Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII; she was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother Arthur.
The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was three years old when she was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. She held the position of ambassador of the Aragonese Crown to England in 1507, the first female ambassador in European history. Catherine subsequently married Arthur's younger brother, the recently ascended Henry VIII, in 1509. For six months in 1513, she served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden, an event in which Catherine played an important part with an emotional speech about English courage.
By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heir presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was consequently declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and queen, attracting much popular sympathy. Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, and died there on 7 January 1536. English people held Catherine in high esteem, and her death set off tremendous mourning.
The controversial book The Education of a Christian Woman by Juan Luis Vives, which claimed women have the right to an education, was commissioned by and dedicated to her in 1523. Such was Catherine's impression on people that even her enemy, Thomas Cromwell, said of her, "If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History." She successfully appealed for the lives of the rebels involved in the Evil May Day, for the sake of their families. Catherine also won widespread admiration by starting an extensive programme for the relief of the poor. She was a patron of Renaissance humanism, and a friend of the great scholars Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More.
|Catherine of Aragon|
18th-century copy of a lost original
|Queen consort of England|
|Tenure||11 June 1509 – 23 May 1533|
|Coronation||24 June 1509|
|Born||16 December 1485|
Archiepiscopal Palace of Alcalá de Henares, Alcalá de Henares, Castile
|Died||7 January 1536 (aged 50)|
Kimbolton Castle, England
|Burial||29 January 1536|
Arthur, Prince of Wales
(m. 1501; died 1502)
Henry VIII of England
(m. 1509; annulled 1533)
|Henry, Duke of Cornwall|
Mary I, Queen of England
|Father||Ferdinand II of Aragon|
|Mother||Isabella I of Castile|
Catherine was born at the Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, on the night of 16 December 1485. She was the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. Catherine was quite short in stature with long red hair, wide blue eyes, a round face, and a fair complexion. She was descended, on her maternal side, from the English royal house; her great-grandmother Catherine of Lancaster, after whom she was named, and her great-great-grandmother Philippa of Lancaster were both daughters of John of Gaunt and granddaughters of Edward III of England. Consequently, she was third cousin of her father-in-law, Henry VII of England, and fourth cousin of her mother-in-law Elizabeth of York.
Catherine was educated by a tutor, Alessandro Geraldini, who was a clerk in Holy Orders. She studied arithmetic, canon and civil law, classical literature, genealogy and heraldry, history, philosophy, religion, and theology. She had a strong religious upbringing and developed her Roman Catholic faith that would play a major role in later life. She learned to speak, read and write in Spanish and Latin, and spoke French and Greek. She was also taught domestic skills, such as cooking, dancing, drawing, embroidery, good manners, lace-making, music, needlepoint, sewing, spinning, and weaving. Scholar Erasmus later said that Catherine "loved good literature which she had studied with success since childhood".
At an early age, Catherine was considered a suitable wife for Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne, due to the English ancestry she inherited from her mother. By means of her mother, Catherine had a stronger legitimate claim to the English throne than King Henry VII himself through the first two wives of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster: Blanche of Lancaster and Constance of Castile. In contrast, Henry VII was the descendant of Gaunt's third marriage to Katherine Swynford, whose children were born out of wedlock and only legitimised after the death of Constance and the marriage of John to Katherine. The children of John and Katherine, while legitimised, were barred from inheriting the English throne, a stricture that was ignored in later generations. Because of Henry's descent through illegitimate children barred from succession to the English throne, the Tudor monarchy was not accepted by all European kingdoms. At the time, the House of Trastámara was the most prestigious in Europe, due to the rule of the Catholic Monarchs, so the alliance of Catherine and Arthur validated the House of Tudor in the eyes of European royalty and strengthened the Tudor claim to the English throne via Catherine of Aragon's ancestry. It would have given a male heir an indisputable claim to the throne. The two were married by proxy on 19 May 1499 and corresponded in Latin until Arthur turned fifteen, when it was decided that they were old enough to be married.
When Catherine of Aragon travelled to London, she brought a group of her African attendants with her, including one identified as the trumpeter John Blanke. They are the first Africans recorded to have arrived in London at the time, and were considered luxury servants. They caused a great impression about the princess and the power of her family. Her Spanish retinue was supervised by her duenna, Elvira Manuel.
