After Catherine Howard's beheading, there was a pretty much unanimous group shudder among marriage-eligible noblewomen.
Upon hearing that Henry VIII was, tiresomely enough, once again wife-hunting, no doubt felt as bachelorettes Christina of Milan and Mary of Guise did:
“If I had a spare head, I’d consider it, but as I don’t, I’d better not.”
|Christina of Denmark Duchess of Milan|
Catharine Parr was a noblewoman who'd had two husbands die on her by the time she was in her thirties.
She was in love with one of Queen Jane Seymour's brothers - Thomas.
Then, along came Henry who liked what he saw in Catherine Parr.
Henry proposed to her that she become his sixth (sixth!) wife.
The poor woman burst into tears and begged to be just a mistress instead, according to legend.
Eventually she gave in and agreed to be Henry VIII’s sixth, and final, queen.
|Catherine Parr, Last Wife Standing when Henry VIII died.|
She stayed far away from Thomas Seymour.
She took time to look always pretty, never sexy - no need to constantly remind the King that flaccid is no fun.
She conversed with Henry at whatever level best suited his mood in the moment, and did so without becoming shrewish, ever.
She was a church-goer who wrote about her faith; the one time Henry called her out about her slightly extreme religious beliefs straying towards the side of treason, she backpedalled so charmingly the King pretty much said, "Good golly, Cath, I knew you were jk. Lmfao!"
|Catherine Parr's near-beheading experience.|
Catherine Parr was constant.
She was tender to Henry’s children both out of her own kindness and also, pragmatically, to strengthen her position with him.
When he was sick or depressed which was often and unpleasant, she sat with him.
When he wanted company during his legendary mealtimes, she sat with him.
When he was waspishly, peevishly tired, she sat with him. She walked the tightrope of being Henry's queen with grace and most important of all, to save her life, with balance.
Worth noting, though: a scant four months after Henry VIII’s death, she remarried.
No surprise there.
Did he or didn't love any or all of them?