‘Britain’s Great Cathedrals’ is a Channel 5 series presented by Tony Robinson. The third programme looked at Salisbury Cathedral, which is the final resting place of Lady Katherine Grey.
‘One royal never escaped Salisbury Cathedral, she is still here 400 years later, lying next to her husband. Players in a tragic love story.
A lot of people will have heard of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for just nine days but not so many will have heard of her sister Katherine, who is buried here and who’s story is just as remarkable.
Katherine was first in line to the throne on 3 separate occasions. Although unlike her ill-fated sister, she was never crowned. But the story of the two sisters reveals so much about the intrigues that took place in the Tudor court.
Katherine first became heir to the throne when her teenage sister Jane was made Queen in 1553. But Jane was quickly ousted by Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII, who imprisoned her in the Tower and then ordered her execution.
Although she was known as ‘Bloody Mary’ she may have had a softer side because she seems to have taken to Jane’s sister, Katherine and because she had no children of her own, considered Katherine to be next in line for the throne, for the second time.
But once again, it wasn’t to be. Bloody Mary died at the age of 42 and on her death bed, she recognised her half-sister Elizabeth, as the rightful heir to the throne.
Elizabeth remained unmarried and childless throughout her reign. So the question was, who would succeed her on her death?
Elizabeth looked to her younger cousin, who happened to be Lady Katherine Grey. So, for the third time Katherine was considered heir to the throne.
But then everything changed, Katherine fell in love with a noble called Edward Seymour. She became pregnant and they married in secret.
When Elizabeth found out, she flew into a rage, accusing Katherine of marrying without her consent. She banished Edward overseas and ordered Katherine to be locked in the Tower, where she gave birth to a son.
Edward later returned to England and was also imprisoned in the Tower. Despite being behind bars, the couple managed to reunite and Katherine soon fell pregnant again. When Queen Elizabeth heard the news, she was angrier than ever.
After annulling the marriage, which meant that neither of the children could ever lay claim to the throne, she ordered Edward never to see Lady Katherine ever again.
Although released from the Tower, Katherine was placed under house arrest. She never saw Edward again and died five years later, aged just 27. Officially she died from TB but many believe it was from a broken heart.
Her body was brought to Salisbury Cathedral to lie alongside her husband.
Here, Katherine was reunited with Edward. The love of her life, the man she had sacrificed everything for. Her body lies slightly higher than his in recognition of her royal status.’