Catherine Grey

Catherine Grey

Leicester, Leicester Unitary Authority, Leicestershire, England
Death 26 Jan 1568 (aged 27)
Cockfield, Babergh District, Suffolk, England
Burial Salisbury, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England
Memorial ID 48364122 · View Source
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English Royalty. The Countess of Hertford, she was the second surviving daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and his wife Lady Frances Brandon. She was a great niece of King Henry VIII and therefore a legitimate claimant to the English throne. Her older sister Lady Jane Dudley, after being put on the throne for nine days in 1553, was executed in 1554 at the order of Queen Mary. Her father was also executed, for leading a revolt against Mary. Despite this, the remaining Grey family (including Catherine's younger sister Lady Mary Grey) enjoyed high favor in Queen Mary's court. Upon Queen Elizabeth's accession in 1558, Catherine was viewed as the potential heir, and there was talk of the possibility of Elizabeth adopting her. Catherine was married to Henry Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, on 21 May 1553 at the age of 13, the same day her older sister married Guildford Dudley. As her sister's short reign was ending in disaster, Herbert annulled the marriage in an effort to distance himself from the political pandemonium. She then fell in love with Edward Seymour, the 1st Earl of Hertford and brother of her good friend Jane Seymour. The couple were secretly married in December of 1560. This earned the couple the permanent enmity of the queen. Not only had Catherine and Edward married without permission, but the unmarried Elizabeth's throne was endangered should Catherine have sons. As the queen feared, Catherine gave birth to a son, Edward Lord Beauchamp, in 1561. Catherine and Edward were imprisoned in the Tower of London, where lax security led to a second pregnancy followed by the birth of another son, Thomas, in 1563. The enraged Elizabeth separated the couple and their children (Edward went with his father, Thomas with Catherine) and sent them into house arrest at various homes around the country. Catherine would never see her husband or eldest son again. She died at Cockfield Hall in Suffolk at the age of 27. It is generally accepted that she died of consumption, but some stories say that the miserably unhappy Catherine starved herself to death. Even after Catherine's death, the queen refused to forgive her and her sons were declared illegitimate.

Bio by: Kristen Conrad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 19 Feb 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 48364122
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Catherine Grey (25 Aug 1540–26 Jan 1568), Find A Grave Memorial no. 48364122, citing Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .