The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 9 April – From Queen to Dowager Princess

    A portrait of Catherine of Aragon

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • September 2017 Tudor Life – Katherine of Aragon

    Here is the full version of our 80-page September edition of Tudor Life Magazine. This month we focus on Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

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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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  • Catherine of Aragon resources

    As today is the anniversary of the birth of Catherine of Aragon on 16th December 1485, I thought I would share with you some book recommendations and resources for finding out more about Catherine.

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  • Katherine of Aragon Quiz

    Rebecca’s quiz this week is on Katherine of Aragon, first wife and queen consort of King Henry VIII. How much do you know about this fascinating Tudor lady?

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  • Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever – Conor Byrne

    Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever. In the 2016 History Hot 100 recently compiled by BBC History Magazine, no less than four of the notorious Tudor king’s consorts featured. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, wife number two Anne Boleyn finished highest, at number 4. Katherine Parr came in at number 31, Katherine of Aragon at 36, and Anne of Cleves at 38.

    Tudormania, as coined by a Guardian article, is pervasive. The general public and historians alike cannot get enough of the Tudors. But our obsession with this colourful dynasty, by and large, centres on a handful of characters that dominate films, novels and articles. This confinement of our focus is starkly revealed in the Hot 100: the top Tudor figures are, unsurprisingly, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell.

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  • Catherine of Aragon – A true maid?

    In today’s Claire Chats, I talk about Catherine of Aragon, her marriage to Arthur Tudor and its implications in Henry VIII’s quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine.

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  • Katharine of Aragon’s Spain by Heather R. Darsie

    The AlhambraThank you to Heather for sharing with us this article on "Katharine of Aragon's Spain: the Moorish Influence of Convivencia on the Newly-Modern Kingdom".

    Prior to Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, finally removing the last Islamic presence from the Kingdom of Granada, there was a considerable Islamic and Jewish presence that lasted over 700 hundred years.

    The Muslims first came to Spain during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania around the year 711, when they invaded from North Africa. At the time, the Iberian Peninsula was a Visigoth kingdom. The area of the Iberian Peninsula controlled by the Muslims was called Al-Andalus. After the invasion, conversion from Christianity to Islam was advantageous. There was relative peace in Muslim-controlled Spain for about three hundred years. The main cities of Al-Andalus were Granada, Toledo and Cordoba.
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  • 9 April 1533 – No Longer Queen by Sarah Bryson

    On 9th April 1533, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk accompanied by a delegation from King Henry VIII met with Queen Katherine of Aragon at her residence at Ampthill where she had been moved to in February. When they arrived they informed Katherine that she was no longer Queen of England, but from that day forward she had to style herself as the Dowager Princess of Wales. Katherine took the news with grace but refused neither to use the new title nor to believe that Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was valid.

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  • The Pregnancies of Katherine of Aragon by Sarah Bryson

    Sadly, on this day in history, on the 9th of November 1518, Katherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a stillborn girl.

    There are very few surviving details of Katherine’s pregnancy but Venetian Ambassador Sebastian Giustinian wrote that “This night the Queen was delivered of a daughter, to the vexation of as many as know it;—the entire nation looked for a prince.” A later report in the Venetian archives stated that: “The Queen had been delivered in her eighth month of a stillborn daughter, to the great sorrow of the nation at large”.

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  • 23 June 1509 – Coronation procession of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon

    On Saturday 23rd June, Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon left the Tower of London and made their way through the streets of London to Westminster on their coronation procession.

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s Stillbirth on 31 January 1510 – The Primary Source

    On this day in history, 31st January 1510, Queen Catherine of Aragon gave birth to a still-born daughter. Although she had lost her baby, Catherine’s abdomen stayed rounded and actually began to increase in size, leading her physicians to conclude that she was still pregnant with the twin of the baby she’d lost. This was not true.
    I thought it would be interesting to share the primary source account of this event here.

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  • Video – The Annulment of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s Marriage

    A video on Henry VIII’s Great Matter and Catherine of Aragon’s opposition.

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  • Catherine of Aragon’s Black Heart and Poison: The Primary Sources

    Following Catherine of Aragon’s death on the afternoon of 7th January 1536, her body was prepared for burial by a chandler in her household, whose job it would have been to embalm her body. Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Sir Edward Chamberlain wrote to Thomas Cromwell from Kimbolton on 7th January about the arrangements they had made:

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