|He didn’t want to do it.
He adored her. Fifth time of trying, and he’d finally found “the one”.
A beautiful woman to dote on. To show off to the world. Who could bring him out of his blackest moods.
And even if the rumours about her love affairs were true (including the ones about the cousin, and the music teacher, and the secretary...)
That didn’t mean she had to die, did it?
“Couldn’t we just imprison her for life?”
“No Henry, we can’t.”
His 19 closest and most powerful advisors wanted her dead.
Because she stood for conservative Catholicism.
And his advisors were zealous reformers. Many of them secret Protestants too.
With Katherine executed, they could press on with their wild agenda.
Henry the Eighth gives in.
He retrieves six of her favourite jewels as keepsakes.
And then, against his better judgement, assents to Katherine Howard’s execution.
Her head rolls on February 13, 1542.
That’s one way of looking at Katherine's death...
Another is that Henry was a hot-headed, vengeful king with a penchant for bloody murder.
That’s the paradox of Henry the Eighth.
How much of what we "know" about him is the actual truth?
Was he really the bluff, chicken-leg-eating womaniser of the history books?
Was he far more complex?
It can feel almost impossible to get to the true essence of the man.
There is one way to get to the true Henry VIII.
But it’s a path open only to a select few.
You can become one of "the few" today.
By owning a rare relic such as the one I have for you below.
Because on Thursday March 3, 1513. In just the fifth year of his reign.
This document. For a few moments at least. Was the real Henry VIII.
Henry held this document. He read these words upon it. He thought about them. He gave them his approval. And then he picked up a quill pen. Dipped it in ink. And signed his name slowly, majestically, on the vellum.
Those bare facts alone make this piece a wonder. Such is the rarity of Henry VIII-signed documents on the private market. Such is their importance. Such is Henry’s importance to the history of the world.
Yet when you discover the detail of this item, its importance surges still further.