On this day in 1485 was born the ‘Spanish’ princess, Catalina de Aragon near Madrid, known in the English speaking world as Catherine of Aragon.
Catherine married the heir to the English throne, Arthur Prince of Wales, in 1501. However, Arthur died soon afterwards. When Arthur’s brother, Henry ascended the throne on the death of his father in 1509, he quickly married his brother’s widow, forging an important alliance between England and Spain.
However, over the course of the next twenty years, Catherine failed to deliver Henry a living male heir, her only major ‘crime’. Following a long protracted dispute between Henry and Papal legates, during which the Pope refused to annul the marriage, Henry declared himself Head of the Church of England, allowing him to divorce Catherine and marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn in 1533.
Catherine died in January 1536 at Kimbolton Castle, and is buried in Peterborough Cathedral.
copyright Francis Barker 2019