Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Question from Lauren - Henry VIII's proposal to Catherine Parr

I read that Henry VIII proposed to Catherine Parr, and she took a few months to think about it. Is there any evidence to back this up? How do we know when he proposed?


Marilyn R said...

You need to read Linda Porter’s biography 'Kateryn the Quene'; chapter six deals with the marriage to Henry. Her second husband, Lord Latimer, had died towards the end of February 1543, leaving Katherine a comfortably off widow rather than a wealthy one. She came to Court and was attracted to Thomas Seymour but Henry spotted her and both she and Seymour knew theirs was a lost cause – for the time being.

I have heard Porter speak about her research for this book, which is very thorough, so when she says that it is not known when Henry proposed, there would appear to be no written evidence. She concludes the proposal came ‘not later than April’ and then goes on to analyse Katherine’s struggle to accept her fate and how Henry began advancing certain members of her family while she was still mulling things over. They were married on 12th July at Hampton Court.

Linda Porter’s biography is a good and well-researched read and I would recommend it.

Marilyn R said...

Just looked at my copy - it's actually 'Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr'. Kateryn the Quene is the sub-title for part three of the book.

Lauren said...

Thanks, Marilyn. I have Porter's book, and that actually inspired the question. She reports authoritatively that Catherine mulled it over for a while, but doesn't give a reference for this. It seems strange to me - it's not like she'd really have been able to say no!

I found Porter's book to be great, although I don't like it when historians tell us what a person's feelings were and slip into semi-historical fiction language. However, as you say, it's very readable and well-researched and Catherine was fascinating.

Foose said...

It's possible that Henry himself never formally proposed to Katherine Parr directly.

He had made his interest plain for several months, and there were several highly placed people who would have been glad to act as "go-betweens" once Henry had confided his matrimonial intent. Someone like Archbishop Cranmer, for example - Katherine's friend and Henry's confidant - might have expressed the king's wishes to Lady Latimer and, detecting reluctance, expounded forcefully upon her duty as a subject and a religious woman, whose elevation would allow her to protect and support the reformers.

Katherine said...

Henery VIII did propose to Katherine Parr, but she was not very willing to be his bride. This is understandable given his previous marriage carrier, but to add to that, she was in love with Sir Thomos Seymour.