1540 (25th August)
Lady Katherine Grey, was born to Frances Brandon
, daughter of Henry VIII’s
and Henry Grey
, Duke of Suffolk, at Bradgate Park, Leicester, England. She was the couple’s second child, her elder sister, Jane
, had been born in 1537.
1544 (7th February)
Act of Succession
A new Act of Succession stipulated that Prince Edward
should succeed King Henry VIII to the throne with any children from Henry’s present marriage being next in line. Lady Mary
and Lady Elizabeth
were next in line to the throne.
Katherine’s sister, Mary, was born to Frances Brandon and Henry Grey.
1547 (23rd January)
Henry VIII was sick and believed to be dying. He declared that Edward Seymour
should be head of a regency council to govern until Prince Edward reached his majority.
1547 (28th January)
Henry VIII died at Whitehall Palace in the early hours of the morning. He was succeeded by his son as King Edward VI. Edward’s maternal uncle, Edward Seymour declared himself ‘Protector of all the Realm and Dominions of the King’s Majesty’.
1547 (20th February)
Edward was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. After the ceremony a banquet was held in Westminster Hall.
Edward’s stepmother, Katherine Parr
, secretly married Edward’s uncle, Thomas Seymour
. Although Katherine was in love with Seymour it is likely that he married for power rather than love.
Katherine’s elder sister, Jane, became a member of Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour’s household.
Thomas Seymour was arrested after he tried to abduct the King. He was found guilty. Jane returned to her parents’ home.
1549 (10th March)
Thomas Seymour was executed.
1549 (26th November)
Katherine and her sisters, Jane and Mary, were taken to visit Lady Mary Tudor at Beaulieu.
, Earl of Warwick became leader of the Council.
John Dudley became Duke of Northumberland.
Katherine’s father was created Duke of Suffolk. As a duke he was a member of the royal court.
King Edward was taken ill with smallpox. He survived but was weakened by the disease.
Edward was taken ill again and it became clear that he was dying.
1553 (25th May)
In a triple wedding ceremony held at Durham House, Katherine married Henry Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke; her sister Jane married Guildford Dudley
, son of the Duke of Northumberland, and Guildford’s sister Katherine married Henry Hastings. After the ceremony, Katherine went to live with the Herbert family at Baynard’s Castle. However, Henry’s father ordered that the marriage was not to be consummated. He is likely to have said this so that the marriage could be easily annulled if the Grey family fell from favour after the death of Edward.
Devise for the Succession
Edward opposed the succession of either of his half-sisters due to their illegitimacy and Mary’s
Catholicism. This document passed the succession to Katherine’s sister, Jane Grey, in the event of of there being no legitimate male heir on his death.
1553 (15th June)
Edward summoned his leading councillors and made them sign a declaration to uphold the Devise for the Succession on his death.
1553 (6th July)
King Edward VI died.
1553 (10th July)
Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England. She and her husband Guildford Dudley entered the Tower of London to await the coronation. However, Jane declared that she would not allow Guildford to be King and that he would be given the title Duke of Clarence. Guildford was angry and isolated himself from Jane.
1553 (10th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, sent a letter to the Council saying that by the terms of the Act of Succession of 1544 she was now queen. She called for their obedience and loyalty.
1553 (11th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, left Hunsdon and rode to East Anglia where she called for support.
1553 (14th July)
The Duke of Northumberland left London at the head of a force to capture Mary Tudor. However, after he had left London the Privy Council, seeing that popular support was for Mary, decided to support Mary’s claim.
1553 (19th July)
Mary Tudor, was proclaimed Queen.
1553 (19th July)
Jane and her husband were arrested and charged with treason. Jane was imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler’s Quarters of the Tower of London while her husband, Guildford was imprisoned in the Bell tower.
The Earl of Pembroke wanted to distance his family from the Grey family and Katherine was sent home to her parents. As Katherine’s marriage had not been consummated, the Earl of Pembroke requested that it be annulled.
1553 (22nd August)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was executed.
1553 (13th November)
Katherine’s sister, Jane was tried for high treason. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. The date of her execution was not set because Mary believed that she and her husband were innocent parties in a plot by Northumberland to take control of the throne and she remained imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler’s Quarters of the Tower of London.
Thomas Wyatt organised a rebellion against Catholic Mary’s plans to marry King Philip of Spain. Katherine’s father, Henry Grey joined the rebellion. It was suppressed but Mary decided she had no choice but to execute Jane and Guildford Dudley to prevent them becoming a focus for further anti-Catholic rebellions.
1554 (12th February)
Jane Grey was beheaded within the walls of the Tower of London.
1554 (23rd February)
Katherine’s father, Henry Grey, was executed by beheading.
1554 (9th March)
Katherine’s mother, Frances Brandon, married Adrian Stokes, her Master of the Horse.
Katherine’s mother, Frances Brandon, was made a member of Queen Mary’s household. Katherine and her sister, Mary joined her at court.
Katherine became good friends with Jane Seymour, daughter of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset.
Katherine spent time with the Seymour family. While there she fell in love with Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford.
1558 (17th November)
Queen Mary I died. She was succeeded by her half sister, Elizabeth I. Elizabeth was not married and had no intention of marrying. Next in line to the succession were Mary Queen of Scots and Katherine Grey.
1559 (20th November)
Katherine’s mother died at Charterhouse in London. She was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Katherine and Edward Seymour were married by a local clergyman. Jane Seymour was the only witness. The wedding was kept a secret since they had not asked the Queen’s permission to marry.
Katherine’s close friend and sister-in-law, Jane Seymour, died.
Queen Elizabeth I sent Edward Seymour on a mission to Europe. Shortly after he left Katherine discovered she was pregnant.
Katherine was having difficulty hiding her pregnancy. She spoke to Robert Dudley, the Queen’s favourite, begging him to speak to Elizabeth for her. Elizabeth was furious and sent Katherine to the Tower of London.
1561 (5th September)
Edward Seymour, who had been ordered to return to England, was sent to the Tower of London.
1561 (21st September)
A son, Edward, was born to Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour in the Tower of London.
1562 (10th May)
Under questioning from the council, neither Katherine nor Edward had been able to provide evidence that they had actually married. The only witness, Jane Seymour was dead and the priest could not be found. With no evidence, it was declared that they had never been married. However, they remained in the Tower on charges of having sexual relations outside of marriage.
1562 (10th May)
Under questioning from the council, neither Katherine nor Edward had been able to provide evidence that they had actually married. With no evidence it was declared that they had never been married. However, they remained in the Tower on charges of having sexual relations outside of marriage.
Although they were imprisoned separately, the Lieutenant of the Tower had allowed the young couple to meet. Katherine soon discovered she was pregnant again.
A son, Thomas, was born to Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour in the Tower of London.
When Elizabeth I heard about the birth of a second child, she was furious and fined Edward £3000.
There was an outbreak of plague in London. Elizabeth ordered that Edward Seymour and his eldest son be sent to live with his mother at Hanworth. Katherine and her youngest son, Thomas, were sent to her uncle, John Grey. Although not imprisoned they were both considered under house arrest.
1564 (19th November)
Katherine’s uncle, John Grey, died. She was placed in the custody of William Petre.
Katherine was moved and placed in the custody of Sir John Wentworth in Essex.
1567 (late September)
John Wentworth died and Katherine was moved to the custody of Sir Owen Hopton.
It became clear that Katherine was very ill. She had repeatedly petitioned Queen Elizabeth to allow her to be reunited with her husband and eldest son, but her pleas were ignored.
1568 (26th January)
Katherine Grey died.
The clergyman that had married Katherine and Edward was finally found and a court pronounced the marriage legal.