Catherine of Aragon

(1485—1536) queen of England, first consort of Henry VIII.

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1st queen of Henry VIII. Catherine was a victim of dynastic politics. The daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, she was sent to England in October 1501 to marry Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII. The young couple were sent to Ludlow, where Arthur died five months after the marriage. Catherine stayed in England and in 1503 it was arranged that she should marry Arthur's younger brother Henry. Henry VII was in no haste to expedite the matter and for some years Catherine was in an unpleasant position. But on Henry VIII's accession in 1509 he hastened to fulfil the agreement. The marriage was at first affectionate, though not until 1516 was a living child, Mary, born. By 1526, for a mixture of public and private reasons, Henry was thinking of divorce, it having belatedly occurred to him that he had married his brother's wife. From this time forward, the fate of her marriage was out of Catherine's hands, though she continued to protest and refused to enter a nunnery. In July 1531 Henry left her and never saw her again. Her later years were spent at Buckden and Kimbolton, comforted by her faith, deprived of her title as queen, and forbidden to see her daughter. She died in January 1536 and was buried in Peterborough abbey.

Subjects: British History.

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