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The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor History – 31 January

    A portrait of Edward VI

    On this day in Tudor history, Queen Catherine of Aragon suffered a stillbirth, Henry VIII’s death was announced and Edward VI proclaimed king, and some more Gunpowder Plotters were executed…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 8 January

    A painting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn wearing yellow, along with a miniature of Catherine of Aragon

    What happened on this day in history, 8th January, in Tudor times?

    Let me share with you some of the events that took place on this day in the reigns of the Tudor kings and queens…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 7 January

    A portrait of Catherine of Aragon

    What happened on this day in Tudor history?

    Lots!

    Find out more about this day in the Tudor period…

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  • June 25 – Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry get betrothed

    A portrait of a woman thought to be Catherine of Aragon by Michael Sittow

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th June 1503, seventeen-year old Catherine of Aragon became betrothed to the nearly twelve-year old Prince Henry, second son of King Henry VII.

    Catherine had been widowed in April 1502 when her husband, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Henry VII, died. The king was keen to keep hold of her dowry so negotiated with her parents, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, for her to marry his second son.

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  • Catherine of Aragon – The Case for Non-consummation by Amanda Glover

    Portraits of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor

    Portraits of Catherine of Aragon and Arthur TudorThank you to Amanda Glover for writing this guest article for us on the question of whether Catherine of Aragon's marriage to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, was consummated.

    The story

    More than 500 years ago two teenagers married. Only four and a half months later the boy sadly died. Since then, historians have hotly debated whether the marriage was ever consummated.

    The girl was called Catalina, known in England as Catherine of Aragon, and the boy was Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir to the fledgling dynasty of the Tudors.

    But why was the question of the consummation so important?

    When Arthur died so tragically young, his ten-year-old brother, Henry became the heir to his father’s crown. In 1509, eight years after Arthur’s demise, the 17-year-old Henry ascended the throne as Henry VIII on the death of his father, Henry VII. One of his first acts was to marry Catherine, having obtained Papal dispensation, a necessity in the eyes of the Church because of Catherine’s first marriage to Arthur, which made the new couple “related”.

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  • Hever Castle – still worth a visit? by Tim Ridgway

    Hever Castle

    A few weeks ago, my father and I were able to get away for a morning to visit Hever Castle in Kent. It’s somewhere that you may have been to before, and it’s a castle that is very close to our hearts – we LOVE the way the grounds are kept and how the castle evokes the history of the Boleyn family, the time Anne of Cleves spent there AND, more recently, how the Astor family lived and renovated the whole area.

    For a long time, Hever castle was quite static in its displays – not much changed, which was fine if you’d never visited before, but since we had visited so many times, it was rare to see anything new. That’s no longer the case.

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  • November 6 – Arthur Tudor meets Catherine of Aragon for the first time

    On this day in Tudor history, 6th November 1501, just eight days before their marriage, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King Henry VII, met Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.

    The couple met at Dogmersfield in Hampshire.

    Arthur and Catherine had already had a proxy marriage but had never met.

    Let me tell you more about the lead-up to their meeting on 6th November 1501, including Catherine’s journey from Spain to England, how their first meeting went and what happened next…

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  • Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon Quiz

    I thought we’d celebrate Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s wedding anniversary, which was yesterday, by testing your knowledge of them and their marriage.

    Get those little grey cells working with this fun quiz and do feel free to share your score.

    Good luck!

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  • April 9 – A demotion for Catherine of Aragon and the death of Richard Bertie

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th April, 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…

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  • March 27 – Arrangements are made for Prince Arthur to marry Catherine of Aragon and Reading the Bible in church could get you into trouble

    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 this talk…

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  • March 23 – The last abbey is dissolved and the Pope issued a bull proclaiming Catherine of Aragon to be England’s true queen

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd March 1540, Waltham Abbey, an Augustinian house in Essex, was surrendered to the Crown.

    It was the last abbey to be dissolved in Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries.

