Sunday, September 5, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History

On September 5, 1548, queen Catherine (Kateryn) Parr died of puerperal fever at the age of 35.

Following the death of King Henry VIII on 28 January 1547, Catherine was given an allowance of ₤7,000 per year, befitting her station. Henry had further ordered, after his death, though a queen dowager, she be given the respect of a Queen of England, as if he was still alive.

Catherine was able to marry her old love, Lord Seymour of Sudeley (Sir Thomas Seymour). As they married within six months of the old king's death, they had to obtain King Edward VI's permission for the match. When their union became public knowledge, it caused a small scandal. Catherine became pregnant by Seymour at age thirty-five. This pregnancy was a surprise as Catherine had not conceived a child during her first three marriages (however, two of her husbands had been much older than she).

Catherine gave birth to her only child — a daughter, Mary Seymour, named after her stepdaughter, Queen Mary I of England — on 30 August 1548, and died only six days later, on 5 September 1548, at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, from what is thought to be puerperal fever or puerperal sepsis, also called childbed fever. Coincidentally, this was also the illness that killed Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour. It was not uncommon, due to the lack of hygiene around childbirth.

Catherine's widower, Lord Seymour of Sudeley, was beheaded for treason less than a year later, and the infant Mary was taken to live with the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk, a close friend of Catherine. After a year and a half, Mary's property was restored to her by an Act of Parliament, easing the burden of the infant's household on the duchess. The last recorded mention of Mary Seymour is on her second birthday, and although stories circulated that she eventually married and had children, most historians believe she died as a child.

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  1. This site is great. Thank you for bringing such nice posts. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

  2. Do you dress sometimes like Anne Boleyn?

  3. Thanks for reading it Snoring...and yes, Eddy, I do dress up as Anne sometimes!