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Tudor Minute September 19: RIP Katherine Willoughby

Today in 1580 Katherine Willougby died. We talked about her yesterday with her sons and the sweating sickness, but something else you may not have known about her is that she was the daughter of Maria de Salinas, one of Catherine of Aragon’s most loyal ladies in waiting, who came with her from Spain. Maria de Salinas married an Englishman, William Willougby, and when he died, their daughter Katherine became the ward of Charles Brandon. They had two sons, who died of the sweat, of course.

After Brandon died, she did something many women dreamt of. After the death of her sons, both students at Cambridge, within half an hour of each other, she tried to rebuild a new life. She married for love, to her gentleman usher and master of the horse, Richard Bertie. Both Katherine and her husband were staunch reformers, and Katherine herself was a part of the group of reforming women surrounding Katherine Parr when she was Henry VIII’s wife. Willoughby actually helped fund Katherine Parr’s book Lamentations of a Sinner. Katherine Willoughby had been a Marian exile during the reign of Mary I as she was such a staunch reformer, and she successfully avoided persecution for her beliefs by fleeing to the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth.

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.

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