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Tudor Minute July 18: RIP Kat Ashley

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for July 18.

Today in 1565 Kat Ashley died. Kat Ashley is remembered in popular culture as Elizabeth I’s governess, as well as her dear friend, almost like a mother figure to her after her own mother had died.

After Edward VI was born, Elizabeth lost her nurse, Lady Bryan, who was transferred to his household. Kat was appointed as a waiting gentlewoman to the then Lady Elizabeth in July 1536. In 1537, when Elizabeth was four, Katherine became her governess.

Kat was clearly well educated.  She taught Elizabeth astronomy, geography, history, mathematics, French, Flemish, Italian and Spanish. In addition, she taught Elizabeth pursuits such as needlework, embroidery, dancing, riding, and deportment. By the age of six, Elizabeth was able to sew a beautiful cambric shirt as a gift for Edward VI. Sources state that Kat accustomed Elizabeth to the “elaborate code of politeness and subservience to her elders”. Elizabeth herself praised Kat’s early devotion to her studies by stating that Kat took “great labour and pain in bringing of me up in learning and honesty”.

Kat Ashley died today, July 18.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.