Love and Loss: Lady Katherine Grey

Chapter 5 : Aftermath

Katherine’s death at nine o’clock that morning, Tuesday 27th January 1568, brought to a close the tragic love story of the Queen’s principle English rival. Katherine was only 28. Elizabeth put on a show of grief, as expected at the death of a relative, but it was judged an unconvincing performance.

She was afraid of her’, the Spanish ambassador noted.

Katherine was to be buried in a little chapel near the house where she died, in Yoxford, Suffolk. Ned was freed two years later in 1571, still hoping their elder son, Lord Beauchamp, would one day be King.

When Beauchamp was 19 he fell in love in the same house as his parents had first begun their romance – but with a gentlewoman not considered grand enough to be a future Queen Consort. Elizabeth, delighted, gave the marriage her blessing knowing it would destroy the boy’s chances for the Crown.

In 1603 James Stuart, the son of Mary Queen of Scots, succeeded Elizabeth to the throne. Ned lived long enough to see how unpopular James became. He died aged 84, over 50 years after Katherine. To King James’s anger, efforts were still being made to prove the validity of their marriage.

Ned and Katherine’s grandson, William Seymour, waited until Charles I became King in 1625 to disinter Katherine and bury her with her husband. They have a magnificent tomb in Salisbury Cathedral. The inscription, in Latin, describes

’Incomparable consorts/Who, experienced in the vicissitudes of changing fortune/At Length, in the concord that marked their lives,/ Here rest together’.

The star-crossed lovers, kept apart by Elizabeth for so long, were reunited at last.

Memorial in Salisbury Cathedral erected to Lady Katherine and the Earl of Hertford by their grandson, William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, in the 1620s