Alice’s Restaurant

July 3, 2007

Tudor Follies: A Queen Besieged

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:15 am

Mr. Al left us wondering how Cranmer would wring confessions from Queen Katherine (The Howard Katherine, not that earlier one).  Today he lets us know.

He couldn’t touch the Queen, of course. But he could try to trick an incriminating statement out of her. She was Queen, but she was also an emotionally distraught teenage girl. It was worth a try. In the meantime, he could turn the pros in the Tower lose on Dereham and Culpeper. His first meeting with her didn’t go so well. For either of them. Katherine was so hysterical that Cranmer couldn’t get a coherent sentence out of her. He decided to try again later. He also decided that the adversarial approach would be counter- productive. Instead, he would be her friend, someone with her best interests at heart.

The new warm and cuddly Archbishop of Canterbury returned the next day. He had a letter from someone important! Would she like to read it? Oh… nevermind. He’d be happy to read it to her. It was from Henry! His Majesty was willing to forgive all if only she would fess up to every stupid, nasty, slutty thing she had ever done. Willingly or unwillingly. My, my. It certainly takes a big fellow to make that kind of offer. There now, didn’t her Majesty feel better? All that she had to do MAKE things better was to sign some unimportant papers the contents of which she needn’t worry her pretty little head about.

Katherine didn’t buy it.

She did give Cranmer the impression that a pre- contract existed between her and Dereham. There was nothing on paper; in fact, most of the reality of this pre-contract seemed to exist in Dereham’s head. It seems that he enjoyed going about calling Katherine his wife while she was with the Duchess. Dereham certainly expected her to act like a wife in at least one respect. When she was questioned about this Katherine stated that Dereham had raped her. That she never willingly submitted to him. She was probably telling the truth. A number of people in Katherine’s royal household were convinced that Dereham had blackmailed his way back into Katherine’s life.

Cranmer had no use for this information. He wanted evidence that Katherine and Dereham were still having sex. At the very least, that a pre-contract existed. Then the marriage could be annulled. Katherine back-peddled and said no such thing existed. Not ever. She didn’t realize that the existence of a pre-contract would nullify any charge of adultery. You can’t commit adultery if both parties are unmarried. She believed admitting to a pre-contract would make things worse.

Productive conversation between Cranmer and Katherine came to a screeching halt when Katherine found out that almost every guy she was suspected of sleeping with, since marrying Henry, was a guest in the Tower. Her emotional state was such the Cranmer thought she was losing her mind. Cranmer wrote up what he had to date in the form of a confession. Before Dereham there had been a music teacher named Manox. That started when Katherine was ten or eleven and lasted until he was fired by the Duchess. Dereham picked up where Manox left off until Katherine entered Queen Anne’s household and Dereham set sail to be a Celtic Jack Sparrow. There was nothing about Culpeper, A handsome courtier who’s only crime seems to have been being attracted to the Queen in a way that got people’s attention.

No matter. Cranmer believed he had enough. No, she did not confess to adultery, but he had enough to prove a case of pre-contract, the evidence just needed a little tweaking here and there. That would annul the marriage and he could sweep the court clean of the Howard clan. And Henry wouldn’t have to chop Katherine’s head off! Pheew! Time for everyone to put this sordid business behind them and move on.

Henry was pleased that his little Katherine hadn’t cheated on him. Cranmer assured him that he could prove a pre-contract. Marriage annulled. End of story. Henry returned to Hampton Court in high spirits. When Cranmer got there the place was buzzing like a beehive on a hot July afternoon. Rumors were flying. Henry would divorce Katherine and take back Anne. He was going to chop Katherine’s head off and take back Anne. That all was forgiven and he would continue with Katherine. There was another woman and Henry would kill that poor girl so he could have his way with yet another.

Cranmer knew Henry well enough to realize that he might very well take Katherine back if she was allowed to talk to him. The second half of the Henry Marriage Drill went into effect. Katherine was sent to a place in the country until the matter was settled. Cranmer also realized that as long as Katherine was alive there would always be a danger that the two of them would kiss and make up. Henry had to be rid of Katherine beyond all hope of reconciliation. Cranmer was still at Hampton Court when he discovered that Henry’s mind and his were as one on the subject.


Poor Katherine.  I really feel for her.


  1. Poor Kathryn indeed! Aah, wife number 6th will get the special treat huh? 😉 Did you ever noticed that Henry’s 3 Catherines all spelled their names different? Catherine, Kathryn and Katherine.
    I’ve always wondered if that was really the case or if they did it on purpose to avoid the confusion or God forbid, the same fate? Thank you Mr. Al!

    Comment by Anastasia — July 3, 2007 @ 4:32 am

  2. Too bad there wasn’t a tv station with this kind of stuff. Good blog!

    Comment by Bev — July 3, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

  3. I’ve read a lot of novels set in this period of history, and most of the ones I’ve read have steered clear of Henry and his wives. His history is so out there that it would make for some very odd (but fascinating) literature, for sure!

    Comment by Lynne — July 3, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  4. Yep….I’m sure I’d be a gibbering mess if I was her! Yikes. I’d be looking into having a steel necklace made…one that went from chin to collarbone!

    Comment by Ericka Scott — July 5, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  5. I would think that the women would be hiding and hoping that Henry didn’t notice them. There is no accounting for ambition. Great job, Mr. Al!


    Comment by Laurie — July 6, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  6. Thank you, my loyal readers. Your comments really do mean a lot to me.
    Now, now Anastasia. If you think you can lure me into revealing the details of Tudor/Parr marriage, an ASTOUNDING tale of GRIPPING action!!!EDGE OF YOUR SEAT situations!!!!CAN’T PUT IT DOWN evocations of a bygone era!!!

    You’re wrong. You can’t do it. You’ll just have to wait for the next HEART POUNDING installment. Although…..I should say that Kathrine Parr is, for me anyway, the most intersting Henry wife. She was extremely intelligent and was not one to hide her accomplishments under a bushel. Unfortunately, she was a bit arrogant about it and didn’t realize it was getting her into trouble until it was….
    Whoa Nelly….What am I doing? Oh no…No way, Anastasia! You have to read the installments. Just like everyone else.
    Mr Al

    Comment by Mr Al — July 9, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  7. As I said before, poor Katherine. If ever a girl needed a friend,Katherine certainly did.

    Comment by Donna — July 18, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: