Question from Stephanie - Katherine Parr's involvement in Elizabeth's cut dress incident

Hi Everyone, I have a rather disturbing question but I am wondering if anyone has any information on this. Recently, I was reading about Katherine Parr, Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth. I already knew that allegedly Thomas and Elizabeth had a rather inappropriate relationship, but in one article there was a story about Katherine being a part of the "games" that Thomas and Elizabeth played together. Namely one story where Katherine held down Elizabeth while Thomas cut open some "black dress" with his sword. This shocked me because I didn't think Katherine had any part of this relationship, let alone participated in something this twisted. Does anyone know anything about this?


Jacque said...

In Susan James' book about Catherine Parr, this story is also recounted. It says that "Initially Catherine seemed to see in Seymour's behaviour nothing more than a playful surrogate father teasing his young foster daughter and engaging her in innocent games." Regarding the black dress incident, apparently it was related by Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess that Seymour cut Elizabeth's black gown into "an hundred pieces" while Katherine held her still. In the book it says that by cutting up her black dress, Seymour "playfully attacked Elizabeth's own mourning for her father."

Kat Ashley was concerned about Seymour's behaviour towards Elizabeth and voiced these concerns to him, which he would not listen to. She then told the Catherine, who also didn't think it was a big deal, but said she would come with him to see Elizabeth, I guess to make it seem less suspicious, or to appease Kat Ashley.

I don't think that, at this point, Catherine though there was anything unusual in Seymour and Elizabeth's relationship. It seems she realized only later that Seymour and Elizabeth's relationship was (or could be seen as) "inappropriate," as you say.

Alia said...

Many accounts have stated that Katherine Parr was indeed involved, though maybe not at first.
I think that, at the beginning, Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour did this alone, without Katherine. When Katherine found out, she was probably devastated: she was pregnant and past her prime. She was most likely worried that her husband, Thomas, was interested in Elizabeth, a younger, slimmer and prettier, and more powerful woman. Katherine Parr has always been thought of as a very intelligent woman, and I doubt that she thought nothing of Thomas' and Elizabeth's relationship.

To make light of it, but with a heavy heart I am sure, she played along. I think that she did this because she did not want her marriage strained or annulled, as she was pregnant with Thomas' child and she loved him. She chose to ignore the sexual part of it and play along.

Katja Stroke-Adolphe said...

I think Jacque is write. She saw it only as a friendly game and found out later. I wrote a play called "The Nine Day Queen" about Lady Jane Grey published on which refers to the relationship between Elizabeth and Seymour.

Liz said...

Like Alia said, I think Katherine played along. However, I don't think she realized the extent of Seymour's feelings for Elizabeth. She loved him a great deal and had been in love with him before her marriage to Henry VIII. I think Katherine was blind to Seymour's intentions. She began to play along after Kat Ashley complained about Seymour's actions appearing inappropriate, but she didn't see them as wrong. She played along to protect Elizabeth's reputation, so that Elizabeth was not spending time alone with Seymour, which would have been considered very inappropriate. It wasn't until the very end that she realized something was amiss, which is why Elizabeth was sent to live elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I love Catherine,I'm writing a story about the life she didn't had,I've studied her story and I can say that for me she was just blind,she was "manipuled" by Thomas Seymour and she didn't saw anything weird in that weird and sick joke