The Coffin of Queen Katherine Parr

katherine parr, 6th wife of king henry viii of england
(b.1512, d.1548)


Queen Katherine Parr remarried after her husband Henry VIII died on January 28th, 1547. Unfortunately her new marriage with Baron Seymour of Sudeley didn't last long: Katherine died in childbirth on September 5th, 1548.  

In 1782 a certain John Lucas discovered the coffin of Queen Katherine at the ruins of the Sudeley Castle chapel. This gentleman opened the coffin and observed that the body, after 234 years, was in a surprisingly good condition. Reportedly the flesh on one of her arms was still white and moist. After taking a few locks of hair he closed the coffin and returned it to the grave.  

The coffin was opened a few more times in the next ten years and in 1792 some drunken men buried it upside down and in a rough way. When finally the coffin was officially opened in 1817, nothing but a skeleton remained. It was moved to the tomb of Lord Chandos (his family owned the castle at that time).  

In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir John Scott and an altar-tomb was erected for Queen Katherine. 

Anthony Martienssen, Queen Katherine Parr, Sphere Books, London, 1975 

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