On February 13th, 1542, Catherine Howard was executed for adultery. Catherine was King Henry VIII of England’s fifth wife.
Henry famously had 6 wives and many children in his attempts to create a male heir. His three surviving legitimate children all succeeded him as monarchs of England successively; Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. While his wives had been pregnant on many more occasions, many of these ended in miscarriage, stillbirth or death during infancy. The latter was the case for his first son, Henry, who was born on January 1st, 1511, and died 52 days later. He had many other illegitimate children with his several mistresses, although he only acknowledged one; Henry FitzRoy.
Catherine and Henry married on July 28th, 1540 as soon as Henry’s annulment with his previous spouse (Anne of Cleeves) had been arranged. Catherine reigned as Queen of England for a grand 16 months before being stripped of her title and beheaded 3 months later. This was her punishment for committing adultery and, given that her husband was the King, it was considered treason.
Interestingly, Catherine was just 16 or 17 years of age at the time of her marriage to Henry VIII in 1540. The King, however, was 49 at the time.
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