Then-15-year-old Catherine met Arthur on 4 November 1501 at Dogmersfield in Hampshire. Little is known about their first impressions of each other, but Arthur did write to his parents-in-law that he would be "a true and loving husband" and told his parents that he was immensely happy to "behold the face of his lovely bride". The couple had corresponded in Latin, but found that they could not understand each other, since they had learned different pronunciations. Ten days later, on 14 November 1501, they were married at Old St. Paul's Cathedral. A dowry of 200,000 crowns had been agreed, and half was paid shortly after the marriage.
Once married, Arthur was sent to Ludlow Castle on the borders of Wales to preside over the Council of Wales and the Marches, as was his duty as Prince of Wales, and his bride accompanied him. The couple stayed at Castle Lodge, Ludlow. A few months later, they both became ill, possibly with the sweating sickness, which was sweeping the area. Arthur died on 2 April 1502; 16-year-old Catherine recovered to find herself a widow.
At this point, Henry VII faced the challenge of avoiding the obligation to return her 200,000 ducat dowry, half of which he had not yet received, to her father, as required by her marriage contract should she return home. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth in February 1503, King Henry VII initially considered marrying Catherine himself, but the opposition of her father and potential questions over the legitimacy of the couple's issue ended the idea. To settle the matter, it was agreed that Catherine would marry Henry VII's second son, Henry, Duke of York, who was five years younger than she was. The death of Catherine's mother, however, meant that her "value" in the marriage market decreased. Castile was a much larger kingdom than Aragon, and it was inherited by Catherine's mentally unstable elder sister, Joanna. Ostensibly, the marriage was delayed until Henry was old enough, but Ferdinand II procrastinated so much over payment of the remainder of Catherine's dowry that it became doubtful that the marriage would take place. She lived as a virtual prisoner at Durham House in London. Some of the letters she wrote to her father complaining of her treatment have survived. In one of these letters she tells him that "I choose what I believe, and say nothing. For I am not as simple as I may seem." She had little money and struggled to cope, as she had to support her ladies-in-waiting as well as herself. In 1507 she served as the Spanish ambassador to England, the first female ambassador in European history. While Henry VII and his councillors expected her to be easily manipulated, Catherine went on to prove them wrong.
Marriage to Arthur's brother depended on the Pope granting a dispensation because canon law forbade a man to marry his brother's widow (Lev. 18:16[a]). Catherine testified that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated as, also according to canon law, a marriage was not valid until consummated.
Catherine's second wedding took place on 11 June 1509, seven years after Prince Arthur's death. She married Henry VIII, who had only just acceded to the throne, in a private ceremony in the church of the Observant Friars outside Greenwich Palace. She was 23 years of age. The king was just days short of his 18th birthday.
On Saturday 23 June 1509, the traditional eve-of-coronation procession to Westminster was greeted by a large and enthusiastic crowd. As was the custom, the couple spent the night before their coronation at the Tower of London. On Midsummer's Day, Sunday, 24 June 1509, Henry VIII and Catherine were anointed and crowned together by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The coronation was followed by a banquet in Westminster Hall. Many new Knights of the Bath were created in honour of the coronation. In that month that followed, many social occasions presented the new Queen to the English public. She made a fine impression and was well received by the people of England.
On 11 June 1513, Henry appointed Catherine Regent in England with the titles "Governor of the Realm and Captain General," while he went to France on a military campaign. When Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Longueville, was captured at Thérouanne, Henry sent him to stay in Catherine's household. She wrote to Wolsey that she and her council would prefer the Duke to stay in the Tower of London as the Scots were "so busy as they now be" and she added her prayers for "God to sende us as good lukke against the Scotts, as the King hath ther." The war with Scotland occupied her subjects, and she was "horrible busy with making standards, banners, and badges" at Richmond Palace. The Scots invaded and on 3 September 1513, she ordered Thomas Lovell to raise an army in the midland counties.
