The Tudor Society

5 June – Maria de Salinas, Catherine of Aragon’s friend

On this day in Tudor history, 5th June 1516, Spaniard Maria de Salinas married William, 10th Lord Willoughby of Eresby.

Maria and William were the parents of Catherine Willoughby, who went on to marry Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Maria was also a good friend of Catherine of Aragon and managed to be with the queen in her final hours, even though she wasn't supposed to be there.

Find out more about Maria de Salinas in today's talk.

You can find out more about Maria's daughter, Catherine Willoughby, in this video:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 5th June 1604, Tudor physician and naturalist Thomas Moffet, or Muffet, physician and naturalist, died at Wilton in Wiltshire. He is known for a poem on silkworms and his daughter is linked to a famous nursery rhyme. Find out more in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1536 – Edward Seymour was created Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, Somerset, following the wedding of his sister, Jane Seymour, and Henry VIII.
  • 1539 – Death of Brian Hygdon, Dean of York. Hygdon was close to Wolsey and Cromwell, and served on the King's Council in the North. He was buried in York Minster.
  • 1577 – Death of John Rastell, author, Jesuit and Vice-Rector at Ingolstadt. He died in Ingolstadt.
  • 1588 – Death of Anne de Vere (née Cecil), Countess of Oxford, at Greenwich. She was buried at Westminster Abbey. Anne was the daughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and his second wife, Mildred. She had been contracted to marry Philip Sidney, but married Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford in 1571. It was not a successful marriage, and the couple separated after Oxford refused to recognise their daughter, Elizabeth, as his.
  • 1597 – Death of Sir John North, soldier, member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace and traveller. He died in the Low Countries.
  • 1600 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, was charged with insubordination during his time in Ireland at a special hearing at York House. He was ordered to remain under house arrest.


On this day in Tudor history, 5th June 1516, Spaniard Maria de Salinas married William, 10th Lord Willoughby of Eresby. Maria was a good friend of Catherine of Aragon, and she and William were the parents of Katherine Willoughby, who went on to marry Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Let me tell you more about Maria…

• We don’t know Maria’s birthdate, but she was the daughter of Martin de Salinas and Josepha Gonzales de Salas, who historian Retha Warnicke believes to have been related to the royal family of Castile.
• It is thought that Maria accompanied Catherine of Aragon, or Catalina as she was known in Spain, on her journey to England in 1501 to marry Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII.
• In 1511, Maria stood as godmother to Mary, daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Anne Browne.
• In 1514, when Catherine of Aragon was married to Henry VIII, Ferdinand of Aragon’s ambassador complained about Maria’s influence over Catherine.
• On this day in 1516, William, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, took Maria as his second wife. The ceremony took place at Greenwich and King Henry VIII granted the couple Lincolnshire estates including Grimsthorpe and also gave them 6s 8d. Maria’s future son-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk, was made feoffee on Maria’s jointure, meaning he was a trustee.
• After her marriage, Maria remained at court serving her friend, the queen, and accompanied her to the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520.
• Maria had three children by William: sons, Henry and Francis, who both died in infancy, and a surviving daughter, Catherine. Their son, Henry, was the godson of King Henry VIII.
• Maria’s husband died in 1526 and legal wranglings ensued over his estates between Maria, who was fighting for the rights of her daughter, Catherine, and Maria’s brother-in-law, Sir Christopher Willoughby. Sir Thomas More was involved in distributing the properties and, following Catherine Willoughby’s marriage to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in September 1533, things went more in Maria and Catherine’s favour.
• In late 1535, on hearing of the illness of her good friend, Catherine of Aragon, who was at Kimbolton Castle after having been banished from court, Maria sought permission to visit her. Permission was refused, but Maria made her own way there in awful weather, suffering a riding accident on the way. When she arrived on 6th January 1536, and was greeted by Catherine’s warder, Edmund Bedingfield, Maria claimed that she had lost the papers giving her permission to see Catherine in her riding accident. The Catholic Bedingfield was sympathetic and Maria was able to be with her friend in her final hours. Catherine died the following day.
• Maria and her daughter, the Duchess of Suffolk, were able to attend Catherine of Aragon’s funeral on 29th January 1536 at Peterborough Abbey.
• Maria died in May 1539. Her actual deathdate and her resting place are unknown.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R

    I always find it very moving as to the devotion of Maria Willoughby to Katherine of Aragon, as her dearest friend and counsel. That she came to her aid at the last home of Katherine in December 1535,_remaining with her mistress until her death on 7th January 1536,_is true devotion and loyalty. The story of Maria travelling in the snow to see Katherine and saying she had fallen from her horse was ingenious. Maria sought refuge at Kimbolton Castle and moved in to Katherine’s room. She remained until her death two weeks later and was a comfort to her friend. It is said it was Maria who helped Katherine to write her last letter to Henry Viii and arranged for religious comfort to take down her last will. Another myth which may have some truth to it is that Maria was buried in the opened up tomb of Katherine in Peterborough Cathedral and one author has written that when the tomb was opened by the Victorians, two female skeletons were found inside. I cannot confirm if this was true, but its certainly worth the visit to the Cathedral to see the resting place of Queen Katherine. The Victorian restoration restored the chapel and placed beautiful railings around it saying Katherine the Quene. The arms of Spain and England hang at the tomb and there is a portrait of Katherine, her own personal arms and a small display about Katherine. Every January the Cathedral has a festival over a few days to celebrate and commemorate Queen Katherine.

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5 June – Maria de Salinas, Catherine of Aragon’s friend