Katherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, and sometimes known by his reference to her as his "rose without a thorn." Katherine married Henry VIII on 28 July 1540, at Oatlands Palace in Surrey, almost immediately after the annulment of his marriage to Anne of Cleves and the execution of Thomas Cromwell. As there is no record of her birth, Katherine's age and place of birth remain unknown though she is understood to have been substantially younger than the King when they married. She was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard, a younger son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, which made her a first cousin of the King's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Katherine was famously beheaded after less than two years of marriage to Henry on the grounds of a scandalous treason, in her case: adultery committed while married to the King. Katherine Howard, along with her lover Thomas Culpepper, the King's groom, and her former lover and secretary Francis Dereham, were all executed after knowledge of their liaisons spread.
Tamzin Merchant was born in the UK, but spent part of her childhood in Dubai. She attended Windlesham School and Brighton College and had been planning to study at Nottingham University when she was cast as 'Georgina Darcy' in Joe Wright's film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (2005).
She deferred entry to university to work on TV projects in the UK and in the summer of 2007, filmed a role in the American ensemble drama Radio Cape Cod. Recent credits include Barbarian Princess (2009). In addition to acting, she has contributed poetry to Platforms magazine — an online arts magazine. After twice deferring university places to concentrate on her acting career, Merchant is now a student at Cambridge University.