Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard's Badge

No Other Will Than His

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”


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Fact sheet

Born: Katherine’s date of birth is unknown. Alison Weir believes that a birthdate c. 1525 is probable, although other historians believe c. 1521.

Father: Lord Edmund Howard, a younger brother of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. (Katherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were first cousins)

Mother: Joyce Culpeper


Married Henry VIII on 28 July 1540 at Oatlands Palace in Surrey.

The ceremony was conducted in private by Bishop Bonner and kept secret for approximately ten days.

Reign: 28 July 1540 – 22 November 1541

Confined to her apartments at Hampton Court Palace: On 30 October 1541, Cranmer informed Henry, via a letter, that his new Queen was accused of ‘dissolute living before her marriage with Francis Dereham’. The King ordered Cranmer to thoroughly investigate the claims and confined Katherine to her apartments with only one attendant, Lady Rochford.

Henry and Katherine did not see each other again after this day.

Imprisonment: On or just after 13 November 1541, Katherine Howard was moved to Syon Abbey.

Stripped of the title of Queen: On the 22 November, a proclamation was made at Hampton Court Palace that Katherine had ‘forfeited her honour’ and was no longer Queen.

Bill of Attainder: Passed on 7 February 1542

Moved to the Tower of London: 10 February 1542

The Act of Attainder still lacked the King’s signature. To save Henry any further distress his Council signified Henry’s royal assent by attaching the Great Seal and writing on the top of the Act, ‘Le Roy le veut’ – ‘The King wills it.’

Royal Assent Proclaimed: 11 February 1542

The Act was read in parliament to the assembled members of both Houses, stating the King’s assent, signalling that Katherine’s execution could now take place.

Executed: 13 February 1542

Private execution, Tower of London

Beheaded with an axe

Buried: 13 February 1542

Chapel of St. Peter ad. Vincula at the Tower of London.

Reversal of the Act of Attainder: In 1553, Queen Mary reversed the Act of Attainder against Katherine Howard on the basis that it did not bear the royal signature and such acts were no longer legal.

Katherine Howards' signature

Link to The Ghost of Katherine Howard


Baldwin-Smith. L, E. Catherine Howard: The Queen Whose Adulteries Made a Fool of Henry VIII, 2009.

Weir, A. The Six Wives of Henry VIII, 2007.

More books about Katherine Howard at On the Tudor Trail’s Bookstore



  1. sassuhfrass says:

    Wow… I never realized that Katherine literally had to languish for months before her death… At least Anne Boleyn was only imprisoned for no more then two weeks. Poor girl, she was too young to be given such responsibility.

    • It’s such a sad story! If she was born c. 1525 as Alison Weir believes then she was only 17 years old when she was executed. Tragic.

  2. Tracey Burdus says:

    Its hard to comprehend what Katherine and indeed Anne would have felt and suffered waiting for their executions, to go from so high to so low must have been hard enough then to be sent to your death because the person you would have been closest too wanted it!!

    • Truly incomprehensible! And what I find hard to understand is that Anne died without ever protesting her innocence. I know that this was Tudor scaffold etiquette but I imagine that inside the injustice must have been burning. What a courageous woman!

  3. Fiona Lawrence says:

    It’s interesting that Mary Tudor reversed the act . Did she have some affection for her fourth stepmother ? Of course it is horrific that she was treated so. She was a victim of predatory men all her short life and as usual Henry behaved with extreme vindictiveness ! In all the tv series the political and religious motives of her accusers are left out . Cranmer is almost seen as a kindly avuncular figure who really doesn’t want to give Henry the bad news but it is pretty clear that he and the Protestant faction at court were driving the allegations against the accusations against the catholic Howard contingent . Why do to programmes do these edited highlight type versions which present s king of ladybird history ?

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