From: Westminster Abbey

to: Lambeth Palace

DISTANCE: 0.7 miles


Henry viii's london

directions - leg 6

Turn left when the path comes to a head, along the side of Westminster Abbey.


When you get to the road (Abingdon Street) turn right and continue along that road as it becomes Millbank.


Keep going straight until you get to the roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout and cross Lambeth Bridge. At the other end of the bridge, take the second exit at the roundabout and stop at Lambeth Palace through the garden.


6th STOP - WHAt happened here?

Catherine Howard was Henry’s fifth wife. Thirty years his junior, she grew up right here. This is Lambeth Palace, the home of Catherine’s grandmother: an upbringing blamed for the future queen’s demise.

 As one of many children, Catherine was sent to live with her grandmother. Despite her powerful family connections (her uncle was the Duke of Norfolk), the family were not wealthy. Catherine lived in a dormitory with other young girls including servants and was not heavily supervised. 

Catherine had a number of love affairs as she lived in these lax surroundings and continued this loose behaviour at court when she got a job as a lady-in-waiting for Anne of Cleves. Meanwhile she caught the eye of the middle-aged King and on the 28th July 1540, just days after the annulment with Anne, the King married Catherine.


catherine howard 1523-1542

By this point, the King was terribly overweight, suffered from migraines and mood swings and had an ulcer in his leg from a jousting accident that caused him lots of pain. There were reports that he was often impotent. Though there were rumours, no pregnancy was announced.

From her upbringing here at Lambeth Palace, Catherine was young and silly and began an affair with Thomas Culpeper, a gentleman of the king’s Privy Chamber, who she’d had a relationship with when she first arrived at court. Though they kept it secret for some time, the truth finally came out, as more and more people who knew about Catherine’s previous indiscretions emerged.

Aged just 19 or 20, Catherine was beheaded for treason (adultery counted as treason). As she voyaged by boat from Syon Abbey to the Tower of London she would have seen the heads of her lovers on spikes at London Bridge.



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