Love and romance connected with Kent history ...
Catherine Howard was sadly the fifth wife in this reference …
Thomas Culpeper was a member of King Henry VIII’s inner circle of courtiers and had very intimate access to Henry, including helping him to dress.
Thomas was given possession of Faversham Abbey by King Henry VIII in about 1536. It’s unlikely that the Culpeper’s lived at the Abbey as they had a property outside Canterbury.
Recorded as being ‘a beautiful youth’ Thomas Culpeper was 26 and Catherine Howard was 17 at the time that Catherine was King Henry’s wife – between 1540 and 1541. Whilst in service to the king, Thomas is known to have had many private meetings with Catherine.
A letter to Thomas was found which had been written by the queen signed "Yours as long as life endures”. Culpeper denied adultery and claimed that he’d tried to end the friendship but that the Queen was “dying of love for him”. Eventually, Culpeper admitted to intending to sleep with the queen, although he never admitted to having actually done so. Both parties sadly met the same fate.
One of the legendary performers from the ‘Carry On’ series of films was Hattie Jacques - who was born at a house in the High Street, Sandgate, which is located next to Folkestone. She achieved great fame through her roles in these films and other film, radio, and television work.
Behind the scenes she had a rather troubled private life at times. In June 1947 she met John Le Mesurier, who later played Sergeant Wilson in Dad’s Army, and the two began a relationship. Le Mesurier was married but estranged from his wife. He and Hattie married when he received his divorce in 1949. They had two sons together.
In 1962 Hattie met John Schofield when he began work as her driver. They became romantically involved and she moved him into the family home. Husband John Le Mesurier moved into another room. This situation ended in 1963 when John Le Mesurier moved out and went on to remarry. Schofield later joined Hattie for work in Italy in 1966, started an affair with an Italian heiress and and ended his relationship with Hattie.
There were no further reported romances for Hattie after this period and the situation of these relationships were kept a secret until long after her death in 1980.
Benjamin Disraeli, writer and politician, became Prime Minister in 1868. He married on 28th August 1839 and spent his honeymoon in Tunbridge Wells at the Royal Kentish Hotel, London Road. His bride, Mary-Anne, was 12 years his senior, recently widowed and wealthy, due to inheriting her husband’s vast fortune. Benjamin was up to his ears in debt, facing ruin and unkind ‘friends’ claimed he was fortune hunter.
At that time the ‘debtors prison’ was the usual result for financial mismanagement but Disraeli was saved from this fate as, at that time, Members of Parliament were immune from arrest. Mary-Anne was the daughter of a sailor and whilst she had wealth from her first marriage, she lacked social standing and struggled to some extent with the social demands of Victorian society. However, she was quite an outspoken character at times!
It was certainly a lively, passionate love match by all accounts - lots of shouting rows mixed in with lots of fun and laughter. Mary-Anne is said to have told Queen Victoria that she always slept with her arms around Disraeli’s neck. He wrote of her that she was “the perfect wife”.
In 1868 Benjamin persuaded the Queen to give Mary-Anne a peerage in her own right and so, when the sailor’s daughter died four years later, she was with the title of Viscountess Beaconsfield.
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