The Six Wives of Henry VIII Series (1970) Review – Catherine Howard Episode

The episode starts with Catherine Howard getting out of her bed and looking out of the window, as if she is expecting someone. Her friend/roommate then asks what she is doing and if she can see anything. Catherine keeps saying she sees nothing but thought she heard someone calling her name. She says about a man that loved her and stayed in her bed with her. Catherine won’t say his name as she promised never to say. Once again, it is good to see this part of things at usually you only see when Catherine first comes to court. Soon Lady Rochford comes in and says that her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, is coming to see her and she is escorted away. I am not sure why Jane Boleyn (Lady Rochford) is there as I have heard of her being there before.

Catherine is told by Norfolk that the King no longer likes the Queen and that Cromwell’s position is unstable. Norfolk tells her bluntly that she should be queen next and she seems happy about it. Quickly, he asks if there are any men who have been after her and the names Henry Mannox and Francis Dereham come up. So far, this seems to be historically accurate and, with her moment of thinking about Anne Boleyn, seems to show what Catherine may have been feeling.

When she gets back to her room, her friend keeps talking about the man who visited Catherine. Catherine quickly threatens her, knowing that the King cannot hear about that, and tells her not to say a word to anyone.

In the next scene, Norfolk tries to convince Henry that he needs another queen. He says that Cromwell made him marry Anne of Cleves and that he needs to marry next for love. He mentions Catherine Howard and that she is 17. We do not actually know what Catherine’s age was as they didn’t record her birth date, she could have been anything from 17 to 21 when she died.

Catherine and Henry soon meet, just as he is getting the wound from his leg drained. He tells her how kind she is to ‘visit an old sick man’ and she responds my flattering him, telling him that her uncle is older than him yet her uncle isn’t old. She keeps flattering him and he eventually smiles and acts happy, saying how he used to be when he was younger. In the end, Catherine helps with his wound. This is wrong as it was Catherine Parr that helped him with his leg, the young Catherine Howard certainly wouldn’t have and then probably wouldn’t know what to do.

Cromwell is soon taken to the Tower of London and executed, Jane Boleyn first comments on his fate and then soon the Duke of Norfolk is reading his letter to the King. The King isn’t concerned about Cromwell, all he is thinking about is his ‘rose without a thorn’.

When it is time for Catherine and Henry to consummate their marriage, she spots one of the King’s servants. Henry only quickly asks him to go and says his name, obviously it is Thomas Culpepper. Culpepper and Norfolk talk about the Queen, Culpepper says how young she is. He says that when she is in her twenties she will still be too young for the King.

It is revealed that they did not consummate the marriage. Catherine seems quite happy anyway and cheers him up. She mentions how alive he has been recently, which we know he was in real life too. While he was with Catherine, he acted like a different many for quite a while. When Jane Boleyn visits her, Catherine suddenly stops being happy and bursts into tears. She says that he has no grace anymore and that underneath his clothes he is ugly, she had originally imagined a real King underneath his clothes.

Soon, Francis Dereham arrives and visits the Queen. She says how he has changed and is no longer attractive, this is her old lover but she can’t tell the King. She asks him to keep quiet but he blackmails her. He convinces Catherine to make him her private secretary in exchange for his silence.

Catherine soon has to tend to the King against after he has a fall. Henry VIII fell because of jousting accidents back when he was younger but had to give it up when he was older. However, he felt younger with his new Queen and was being careless but I do not remember him having a fall while he was with Catherine Howard.

Francis Dereham doesn’t keep his silence and instead tells Thomas Culpepper. Culpepper stands up for the Queen and even threatens to cut off Dereham’s lips. It is obviously that he already cares for her. Norfolk quickly hears of this and figures out that Catherine had been with other men. He says that she had to be careful and if he has to find out she has to have given him a son already, so that he cannot get rid of her. However, Catherine admits to him that the King is impotent and so she can’t give him a son. We do not know if the King was impotent by this time or not, but it is very likely.

Catherine later on tells Culpepper that the King worships her but she wants more than that. They end up kissing and Jane sees them but isn’t surprised by it. Catherine just says how she has been cheered up now and keeps thinking about Culpepper.

Quickly, we hear that Jane is helping Catherine and Culpepper meet at night. All that Norfolk cares about is himself and he says that if she is going to bring herself down then she mustn’t bring them down with her. It all moves fast after this, Francis Dereham is interrogated as well as the ladies at the house Catherine stayed at.

Next, Norfolk tells the King that the Queen has been unfaithful. In this, he is doing this to save himself and the King is generally upset. This is true in real life, the King was upset when he found out about Catherine.

Jane Boleyn and Catherine Howard are soon arrested and are taken to the Tower, just like Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper. Dereham seems to know his fate of a traitor and how unfair it is. Dereham didn’t know the Catherine would end up marrying the King, whereas Culpepper knew she was the Queen.

I did like this episode but I do think that the affair with Culpepper wasn’t shown enough. Other than that, I have no problems with it and I think the actress played Catherine well.

Rating: 4.5/5



My edit of the Catherine Howard episode.


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