Wife, widow, mother, survivor, the story of the last queen of Henry VIII. Catherine Parr was enjoying her freedom after her first two arranged marriages when she caught the attention of the elderly Henry VIII. The most reluctant of all Henry's wives, she offered to become his mistress rather than submit herself to the dangers of becoming Henry's queen. This only increased Henry's enthusiasm for the vibrant, intelligent young widow and Catherine was forced to abandon her handsome lover, Thomas Seymour, for the decrepit king. She quickly made her role as queen a success, providing Henry VIII with a domestic tranquillity that he had not known since the early days of his first marriage. For Henry, Catherine was a satisfactory choice but he never stopped considering a new marriage, much to Catherine's terror. Catherine is remembered as the wife who survived but, without her strength of character it could have been very different. It was a relief for Catherine when Henry finally died and she could secretly marry Thomas Seymour. Left with no role in government affairs in her widowhood, she retired to the country, spending time at her manors at Chelsea and Sudeley.
It was here that her heart was broken by her discovery of a love affair between her stepdaughter, the future Elizabeth I, and her husband. She died in childbirth accusing her husband of plotting her death. Traditionally portrayed as a matronly and dutiful figure, Elizabeth Norton's new biography shows another side to Catherine. Her life was indeed one of duty but, throughout, she attempted to escape her destiny and find happiness for herself. Ultimately, Catherine was betrayed and her great love affair with Thomas Seymour turned sour.
Elizabeth Norton gained her first degree from the University of Cambridge, and her Masters from the University of Oxford. She has written many books on the Tudors and England's Queens for Amberley. She lives in Kingston Upon Thames.
1. The Parrs of Kendal: 1512 - 1523 2. Mistress Burgh of Gainsborough Old Hall: 1523 - Spring 1533 3. Lady Latimer of Snape Castle: Spring 1533 - September 1536 4. A Pilgrimage of Grace: 1 October 1536 - June 1537 5. Not Much Favour: June 1537 - March 1543 6. Better Your Mistress Than Your Wife: March 1543 - 12 July 1543 7. Catherine the Queen: July 1543 - Spring 1544 8. Beloved Mother: Spring 1544 - Summer 1544 9. Regent General of England: July 1544 - Autumn 1545 10. The Lamentation of a Sinner: Autumn 1545 - Spring 1546 11. Danger for the Gospel: Spring 1546 - July 1546 12. Yielded His Spirit to Almighty God: Summer 1546 - 28 January 1547 13. Weeks be Shorter at Chelsea: January - May 1547 14. Much Offended by the Marriage: June - December 1547 15. Lady Seymour of Sudeley: Winter 1547 16. The Queen was Jealous: Winter 1547 - May 1548 17. Not Well Handled: May 1548 - March 1549 18. How Many Husbands Will She Have? Notes Bibliography List of Illustrations Index