About six months after the annulment of his marriage to Anne, Henry married his fifth wife,
Katherine Howard in December of 1540,. She was pretty and young --
not yet twenty when she married Henry -- and unfortunately, 'bird-brained' (Plowden 93).
But to Henry, she was his 'rose without thorn' (Plowden 98). His marriage to the young
woman greatly cheered the forty-nine year old king. Katherine fought with Mary and quarreled
often with her, jealous of Henry's affection for her, but was on good terms with Elizabeth,
since Elizabeth's mother Anne had been Katherine's cousin.
After the couple had been married almost two years, it came to light that not only had
Katherine apparently entered into a marriage contract with another man years before, and was
therefore considered legally married to that man, Francis Dereham, but she was also carrying on
in a very un-Queen-like (although one could say very king-like, given Henry's
daliances) with her music master. Katherine at first denied all charges, then confessed to
everything while simultaneously blaming everyone. But it was no use.
Katherine and the two men who were charged as her lovers
were put to death in December of 1542.
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