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Catherine Grey

From Academic Kids

Lady Catherine Grey (sometimes spelled "Katherine") (~1539 - January 1568), Countess of Hertford, was the second daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Lady Frances Brandon. She was a younger sister of Lady Jane Grey and an older sister of Lady Mary Grey.

Her maternal grandparents were Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Mary Tudor, former Queen consort of France. Mary being a daughter of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. She was also a younger sister of Henry VIII of England.

Her older sister was the designated heir of Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII by his third Queen consort Jane Seymour. Edward VI died on July 6, 1553 and Jane was proclaimed Queen regnant on July 10. However Edward VI had removed his older half-sisters Mary I of England , daughter of Henry VIII by his first Queen consort Catherine of Aragon, and Elizabeth I of England, daughter of Henry VIII by his second Queen consort Anne Boleyn, from the line of succession.

Jane was deposed in favor of Mary on July 19, 1553. The deposed Queen was executed on February 12, 1554. Mary continued to reign until her natural death on November 17, 1558. She was also the first Queen consort of Philip II of Spain. Mary died childless and was succeeded by her younger half-sister Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was herself unwed and childless. The matter of her succession would bring Catherine Grey to relative prominence. As a grand-daughter of Mary Tudor, Catherine had just as valid a claim to the throne of England as her older sister had. She could claim to be next-in-line for the throne and was therefore as significant a threat to Queen Elizabeth as Jane had been to Queen Mary.

In 1560, Lady Catherine secretly married Edward Seymour, 2nd Earl of Hertford, the son of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and nephew of deceased Queen consort Jane Seymour. Her cousin marrying anyone without her permission would be enough to anger Queen Elizabeth. Catherine marrying the nephew of the woman Henry VIII had executed Anne Boleyn to marry, resulted in pushing Elizabeth into a full-blown fury. She imprisoned, for a time, everyone who had anything to do with it, including Bess of Hardwick, who was the one Lady Catherine confessed to when she became pregnant and knew the secret was about to come out.

The marriage was annulled in 1562 but resulted in two children:

It was this Edward Seymour whose son William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, got into trouble by his secret marriage to Arbella Stuart, another cousin with an attenuated claim to the throne of England.

Catherine Grey died in January, 1568. Elizabeth I would continue to reign until her death on March 24, 1603.

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