Catherine rode north in full armour to address the troops, despite being heavily pregnant at the time. Her fine speech was reported to the historian Peter Martyr d'Anghiera in Valladolid within a fortnight. Although an Italian newsletter said she was 100 miles (160 km) north of London when news of the victory at Battle of Flodden Field reached her, she was near Buckingham. From Woburn Abbey she sent a letter to Henry along with a piece of the bloodied coat of King James IV of Scotland, who died in the battle, for Henry to use as a banner at the siege of Tournai.
Catherine's religious dedication increased as she became older, as did her interest in academics. She continued to broaden her knowledge and provide training for her daughter, Mary. Education among women became fashionable, partly because of Catherine's influence, and she donated large sums of money to several colleges. Henry, however, still considered a male heir essential. The Tudor dynasty was new, and its legitimacy might still be tested. A long civil war (1135–54) had been fought the last time a woman (Empress Matilda) had inherited the throne. The disasters of civil war were still fresh in living memory from the Wars of the Roses.
In 1520, Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, paid a state visit to England, and she urged Henry to enter an alliance with Charles rather than with France. Immediately after his departure, she accompanied Henry to France on the celebrated visit to Francis I, the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Within two years, war was declared against France and the Emperor was once again welcome in England, where plans were afoot to betroth him to Catherine's daughter Mary.
In 1525, Henry VIII became enamoured of Anne Boleyn, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine who was 11 years younger than Henry. Henry began pursuing her; Catherine was no longer able to bear children by this time. Henry began to believe that his marriage was cursed and sought confirmation from the Bible, which he interpreted to say that if a man marries his brother's wife, the couple will be childless. Even if her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated (and Catherine would insist to her dying day that she had come to Henry's bed a virgin), Henry's interpretation of that biblical passage meant that their marriage had been wrong in the eyes of God. Whether the Pope at the time of Henry and Catherine's marriage had the right to overrule Henry's claimed scriptural impediment would become a hot topic in Henry's campaign to wrest an annulment from the present Pope. It is possible that the idea of annulment had been suggested to Henry much earlier than this, and is highly probable that it was motivated by his desire for a son. Before Henry's father ascended the throne, England was beset by civil warfare over rival claims to the English crown, and Henry may have wanted to avoid a similar uncertainty over the succession.
It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to secure an annulment. Catherine was defiant when it was suggested that she quietly retire to a nunnery, saying: "God never called me to a nunnery. I am the King's true and legitimate wife". He set his hopes upon an appeal to the Holy See, acting independently of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whom he told nothing of his plans. William Knight, the King's secretary, was sent to Pope Clement VII to sue for an annulment, on the grounds that the dispensing bull of Pope Julius II was obtained by false pretenses.
As the Pope was, at that time, the prisoner of Catherine's nephew, Emperor Charles V, following the Sack of Rome in May 1527, Knight had difficulty in obtaining access to him. In the end, Henry's envoy had to return without accomplishing much. Henry now had no choice but to put this great matter into the hands of Wolsey, who did all he could to secure a decision in Henry's favour.
Wolsey went so far as to convene an ecclesiastical court in England with a representative of the Pope presiding, and Henry and Catherine herself in attendance. The Pope had no intention of allowing a decision to be reached in England, and his legate was recalled. (How far the pope was influenced by Charles V is difficult to say, but it is clear Henry saw that the Pope was unlikely to annul his marriage to the Emperor's aunt.) The Pope forbade Henry to marry again before a decision was given in Rome. Wolsey had failed and was dismissed from public office in 1529. Wolsey then began a secret plot to have Anne Boleyn forced into exile and began communicating with the Pope to that end. When this was discovered, Henry ordered Wolsey's arrest and, had he not been terminally ill and died in 1530, he might have been executed for treason. A year later, Catherine was banished from court, and her old rooms were given to Anne Boleyn. Catherine wrote in a letter to Charles V in 1531:
My tribulations are so great, my life so disturbed by the plans daily invented to further the King's wicked intention, the surprises which the King gives me, with certain persons of his council, are so mortal, and my treatment is what God knows, that it is enough to shorten ten lives, much more mine.
