Henry VIII, the Reign
Catherine of Aragon
Profile Catherine of Aragon Queen of England
Catherine of Aragon was Queen of England from 1509 until 1533. Before her marriage to King Henry VIII, she had been Princess of Wales as the wife of Prince Arthur Henry’s older brother who died thus leaving her a widow on 2 April 1502.
Catherine was youngest daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. She age just three years old when she was betrothed to Prince Arthur oldest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Arthur was heir to the throne of England.
Catherine and Arthur were married on 14 November 1501 at St Pauls in London.
Arthur and Catherine moved to Ludlow for the prince to take up his dittoes with the Council of Wales but he died five months after their arrival
In 1507, Catherine held the position of ambassador for the Spanish Court in England, the first female ambassador in Europe.
On 24 April 1509, Arthur's younger brother Henry VIII became king and a few weeks later on 11 June 1509, Catherine married him.
For six months in 1513, Henry VIII appointed Catherine as regent of England while he fought in France against Louis XII. In the kings absence England won the Battle of Flodden against Scotland and afterwards she sent to Henry in France the blood stained coat of the dead James IV King of Scotland.
By 1525, Henry VIII was dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no sons and his only heir was daughter Mary. At the time there was no clear precedent for a female monarch in England.
Henry wanted marriage annulled, and thus began the events played out with Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio a that led to England's break with the Roman Church. Pope Clement VII, pressured by Catherine’s nephew Charles V King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor refused to annul the marriage. Henry thwarted him and assumed supremacy over the church in England. In 1533 Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury declared the marriage invalid, Henry was married Anne Boleyn, against the directions of the Pope.
Catherine, now titled Dowager Princess of Wales refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and maintained she remained the King's lawful wife and queen.
The Dowager Princess exiled from court, and spent rest of her life at Kimbolton Castle near Peterborough and died at the castle on 7 January 1536.
Catherine is buried in Peterborough Cathedral