Howard Family

Sola Virtus Invicta (Only Virtue Unconquered)

Chapter 10 : Another Howard Queen

Katheryn did her duty by her family. Her brother, Charles Howard, was given a place in her household, but fell into the same trap as his half-uncle, Lord Thomas Howard had fallen into in 1536, and began a flirtation with Lady Margaret Douglas.

Norfolk and Surrey received new offices, and in 1541, Surrey was elected to the Order of the Garter. He also became the King's cupbearer, a most prestigious office, which gave him leave to remain at court all the time, and eat at the King's expense. Mary of Richmond joined her cousin's household as Lady-in-Waiting, and Norfolk was to be seen with the King at every turn.

Henry was thrilled with his pretty little wife, but he was living in a fool's paradise, and the anti-Howard faction were soon in a position to blow the situation apart.Katheryn's pre-marital adventures came to the ear of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, who told the King.

Henry, appalled, and disbelieving, ordered a discreet investigation. What came to light was more than pre-marital indiscretion, which Henry might well have pardoned, with a divorce to follow. It emerged that Katheryn was conducting, if not a full-blown sexual relationship with Culpepper, certainly a serious romance.

Heartbroken, Henry refused to see poor Katheryn, who ran screaming down the gallery at Hampton Court in an attempt to fling herself on his mercy. She was dragged away, and in February 1542 died on the executioner's block, less than six years after her cousin Anne.

Norfolk abandoned the girl to her fate, helping Cranmer with the investigation, by ransacking his step-mother's house in search of evidence and recommending that she be burnt for her crimes. He wrote a cringing missive to the King, casting blame everywhere but on himself.

As Katheryn was convicted by an Act of Attainder, rather than being tried, Norfolk was unable to repeat his previous condemnation of a niece. He crawled back to Kenninghall, thus avoiding the execution, which Surrey attended.

Lord William Howard, Norfolk's half-brother, his wife Margaret Gamage, and Queen Katheryn's brother Charles, remained in the Tower until November of that year. Mary, Duchess of Richmond, was sent home to Kenninghall, with Lady Margaret Douglas, in disgrace for her flirtation with Sir Charles.