Queen Catherine of Aragon
(1485-1536)

woman and Queen Consort of England (1509-1533)

Died aged 50

Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina de Aragón; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533. She was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was three years old when she was betrothed to Prince Arthur, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. Catherine held the position of ambassador of the Aragonese crown to England in 1507, the first known female ambassador in European history. She 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 crushed and defeated the Scottish at 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, Henry acknowledged her only as dowager princess of Wales. After being banished from court by Henry, Catherine lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, dying there in January 1536 of cancer. The English people held Catherine in high esteem, and her death set off tremendous mourning. Catherine commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman by Juan Luis Vives, and Vives dedicated the book, controversial at the time, to the Queen 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.

DbPedia
Wikidata Wikipedia

Family tree

Is not commemorated on any plaques in our database (yet)