When Henry decided to annul his marriage to Catherine, John Fisher became her most trusted counsellor and one of her chief supporters. He appeared in the legates' court on her behalf, where he shocked people with the directness of his language, and by declaring that, like John the Baptist, he was ready to die on behalf of the indissolubility of marriage. Henry was so enraged by this that he wrote a long Latin address to the legates in answer to Fisher's speech. Fisher's copy of this still exists, with his manuscript annotations in the margin which show how little he feared Henry's anger. The removal of the cause to Rome ended Fisher's role in the matter, but Henry never forgave him. Other people who supported Catherine's case included Thomas More; Henry's own sister Mary Tudor, Queen of France (though as a member of the Tudor family and of royal blood, she was safe from any punishment and execution); María de Salinas; Holy Roman Emperor Charles V; Pope Paul III and Protestant Reformers Martin Luther and William Tyndale.
Upon returning to Dover from a meeting with King Francis I of France in Calais, Henry married Anne Boleyn in a secret ceremony. Some sources speculate that Anne was already pregnant at the time (and Henry did not want to risk a son being born illegitimate) but others testify that Anne (who had seen her sister Mary Boleyn taken up as the king's mistress and summarily cast aside) refused to sleep with Henry until they were married. Henry defended the legality of their union by pointing out that Catherine had previously been married. If she and Arthur had consummated their marriage, Henry by canon law had the right to remarry. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer, sitting in judgement at a special court convened at Dunstable Priory to rule on the validity of Henry's marriage to Catherine, declared the marriage illegal, even though Catherine testified she and Arthur had never had physical relations. Cranmer ruled Henry and Anne's marriage valid five days later, on 28 May 1533.
Until the end of her life, Catherine would refer to herself as Henry's only lawful wedded wife and England's only rightful queen, and her servants continued to address her by that title. Henry refused her the right to any title but "Dowager Princess of Wales" in recognition of her position as his brother's widow.
Catherine went to live at The More castle in the winter of 1531/32. In 1535 she was transferred to Kimbolton Castle. There, she confined herself to one room (which she left only to attend Mass), dressed only in the hair shirt of the Order of St. Francis, and fasted continuously. While she was permitted to receive occasional visitors, she was forbidden to see her daughter Mary. They were also forbidden to communicate in writing, but sympathizers discreetly ferried letters between the two. Henry offered both mother and daughter better quarters and permission to see each other if they would acknowledge Anne Boleyn as the new queen. Both refused.
In late December 1535, sensing her death was near, Catherine made her will, and wrote to her nephew, the Emperor Charles V, asking him to protect her daughter. It has been alleged that she then penned one final letter to Henry, her "most dear lord and husband":
My most dear lord, king and husband,
The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.
Katharine the Quene.
The authenticity of the letter itself has been questioned, but not Catherine's attitude in its wording, which has been reported with variations in different sources.
Catherine died at Kimbolton Castle on 7 January 1536. The following day, news of her death reached the king. At the time there were rumours that she was poisoned, possibly by Gregory di Casale. According to the chronicler Edward Hall, Anne Boleyn wore yellow for the mourning, which has been interpreted in various ways; Polydore Vergil interpreted this to mean that Anne did not mourn. Chapuys reported that it was King Henry who decked himself in yellow, celebrating the news and making a great show of his and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, to his courtiers. This was seen as distasteful and vulgar by many. Another theory is that the dressing in yellow was out of respect for Catherine as yellow was said to be the Spanish colour of mourning. Certainly, later in the day it is reported that Henry and Anne both individually and privately wept for her death. On the day of Catherine's funeral, Anne Boleyn miscarried a boy. Rumours then circulated that Catherine had been poisoned by Anne or Henry, or both, as Anne had threatened to murder both Catherine and Mary on several occasions. The rumours were born after the apparent discovery during her embalming that there was a black growth on her heart that might have been caused by poisoning. Modern medical experts are in agreement that her heart's discolouration was due not to poisoning, but to cancer, something which was not understood at the time.
Catherine was a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis and she was punctilious in her religious obligations in the Order, integrating without demur her necessary duties as queen with her personal piety. After her divorce, she was quoted "I would rather be a poor beggar’s wife and be sure of heaven, than queen of all the world and stand in doubt thereof by reason of my own consent."
