Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Birth of Katherine Willoughby

A sketch by Holbein, identified as Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, dated between 1534-36. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.

On this day in 1519, Katherine Willoughby, eventual Duchess of Suffolk, was born to Baron William Willoughby and his Spanish wife, Maria de Salinas. As the only surviving child of the couple, Katherine was a wealthy heiress who became 12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby in her own right.

Katherine Willoughby was an extraordinary woman who used her education and position to promote religious reform in England. Her beliefs and actions made her a target of the Marian government, and she and her second husband and their household fled abroad, only returning upon the accession of the Protestant Elizabeth Tudor.

To learn about the accomplishments of this fearless early-modern woman, please read our BeingBess article about her life.