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…

Also on this day in Tudor history, 16th December 1485, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII was born.

Find out about her background, and early life, and how she ended up leaving her homeland of Spain and eventually becoming queen consort to Henry VIII in this video…

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6 thoughts on “16 December – The death of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, and the birth of Catherine of Aragon”
  1. Little did the parents of Catolina of Aragon know that the birth of their youngest child, a daughter, 16th December 1485 would be so significant. Queen Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand ii of Aragon where their Catholic Majesties of Spain where in the middle of their reconquest of Spain from invading Muslims and Catolina to all intense and purposes was practically born in battle. Catatina was born at Acala near Madrid and named after her Lancastrian great grandmother, Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt.

    Catolina was to grow up to marry Prince Arthur of Wales, son and heir to King Henry Tudor and his wife, Elizabeth of York and then his brother, King Henry Viii, seven years after her first husband died in April 1502. Catalina became Queen Catherine of Aragon on 11th June 1509 and was crowned with her new husband on 24th June, Mid Summer Day 1509. Both of her marriages where seen as troublesome many years later, but that was all a very long way into the future.

    Neither Isabella or Ferdinand had anything in mind for their beautiful baby girl but good health, a wonderful education and a grand match. The match they chose had a degree of special risk because when Catalina was three, Henry Vii was not secured on the English throne. In fact he wouldn’t be for 15 years. Much was to pass between now and 1501, the year of her wedding to Prince Arthur and it was by know means guaranteed that it would actually take place. However, take place it did, her reception was in pouring rain in November 1501 and Arthur and Princess Katharine as she now would become where married at Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London a few days later. The what had happened of their wedding night unfortunately became the political discussion of the century in 1529. But again for 2 15 year olds, that was hardly a great concern. It was the death of Prince Arthur, who contrary to popular mis belief, was not sickly all of the time, and who was considered well enough to live with his wife, was a great shock in April 1502.

    Katharine was left in no man’s land in England until she became her father’s official Ambassador in 1507 and her marriage to Prince Henry was on again. Katharine was married to the new King and crowned at his side in June 1509 and for 18 years they were reasonably happy. It was the lack of sons which led Henry to the conclusion that his marriage was never lawful and for which he sought an annulment. His attraction to a maid of honour, French educated, Anne Boleyn, no doubt influenced Henry to push the matter. We often talk about his ill treatment of Katharine but I don’t believe this is entirely fair. It wasn’t until Summer 1531 that Henry abandoned Katharine and it wasn’t until 1533 and 1534 that her restrictions of house arrest became settled. It was at that time that her treatment was much harsher and that she was unable to see her daughter. It might not be a popular opinion but had Katharine accepted her marriage was over her treatment would have been as honourable as that of Anne of Cleves so she was partly to blame for her situation. That’s coming from one of her supporters because I am a historian first and not a Team Katharine v Team Anne fantasy person. The harsh reality in 1533 was that Henry had married someone else and his wife and daughter defied his authority. I understand why they did but I am not going to fantasise that Henry could have chosen to deal with them more mildly. Henry had actually done that for two years and did so for another year. If he wanted his subjects to obey him, especially as he was now the Head of the Church as well as the State, his family had to do so as well. Shocking, but the reality of the situation.

    Actually, Katharine wasn’t treated too badly, despite her moaning which is all people talk about. None of the manors was run down or neglected and the dampness wasn’t anything any Palace didn’t have. Some of his choices were worse than others but Katharine refused to go. Her worst punishment was being confronted by men who tried to bully her and ended up cowed by her. For the majority of her exile she actually had 200 staff around her. Henry paid for them. This was reduced in 1534 but many were actually released back to her and she had to have permission to receive visitors. However, visitors she did receive. The worst thing was that she couldn’t see Mary, which was very cruel but they did write and received messages as they knew what was going on. Both received news and visits from Chapuys. It was only during her last few months that Katharine seems to have had stricter conditions, not on her living but on whom she could see and the number of servants. Both Mary and Katharine did have medical visits and both used their illness as a political weapon to get Henry’s sympathy, which often worked. Even when he forbade something they still found a way around it. For example Henry told Katharine not to give out Maundy Money on Maundy Thursday but she ignored him and did so. Local people came to see her and she always moved to the lanes and roads full of cheering crowds. Henry Viii in fact had two Queens 1533 to 1536 whether he wanted them or not. Mary wasn’t as neglected either. She was still Princess of Wales until the end of 1533 and the birth of Elizabeth. It was only afterwards that she was moved to live with and serve her sister. It was under the authority of Anne that she received ill treatment but there are many indicators that the servants dare not touch her and her worst thing was eating on her own, something she chose out of defiance. She was not treated correctly but she did receive visits and knew all the news. It was in May 1536 when we see things get worse and she was then bullied into submitting to her father. When she did so her condition improved immediately and immensely. Both women suffered neglect in a modern sense, they were deprived of their rights and dignity and each other, but their situation could have improved at any time. Henry should have been more conscious of how they felt and allowed them to see each other, especially when they were ill, but these are the only years he mistreated them. He didn’t spend his life doing so as some people like to claim. Nor where their actual living conditions that harsh. It was the restrictions around them that where harsh. Not being able to see either parents for Mary and Katharine being separated from old friends and her daughter and husband all must have been heartbreaking. None of this could have been seen in 1485 and things could have been much different but for the tragic loss of children.

      1. I see it now. Cheers. Signed up for the conference this morning. Terrible, succumbing to all this Tudor history. It’s like eating the huge cream cake you know you really shouldn’t and throughly enjoying it.

        1. Fab! Thank you! I’m really excited about it. I really wanted to focus on what made Anne the woman she was and I’m so glad that these historians were all available and so eager to be a part of it. Tudor history is so much healthier than cream cake though!

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