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.

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  • 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.

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  • 27 March – Arrangements are made for Prince Arthur to marry Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th March 1489, the Treaty of Medina del Campo was signed between England and Spain. One part of it was the arrangement of the marriage between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Catherine (or Catalina) of Aragon. It was signed by Spain on this day and ratified in 1490 by Henry VII.

    Find out more about this treaty and the betrothal and marriages (yes, plural!) of Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, and Catherine of Aragon in today’s talk.

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  • 2 January – A visit for the dying Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd January 1536, imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, visited his good friend, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII and a woman who was now officially called the Dowager Princess of Wales.

    Catherine was seriously ill, in fact, she was dying, and this would be the last time that Chapuys saw her.

    Find out from Chapuys’ own account what happened in the four days he spent with Catherine of Aragon.

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  • 16 December – The birth of Catherine of Aragon

    Happy birthday to Catherine of Aragon! Yes, this first wife of King Henry VIII and Spanish princess was born on this day in Tudor history, 16th December 1485.

    In today’s talk, I explain Catherine of Aragon’s background, give some insights into her early life, and talk about how she ended up leaving her homeland of Spain and eventually becoming queen consort to Henry VIII.

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  • 9 November – A stillborn daughter for Queen Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th November 1518, Queen Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s wife of nine years, gave birth prematurely to a stillborn daughter at Greenwich Palace.

    This was to be Catherine’s sixth and final pregnancy. She had tried her very best to give King Henry VIII what he wanted, a surviving son and heir, a Prince of Wales.

    In today’s talk, I explain what happened on this day in 1518 and what we know about Queen Catherine of Aragon’s pregnancies.

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  • The Alhambra, home of Catherine of Aragon

    Today is the anniversary of Catherine of Aragon’s departure from Spain in 1501 – see today’s video here – and in my video, I mention how Catherine left her home, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, on 21st May 1501 to begin her journey to the north coast of Spain and on to England.

    I live not too far from the Alhambra and whenever I go there, I think of Catherine. On one of our visits there, Tim and I did some recording, so I thought I’d share it with you again today, just in case you missed it.

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  • 27 September – Catherine of Aragon leaves Spain

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th September 1501, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, set sail for England from Laredo, Spain.

    Catherine was leaving her homeland to marry Arthur Tudor, son and heir of King Henry VII, a marriage arranged by her parents and the English king in the Treaty of Medina del Campo.

    This was Catherine’s second attempt at sailing to England, but this time she was successful.

    I explain the background to Catherine’s journey, along with what happened when she first set sail in August 1501.

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  • 9 September – Catherine of Aragon and the mystery of James IV’s body

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1513, during the reign of King Henry VIII, English and Scottish forces clashed at the bloody Battle of Flodden.

    Henry VIII was campaigning in France at the time, so Catherine of Aragon was in charge as regent. It was a victory for Catherine and also for Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, who led the English troops against the Scots on that day. Henry missed this moment of victory.

    King James IV of Scotland died at the Battle of Flodden, but what happened to his body?

    In today’s talk, I give details of the battle, Catherine’s role in England’s victory, and explains what is thought to have happened to James IV’s remains.

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  • 3 July – Catherine of Aragon, you’re not queen!

    Oh dear! Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, had a bit of a bad day on this day in Tudor history, 3rd July 1533. Not only had she trodden on a pin and was suffering with a bad cough, but she was also told that she had to stop calling herself queen – not likely!

    In today’s “on this day” video,I share Thomas Cromwell’s letter to Catherine’s chamberlain on this matter, and also give Catherine’s reaction to it. She was a spirited and strong lady!

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  • 27 June – Prince Henry breaks up with Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1505, thirteen-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, only surviving son of King Henry VII, broke up with nineteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, by repudiating their two-year betrothal.

    It was the eve of their wedding, so why would Henry do this to Catherine?

