9 April 1533 – Catherine of Aragon Demoted from Queen to Princess

On the 9th April 1533, a delegation of the King’s councillors, headed by the Duke of Norfolk, visited Catherine of Aragon and informed her that Henry VIII was now married to Anne Boleyn. After they left, Catherine’s chamberlain, Sir William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy, had to tell her that she had been demoted from Queen to Dowager Princess of Wales.

Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, reported all of this to his master, Emperor Charles V, on the 10th April:-

“But there is no chance that the King will listen that the affair be determined otherwise than by the Archbishop, of whom he is perfectly assured, as he has performed the office of espousal (de l’esposement), as I have formerly written to you ; and he is fully resolved, as he has told many, and those of his Council publish, that immediately after Easter he will solemnize his marriage and the coronation of the Lady. The better to prepare the way, he sent yesterday the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the marquis and the earl of Ausburg (?) to the Queen, to tell her that she must not trouble herself any more, nor attempt to return to him, seeing that he is married, and that henceforth she abstain from the title of Queen, and assume the title of duchess (princess), leaving her the entire enjoyment of the goods she formerly had, and offering her more, if she needed more. The Queen would not fail to advertise me of the interview. I know not whether they are in any doubt as to the Queen’s willingness to dislodge or not ; but about eight days ago, the King’s council commanded my lord Mountjoy to rejoin her with all diligence, and keep watch upon her, and not leave her.”

Poor Catherine!

Notes and Sources

  • LP vi. 324

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10 thoughts on “9 April 1533 – Catherine of Aragon Demoted from Queen to Princess”
  1. What an Easter present – a rotten egg from Henry!

    “Happy Easter, Katharine! By the way, you’re no long Queen, you’re just a Dowager Princess.”

    Of course, considering how poorly Henry treated Katharine and Mary, I think HE was the rotten egg.

  2. Although I believe that Catherine was devastated that she was no longer queen and her daughter – no longer a legitimate princess, I think what broke her heart the most was that her husband left her without looking back for a second for another woman and claimed that their marriage, love and respect they had for so many years, never happened or if it did, it meant nothing for him.

  3. I always felt sorry for Katherine as she was married for 24 years to Henry……….knew him as an 11 year old onwards………..she had a rough time as the widow of Arthur…….her father refused to pay the reminder of her dowry than at one point her father in law considered marrying her……….she also had to contend with Margaret Beaufort as well who was far from an easy woman at the best of times.

    Of course all the wives of Henry had, to a certian extent, a rough ride, the only one who seemed to escape the fate of the other 5 was Anne of Cleeves who accepted living as the kings good sister with a pension and various houses, I suppose she was better off here in England at the time as she had her freedom up to a point.

    For me, after Kathrine and Anne the saddest story of all is Katherine Parr who married Thomas Seymour, she died shortly after giving birth to her first and only child, her husband was exucuted shortly after and thier daughter disappers from records at the age of 2, it’s to be assumed she died.

    Katherine was a true princess of her time, she managed 24 years as Henry’s wife, it’s just a shame the way she was so cruelly treated at the end and I have always thought the was Anne is or has been protrayed unfair and cruel as well.

    Women of that time did what the males of the families wanted regardless of how they felt as they were considered the property of the family to be disposed of in whatever way was thought approprate.

    It’s only really since the end of the first world war that the situation of women has improved somewhat, like many things some situations chage for the good others don’t.

    1. tracy, Great reply Henry really tick off Spain after that, maybe he thought he better not tick Germany off aswell ,Anne of Cleves made out very well with the King.First a Queen now his sister. I really feel so bad that poor Katherine and Mary, they were so disgarded like they meant nothing to Henry,he would not even reply to her letters ,on her death bed and she still had so much love for him? Regards Baroness

  4. Thanks Baroness for you kind words.

    When you think about marriage and family relationships, especially of the wealthy upper classes, until fairly recently, marriages were made for the good it could bring the bride’s family and the grooms, it didn’t matter if the couple like each other or not.

    You only have to look at the marriage of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland to see that!

    On the whole I think all the wives, with the exception of Anne of Cleeves, had a really rough ride with Henry, not helped by Henry’s paranoia in later life.

    I think as well that Thomas Cromwell is, up to a point, treated unfairly as chief minister, he knew that he had to carry out the wishes of the King regardless of whether he agreed with them or not, he got results and the ones that Henry wanted, Henry was an absolute monarch, he got what he wanted regardless of the cost.

    Also with Cromwell he face a lot of hostility from the other ministers as he was from a poor background, he’d worked his way up, he did what was, at the time, neccessary, and he did the dirty work the nobles wanted done but didn’t wat to dirty thier own hands doing, Cardinal Wolsey faced the same hostility as well as he was a butchers son from Ipswich as Cromwell was a blacksmiths son from Putney.

    1. tracy, Thank you I do not practice speaking badly about others and try to find the good in just about everyone.I did not no Wolseys father was a butcher,as Katherine called him a butcer scur.I felt very sorry he was ousted aswell like he was nothing to Henry. Anne called, Cromwell a butcher cleaver man,as he really did do some,dirty deeds for Henry so he did not look as bloody as he really was.But my prayers arewith all of them, even Henry.THX So Much Tracy you very kin aswell. Baroness

  5. Poor Catherine!!! After being married to Henry for 24 years having to deal with misscariges, stillbirths and Henry’s misstresses she is cast aside for Anne it must have been truly awful for her but she would not give in to Henry’s demands and it showed that she was a strong women and had a strong spirit.

  6. It was a good thing that Katherine had her religious beliefs to hold on to and give her solace through the years ahead, because thats all she had in the end, poor Lady.

    1. It was very cruel for her to be forcibly separated from her only child and that affected Mary for the rest of her days. I can see why she was such a bitter person after all she endured. Katherine was strong in her faith and turned a blind eye to Henry’s dalliances as most women had to do. Anne of Cleves faired the best of all of his wives. She didn’t want to marry him–who would with his past history? She really lucked out. We don’t know for sure if he would have stayed with Jane had she lived–but I think he would have simply because she did what the ones before her couldn’t.

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