The outward celebration of saints and holy relics formed no major part of her personal devotions, which she rather expressed in the Mass, prayer, confession and penance. Privately, however, she was aware of what she identified as the shortcomings of the papacy and church officialdom. Her doubts about Church improprieties certainly did not extend so far as to support the allegations of corruption made public by Martin Luther in Wittenberg in 1517, which were soon to have such far-reaching consequences in initiating the Protestant Reformation.
In 1523 Alfonso de Villa Sancta, a learned friar of the Observant (reform) branch of the Friars Minor and friend of the king's old advisor Erasmus, dedicated to the queen his book De Liberio Arbitrio adversus Melanchthonem denouncing Philip Melanchthon, a supporter of Luther. Acting as her confessor, he was able to nominate her for the title of "Defender of the Faith" for denying Luther's arguments.
Catherine was of a very fair complexion, had blue eyes, and had a hair colour that was between reddish-blonde and auburn. In her youth she was described as "the most beautiful creature in the world" and that there was "nothing lacking in her that the most beautiful girl should have". Thomas More and Lord Herbert would reflect later in her lifetime that in regard to her appearance "there were few women who could compete with the Queen [Catherine] in her prime."
The controversial book "The Education of Christian Women" by Juan Luis Vives, which claimed women have the right to an education, was dedicated to and commissioned by her. Such was Catherine's impression on people, that even her enemy, Thomas Cromwell, said of her "If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History." She successfully appealed for the lives of the rebels involved in the Evil May Day for the sake of their families. Furthermore, Catherine won widespread admiration by starting an extensive programme for the relief of the poor. She was also a patron of Renaissance humanism, and a friend of the great scholars Erasmus of Rotterdam and Saint Thomas More. Some saw her as a martyr.
In the reign of her daughter Mary I of England, her marriage to Henry VIII was declared "good and valid". Her daughter Queen Mary also had several portraits commissioned of Catherine, and it would not by any means be the last time she was painted. After her death, numerous portraits were painted of her, particularly of her speech at the Legatine Trial, a moment accurately rendered in Shakespeare's play about Henry VIII.
Her tomb in Peterborough Cathedral can be seen and there is hardly ever a time when it is not decorated with flowers or pomegranates, her heraldic symbol. It bears the title Katharine Queen of England.
In the 20th century, George V's wife, Mary of Teck, had her grave upgraded and there are now banners there denoting Catherine as a Queen of England. Every year at Peterborough Cathedral there is a service in her memory. There are processions, prayers, and various events in the Cathedral including processions to Catherine's grave in which candles, pomegranates, flowers and other offerings are placed on her grave. On the service commemorating the 470th anniversary of her death, the Spanish Ambassador to the United Kingdom attended. During the 2010 service a rendition of Catherine of Aragon's speech before the Legatine court was read by Jane Lapotaire. There is a statue of her in her birthplace of Alcalá de Henares, as a young woman holding a book and a rose.
Catherine has remained a popular biographical subject to the present day. The American historian Garrett Mattingly was the author of a popular biography Katherine of Aragon in 1942. In 1966, Catherine and her many supporters at court were the subjects of Catherine of Aragon and her Friends, a biography by John E. Paul. In 1967, Mary M. Luke wrote the first book of her Tudor trilogy, Catherine the Queen which portrayed her and the controversial era of English history through which she lived.
In recent years, the historian Alison Weir covered her life extensively in her biography The Six Wives of Henry VIII, first published in 1991. Antonia Fraser did the same in her own 1992 biography of the same title; as did the British historian David Starkey in his 2003 book Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. Giles Tremlett's biography Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII came out in 2010, and Julia Fox's 2011 dual biography Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile.
Her baptismal name was "Catalina", but "Katherine" was soon the accepted form in England after her marriage to Arthur. Catherine herself signed her name "Katherine", "Katherina", "Katharine" and sometimes "Katharina". In a letter to her, Arthur, her husband, addressed her as "Princess Katerine". Her daughter Queen Mary I called her "Quene Kateryn", in her will. Rarely were names, particularly first names, written in an exact manner during the sixteenth century and it is evident from Catherine's own letters that she endorsed different variations.[b] Loveknots built into his various palaces by her husband, Henry VIII, display the initials "H & K",[c] as do other items belonging to Henry and Catherine, including gold goblets, a gold salt cellar, basins of gold, and candlesticks. Her tomb in Peterborough Cathedral is marked "Katharine Queen of England".