    Let me explain exactly what happened on this day in 1505 and how the couple ended up getting married four years later.

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  • 21 June – Catherine of Aragon steals the show

    On this day in Tudor history, 21st June 1529, Queen Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, stole the show with an incredible speech at the Legatine Court at Blackfriars, a court that was hearing the case for the annulment of her marriage to the king.

    The speech was given while she knelt at her husband’s feet and she appealed directly to him. It’s an incredible speech and I share it with you in today’s video.

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  • 12 June – Catherine of Aragon gets cross with Henry VIII

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1530, Queen Catherine of Aragon got rather cross with her husband, King Henry VIII, who, according to her, was leading an evil life and being a bad example.

    What led to Catherine’s strong words on this day in 1530? What exactly was Henry VIII doing to upset his wife?

    Find out in today’s video.

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  • 11 June – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon get married

    Happy wedding anniversary to King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon! Well, Catherine would be celebrating, as she viewed herself as the king’s true wife right until the end.

    On this day in Tudor history, seventeen-year-old King Henry VIII married twenty-three-year-old Spanish princess, Catalina de Aragón, or Catherine of Aragon, his brother’s widow, at a private ceremony at Greenwich.

    Find out more about what led to this marriage in today’s video:

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  • 9 April – From Queen to Dowager Princess

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th April 1533, Catherine of Aragon, who’d been banished from the royal court, received a visit from a delegation of the king’s councillors. They were there to inform her that she was no longer queen.

    Catherine was a tough cookie, though. Even when she was threatened by the king, she did not submit, she carried on calling herself queen right until the end – good for her!

    Find out all about this visit, and their subsequent visit in July 1533, in today’s video.

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  • 23 March – Who’s queen: Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn?

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1534, the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen and Mary the heir to the throne, while the English Parliament declared Anne Boleyn to be England’s rightful queen and her daughter, Elizabeth, the heir. Weird!

    In today’s video, I explain what was going on and what the 1534 Act of Succession stated.

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  • 31 January – Catherine of Aragon loses a baby girl

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history” video, I read an excerpt from my book about a sad event affecting King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon on this day in 1510.

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  • 29 January – Catherine of Aragon is buried

    On this day in Tudor history, Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was buried at Peterborough Abbey.

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  • Catherine of Aragon – True or false quiz

    How much do you know about Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII? Test yourself with this fun Sunday quiz. Good luck!

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  • 7 January

    In today’s “on this day in Tudor history”, I talk about the death of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII.

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s halo?

    Thank you to Lynne for asking this question about Michael (Michel) Sittow’s portrait of a woman said to be Catherine of Aragon. The portrait of Katherine of Aragon painted by Michael Sittow on her marriage to Arthur shows Katherine with a halo around her headdress, and I read that the halo was painted on at a later date. I always thought that it was part of Katherine’s headdress, am I wrong?”

    The painting by Michael Sittow, shown here, is beautiful. We don’t actually know for certain who it is and there has been controversy surrounding it in recent years because the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna relabelled the portrait as being of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, based on “Henry VIII’s Favourite Sister? Michel Sittow’s Portrait of a Lady in Vienna”, an article by Paul G. Matthews. You can read more about this in Katherine of Aragon or Mary Tudor? – The Re-identification of Michel Sittow’s Portrait of a Young Woman by Nasim Tadghighi. For me, it makes more sense that it is Catherine.

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s Pregnancies Part 2: 1513 – 1518

    Today, I am concluding my examination of Catherine of Aragon’s pregnancies and what evidence we have for them from the primary sources.

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  • A bench belonging to Catherine of Aragon? – by John Roberts

    Discovering new artefacts from Henry VIII’s era, and so far away from England, sounds highly unlikely, but I am an ex-Brit living on the west coast of Canada, and I think I may have found the ‘holy grail’ of pre-Elizabethan furniture.

