Catherine of Aragon
A Spanish Princess,
On 16 December, 1485, Catherine of Aragon was born at Laredo Palace, in Alcalá de Henares near to Madrid. She was the youngest child of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Her full Spanish title as a princess was
The personal symbol of Catherine was a crowned pomegranate. She is sometimes referred to as
Whilst a young child, she was betrothed to Arthur Tudor, (below). He was the oldest son of the English King
In 1501, Catherine and Arthur were married in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
Tragedy struck soon after the wedding! In April 1502, the young couple fell seriously ill. Arthur died and Catherine almost died. The portrait below was painted by Michael Sittow in 1502 and it shows Catherine as a young widow.
It was decided that Catherine should marry Arthur's younger brother, Henry. The wedding took place years later, in 1509, when Henry had become king. He was now called King Henry VIII, (below.)
Catherine gave birth to many children but they all died except for one daughter who was born on 18 February, 1516. She was named Mary and later she would become Queen Mary Tudor of England. (Below.) This means that the future Queen Mary Tudor of England was half Spanish.
Henry VIII was desperate for a son to be born. He separated from Catherine in 1531 because it seemed that she was unlikely to have any more children. He married one of Catherine's ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn, in 1533.
Catherine did not wish to lose her husband and she always considered herself to be Henry's wife and the true Queen of England- even after he had re-married.
In her castle, she had just a few servants and she lived in just one room, leaving it only to attend prayers in the chapel. It is believed that the poor living conditions and her sadness damaged her health.
She died in Kimbolton Castle on 7 January 1536, at the age of fifty years.
A boarding school now stands on the site of the castle where Catherine died.
When Catherine died, she was still heart-broken over Henry's decision to leave her and on the very day of her death, she wrote the following letter to Henry: -
My most dear lord, king and husband,