Eventually, Seymour’s Scandalous Behavior Forced His Hitherto Complicit Wife to Put Her Foot Down
In the summer of 1548, when Thomas Seymour was away, Katherine Parr asked Elizabeth to arrange the delivery of a letter to him. Before she handed the letter to a messenger, Elizabeth took the opportunity to write on the outside, in Latin, “thou, touch me not“. She then scratched it out, and replaced it with “Let him not touch me“. It spoke volumes of her desperation. She was in a helpless situation, in the clutches of a predator whom she wanted to warn off, yet was too frightened to challenge or confront directly. Things came to a head on June 11th, 1548, when Parr found her husband and stepdaughter alone in a room, in a tight embrace. She hit the roof. As a household servant put it: “they were all alone, he having her in his arms, wherefore the queen fell out” with Thomas Seymour and her stepdaughter.
Parr finally decided to act. She packed off the by-then fourteen-year-old Elizabeth, and sent her away to go and live with the family of Kat Ashley, the princess’ governess. Parr died soon thereafter, and shortly after his wife was buried, Seymour went back to creeping on Elizabeth. When she moved into and set up her own household at Hatfield House, Seymour sent his nephew, John, to help her move and settle into the new place. However, Seymour being Seymour, there had to be a creepy angle. Sure enough, Seymour wanted his nephew to find out whether Elizabeth’s butt had filled out, and instructed him to ask: “whether her great buttocks were grown any less or no“.