Katheryn has been dismissed for centuries as ‘wanton’, ‘no better than she should be’ or worse, but in many ways, her story is the saddest of them all. She was a young girl – probably about twenty, although possibly a little younger – without the experience of court life that her predecessors had had, with limited formal education, and with a ready-made range of enemies, who would have plotted against any Howard queen.
It is hard to believe that anyone could be so naïve or foolhardy as to take the risks that Katheryn did to meet Culpepper, yet she never denied the assignations – swearing only that the couple had done no more than talk. What motivated her? Is there more to her story than we have previously considered?