Jessica Raine Discusses Her Role As Catherine Parr On Becoming Elizabeth


Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s final wife, has had her life and achievements condensed into a nursery rhyme — Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. — which recognizes her most notable accomplishment as outliving England’s notoriously ruthless monarch.

On Becoming Elizabeth, we get to explore more of Catherine’s life, going beyond the one-word name that has come to characterize her.

Actress Jessica Raine who portrays her character says.

She’s very much reduced to the rhyme of the one that survived. And she’s got this really rich history that I was completely unaware of. She was married twice before she married Henry VIII. So, she’s been in three loveless marriages. She is the first woman to have an original work published in England, ever. Henry VIII trusted her to hold the fort while he went away to fight. You get the sense that she’s got so much more to offer than just being the wife that survived.

But Christine Parr’s life is possibly most complicated when she frequently vanishes from history books, namely after Henry’s death.

This period that you pick up on in the series is another really rich part of her history that we’re just completely unaware of. She’s released from this marriage, and can finally get together with her lover. Because her and Thomas Seymour were together before Henry plucked her from court and decided that she was going to be his wife. It’s this love that’s really deep and has a lot of history. She can finally have a life where she’s the queen and she’s got someone that she loves by her side who listens to her.

Raine expresses her excitement for fans to encounter a Catherine Parr they may not be familiar with. Because of the way our history books are written, we reduce women to a single word and write chapters on Henry VIII.

Becoming Elizabeth is available to watch on Starz.