Katherine Grey

Father: Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk

Mother: Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk

Sisters: Jane & Mary Grey


right: Katherine Grey and her son, Edward, who was born in the Tower
Born in 1540, Katherine was considered to be the beauty of the family. She was married at thirteen to Lord Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, on 25 May (or 21 May)1553 in a double wedding ceremony with her sister, Jane. A formality only, the marriage was eventually dissolved by Pembroke when it was no longer advantageous to be associated with the Grey's.

Katherine was fourteen years old when her father and sister were executed. Mary made Katherine a Lady of her Bedchamber while, Elizabeth I kept Katherine and Mary on at Court in order to keep an eye on them. If Jane had been a rallying point for those eager to take the crown from Mary, the remaining Grey sisters must be watched closely. In her early twenties, Katherine enjoyed the company of Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, son of the late Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector during Edward VI's reign. Interestingly, Edward had at one time been considered as a husband for Lady Jane. The couple continued to meet in secret during 1560, helped by Hertford's sister, Lady Jane Seymour*.

In December the couple wed in secret. Afterwards they continued to meet secretly, knowing that Queen Elizabeth would never approve of their union. Shortly afterwards, Hertford was sent from Court to France. During his time abroad Katherine discovered she was pregnant. Fearing the Queen's reaction she chose to confide in Robert Dudley thinking his close friendship with Elizabeth would allow him to mitigate the Queen's reaction. Furious, Elizabeth recalled Hertford from France, imprisoning him and placing Katherine in the Tower.

Katherine gave birth to a son in 1561, naming him Edward, after his father. The Lieutenant of the Tower allowed Katherine and Edward to continue meeting. Katherine fell pregnant again and gave birth to another son, Thomas. Elizabeth responded harshly. Edward was banished with the elder child to his mother's house, under house arrest. Katherine spent the rest of her life under the guardianship of various families. The couple wrote numerous letters to the Queen, pleading to be allowed to live together, but they never met again. Katherine died, unhappy, of tuberculosis on 27 January 1568, aged twenty seven.

* Queen Jane Seymour, 3rd wife of Henry VIII, was Lord Hertford's aunt.

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