Friday, December 10, 2010

On This Day in Tudor History

On December 10, 1541, Sir Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were executed at Tyburn for their sexual relationships with Queen Catherine Howard.

Dereham was a courtier, who had an affair with the very young Catherine Howard until she was made lady-in-waiting to Henry's fourth wife Anne of Cleves. After Catherine's marriage to the King, Dereham was made a secretary at Hampton Court, an appointment possibly engineered to silence him about Catherine's previous indiscretions.

Culpeper was reportedly exceedingly attractive. He was described as 'a beautiful youth' and he was a great favorite of the King's, which placed him in Catherine's life after she became queen consort.

Culpeper was most likely using the affair and her feelings for him as leverage to gain power and control over the queen herself. Catherine, for her part, was deeply in love.

When her past relationship with Dereham was brought to the attention of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, he reported it to the King in a letter, provoking an investigation which resulted in the arrests of Dereham, Thomas Culpeper and Queen Catherine herself.

Under interrogation, Dereham admitted a pre-marital relationship with Catherine, but claimed that they were never intimate after Catherine's marriage to the King and that he had been supplanted in her affections by Culpeper.

Dereham was given a traitor's death of being hanged, drawn, and quartered. Culpeper's sentence was commuted to beheading.

Queen Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Rochford were both subsequently executed on February 13, 1542.

1 comment: