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1542: Why did King Henry VIII have his Fifth Wife Executed?

1542: Why did King Henry VIII have his Fifth Wife Executed?
Photo Credit To http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HowardCatherine02.jpeg

At the time when Henry VIII married Catherine, he was already in the fiftieth year of his life and gained weight – 140 kilograms. Catherine, on the other hand, was about 20 and, after becoming a queen, became involved in a romantic relationship with Henry’s favorite courtier Thomas Culpeper.

King Henry VIII had a total of six wives. Two of these were executed, two of them he divorced, one died after childbirth, and one outlived him. To remember the order of the fate of his wives, the English have a useful rhyme:

Divorced – beheaded – died,

Divorced – beheaded – survived.

Catherine Howard, who was executed on this day, was the most prominent member of the English noble family Howard (Duke of Norfolk and hereditary Marshal of England). That family differed from the others in England even in the time of Henry VIII, and also today, by being Catholic (Protestant English kings found practical, for diplomatic reasons, that the most important aristocratic family was Catholic).

At the time when Henry VIII married Catherine, he was already in the fiftieth year of his life and gained weight – up to 140 kilograms. Catherine, on the other hand, was about 20 and, after becoming a queen, became involved in a romantic relationship with Henry’s favorite courtier Thomas Culpeper. When the king was warned about that, at first he could not believe it, but then they presented him the evidence, for example a love letter written by Catherine to Culpeper in her specific handwriting. At that, the king ordered the execution of the two lovers.

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