Saturday, February 5, 2011
February 13, 1542, Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, was executed for adultery. Catherine had been a bridesmaid in Henry's politically-motivated wedding to Anne of Cleves, at which time the young woman caught the king's eye. Henry had his loveless marriage to Anne annulled and less than three weeks later married Catherine in a private ceremony. A year or so later Catherine's past relationships came to light, and there was even some gossip that she had committed adultery with her secretary Francis Dereham after her marriage. Henry was incensed and had Parliament pass a bill of attainder that declared it treason for an "unchaste" woman to marry the king. He then had Catherine beheaded in the Tower of London. 1575 Henry III of France was crowned at Rheims and married Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont on the same day. 1633 Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition. 1554 Lady Jane Grey, England's Nine Day Queen, was executed for treason.