This article is about Henry VIII's first wife. For other uses, see Catherine (disambiguation).
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"Harry and I will be married, Eva. But first the old king will have to die. Time is on my side. You'll see."
—Catherine pledges to marry Prince Henry one day.[4]

Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina; December 16, 1485 – January 7, 1536) was the Queen of England and first wife of Henry VIII. She was the youngest daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. In 1502, Catherine married Prince Arthur of England, who died a few months later. Catherine went on to marry Henry VIII in 1509.


Early life

Catherine was born as Catalina[5] on December 16, 1485.[1] She was the youngest daughter of Queen Isabella of Castilla and León and King Ferdinand of Aragón. Catherine had four older siblings, Isabella, Juan, Maria, and Juana.

1501 – 1513

In 1501, Catherine arrived at the English court and married Prince Arthur, the son of King Henry VII. Arthur passed away on April 3, 1502, leaving Catherine a widow at sixteen. After Arthur's death, Catherine refused to return to Spain, because England owed her an income promised in the marriage agreement. She was largely ignored during this time and kept in a state of poverty.

The following year, Catherine was betrothed to Arthur's younger brother Prince Henry "Harry", who was five years younger than her. Catherine's mother Isabella died in 1504, throwing Spain into disarray. By Henry's fourteenth birthday, the marriage was called off, though Catherine remained sure that they would marry. Catherine spent the following years biding her time, until King Henry's death in April 1509. Catherine and Henry married the following June and were crowned Queen and King of England shortly after.

She gave birth to a stillborn girl in January 1510, and a son named Henry the following year. However, the baby was sickly and died in February 1511. In 1513, Henry went off to war against France and left Catherine as Regent. Catherine sent troops to guard against Scotland, who declared war against England shortly later. She herself went with more troops. England defeated Scotland, but Catherine lost her third baby.


In 1516,[6] Catherine gave birth to her only surviving child, a daughter named Mary. Her following pregnancy left her unable to have anymore children. Henry also fathered an illegitimate child, a boy named Henry Fitzroy, during this time.

1525 – 1536

By 1525, Catherine's husband had taken an interest in one of her ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. Two years later, Henry begged Catherine to release him, so he could marry Anne. Catherine refused and remained adamant during the following years that she was his true wife. Henry separated from Catherine in 1531 and moved her to The More. He never saw her again.

On May 10, 1533,[7] her marriage to the King was officially declared "null and void". Catherine refused the new title of "Princess Dowager" and insisted that she was the Queen for the rest of her life. Her health worsened as Henry shuffled her from one drafty house to another, leading to her death on January 7, 1536.

Personality and traits

Catherine's friend, Eva De Puebla said that Catherine was similar to her mother, Isabella. Her mother "saw things in black and white," and that "those who were not with her were against her." After her marriage, Eva described Catherine as a "graceful, wise young woman," and "truly the warrior queen's daughter." Catherine remained stubborn for the rest of her life, never wavering from her loyalty to her husband.

Eva also remarked that Catherine "should have been a boy." Catherine enjoyed "practical subjects", such as riding, falconry, and archery, and was quite adept at "domestic skills," including baking, weaving, and embroidery. She disliked schoolwork, especially Latin.

Behind the scenes



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