Catherine Howard (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: As fifth wife to King Henry VIII, Catherine Howard briefly reigned as queen of England until revelations about her personal life brought about her sudden downfall and execution.
Catherine Howard was born into the English aristocracy, her father being Lord Edmund Howard, a younger son of Thomas Howard, second duke of Norfolk. Through her Howard connections, Catherine was ironically a first cousin to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second queen. Little is known about the future queen’s childhood. She grew up in a large family of ten children and received little formal education. Her mother, Joyce Culpeper, died when Catherine was quite young. Her father, Lord Edmund Howard, subsequently married two more times, but he saw little of his daughter. Being a younger son, Lord Edmund did not inherit the considerable family estates, and he experienced continual financial difficulties, even after his appointment as controller of Calais in 1534. Never a major influence on his daughter’s life, he died in 1539, a year before Catherine’s dramatic rise to power.
The most significant development of Catherine’s childhood occurred when her father sent her to live with his stepmother Agnes, the dowager duchess of Norfolk. One of the wealthiest and most influential women of her day, the duchess maintained a grand household at her country estate at Horsham in Sussex and her town house at Lambeth,...
(The entire section is 2070 words.)
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