success as queen and stepmother was very important for the royal children.
She helped restore Mary and Elizabeth to the succession and gave direction
to the education of Edward. As regent of a country at war in 1544, she was
able and energetic. But she also well aware that she was Henry’s wife. Indulging
her love of fine clothes, jewels, music and the arts, she also made sure
that her bedchamber was an enticing place for her husband and that she stayed
close to him. At the same time, the intellectual side of Katherine Parr
found its outlet in religious writings – she was the first queen of England
to be published – an activity that Henry did not appreciate. His irritation,
combined with increasing ill-health and the political machinations of Katherine’s
opponents, threatened her life in 1546.
survived but Henry did not nominate her as regent for Edward VI. Disappointed,
but, equally, liberated, she turned again to Thomas Seymour. Seymour, a
charismatic, larger than life figure, was a difficult husband. But he has
been so vilified by history that his reputation merits re-examination. Four
times a wife, caring stepmother, an avid patron of portrait painting and
Venetian singers,celebrated author, the red-headed and feisty Katherine
Parr was the most able and endearing of all the wives of Henry VIII. Set
amidst the lusts, intrigue and violence of a turbulent age, Katherine the
Queen paints a memorable portrait of a dramatic life.