The Tudor Society
  • 25 June – Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry are betrothed

    On 25th June 1503, the widowed Catherine of Aragon got betrothed to Prince Henry, second son of King Henry VII.

    Find out more about this, the plans for their marriage, and what happened, in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • 18 June – Catherine of Aragon protests

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th June 1529, Catherine of Aragon made her protest at the Blackfriars legatine court. What was she protesting about? What were the grounds of her appeal?

    Find out in today’s #TudorHistoryShorts video…

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  • The marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon Part 1 – talk by Claire Ridgway

    Here is the video of the Facebook Live talk I did for Tudor Society members in the private members-only group.

    In it, I look at the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, from its very beginnings, with their betrothal in Henry VII’s reign, to 1527, when Henry applied for a dispensation to marry Anne Boleyn.

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  • One Book Unites Two Rival Queens by Kate McCaffrey

    Thank you so much to Kate McCaffrey for sharing this guest article with us today. Kate has been in the news recently because of her discovery of previously hidden inscriptions in one of Anne Boleyn’s Books of Hours at Hever Castle – a wonderful discovery.

    Do follow the link at the end of this post to read Kate’s guest article on the Anne Boleyn Files too.

    Over to Kate…

    Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Two queens, two wives, two rivals. They are both highly recognisable leading women from sixteenth-century England, but are also famed rivals in love and power. At best, we consider them to have had a fraught, divisive relationship. In today’s society, as is so often the case, we frequently see them as two women pitted against each other: one ‘good’, one ‘bad’, one Catholic, one Reformist, one wife, one mistress. Certainly, they were rivals and had many differing opinions and standpoints, but they also had key qualities in common. They were both highly educated, pious women who were at the whims of their changeable husband and who, in their own ways, were victims of patriarchal circumstance.

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  • These Tudors Are Your Favourites

    A couple of weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers to vote on their favourite Tudor Monarch and wife of Henry VIII. We combined the votes with the most searched questions on Google and the country in which they are most popular. Here are the results!

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  • Celebrate spring with the two Catherine’s

    Today is the first day of Spring! As a celebration of this joyous occasion, we chose two spring looking portraits and moments from two of Henry VIII’s wives to talk about. 

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  • 6 November – Catherine of Aragon meets Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th November 1501, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, met her betrothed, Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII, at Dogmersfield in Hampshire.

    The couple were actually already married by proxy, but had never met, and Catherine had only just arrived in England.

    Find out more about the lead-up to Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor’s meeting on 6th November 1501, including Catherine’s journey from Spain to England, how their meeting went and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • 7 October – Catherine of Aragon wins this round

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th October 1529, Pope Clement VII wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    It wasn’t good news. Catherine of Aragon had won this battle, with the pope deciding that the marriage was valid, but she hadn’t won the war. Henry VIII did get the marriage annulled in the end, but the pope didn’t do it.

    But what was going on? Why wouldn’t the pope help? What was Henry VIII’s argument for an annulment and on what grounds did Catherine appeal?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 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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