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The Tudor Society

25 June – Prince Henry (Henry VIII) gets betrothed

On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, the nearly twelve-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest surviving son of King Henry VII, got betrothed to seventeen-year-old Catherine of Aragon at the Bishop of Salisbury’s palace in Fleet Street, London.

But why did it take them until 1509 to get married? What happened?

Find out about their betrothal and their subsequent break-up in today's talk.

Also on this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1533, Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and sister of King Henry VIII, died at her home in Suffolk. She was just thirty-seven years old. You can find out more about Mary’s ill-health, her death and funeral, in last year’s video:

June 27 - Prince Henry breaks up with Catherine of Aragon:

Marriage treaty - Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 1, 1485-1509 - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/vol1/pp306-308

Also on this day in history:

  • 1539 – Baptism of courtier Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre, the younger son of Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre, and Mary, the daughter of George Neville, Baron Bergavenny.
  • 1601 – Death of Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby, Beck and Eresby, at Berwick upon Tweed. He died of a fever. Bertie was the only son of Richard Bertie and Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk, 12th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby and the well known Protestant patron. Bertie was a soldier, nobleman, ambassador, Governor of Berwick upon Tweed and Warden of the East March.

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, the nearly twelve-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, got betrothed to seventeen-year-old Catherine of Aragon at the Bishop of Salisbury’s palace in Fleet Street, London.

Henry was the eldest surviving son of King Henry VII and the late Queen Elizabeth of York, and Catherine was the daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, and the widow of Henry’s elder brother Arthur, who had died in April 1502, just six months into their marriage.

According to the marriage treaty, which had been signed on 23rd June 1503, the couple would marry when Henry “shall have completed the fourteenth year of his age”, i.e. when he turned fourteen on 28th June 1505, and only after a papal dispensation had been issued and the second instalment of Catherine’s dowry, which amounted to one hundred thousand crowns, had been paid. A dispensation was needed because of the impediment of affinity, with Catherine having been married to Henry’s brother. Although Catherine later claimed that her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated, the treaty signed in 1503 stated that a dispensation was needed “because her marriage with Prince Arthur was solemnised according to the rites of the Catholic Church, and afterwards consummated.”

I’ll give you a link to read the full terms of the treaty in the Calendar of State Papers, Spain.

Although Henry and Catherine did indeed marry, it wasn’t until 11th June 1509. Henry actually renounced his betrothal to Catherine of Aragon on 27th June 1505, claiming that it had been contracted without his consent. That was the day before the marriage was due to be solemnised, and I’ll give you a link to my video on it so you can find out why and what happened. It wasn’t the only time he rejected Catherine, he went on to have doubts about the validity of their marriage, courted Anne Boleyn, and eventually had his marriage to Catherine annulled in 1533, AFTER his marriage to Anne. Poor Catherine spent her final years banished from court and separated from her beloved daughter, Mary, dying in January 1536.
Marriage treaty - Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 1, 1485-1509 - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/spain/vol1/pp306-308

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25 June – Prince Henry (Henry VIII) gets betrothed