Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Death of Katherine Parr

She was the first Queen of England not to receive the Last Rites. I always thought her last years to be especially sad, a tragedy both for her and the Princess Elizabeth, as shown in the film Young Bess. As author Gareth Russell says:
Katharine Parr, famous for being the wife of Henry's who "survived," had not had the happy ending we might have hoped for. She did not suffer the public martyrdoms to history of either Anne Boleyn or Catherine Howard, nor the humiliations of Katherine of Aragon, which were to secure for her an almost immaculate historical reputation in the centuries to come. Instead, Katharine suffered the far more subtle tragedy of domestic unhappiness, when her fourth husband - the man she married for love after the terror of being Henry VIII's queen - betrayed both her happiness and her trust by molesting the teenage princess whom Katharine had brought into her care.  It was a cruel and tragic betrayal which few women can have deserved less than Katharine Parr.


Julygirl said...

The Royals certainly create a feast for writers. Seems there is nothing they won't do except act moderately. Lives 'hung in the balance' whether one was virtuous or scandalous.

Gareth Russell said...

Thank you for the link! It's a tragic story and I've always had a soft spot for Katherine.

Archduchess Maria Carollton said...

Katherine Parr's death was especially tragic. As she lay dying, she actually felt that her husband was secretly glad he would soon be rid of her. His behavior during her pregnancy was shameful. Sadly, she may have been spot on about her husband, infatuated as he was with Elizabeth.

So tragic to feel unloved and unwanted by one's own family even on the deathbed.