Catherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham

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File:English School Portrait of a Lady 1595-1606.png
Portrait believed to be of Catherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham, attributed to Robert Peake the Elder and his studio, c. 1597.

Catherine or Katherine Howard (née Carey), Countess of Nottingham (c. 1547 – London, 25 February 1603) was a cousin, lady-in-waiting, and close confidante of Elizabeth I of England. She was in attendance on the queen for 44 years.


Catherine Carey was the eldest daughter of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon and his wife Anne Morgan, daughter of Sir Thomas Morgan and Anne Whitney. Hunsdon was Queen Elizabeth's cousin, being the son of Mary Boleyn, and court gossip hinted at a closer connection, since Mary had been the mistress of Henry VIII. Catherine may have joined Elizabeth's household at Hatfield House as a child during the reign of Elizabeth's elder sister Mary. On Elizabeth's accession, Catherine and her younger sister Philadelphia came to court as maids of honour under the auspices of their aunt, Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys, the queen's first cousin and a Lady of the Bedchamber.[1][2]

In July 1563, Catherine married Charles Howard (1536–1624), later 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England, and first Earl of Nottingham (1597).[3]

Catherine Howard was appointed First Lady of the Bedchamber by 1572.[4] Her daughter Elizabeth, the queen's goddaughter, was a maid of honour from 1576 until 1583, the year of her marriage. Her daughter Frances, dowager Countess of Kildare, and granddaughter Elizabeth Southwell joined her in the queen's inner circle in the 1590s. Her health began to decline in 1601, and she died at Arundel House on 25 February 1603, mere weeks before the death of the queen she had served for 45 years. She was buried at Chelsea Old Church on 25 April 1603.[5]


The Earl and Countess of Nottingham had five children:


  1. Somerset (1984), p. 61
  2. Weiss (2012), p. 32
  3. Weiss (2012), p. 34
  4. Weiss (2012), p. 35
  5. Weiss (2012), pp. 36, 40
  6. Weiss (2012), p. 44
  7. Weiss (2012), p. 40