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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[7]

Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 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. They had one child, Mary I.


Early life[]

Catherine was born Catalina[1] on 16 December 1485.[4] She was the youngest daughter of Queen Isabel of Castilla and León and King Ferdinand of Aragón. Catherine had four older siblings, Isabella, Juan, Juana, and Maria. Isabella and Juan both passed away in 1497, leaving Juana next in line for their parents thrones.[1]

1501 – 1513[]

In 1501, Catherine arrived at the English court to marry Prince Arthur, the son of King Henry VII. Arthur passed away a few months after their marriage on 3 April 1502, leaving Catherine a widow at sixteen. Following Arthur's death, Catherine chose to remain in England to claim the income promised in her marriage agreement. Henry VII refused to give her any money since her father had not paid the full amount of her dowry. Catherine was largely ignored by the rest of the court during this time. She was kept in a state of poverty and was unable to pay her servants, including her childhood friend Eva De Puebla. Catherine soon had designs to marry Arthur's younger brother Prince Henry "Harry".

The following year, Catherine was betrothed to Prince Harry and she was finally granted an allowance. Unfortunately, her fortunes changed after her mother Isabel died in 1504, leading to power shifts in Spain. By Henry's fourteenth birthday, the marriage was called off. Catherine, nevertheless, remained confident that they would marry someday. In 1506, her sister Juana and brother-in-law Philip of the Netherlands came to court after being shipwrecked off the coast. Philip forged an alliance with Henry VII, but fortune favored Catherine when Philip died a few months later. Catherine's father Ferdinand now had full control of Spain, giving her a better standing at court.

Catherine continued to bide her time until Henry VII's death in April 1509. Catherine married Prince Harry, now Henry VIII, the following June and they were crowned Queen and King of England shortly after. In January 1510, she gave birth to a stillborn daughter. She bore a son named Henry the following year, but he grew sickly and died in a little over a month. In 1513, Henry went off to war against France and left Catherine as Regent in his place. Recognizing danger, Catherine sent troops north to guard against Scotland. Her suspicions were proved true when James IV of Scotland, whom was also Henry's brother-in-law, declared war. Catherine herself went with more troops, leading to Scotland's defeat. Catherine sent James IV's blood-stained coat to Henry, but ended up losing her third baby.


In 1516, Catherine gave birth to her only surviving child, a daughter named Mary.[8] Her following pregnancy left her unable to have anymore children. During this time, Henry also fathered an illegitimate child, a boy named Henry Fitzroy.

1525 – 1536[]

By 1525, Catherine's husband had taken an interest in one of her ladies-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. She turned a blind eye to it at first, mistakenly believing it would be like any of Henry's other affairs. 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. She even pleaded her case in court when a representative from the Pope arrived. Ultimately, a decision was not declared. Henry grew tired of waiting for the Pope and separated from Catherine in 1531. She was forced to move to The More with her household. Catherine was also barred from seeing her daughter Mary.

On May 10, 1533, Catherine's marriage to Henry was officially declared "null and void."[9] Catherine refused the new title of "Dowager Princess" and continued to insist that she was the Queen and his wife for the rest of her life. Her health worsened as she was shuffled from one drafty house to another. Catherine ate less and spent most of her time praying, usually for her husband. Her friend Maria de Salinas, whom had been dismissed years earlier by Henry, barged in to see Catherine when her health became dire. Catherine wrote a final letter to her husband, before dying on 7 January 1536. An autopsy was done on her body and a black growth was found on her heart.

Physical appearance[]

As a young woman, Catherine was described as having a "trim figure" and moving with a "dancer's grace." She had honey-coloured hair, "clear" grey eyes, as well as small hands and feet. Her skin was called "creamy."[6]

Personality and traits[]

Catherine's friend Eva De Puebla said that Catherine was similar to her mother. Her mother "saw things in black and white" and that "those who were not with her were against her," which was how Catherine also seemed to think. After her marriage, Eva described Catherine as a "graceful, wise young woman," and "truly the warrior queen's daughter." She remained steadfast 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, but was also quite adept at "domestic skills," including baking, weaving, and embroidery. She disliked schoolwork, especially Latin.

Behind the scenes[]


In chronological order:


See also[]

My Story characters
Main characters

Nebka | Hatshepsut "Asha" | Claudia | Bran | Tor Scaldbane | Jenkin Lloyd | Eva De Puebla
Elinor Valjean | Lady Jane Grey | Matilda "Tilly" Middleton | Catherine "Kitty" Lumsden | Thomas Hobbs
Remember "Mem" Whipple | Thomas Adamson | Alice Paynton | Susannah Makepeace | Ignatius Sancho
Euphemia Grant | Mary Wade | Elizabeth "Lizzie" Harvey | Isabelle | James Grant | Mary Prince | Bob Jenkins
Dick Maybury | Eliza Helsted | Phyllis McCormack | Lily Hicks | Michael Pope | Hanuman Singh | Clotee Henley
Will Reed | Edith Lorrimer | Jabulani | Sophia Duleep Singh | Florence Finch | Flora Bonnington | Dollie Baxter
Margaret Anne Brady | Jack Fairfax | Daphne "Daffy" Rowntree | Billy Stevens | Noor Inayat Khan
Eleanor Rhys Davies | Rebecca "Becky" Mortkowicz | Harry Woods | Princess Margaret | Sophie Ridel
Peter Rogers | Kitty Langley | Edith "Edie" Benson | Tim Jackson | Andrew "Andy" Pope | Paul Lelaud
Violet Debuchy

Supporting characters

Henry VII | Henry VIII | Catherine of Aragon | Anne Boleyn | Jane Seymour | Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard | Catherine Parr | Edward VI | Mary I | Elizabeth II

Lists of characters by book

Pyramid of Secrets | Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Agincourt | My Tudor Queen
Anne Boleyn and Me | Lady Jane Grey | Bloody Tower | The Queen's Spies | Armada | Mayflower | Civil War
The Great Plague | Highway Girl | Ignatius Sancho | The '45 Rising | No Way Back | Transported
The Fall of the Blade | Trafalgar | Mary Prince | Waterloo | Dodger! | Mill Girl | The Hunger | The Crystal Palace
Crimea | Indian Mutiny | Slave Girl | The Sweep's Boy | Victorian Workhouse | Zulu War | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh
Factory Girl | Twentieth-Century Girl | Suffragette | Titanic | The Trenches | Flying Ace | Road to War
Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Berlin Olympics | Nowhere to Run | The Storm to Come | Battle of Britain
Wartime Princess | Sophie's Secret War | U-Boat Hunter | War Nurse | Blitz | Desert Danger | D-Day
Spy Smuggler | Codename Céline | London Stories

My Royal Story characters

Cleopatra VII | Beatrice Townhill | Elizabeth I | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

Lists of My Royal Story characters by book

Cleopatra | Henry VIII's Wives | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

My True Story characters

Dora Thewlis | John "Jack" Cornwell | Joe Read | Susan | Vera

Lists of My True Story characters by book

Give Us the Vote! | Standing Alone | Hero at Dunkirk | What If They Find Us?

Further reading[]