11 June 1509 – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon marry at Greenwich
Posted By Claire on June 11, 2015
On 11th June 1509, seventeen year-old King Henry VIII married twenty-three year-old Catherine of Aragon, his brother Arthur’s widow, in the Queen’s Closet at Greenwich Palace.
The wedding was low-key and was a private ceremony with just two witnesses: George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lord Steward of the King’s Household, and William Thomas, a groom of the Privy Chamber. It was rather different to Catherine’s first wedding, which had taken place at St Paul’s and which was said to be one of the most expensive royal weddings in history. However, plans for the couple’s midsummer joint coronation were well under way, so there’d be plenty of celebrating then.
You can read more about Henry and Catherine’s wedding in my article 11 June 1509 – Henry VIII Marries Catherine of Aragon.
Also on this day in history
- 1456 – Birth of Anne Neville, Queen Consort of Richard III, at Warwick Castle. Anne was the daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury, known as the Kingmaker, and his wife, Anne Beauchamp.
- 1488 – Death of James III of Scotland, at Sauchieburn, or “the field of Stirling”. It is not known whether he died in battle or after the battle.
- 1540 – Birth of Barnabe Googe, translator and poet. Googe is known as one of the earliest English pastoral poets.
- 1544 – Bishops ordered by Henry VIII to ensure that the new litany was “in our native englysshe tonge”.
- 1560 – Death of Marie de Guise (Mary of Guise), former consort of James V and regent of Scotland, at Edinburgh Castle. Her body lay in a lead coffin at the castle, in St Margaret’s Chapel, until March 1561 when it was taken back to France. Marie was buried in the convent of St Pierre at Rheims.
- 1576 – Death of Sir Anthony Cooke, humanist and educator. Cooke educated his daughters to a high standard, teaching them Latin and Greek, and probably also modern languages and Hebrew. He was appointed royal tutor to Edward VI, but it is not known whether he actually tutored the King. It may have been more of a guiding role. He was buried at Romford, and his effigy can be seen at St Edward’s Church there.
6 thoughts on “11 June 1509 – Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon marry at Greenwich”
I have loved – I have loved – I have loved – but I believe I have never lost because of the love of the English and old English history
I meant to post earlier – the On This Day mention of Sir Anthony Cooke’s death in 1576: This was the father of Mildred Cooke, who was wife to William Cecil, so vital to Elizabeth I’s reign, and mother to Robert Cecil, who was a major player in both Elizabeth I’s and James VI&I’s reign. Imagine what a woman she was, with an education that might have rivaled the Queen’s and the Other Woman so vital to the lives of 2 men Elizabeth would not have been able to do without!
Sir Anthony’s son and Mildred’s brother Edward was a passenger on the Mayflower. I found out a few years ago that my mom’s family tree traces back to Edward and that I had a family connection to William Cecil by marriage. That struck me as funny because my dad’s tree traces back the Robert Dudley’s family. You never know what your genealogy will turn up!
Blessed Day for Catherine and Arthur and the few happy months that they had together. His heart is in Ludlow, but he is in Worcester Cathedral. Arthur’s tomb vault has room for a second person; was Catherine meant to lie there had she not become queen? Catherine and Arthur had a few short weeks of happiness in both the Castle and the Lodge were they lived before they both became ill. They had a private chapel here and it was here that Arthur sadly died. It was not to be but Catherine would find a greater destiny after her widowhood and years alone in an English court. For 20 years her second marriage gave her both joy and saddness, she was a true Queen, but in the end she was abandoned by the man that she loved with her entire being: Henry VIII.
I just realised I thought it was about Katherine and Arthur, of course this was the marriage of Henry and Katherine, the start of what both saw as a glorious period in their lives. Henry and Katherine were well suited; they were both well educated, both came from new and growing dynasties and their countries were both growing into great nations in the world stage. They were both well suited in temperament; both loved entertainments and the surprise of the joust and dance, the masque and the hunt. For Henry, Katherine was the perfect partner. To Katherine Henry was the answer to her prayers; he ended her limbo in England as a widow but a Princess without status. She was caught in the arguments over money between her father and Henry VII. Henry VIII rode in like a knight in shinning armour and their marriage was a good one. Two weeks after this quiet ceremony, the couple were crowned side by side in a wonderful show and ceremonial in Westminster Abbey to the cheers of the crowds. For the next 15-20 years they were happy and their marriage a success. Tragically, none of Katherine’s sons lived; they had a daughter, Mary, the only child who did live, and she was the apple of their hopes for a number of years, up until Henry decided to divorce his wife of 24 years. Had those sons lived, Henry and Katherine would have been married for the rest of their lives and England escaped the turmoil of the forced reformation and break from Rome.
I think Henry had a bit of a younger mans infatuation for Catherine and maybe thought he was in love but when Anne came along many years later he really did fall in love, and hard, he must have seemed the answer to Catherine’s prayers in the dark days following Arthur’s death and when she lived in poverty at the hands of her stingy father in law, her future uncertain alone in a foreign land, then Henry told her he wanted to marry her she must have been overjoyed, she probably thought she’d have to return to Spain and then suddenly everything was rosy for her, she could stay in England she was to have a handsome charming Prince for her husband and she was to be Queen of England after all, she must have been blissfully happy and very in love, and her feelings towards him never changed as what she wrote in her last letter to him on her deathbed proves many years later, ‘And lastly I vow that thine eyes desire you above all things’, it was a love that endured and it was totally wasted on the wrong person which makes it all the more poignant.