    I am a retiree, and in December 2016 I was looking for historical items for my daughter, Melanie, who had recently purchased a two-piece upright cupboard with 1703 among the carvings.

    My latest find, a highly ornate wood-panelled bench, or settle (we’ll settle on the bench word from now on!), was at a weekly auction in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It was described as 19th century, and I was the winning bidder at a hammer price of $725 Canadian (415 GBP).

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s Pregnancies Part 1: 1509 – 1511

    As this week was the anniversary of Queen Catherine of Aragon giving birth to a still-born daughter in 1510, I thought I’d look at the primary source accounts we have of Catherine’s pregnancies.

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  • Katharine of Aragon Festival 2018

    Every year, Peterborough Cathedral hosts the Katharine of Aragon Festival to commemorate the anniversary of Katharine’s burial at the cathedral, then Peterborough Abbey, on 29th January 1536. The Tudor-themed events are a wonderful way to pay tribute to Henry VIII’s first wife.

    Here is the schedule of events:

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  • The Moot Virginity of Catherine of Aragon – 27 July 2017, London

    We’ve just had an email from Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival regarding one of their productions which they thought would be of interest to our members, “The Moot Virginity of Catherine of Aragon”. Here are the details:

    The Moot Virginity of Catherine of Aragon
    Produced by The Belfast Ensemble

    9:15pm – 10:05pm | Thursday 27 July 2017
    Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, 17 Duke’s Rd, London, WC1H 9PY

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  • Should Ferdinand of Aragon have insisted on Katherine’s return?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Angela for asking the question “Should Ferdinand of Aragon have insisted on Katherine’s return when Prince Arthur died?”. Historian Amy Licence, who is the author of “Catherine of Aragon: An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife” has answered Angela’s question…

    This is a complex question, because Katherine’s position in England fluctuated during the period of her widowhood between 1502 and 1509. Also, we have to consider the dual impulses in Ferdinand, as a father on one hand, and as a monarch on the other, playing on the international stage, on which all his children were pawns for the furtherment of the Spanish Empire. Out of Katherine’s parents, it was Isabella of Castile who played a more active role in terms of writing to Henry VII before and after her daughter’s wedding, so she was really the commanding figure of the pair until her death in 1505. We must be careful too, with the word “should,” because it is suggestive of hindsight. We know what an awful time Katherine was to have during her widowhood and later, at the hands of Henry VIII, but back then they didn’t know how things would turn out.

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  • Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon Crossword

    As yesterday was the anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon in 1509, we’re going to have some fun and exercise our brains with a Henry and Catherine-themed crossword – enjoy!

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  • Katherine of Aragon

    Katherine of Aragon was born into the royal Spanish household on 16th December 1485, at the Archbishop’s Palace of Alcalá de Henares. She was the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and his illustrious wife, Isabella I of Castile. Katherine’s parents were the Catholic powerhouses of Western Europe during the late fifteenth century, therefore during her youth, the young Spanish princess would have envisioned the grand future that awaited her, with an ambitious marriage into an equally powerful European royal household.

    At aged just three, her parents were in negotiations with the English king, Henry VII, for a suitable marriage to his son, Arthur. The Tudors had recently taken the throne after defeating the Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth in 1485, although their Lancastrian claimant to the throne was still vulnerable to usurpation. England required international support to ensure the legitimacy and security of their house. An Anglo-Spanish alliance would be vitally important for the country’s prosperity and position in European politics.

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  • The Women of the House of Trastámara: An Introduction

    Thank you to regular contributor Heather R. Darsie for writing this introduction to the women of the House of Trastámara.

    When thinking about the important players of the Renaissance, particularly during the reign of Henry VIII of England, one recalls the powerful families of the English Tudors, French Valois, and Burgundian Habsburgs. The family that is even more influential, even if quietly, is the overlooked Trastámaras of Spain. This family married into the Tudor, Valois, and Habsburg families, among others, and its reach was far. Who were they?

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