Over the years, numerous artistic and cultural works have been dedicated to Catherine, have been written about her, or have mentioned her, including some by her husband Henry VIII, who wrote "Grene growth the holy" about and for her, and Juan Luis Vives, who dedicated The Education of Christian Women to her.
Catherine of Aragon has been portrayed in film, television, plays, novels, songs, poems, and other creative forms many times, and as a result she has stayed very much in popular memory. The first episode of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, is told from her point of view (and in which she is portrayed by Annette Crosbie). The first movie or television series to feature her as the main character will be the STARZ mini-series The Spanish Princess which is based on the book The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, where she will be played by Charlotte Hope. William Shakespeare's play Henry VIII succeeds in recreating with great accuracy Catherine's statement about the legitimacy of her marriage at the court in Blackfriars before King Henry, and Shakespeare's portrayal of Catherine is remarkably sympathetic; however, most of the rest of the play is an attempt to absolve many, especially Henry VIII, and the timing of key incidents (including Catherine's death) is changed and other events are avoided (the play makes Henry nearly an innocent pawn in the hands of a dastardly Cardinal Wolsey, and the play stops short of Anne Boleyn's execution).
In January, 2013, the National Portrait Gallery in London revealed that its curators had recently discovered that a portrait at Lambeth Palace formerly believed to have been a portrait of Catherine Parr in fact shows Catherine of Aragon. The National Portrait Gallery announced that the painting, which had hung in a private sitting room of the Archbishop of Canterbury since at least the 19th century, would be paired with a portrait of Henry VIII already in the museum's collection, and would remain at the museum on loan.
Catherine is the main character in:
Catherine is a character in:
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Catherine of AragonBorn: 16 December 1485 Died: 7 January 1536
Title last held byElizabeth of York
| Queen consort of England
Lady of Ireland
1509 – 1533
Title next held byAnne Boleyn
Rodrigo Gonzalez de Puebla
| Ambassador of Aragon to England
1507 – 1509
with Rodrigo Gonzalez de Puebla (1507–1508)
Gutierre Gómez de Fuensalida (1508–1509)
Anne Boleyn (; c. 1501 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry's marriage to her, and her execution by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation. Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Queen Claude of France. Anne returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans were broken off, and instead she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Early in 1523 Anne was secretly betrothed to Henry Percy, son of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, but the betrothal was broken off when Percy's father refused to support their engagement. Cardinal Wolsey refused the match in January 1524 and Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle. In February or March 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, which her sister Mary had been. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he would be free to marry Anne. When it became clear that Pope Clement VII would not annul the marriage, the breaking of the Catholic Church's power in England began. In 1532, Henry granted Anne the Marquessate of Pembroke.
Henry and Anne formally married on 25 January 1533, after a secret wedding on 14 November 1532. On 23 May 1533, newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared Henry and Catherine's marriage null and void; five days later, he declared Henry and Anne's marriage valid. Shortly afterwards, the Pope decreed sentences of excommunication against Henry and Cranmer. As a result of this marriage and these excommunications, the first break between the Church of England and Rome took place and the Church of England was brought under the King's control. Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry was disappointed to have a daughter rather than a son but hoped a son would follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Anne subsequently had three miscarriages, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour. In order to marry Jane Seymour, Henry had to find reasons to end the marriage to Anne.
