Thomas Culpeper was Henry’s favorite courtier at the time. I take that as an indication that he was charming, but people generally like those who are similar to themselves, and Henry was crazy as a bedbug, so maybe Thomas was just odd. I don’t know! But Catherine was supposedly infatuated with him since she had first seen him at court, two years before she married Henry.
I cannot find a picture of him. I think we should assume he was good looking.
He and Catherine soon began sleeping together. Their rendezvous were arranged by Lady Rochford, the widow of George Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s brother.
Why, why, why would Lady Rochford have thought this was a good idea? She must have known what Henry did to Queens who even maybe cheated on him, let alone those who definitely did. She must not have liked Catherine all that much.
Still, this might have worked out (by worked out I mean “nobody had to die”) if Catherine had not written Culpeper a letter. She did. It ran:
I heartily recommend me unto you, praying you to send me word how that you do. It was showed me that you was sick, the which thing troubled me very much till such time that I hear from you praying you to send me word how that you do, for I never longed so much for a thing as I do to see you and to speak with you, the which I trust shall be shortly now. That which doth comfortly me very much when I think of it, and when I think again that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company. It my trust is always in you that you will be as you have promised me, and in that hope I trust upon still, praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford is here for then I shall be best at leisure to be at your commandment, thanking you for that you have promised me to be so good unto that poor fellow my man which is one of the griefs that I do feel to depart from him for then I do know no one that I dare trust to send to you, and therefore I pray you take him to be with you that I may sometime hear from you one thing. I pray you to give me a horse for my man for I had much ado to get one and therefore I pray send me one by him and in so doing I am as I said afor, and thus I take my leave of you, trusting to see you shortly again and I would you was with me now that you might see what pain I take in writing to you.
Yours as long as life endures,
One thing I had forgotten and that is to instruct my man to tarry here with me still for he says whatsomever you bid him he will do it.”
Her disjointed, fragmented letter, which reads like one of Lorelei Lee’s diary entries in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, seems to stand in such a contrast to Anne’s eloquent style that you can’t help remembering that she was just a teenager.
That was not enough to save her.