Catherine Parr

Henry VIII‘s sixth and final marriage was also one of his longest, lasting five years. Catherine was closer in age to Henry and twice widowed when they married. She proved herself extremely capable as acting Regent when Henry was on the battlefield in Boulogne and was a much-loved stepmother to the King’s three children. Her kind and patient nature was also in evidenced in her care for the King, whose ulcerated leg was a source of constant pain and discomfort. Despite such qualities, she was not universally liked at court. She came close to being tried for treason when her enemies, notably Bishop Gardiner, attempted to prove that she was a committed Protestant. Henry also had his suspicions about her beliefs but she managed to convince him that she was loyal to the King and his church and the charges did not proceed. Gardiner, on the other hand, was dismissed. After Henry’s death she married Prince Edward’s uncle Thomas Seymour, but died in childbirth soon after.