Thomas Culpepper first found his way to the royal court under the patronage of Arthur, Viscount Lisle, the Lord Deputy of the English settlement at Calais, around the year 1535 during Anne Boleyn's time but only came to prominence after 1537. He advanced quickly in the king's affections. He was distantly related to the Howard family. He became a great favourite of King Henry VIII and one of his most trusted attendants. He was part of the group of privileged dignitaries who greeted Henry's German bride Anne of Cleves.
Culpepper was certainly aggressive in seeking a relationship with the new queen Katherine Howard and the two were meeting secretly in 1541, including during the Northern Progress. In October of that year, Katherine's pre-marital liaisons with two men had come to the attention of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, through John Lascelles brother of Mary Hall who had served at Lambeth for Agnes Tilney, dowager Duchess of Norfolk, who then informed Henry VIII. The Council then interrogated several of Katherine's maids (Joan Bulmer etc) and a former lover Francis Dereham.
Ambassador Marillac heard that 'Dereham to show his innocence [under torture most likely] said that Culpepper had succeeded him in the Queen's affections'. Culpepper tried to save himself by arguing that he had met with Katherine only because the young queen was 'dying of love for him', and would not let him end the relationship. She argued otherwise and told her interrogators that Culpepper ceaselessly begged for a meeting and she was too fearful to refuse. The queen later confessed to meeting with Culpepper, although exactly what transpired during the meetings is debated by historians. There is no conclusive proof that the two had sexual relations, but the secrecy which surrounded their meetings and the intention to deceive the king was more than enough to warrant a charge of treason. Culpepper was convicted for treason on 1 December and beheaded at Tyburn on 10 December.
Torrance Coombs is a Canadian film, theatre and television actor. He was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Coombs has appeared in productions at Bard on the Beach, an annual professional Shakespeare festival held in Vancouver; he has also appeared in the musical play A Little Night Music. His first recurring television role was as John Doe in jPod (2008), a CBC television series based on the book of the same name by Douglas Coupland; Coombs also appeared as Lance Corporal C. Sellers in a 2008 episode of the television series Battlestar Galactica