Henry VIII had Anne investigated for high treason in April 1536. On 2 May she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, where she was tried before a jury of peers – which included Henry Percy, her former betrothed, and her own uncle, Thomas Howard – and found guilty on 15 May. She was beheaded four days later. Modern historians view the charges against her, which included adultery, incest and plotting to kill the king, as unconvincing. Some say that Anne was accused of witchcraft but the indictments make no mention of this charge. After the coronation of her daughter, Elizabeth, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, she has inspired, or been mentioned, in many artistic and cultural works and thereby retained her hold on the popular imagination. She has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had", as she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declare the English church's independence from Rome.Aragon House
Aragon House is a Grade II listed public house at 247 New King's Road, Fulham, London.It was built in 1805–06, but the architect is not known.Aragon House gets its name from having been the site of a dower house belonging to Queen Catherine of Aragon, the first of Henry VIII's six wives.Aragon House and Gosford Lodge were built on the site of a villa that the author Samuel Richardson lived in from 1756 until his death in 1761.Children of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England had several children. The most well known children are the three legitimate offspring who survived infancy and would succeed him as monarchs of England successively, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
His first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, had several pregnancies that ended in stillbirth, miscarriage, or death in infancy. Henry acknowledged one illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy, as his own, but is suspected to have fathered several illegitimate children by different mistresses. The number and identity of these is a matter of historical debate.
There are many theories about whether Henry VIII had fertility difficulties. His last three wives, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr are not known to have conceived by him, although Parr conceived in her next marriage.Evil May Day
Evil May Day or Ill May Day is the name of a riot which took place in 1517 as a protest against foreigners living in London. Apprentices attacked foreign residents. Some of the rioters were later hanged although King Henry VIII granted a pardon for the remainder following public pleadings from his wife, Catherine of Aragon.Fan vault
A fan vault is a form of vault used in the Gothic style, in which the ribs are all of the same curve and spaced equidistantly, in a manner resembling a fan. The initiation and propagation of this design element is strongly associated with England.
The earliest example, dating from about the year 1351, may be seen in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral. The largest fan vault in the world can be found in King's College Chapel, Cambridge.
The fan vault is peculiar to England. The lierne vault of the cathedral of Barbastro in northern Spain closely resembles a fan vault, but it does not form a perfect conoid. Harvey (1978) suggests Catherine of Aragon as a possible source of English influence in Aragon.Henry, Duke of Cornwall
Henry, Duke of Cornwall (1 January – 22 February 1511), was the first child of King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and though his birth was celebrated as that of the heir apparent, he died within weeks. His death and Henry VIII's failure to produce another surviving male heir with Catherine led to succession and marriage crises that affected the relationship between the English church and Roman Catholicism, giving rise to the English Reformation.Henry VIII and His Six Wives
Henry VIII and His Six Wives is a 1972 British film adaptation, directed by Waris Hussein, of the BBC 1970 six-part miniseries The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Keith Michell, who plays Henry VIII in the TV series, also portrays the king in the film. His six wives are portrayed by different actresses, among them Frances Cuka as Catherine of Aragon, and Jane Asher as Jane Seymour. Donald Pleasence portrays Thomas Cromwell and Bernard Hepton portrays Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, a role he had also played in the miniseries and briefly in its follow-up Elizabeth R.John Crayford
John Crayford (died 1547) was a Master of both Clare College, Cambridge and University College, Oxford, England. Martyn was unusual in being a Master of colleges at both the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He was the only Master of University College to also have been a Master at a Cambridge college.
Crayford was a Fellow at University College in the early 1520s. He was Master of Clare College, Cambridge from 1530 to 1539 and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge during 1534–36. He helped in the university's support for Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon in 1533. From 1545 to 1547 he was Archdeacon of Berkshire.
Later he became Master of University College from 1546 until his unexpected death in August 1547, only a year later.Kimbolton Castle
Kimbolton Castle is a country house in Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire. It was the final home of King Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Originally a medieval castle but converted into a stately palace, it was the family seat of the Dukes of Manchester from 1615 until 1950. It now houses Kimbolton School.Mary I of England
Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. The executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents.
Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood. Her younger half-brother Edward VI (son of Henry and Jane Seymour) succeeded their father in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because he supposed (correctly) that she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had begun during his reign. On his death, leading politicians proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen. Mary speedily assembled a force in East Anglia and deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. Mary was—excluding the disputed reigns of Jane and the Empress Matilda—the first queen regnant of England. In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556.
