One would think that with the drama that surrounded Henry and his previous 5 wives, his 6th and final marriage would be a natural disaster. However, by all accounts it was actually, ummm, good? It took him a little longer then most people but ultimately the ass got it right! Sort of ................
Katherine was married twice leading up to her courtship with Henry. She had been widowed both times and had no children. By the time Katherine and Henry met, she was becoming well known for her intelligence and kindness. She was also gaining an interest in the rising Protestant faith, and, thanks to good marital choices was VERY wealthy. All of these traits were rather attractive to King Henry.
Prior to Henry, she may have been considering marrying Thomas Seymour, brother to "Poor Poor Jane" and uncle to Prince Edward. Katherine rejected Seymour's proposal in order to marry the King, although she probably didn't have much of a choice in the matter. we all know what happened to people who didn't give Henry what he wanted. 18 months after Kathryn Howard's execution, Henry and Katherine Parr were married on July 12, 1543.
Henry's health had been declining for years and Katherine was more of a nurse then anything (remember that Henry had been mostly impotent since Anne of Cleves). Katherine did managed to soothe the King's temper and brought his children back into the kingdom (they had been scattered, banished, schooled, whatever ...........). Although the Queen was scarcely older than the Princess Mary, she, along with Elizabeth and Edward, saw Katherine as a stabilizing mother figure. Katherine arranged for the best tutors for the children and encouraged them in their learning.
Katherine outlived Henry, who died January 28, 1547 (Ding Dong the witch is Dead ....)
Prince Edward succeeded as Edward VI. His older uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Somerset, became Protector since the young king was only 10 years old. The other Seymour brother, Thomas, quickly started sniffing around Katherine Parr again, and this time she accepted.
Katherine was soon pregnant with Seymour's child, and gave birth to a daughter named Mary at Sudeley Castle on August 30, 1548. Unfortunately, Katherine did not recover from the childbirth something about the Seymour women) and died on September 5. She is buried at St. Mary's Church at Sudeley Castle.
This concludes our discussions of the 6 wives of Henry the VIII. Tune in next week for a short discussion of Henry's Daughter Mary (a.k.a. Bloody Mary) leading up to the April Premiere of Showtimes new series, THE TUDORS!