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Katherine Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon

Katherine Hastings (née Dudley), Countess of Huntingdon (c. 1538[1] or 1543–1545[2] – 14 August 1620) was an English noblewoman. She was the youngest surviving daughter of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and his wife, Jane Guildford, and a sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Elizabeth I's favourite. Katherine Dudley was betrothed or married on 25 May 1553 at a very young age to Henry Hastings, the heir of Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon.[2] From her mother's will it appears that she was still under 12 years of age in January 1555,[2] and a clause regarding her marriage implies that the match could still be dissolved: "if it so chance that my Lord Hastings do refuse her or she him".[2]

Katherine Hastings
Countess of Huntingdon
Bornc. 1538 or 1543–1545
Died14 August 1620
Chelsea, London, England
BuriedChelsea Old Church
Noble familyDudley
Spouse(s)Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon
FatherJohn Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland
MotherJane Guildford

By the spring of 1559 Katherine Hastings was definitely married,[2] and on the death of her father-in-law in 1560 became Countess of Huntingdon. She remained childless, though she may have suffered a miscarriage in the spring of 1566.[1] For many years she lived with her husband in the English Midlands and Yorkshire, where she dedicated herself to the education of young women of the nobility and gentry.[1] Among her pupils were the diarist Margaret Hoby, and her brother Robert's stepdaughters, the sisters Penelope and Dorothy Devereux.[3] Like her husband, the Countess was a convinced Protestant with Puritan leanings.[1] After the Earl of Huntingdon's death in 1595 she lived at court and became one of the closest friends of the old Queen.[1] When young, she had suffered from Elizabeth's distrust of her husband's loyalty, which was nourished by his descent from the House of Plantagenet.[1] Katherine, Countess of Huntingdon died at Chelsea, London on 14 August 1620, and was buried in her mother's tomb at Chelsea Old Church.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cross 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e Adams 1995 p. 44
  3. ^ Freedman 1983 p. 31


  • Adams, Simon (ed.) (1995): Household Accounts and Disbursement Books of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 1558–1561, 1584–1586 Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-55156-0
  • Adams, Simon (2002): Leicester and the Court: Essays in Elizabethan Politics Manchester University Press ISBN 0-7190-5325-0
  • Cross, Claire (2008): "Hastings, Katherine, countess of Huntingdon (c.1538–1620)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edn. Jan 2008 (subscription required) Retrieved 04-04-2010
  • Freedman, Sylvia (1983): Poor Penelope: Lady Penelope Rich. An Elizabethan Woman The Kensal Press ISBN 0-946041-20-2