    Find out more about this historic abbey, its origins and what’s left today, and also who profited from its lands, in this talk…

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  • 31 January – The great devil of all and Catherine of Aragon loses a baby girl

    On this day in history, 31st January 1606, Gunpowder Plot conspirators Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Guy Fawkes were executed for treason at the Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

    Two of them cheated the executioner and crowd by leaping at the gallows, but they still had awful ends.

    Hear a contemporary account of their executions, including what they did and said, in this talk…

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  • 8 January – Mary Shelton, Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady, and Henry VIII celebrates news of Catherine of Aragon’s death

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th January 1571, Mary Shelton (married names: Heveningham and Appleyard) was buried at Heveningham Church, Suffolk.

    Mary Shelton was Queen Anne Boleyn’s cousin and lady-in-waiting, and may also have been King Henry VIII’s mistress. She also contributed to the Devonshire Manuscript with the likes of Mary Howard, Lady Margaret Douglas and Lord Thomas Howard.

    Find out more about Mary Shelton in this talk…

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  • 2 January – A visit for the dying Queen Catherine, and Granada surrenders

    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.

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  • 1 January – Catherine of Aragon has a son, and Henry VIII meets Anne of Cleves

    On 1st January 1540, Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves for the very first time.

    This meeting between King Henry VIII and the woman who would soon become his fourth wife, was a bit of a disaster, but exactly how much of a disaster was it? The accounts differ and Claire shares with you two slightly different contemporary accounts, one given in a chronicle and one shared in the annulment proceedings a few months later in 1540.

    What happened on New Year’s Day 1540 at Rochester?

    Find out all about Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves’ first meeting in this talk…

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  • 16 December – The death of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, and the birth of Catherine of Aragon

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th (or possibly the 18th) December 1503, George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, died at Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

    Grey served as a soldier under Henry VII, was on the king’s council, and served him as Constable of Northampton Castle and as a judge at the trial of Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.
    He was also married to a sister of Elizabeth Woodville.

    Grey also managed to retain royal favour on Henry VII’s accession even though he’d been rewarded by Richard III.

    Find out more about George Grey in this talk…

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  • 9 November – The Northern Rebellion against Elizabeth I and the birth of the stillborn daughter of Catherine of Aragon

    This day in Tudor history, 9th November 1569, is the traditional date given for the start of the only major armed rebellion of Elizabeth I’s reign. It’s known as The Northern Rebellion or Rising of the North or Revolt of the Northern Earls.

    Northern earls Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland and Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, led this uprising against Elizabeth I, seeking to depose her, replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, and restore Catholicism.

    But what happened?

    Find out about the 1569 Northern Rebellion and the fate of the Northern Earls in this talk…

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  • 6 November – Catherine of Aragon met her betrothed for the first time and Catherine Howard was abandoned by Henry VIII

    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 this talk…

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  • 7 October – A poet hired to woo Elizabeth I and there’s bad news for Henry VIII

    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…

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  • 27 September – Margaret Beaufort’s first husband and Catherine of Aragon sets sail from Spain

    On this day in history, 27th September 1442, in the reign of King Henry VI, John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, was born.

    He may have been born in the Plantagenet period, but Suffolk’s first wife was Lady Margaret Beaufort, the future mother of Henry VII. Suffolk went on to serve Henry VII loyally, although his son was involved in the Lambert Simnel Rebellion.

    Find out more about John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, his life and career, and what happened with his marriage to Lady Margaret Beaufort…

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  • Did Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor consummate their marriage?

    Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, were married from 14th November 1501 until Arthur’s death on 2nd April 1502, but did they consummate their marriage? They certainly slept in the same bed, but did Catherine of Aragon and Arthur Tudor have sex?

    Find out what people said at the Legatine court hearing in 1529 and the Zaragoza hearing in 1531, and what Catherine claimed, in this talk…

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  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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.

    [Read More...]
  • 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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