Catherine of Aragon
First wife of King Henry VIII
Timeline of Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon - First wife of King Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon was the first wife of King Henry VIII of England. The life story of this fascinating and tragic Tudor woman and Spanish princess is one of the most famous of the Tudor period. The motto of Catherine of Aragon was 'Humble and Loyal'.
Short Biography, Facts and Information about the Life of Catherine of Aragon
This short biography and information about Catherine of Aragon provides basic facts about her life:
- Nationality: Spanish
- Role: First Wife of King Henry VIII and mother to Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary)
- Lifespan: 1485 - 1536
- Born: 15 December 1485
- Married: 11 June 1509
- Divorced / Marriage Annulled: 1533
- Family connections: Daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Wife of King Henry VIII of England. Mother of Mary Tudor
- Religion: Catholic
- Died: 7 January 1536 at Kimbolton Castle
- Motto: The motto of Catherine of Aragon was 'Humble and Loyal'
Marriage Overview: The reason King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was for power, money, political alliance with Spain and perhaps, at least initially, for love.
Description of Catherine of Aragon
The character of Catherine of Aragon : Catharine of Aragon was a princess of royal blood and had a noble and gracious bearing. Catharine of Aragon was pious, loyal, humble, stubborn and sedate woman. Catherine was considered pretty in her younger years but the endless failed pregnancies and stress regarding her failing marriage took their toll on her looks and her health.
The Early Life of Catherine of Aragon
The early life of Catherine of Aragon was not a happy period. She was the daughter of the great King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Like other Royal princesses in the Tudor period a political marriage was arranged for her. She was betrothed to Arthur who was the eldest son of the Tudor King of England, King Edward VII. His younger son, Henry, was destined to a religious life. Princess Catherine was sent to England when she was very young and was married to Arthur Arthur, Prince of Wales, on November 14, 1501. Prince Arthur died 6 months later.
The Marriage of Catherine of Aragon to King Henry VIII
The marriage of Catherine to Prince Arthur was said to have never been consummated and a dispensation was therefore given by the Pope allowing Catherine to become engaged to the brother of her dead husband, Prince Henry. King Henry did not want to relinquish the dowry of Catherine which is the reason she was betrothed to Henry - Catherine was 17 years old and Prince Henry was just 12. Catherine was left in comparatively poor conditions for several years. Prince Henry then became King when he was 18 years old and married 23 year old Catherine of Aragon. Henry was young, athletic, intelligent and very handsome. Catherine of Aragon was truly in love with her husband. And the young King Henry VIII was clearly happy with his marriage to this important Spanish princess. Their early years of marriage were happy but Queen Catherine of Aragon suffered repeated miscarriages, two still births and bore and christened a prince who only survived 52 days. Only one child survived produced by Queen Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII. A daughter who would become Queen Mary I of England also known as Bloody Mary. England had never been successfully ruled by a woman. Henry feared a civil war, similar to the War of the Roses, if he did not produce a male heir.
Why did King Henry VIII Divorce Catherine of Aragon? The King's 'Secret Matter'
King Henry VIII became increasingly unhappy with his marriage and bored with the pious and aging Queen Catherine of Aragon. He had had a couple of affairs. One with Elizabeth Blount (aka Bessie Blount) which had produced a son. He then embarked on an affair with Mary Boleyn who also produced a son. Henry soon discarded Mary Boleyn. He had come under the spell of her younger sister. A lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Her name was Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII was totally obsessed with Anne Boleyn. He was a relatively young man. Used to his own way. And Anne Boleyn refused to go the way of her sister and refused to sleep with Henry whilst he was married. King Henry VIII became obsessed with the text in Leviticus 'If a man shall take his brother's wife it is an unclean thing... they shall be childless.' (Leviticus, XX, 21). He convinced himself that this was why he and Catherine of Aragon had not produced a male heir. He wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon and he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.
The Divorce of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
King Henry could not persuade the pious Catholic Queen Catherine of Aragon to consent to a divorce. He sent Cardinal Wolsey to the pope to plead his case. Cardinal failed. King Henry became more impatient and in 1529 dismissed Thomas Wolsey for failing to obtain the Pope's consent to his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Late in 1532 Anne Boleyn became pregnant. Deserting the Catholic faith Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury grants the annulment of the marriage between Catharine of Aragon and Henry VIII in 1533. In the same year King Henry married Anne Boleyn and was excommunicated by Pope Clement VII.
Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary
Catherine of Aragon was banished from court. She was given the title of the Princess Dowager of Wales (which she refused to acknowledge to the end of her life). Queen Catherine of Aragon was moved around different castles in England and separated from her daughter Mary, due to her obstinate refusal to accept the annulment of her marriage. Her daughter Mary was declared illegitimate and lost the title of "Princess", and was referred to as "The Lady Mary". On 7 January 1536 - Queen Catherine of Aragon died at Kimbolton Castle aged fifty.
The Death of Catherine of Aragon
The death of Catherine of Aragon took place at Kimbolton Castle in Huntingdon on 7 January 1536. Catherine of Aragon had lived at Kimbolton since May 1534. She spent the last months of her life as a semi-prisoner in her rooms which were located in the south-west corner of the Castle. Catherine of Aragon was attended by a few of her loyal servants. It was rumoured that she had been poisoned, but the embalmer's account stated that her heart was "quite black and hideous to look at" with a "black round body stuck to the outside". Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough.
Quotes of Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon made the following quotes during the terrible period when she was enduring the indignity and humiliation of a discarded and unwanted wife. The poignant quotes of Queen Catherine of Aragon:
"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."
Catherine of Aragon to Charles V, November 1531
"In this world I will confess myself to be the king's true wife, and in the next they will know how unreasonably I am afflicted."
Catherine of Aragon Quote, 1532
Catherine of Aragon
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