Haunted Hampton Court Palace


Katherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry Viii, was beheaded for treason and adultery at the Tower of London. She now spends eternity running down the gallery screaming for Henry as she was being chased down and arrested.

She was born somewhere between 1518 and 1524. The exact date is unknown. She was born into an aristocratic family. Her father was the younger brother of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and her cousin was none other than Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife.

When Katherine was around aged 10 to 12, her mother died and they sent Katherine off to her step-grandmother, Agnes, the dowager duchess of Norfolk’s home. Katherine had grown up with a dominant mother and a hen-pecked father. She was both pampered by her father and controlled by her mother. At the dowager duchess’s, she found herself in a room that looked more like a room set up in an orphanage. She was in a room with several other girls, and they had little to no supervision. Because of this, Katherine and her friends were a tad bit wild.

The relationship between Katherine and Henry Mannox (her music teacher) was put to an end by the Duchess. Katherine was approximately 15 years old. Later, both would say that their relationship had never been consummated. That same year, Katherine had a love relationship with Francis Dereham. They referred to each other as husband and wife, even though they were never legally or religiously married. They put their relationship on hold when Francis headed over to Ireland to make his fortune before coming back to her. Unfortunately for Francis, Katherine’s father died, and they moved her into the custody of her uncle Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk.

Her uncle then arranged for her to become a lady-in-waiting for Anne of Cleves, the king’s current wife. A wife that Henry Viii wanted to get rid of, but her being a princess from another land, he couldn’t do to Anne of Cleves what he had done to Anne Boleyn. This is where Henry, who was over 30 years older than Katherine, took notice of her. 

Anne of Cleves, in fear for her life, agreed to her marriage being annulled, but as an intelligent woman, she made sure her parting package included her own Castle, lands, and income. 

Nineteen days after the annulment, on a hot summer day, Henry married the sixteen-year-old Katherine Howard.

By the time winter came around, not only had Katherine become the queen, but it also put her into the same social circle as her cousin and eventual lover, the charming Thomas Culpepper.

Spring came in with a rush of rumors circulating around the court about Katherine and Culpepper. This prompts Thomas Cranmer to investigate and over the summer months, he builds a case against her. 

November came and Cramner used every piece of information available to inform the king about Katherine’s past, with Maddox, Dereham, and currently Culpepper.

By the end of the month, they have stripped Katherine of her Queenship and sent off to Syon Abbey. Katherine would never see her husband again. It was then that Katherine ran through the gallery screaming for Henry. A sight that would repeat every year in the gallery. Katherine’s screaming ghost would terrify anyone who heard her.

They executed Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham at Tyburn that December. They executed Francis by hanging, drawing, and quartering him. Thomas, a favorite of the king, got off with a simple beheading.

They convicted Katherine with the law of attainer in January. So they convicted her without a trial. Henry didn’t want to repeat the trials of both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.

On Friday, February 10th, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, took Katherine to the Tower of London to await her execution. She requested they bring the block into her room on the evening of the 12th so she could practice putting her head on it.

The next morning, along with Jane Boleyn, the lady Rochford, and Anne’s sister-in-law, Katherine lost her head. She was somewhere between 18 and 20 years old.

Henry spent the next day out hunting and celebrating St. Valentine’s day.

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