27 September 1501 – Catherine of Aragon Sets Sail for England

On this day in history, 27th September 1501, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the 15 year old Catalina de Aragón, or Catherine of Aragon, set sail from the port of Laredo in Spain. Her ship was headed for England and she was due to marry the heir to the English throne, Arthur, Prince of Wales.

It was the party’s second attempt at sailing from Spain to England. Their first attempt, on the 17th August from A Coruña, had been a failure due to strong storms in the notoriously rough Bay of Biscay forcing the fleet to land at Laredo, near Bilbao.

It had been a long and arduous journey before Catherine had even set sail. She had left her home, the idyllic Alhambra Palace in Granada, on the 21st May 1501 to travel over 500 miles on horseback to the northern coast of Spain. This journey today takes over ten hours by car today, so I can only imagine what it would have been like in the height of summer on horseback. She finally arrived at Plymouth, on the south-western coast of England, on the 2nd October.

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5 thoughts on “27 September 1501 – Catherine of Aragon Sets Sail for England”
  1. i think the idea of a 15 year old girl having to travel so far away from her family and home to be married off to a stranger is quite sad really,even if it was considered normal in those times and then to know what happened to her afterwards .

  2. Catherine looks so young,I wonder what she was thinking,did she what to sail from her home land ans marry Arthuor,only for him to pass and leave her alone.She was treated so badly,then came along Henry and she loved him,it must have been the happiest time in her young life.Then only to have trajity enter in to her life,and more pain and sadness,you wonder how one can endure so much pain and disapointment?

  3. Leaving your family and home is always upsetting even now, but in those days the chance that you would never return home to see your loved ones again was near enough guaranteed, it must have been heart breaking to say goodbye for ever, even though they were brought up with this knowledge. It must have been very daunting too, going to a new country, facing new ways and new people, a different language to master, all this to contend with, and then marry someone you had never met…very scarey at any age, let alone 15.

  4. At that time life expectancy was very short; prehaps as short as 30, maybe younger for women who put their lives at risk with each pregnancy. I am sure Katherine was raised with the knowledge she would be sent from home, never to see her parents again. When her sister visited I imagine she was estatic to see someone from her family again only to be disappointed in the amount of time she was allowed to visit with her and with her sisters mental incapacities. When looking over her life she had few moments of true happiness; and I would imagine all of them revolved around her daughter, Mary. That Henry denied her access to Mary the last few years of her life was prehaps one of the cruelest things he did; even above his sanctioned murders. Yet Katherine kept her faith and somehow, if her last report letter is true, even managed to forgive and retain her love of Henry. What a remarkable woman and what a remarkable faith. It is sad it took until the 20th century to mark her resting place as that of a Queen of England, Mary of Tek deserves a great deal of honor for having spearheaded that event. Katherine should have been buried as a Queen for she truly exhibited the best of queenship in her life.

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