16 thoughts on “WCW: Catherine Howard

  1. I think Lynne Frederick, as you say, was the only one who really conveyed Catherine’s youth and immaturity. There are some really surprisingly mature and sophisticated actresses in this list.

    One really remarkable fact about Catherine’s execution is that she asked the night before to have the executioner’s block brought to her in the Tower, so she could practise kneeling down gracefully and laying her head on it calmly. That really resonates with me because my mother was descended from the Howards of Norfolk, and it sounds exactly what any of her family would do: ‘whatever happens, don’t embarrass yourself by making an undignified scene’.

    Poor girl, she must have heard a year previously how badly botched the execution of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, had been, and no doubt wanted to give the headsman a clear unmoving mark to hit, and not unsettle him.

    1. That poor child. A contemporary observer wrote she made a godly end so presumably her practice paid off. She definitely did not say that famous line about wishing heself the wife of Culpeper, who seems to have been a real piece of work.

  2. Six Wives with Lucy Worsley. I might be a little biased because a) it’s Lucy Worsley, and b) she goes into the REAL story of Catherine Howard, not the usual version.

  3. … it’s not funny, exactly, but I can’t stop snickering at “Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis Wife”. Exactly!

  4. Angela Pleasance daughter of Donald and Lynn Frederick are the Secretariat winning the Triple Crown favourites. Can you do a deep dive on Barchester. It had so many Frock Flick Greats from Dame Susan to a very young Alan Rickman. And costumes were and are fab.

    1. Yes, please. Look up Barchester Chronicles, FREE on youtube. Also with Geraldine McEwan, Nigel Hawthorne, Susan Hampshire and a great performance by Clive Swift as the vacillating Bishop of Barchester.

  5. A huge thanks for including a post on Katherine. I have been hoping that you may feature her for a while. She has an almost haunting quality to her which I have always been drawn to – so young and full of exuberant life which was so swiftly snuffed out – her past unearthed to destroy her. I am firmly of the belief that Lynne Frederick was the ultimate Katherine, she caught that naïve worldliness which I feel is so important in bringing Katherine to life… also her costumes were outstanding, sticky uppy French hoods aside. The scene where she is interrogated by Cranmer was horrific and terrifying in her reaction! Emily Blunt was also effective I thought – despite her woeful costuming – though I do feel that she lacked that feeling of her being a spoilt teenage queen, which Frederick really mastered. I would love for a full length, dramatic treatment of her life to be produced. Here’s hoping!

  6. I have always felt for Catherine Howard because she was so young and had the least experience and protections when she was thrust into Henry’s sight. Catherine of Aragon was intelligent and educated princess, Anne of Cleves was not especially young and was also royalty like CoA, Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour had had far more experience at court and Catherine Parr was over a decade older than Catherine Howard likely was and experienced with older husbands. Catherine Howard had not had particularly good education as a child, was a victim of sexual abuse and became queen very soon after coming to court for the first time. She almost never stood a chance.

  7. Frederick and Pleasence are my two favorites: very small (as C.H. was), very young, sweet and kind, and ultimately clueless. Perfect bait for a powerful, aging male who used to be gorgeous–good actresses, too.

  8. Frederick is my favorite, followed by McQueen. The Tudors did Merchant dirty. Horribly so, in both script and costume. Howard’s story is so much more heart breaking. Gareth Russell wrote a fantastic bio about her. Highly recommend.

  9. My movie watch group watched The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) a few weeks ago. That movie plays Catherine Howard as an adult woman who is scheming her way into Henry’s affections from the moment Anne Boleyn goes to the scaffold. Because all of us are history nerds who knew that wasn’t true, we found it icky and it killed any enjoyment of the movie. In fact, poor Catherine was around 12 when Anne was executed.

  10. Binnie Barnes’ first French hood looks like something from Metropolis. And nice to see an actual codpiece on the 1972 Henry!

  11. Catherine is without a doubt the most misunderstood out of Henry’s wives, more so than Anne. Nowadays people mainly knew that Anne’s suppose crimes are false, but Catherine’s reputation suffered to this days tho that is beginning to change.

    I have some fondenss for Lynne Frederick’s as she convey that innoucence of a young teenage.

  12. Lynne was by far the most sympathetic Katherine Howard, despite having so few minutes. While Anne Boleyn is muy favorite of Henry’s Queens, KH comes second, and I think this poor girl is the most tragic of the 6 wives, she was trying very hard to be a good Queen, and most TV shows/movies just portray her as a stupid, spoiled strumpet. I hope one day she gets Her Own Great Movie, à la Anne of the Thousand Days.
    I must tell you, in the parte of Young Bess, the 3rd photo is not Dawn Adams as Katherine, it’s Elaine Stewart as Katherine’s cousin, Anne Boleyn.

  13. That second image is almost certainly Elizabeth Lady Cromwell, nee Seymour, sister of Queen Jane. There’s a definite family resemblance though izabeth was slightly better looking.

  14. Having just watched Ms. Angela Pleasence in the role, I am tempted to proclaim her definitive (and that‘s not always the case with this show, though Heaven knows it’s Henry VIII towers above all others).

    (I am also slightly shocked by how very pretty a young woman with such a strong resemblance to Mr Donald Pleasance could be!).

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