31 January 1510 – Catherine of Aragon Loses a Baby

On this day in history, 31st January 1510, Catherine of Aragon went into premature labour and gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. Fray Diego, her confessor, reported that the loss of the baby occurred “without any other pain except that one knee pained her the night before.”

What was heartbreaking about this miscarriage was that Catherine’s abdomen stayed rounded and kept growing, leading her physician to concluded that she was still pregnant and that she had lost one of a pair of twins. Even though she began to menstruate again, it’s understandable that Catherine and Henry clung on to that hope and Catherine went into confinement in March 1510 to await the birth of the remaining twin. The birth never happened, it was a phantom pregnancy and Catherine’s abdomen began to return to normal. How heartbreaking!

You can read more about this miscarriage in my article Catherine of Aragon Goes into Premature Labour – 31st January 1510 and about Catherine’s pregnancies and miscarriages in The Pregnancies of Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon

Also on this day in history…

  • 1547 – Thomas Wriothesley announces the death of Henry VIII to Parliament and Edward VI is proclaimed King
  • 1574 – Birth of playwright Ben Jonson

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6 thoughts on “31 January 1510 – Catherine of Aragon Loses a Baby”
  1. I wonder if the “phantom pregnancy” trait is something that Mary inherited, since she went through two of them.

    Poor Katharine! This was the start of her troubles with childbearing.

  2. I think both Catherine and Mary were desperate to have children which is why phantom pregnancies happen. (Their is some evidence to suggest that Anne Boleyn might have had experienced one between her miscarriages). Losing a child today is tramatic enough but it must have been a hundred times worse for Catherine when her whole poisition depended on a healthy male heir, women were considered totally to blame for infertility and people believed that childlessness was a punishment from God.

    1. completely agree with emma above and of course there was also a lot of ignorance about pregnancy and childbirth back then.i think mary became very like catherine of aragon and adopted a martyr like existence

  3. Henry’s Queens certainly did not have an easy time of it when it came to giving birth to full term, healthly sons did they, its heart breaking reading about the continual loss of their babies, it doesn’t seem real sometimes that these women had so much bad luck…
    January seems to be a month of doom and gloom on the Tudor front, executions, accidents, deaths and miscarriages, phhew, I know Jan/Feb can be quite depressing months, but not as bad as theirs…hope there are some happier events on the horizon Claire!!

  4. It’s interesting that Queen Katherine suffered a false pregnancy and her daughter Mary I suffered from at least one…is this genetic, I wonder?

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