During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. After Mary's death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, at the beginning of the 45-year Elizabethan era.María de Salinas
María de Salinas, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby (ca. 1490 – 1539) was a noblewoman from Spain. She served as confidante and lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England.Six (musical)
Six is a musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The idea came to Marlow while studying in his final year at Cambridge University, and despite uncertainties from collaborator Moss, the pair wrote the musical while studying for their final exams. The musical is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert.Supreme Head of the Church of England
Supreme Head of the Church of England was a title created in 1531 for King Henry VIII of England when he first began to separate the Church of England from the authority of the Holy See and allegiance to the Pope. The Act of Supremacy of 1534 confirmed the King's status as having supremacy over the church and required the nobility to swear an oath recognising Henry's supremacy. By 1536, Henry had broken with Rome, seized the church's assets in England and declared the Church of England as the established church with himself as its head. Pope Paul III excommunicated Henry in 1538 over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
Henry's daughter, Queen Mary I, a staunch Catholic, attempted to restore the English church's allegiance to the Pope and repealed the Act of Supremacy in 1555. Her half-sister, Elizabeth I, took the throne in 1558 and the next year Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy of 1559 that restored the original act. The new Oath of Supremacy that nobles were required to swear gave the Queen's title as Supreme Governor of the church rather than Supreme Head, to avoid the charge that the monarchy was claiming divinity or usurping Christ, whom the Bible explicitly identifies as Head of the Church.The Constant Princess
The Constant Princess is a historical fiction novel by Philippa Gregory, published in 2005. The novel depicts a highly fictionalized version of the life of Catherine of Aragon and her rise to power in England.The More
The More (also known as the Manor of the More) was a 16th-century palace in the parish of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England, where Catherine of Aragon lived after the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII. It had been owned by Cardinal Wolsey. It lay at the north east corner of the later More Park estate on the edge of the Colne flood plain. The Treaty of the More was celebrated here by Henry VIII and the French ambassadors. In 1527, the French ambassador, Jean du Bellay thought the house more splendid than Hampton Court. Nothing now remains above ground. The site is a scheduled ancient monument. In the grounds of the school exist parts of at least two large stone pillars (approx 1 meter in length) which are said to be part of the original manor.The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970 TV series)
The Six Wives of Henry VIII is a series of six television plays produced by the BBC and first transmitted between 1 January and 5 February 1970. The series was later aired in the United States on CBS from 1 August to 5 September 1971 with narration added by Anthony Quayle. The series was rebroadcast in the United States without commercials on PBS as part of its Masterpiece Theatre series.
Each of the six plays focuses on a single wife, often from their perspective and was written by a different dramatist. The series was produced by Mark Shivas and Ronald Travers and directed by Naomi Capon and John Glenister.The Six Wives of Henry VIII (album)
The Six Wives of Henry VIII is the second studio album by English keyboardist Rick Wakeman, released in January 1973 on A&M Records. It is an instrumental progressive rock album with its concept based on his interpretations of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. After signing with A&M as a solo artist, Wakeman decided on the album's concept during a tour of the United States as a member of the rock band Yes. As he read a book about the subject on his travels, melodies he had written the previous year came to him and were noted down. Musicians from Yes and from Strawbs, the group Wakeman was in prior to Yes, also play on the album.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII received mostly positive reviews from critics. It reached number 7 on the UK Albums Chart and number 30 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1975 for over 500,000 copies sold in the United States. In 2009, Wakeman performed the album in its entirety for the first time at Hampton Court Palace as part of the 500th anniversary celebration of Henry's accession to the throne, released as The Six Wives of Henry VIII Live at Hampton Court Palace. The tracks were rearranged with sections, including a track dedicated to Henry himself, that were left off the original album due to the limited time available on a single record. The Six Wives of Henry VIII was reissued in 2015 with a quadraphonic sound mix and bonus tracks.The Spanish Princess
The Spanish Princess is an upcoming British-American drama television miniseries, based on the novels The Constant Princess and The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory, that is set to premiere on Starz on May 5, 2019.Wives of King Henry VIII
In legal terms, King Henry VIII of England had only three wives, because three of his putative marriages were annulled. Unlike a divorce, where a married couple chooses to end their union, annulments essentially declare that a true marriage never took place. However, in common parlance, the so-called wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry between 1509 and his death in 1547.
|Ancestors of Catherine of Aragon|
Spouses of debatable or disputed rulers are in italics
* Though legally Princess of Wales, she does not use the title