Katherine Willoughby

Katherine Willoughby was an influential figure at Henry VIII's court in the 1540s and a close friend of Queen Katherine Parr

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  • On This Day 21st July 1567

    On 21st July 1567 Louis of Nassau was utterly defeated by Duke of Alva at the Battle of Jemmingen. Louis was leader in the revolt of the Netherlands against their feudal overlord, Philip II of Spain. Louis was a committed Calvinist, and, together with other Netherlandish nobles, demanded in 1566 that Philip withdraw the Inquisition from their territories. Eventually, the situation deteriorated into open warfare, with numerous battles and sieges. Louis survived the Battle of Jemmingen to fight again. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Mookerheyde in 1574 and withdrew from the fight, but his body was never found.

  • On This Day 20th July 1524

    On 20th July 1524 Claude of Valois, Queen of France and Duchess of Brittany, died. The daughter of Louis XII of France and wife of Francois I, she was Duchess of Brittany in her own right, succeeding her mother, Anne.

    Queen Claude presided over the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520, entertaining Henry VIII, whilst her husband was entertained by Henry’s wife, Katharine of Aragon.

    Although Claude was just twenty-four years old when she died, she had been Queen for ten years and had had at least seven children – one became Henri II of France, and another, her daughter Madeleine, married James V and was briefly Queen of Scots.

    Read more about Claude here.

  • On This Day 19th July 1596

    On 19th July 1596, Sir Francis Knollys died. He was very old by Tudor standards, well into his eighties. He was one of Elizabeth’s most trusted councillors, despite his Puritan stance, which she did not like. He was an MP in both Henry and Edward’s reigns, and an associate of William Cecil. In Mary’s time, he and his wife (Katherine Carey, niece of Anne Boleyn) went into exile with other religious radicals.

    On his return in 1558, he was sworn to Elizabeth’s Privy Council. He was one of Mary, Queen of Scots’ guardians during her early time in England when she was at Bolton Castle. He tried to teach her English, and hoped to convert her to Protestantism. Later, he was one of the commissioners at Queen Mary’s trial and argued strongly in favour of her execution.

    He and Katherine had fifteen children, and numerous grand-children, including Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich, whose life story is here.

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