07Mar

The Queen Dowager, Part 3

Posted by by Janet Dooley on 4 January 2012 in category in Henry VIII - 0 0 Comments

Before Sir Thomas Seymour proposed to Catherine Parr, he had secretly proposed to both Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth, both heirs to the throne. When they turned him down (which of course they would…marrying without the council’s approval was treason and they certainly wouldn’t have gotten approval), he simply moved on to Plan B. Catherine Parr was stepmother to the king. She was beloved by all the royal heirs and certainly still held some influence at court. She was the third most powerful woman in the country and that was good enough for him—or as good as he was going to get.

A portrait of Catherine Parr attributed to the artist William Scrots. It now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Catherine Parr was the sixth wife of Henry VIII, whom she survived. After his death, she married her old flame, Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of Jane Seymour and uncle to the king. Catherine died after giving birth to the couple's daughter, Mary.

 

Wooing Catherine was easy for Seymour. She had already once loved him and longed for a marriage to someone her age, and someone with whom she might have children. Blinded by love, and not knowing about his proposals to the king’s sisters, Catherine eagerly accepted his proposal. 

They wed secretly and without the council’s approval. Their marriage, although scandalous because it happened so soon after the king’s death, was not treason since it had no affect on the line of succession. The couple pled for forgiveness from the king, which he gave and added his blessing for good measure.

Whatever influence Seymour hoped to gain at court never materialized. He would embarrass Catherine with his infidelity, subject Lady Elizabeth to the council's interrogation based on his own inappropriate conduct, and eventually even alienate the king who once called him his favorite uncle. Seymour met his end at the chopping block after being convicted of treason. Sadly, Catherine Parr soon met her end as well. She died from complications of childbirth after giving birth to a daughter, whom she named Mary. 

The fate of Mary is unknown as she seems to disappear from history. It is assumed she died in childhood.

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