Catherine of Aragon

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Official portrait of Katherine of Aragon as Queen of England

Catherine of Aragon (December 16 1485January 7 1536), also known as Katherine or Katharine; (Spanish Infanta Catalina de Aragón y Castilla or Catalina de Trastámara y Trastámara), was the Queen of England as the first wife of Henry VIII of England, and Princess of Wales by her first marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales. She was also an Infanta of Castille and Aragon.

Henry's attempt to have their 24-year marriage annulled set in motion a chain of events that led to England's break with the Roman Catholic Church. Henry was dissatisfied because their sons died in infancy, leaving only one of their six children, Princess Mary (later Queen Mary I) as heiress presumptive, at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. This allowed him to marry Anne Boleyn on the judgment of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. He was motivated by the hope of fathering a male heir to the Tudor dynasty. Katherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and Queen until her death.

Sourced[edit]

  • Doctors! You know yourself, without the help of any doctors that your case has no foundation! I care not a straw for your Doctors! For every Doctor and Lawyer that upholds your case I could find a thousand that would find our marriage good and valid!
Grave of Katherine of Aragon in Peterborough Cathedral
  • 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.
    • Joanna Denny (2006) Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0306814749, p. 175.
  • Sir, I beseech you for all the love that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice and right. Take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman, and a stranger, born out of your dominion. I have here no assured friend and much less indifferent counsel. I flee to you, as to the head of justice within this realm. Alas, Sir, where have I offended you? Or what occasion have you of displeasure, that you intend to put me from you? I take God and all the world to witness that I have been to you a true, humble and obedient wife, ever comfortable to your will and pleasure. I have been always well pleased and contented with all things wherein you had any delight or dalliance. I never grudged a word or countenance, or showed a spark or discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved, only for your sake, whether I had cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. This 20 years or more I have been your true wife and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them from this world, which hath been no default in me. And when ye had me at first, I take God to my judge; I was a true maid, without touch of man.
    • Joanna Denny (2006) Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0306814749, p. 140.
Catherine aged either 14 or 15, painted while she was still in Spain by Michael Sittow.
  • 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.
    • Sharon Turner (1828) The History of England from the Earliest Period to the Death of Elizabeth, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green.

About Catherine of Aragon[edit]

  • Did I not tell you that whenever you argue with the Queen she is sure to have the upper hand?! I see that one fine morning you will succumb to her reasoning and cast me off!
  • Nature wronged her in making her a woman. But for her sex she could have surpassed all the heros of history.

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