Spotlight – Kat Ashley

Name: Kat Ashley / Katherine Ashley / Katherine Champernowne

Title/s: Lady Ashley

Birth / Death: c.1502 – c.1565

Spouse: Sir John Ashley 1507-1595 (m. 1545)

Children: None

Parents: Sir John Champernowne 1458-1503 & Margaret Courtenay c.1459-1504

Siblings: None

Noble Connections: Her niece, Joan Champernowne, married Sir Anthony Denny, a close confidante of Henry VIII. She became the governess of Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) and was her Chief Lady of the Bedchamber when Elizabeth became queen. Katherine married John Ashley, Elizabeth’s senior gentleman attendant, and a relation of Anne Boleyn.

Events of their Lifetime: Death of Henry VII and accession of Henry VIII 1509, marriage of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon 1509, birth of Mary I 1516, marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and birth of Elizabeth I 1533, execution of Anne Boleyn and marriage of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour 1536, birth of Edward VI 1537, death of Henry VIII and accession of Edward VI 1547, death of Edward VI and accession of Mary I 1553, death of Mary I and accession of Elizabeth I 1558.

Controversy: Did she encourage Princess Elizabeth to have a relationship with Thomas Seymour and did she promote their proposed marriage after the death of Katherine Parr?

Works of Fiction:
Karen Harper, ‘The Queen’s Governess’ (2010)
Alison Weir ‘The Lady Elizabeth’ (2008)

Portrayals on Screen:
Tara Fitzgerald, The Virgin Queen, 2006, 3 episodes
Maude Hirst, The Tudors, 2010, 7 episodes
Rachel Kempson, Elizabeth R, 1971, 2 episodes
Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth, 1998, directed by Shekar Kapur
Janis Winters, Elizabeth, 2000, directed by Steven Clarke

Further Reading:


Kat Ashley by an Unknown Artist in the Collection of Lord Hastings


Champernowne family arms

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