Alice’s Restaurant

July 9, 2007

Tudor Folley’s: Feeding Katherine Howard To The Wolves

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:06 pm

 Welcome back to Mr. Al’s take on the life and times of Henry the VIII’s wives, what little they tended to have at any rate.  We left off with a young bride accused.  And now, in the immortal words of Mr. Al:

Henry had brought to Parliament, in it’s role as Supreme Court, the matter of Katherine’s “abominable behavior.” This was extremely bad news for Katherine. Henry was not going to be satisfied with an annulment. He wanted a divorce. Or worse. It did not take long to seal Katherine’s fate. Lady Rochford, her trusted lady in waiting, provided the evidence. Before Katherine moved to the country Cranmer had Rochford taken to the tower. Just a formality, a few routine questions. But don’t wait up for her, your Majesty.

Rochford collapsed like a house of cards. She told Cranmer about Dereham and Culpeper. Names, dates, everything she thought Cranmer wanted to hear. Katherine was a slut, a whore, no better than a dog in heat. Dear Lady Rochford was making stories up in a bid to save herself.                                         After unburdening her conscience, she was asked if she would swear that everything she had just told them was true.

She did.

Did she understand that the sex acts constituted treason on the part of the men?

She did.

Was she aware that the punishment for High Treason was horrible in the extreme?

She was.

And that, according to her own statements, Katherine had tried to hide her immoral activities by meeting her lovers in her Ladyship’s room? With no one present but the lovers and her Ladyship?

Um…yes, that’s what she said.

And that these meetings were arranged, well in advance, by her ladyship for the purpose of facilitating the immoral behavior of the Queen. And the treasonous behavior of the men involved?

Her ladyship felt the questioner was rather overstating the case, but she sorta said something that kinda sounded like that.

And did her ladyship realize that anyone facilitating an act of High Treason was a co-conspirator if that person was aware the act was treasonous but did not report it?

Lady Rochford was ordered back to the Tower, her sentencing a mere formality. She was dead meat on a stick. Figuratively and literally.

Just to make sure all was neat and tidy, Cranmer had Culpeper and Dereham sign their confessions while they were still capable of doing so. The Council condemned them to a traitor’s death. Culpeper went first. Members of the court asked Henry to commute Culpeper’s sentence to simple decapitation. No point in setting a precedent for people of Good Family to die horribly. It was bad enough that the Lesser Sorts were being allowed to watch the spectacle.

Dereham, on the other hand, was just the sort of fellow who needed to be made an example of. He got the full program. The London crowd was thrilled. Both heads were set on London Bridge. Considering all the fuss that so many people had gone to reach this point, it’s worth taking a moment to consider Katherine’s position.

She didn’t have one. She was a Queen who exercised very little power. She married a man she didn’t understand. A man who may or may not have loved her, but most certainly now wanted her dead. As a person, she held no importance at all. She was just a girl who was now in the way of the grown-ups plans. Men wanted her dead not because they hated her, it was just business. Men used her sexually because she was attractive and they could get away with it. They used her politically because it was to their profit and advantage to do so. And also because she was too ignorant to realize what they were up to. Of all the adults who exploited Katherine Howard, none was guiltier than the Duke of Norfolk.

As with Anne Boleyn, The Duke maneuvered Katherine into a position within the Queen’s household that would get her noticed by Henry. Unlike Anne, who already had extensive experience in court behavior, not to mention the ambition to become queen, Katherine needed a great deal of prepping. The Duke was happy to do it. As with Anne, when it was time to feed her to the wolves, he couldn’t push her into the pit fast enough. This time, however, there was a difference.


Tune in next week to find out what the difference was.  Thank you Mr. Al.



  1. That Norffolk better get his! Anxiously awaiting the next, Mr. Al.

    Comment by Chris — July 10, 2007 @ 5:54 am

  2. Lady Rochford deserved hers, it was not the first time she had falsely testified to have someone condemned. Tks Mr. Al once again a great job!

    Comment by Anastasia — July 10, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  3. What difference? You can’t stop there! Wow, all the scheming and back biting behind the scenes. Politics never changes, does it? Well with the exception of beheadings and other nasty stuff. Thanks again, Mr. Al, for another enjoyable Tudors installment!


    Comment by Laurie — July 10, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

  4. I was thinking the same thing, Chris. I love these summaries, Mr. Al!

    Comment by Lynne — July 10, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  5. Hi:
    Thank you loyal readers. It was my pleasure to bring you another installment. You are too right, Anastasia. Lady Rochford betrayed others. What she cared about, all she cared about, was getting hers.She finally did get hers. BUT…I shall say no more! You will just have to wait for the next installment. Thank you again. Your comments mean a lot to me. I really do appreciate them. Until next week…..

    Comment by Mr Al — July 15, 2007 @ 12:30 am

  6. *sigh* All these machinations really restore your faith in mankind, don’t they?

    Comment by Donna — July 18, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

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