11 June 1509 – The Wedding of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Posted By Claire on June 11, 2013
On the 11th June 1509 the 17 year-old King Henry VIII married the 23 year-old Catherine of Aragon, widow of Arthur Prince of Wales, Henry’s brother, in the Queen’s closet at Greenwich Palace. It was a private ceremony with just two witnesses, Lord Steward Shrewsbury and William Thomas, a groom of the privy chamber, so was nothing like Catherine’s previous wedding to Arthur which took place at St Paul’s Cathedral and is said to be one of the most expensive royal weddings in history. The wedding was probably low key because the couple’s joint coronation was taking place less than two weeks later, and that would be a lavish affair.
You can read more about the ceremony in my article 11 June 1509 – Henry VIII Marries Catherine of Aragon.
Here is a YouTube video of David Starkey talking about the early years of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s marriage:
9 thoughts on “11 June 1509 – The Wedding of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon”
I realize the term “Queen’s Closet” means something else entirely from what we modern folks are thinking, but I can’t help but grin, and imagine how crowded it must have been with the clothes and other things Katharine had in her closet already, never mind having a wedding amidst all the clutter!
I am not entirely sure what the closset was but I think it was a small private room that the King or Queen withdrew to read private letters and held small private religious ceremonies in. It was part of their private chambers and only a few invited guests would have been present. It was not the only time that Henry had a private wedding. He married Anne Boleyn in an even smaller one in secret almost; he married Jane in a private service: Anne of Cleves; I am not sure but I think it was public to the extent that the court was present: Katherine Howard in a private service at Oaklands, and Katherine Parr in the Queen’s closset or chapel in Hampton Court and only 14 people came.
A small ceremony was not unusual, although you would think that they would have a bigger one since they were King and Queen. I had heard they had a ceremony in the Observant Friars Chapel, but well as it says above: then they had the big coronation and that was a thing to behold. Both Katherine and Henry on 23rd and 24th June in their finary must have been something to behold. I am sure that Henry and Katherine were in love and that their marriage had many happy times in these early years at least.
The closet is a private part of the Chapel and its other name is Holy Day Closet. An example that still exists today is the one at Hampton Court Palace, see http://www.chapelroyal.org/hdclosets.html
Their wedding was simple yet elegant. Henry was defying and going against his father’s wishes by marrying Katherine, he chose to marry her. From what i have read in different books they were a happy couple in the early years of marriage. It is shame that shows like the TUDORS do not show that but concentrate on when they were having serious problems and divorcing. I was surprised to read that Henry used to write poems for Katherine. I wish we can see the happy side as a couple portrayed in shows and movies.
They married on my birthday?! Wow
I’m unfamiliar with this portrait of Katherine, can you let me know where to find it? I’ve searched online, but am sent to this site :>) (always a pleasure).
I got this from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portrait_of_Katherine_of_Aragon.jpg and it’s the one that’s also in Philip Mould’s gallery – http://www.historicalportraits.com/InternalMain.asp?ItemID=1177. It is identical to one that is in Hever Castle’s collection and I have a photo of that. I got Tim to zoom in on my photo and the plaque says that it is English School c.1560, just like the information on Philip Mould’s page. Here is my photo – https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/downloads/catherine_of_aragon.jpg. Hope that helps!
Thanks Claire, much appreciated :>) :>)