9 November 1518 – Queen Catherine of Aragon loses a baby girl

Posted By on November 9, 2017

On 9th November 1518, the sixth pregnancy of Queen Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, ended tragically at Greenwich Palace. On 10th November 1518, Sebastian Giustinian, the Venetian ambassador, reported back to the Signory:

“In the past night the Queen had been delivered of a daughter, to the vexation of everybody. Never had the kingdom so anxiously desired anything as it did a prince.”1

In the Sanuto Diaries, a diary kept by Marino Sanuto) in Venice, is the following record:

“The Queen bad been delivered in her eighth month of a stillborn daughter, to the great sorrow of the nation at large.”2

The font that had been brought to Greenwich from Canterbury Cathedral to christen the expected prince was sent back and the ermine trimmed purple tissue which had been used to cover the queen’s bed during her confinement was taken from the palace to Baynard’s Castle, the queen’s London residence.3

Catherine must have been devastated but she didn’t give up hope of providing her husband with a living son. Historian Julia Fox writes of how “she went on pilgrimages, she attended Mass after Mass, and she prayed for hour upon hour”, but it was not meant to be, Catherine never got pregnant again.4

See The Pregnancies of Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon for more on Catherine’s pregnancies.

Notes and Sources

  1. Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2: 1509-1519, 1103.
  2. Ibid., 1123 (Sanuto Diaries, v. xxvi. p. 235.)
  3. Julia Fox mentions the king paying £4 for the font to be taken back to Canterbury and the record of this is found in the December section of “The King’s Book of Payments, 1518” (‘The King’s Book of Payments, 1518’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 2, 1515-1518): “Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, carrying and recarrying the font to Canterbury, 4l.” This same font was used for the christening of Princess Mary in 1516 and borrowed when Henry, Duke of Cornwall, was born in 1511.
  4. Fox Julia (2011) Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile

22 thoughts on “9 November 1518 – Queen Catherine of Aragon loses a baby girl”

  1. Kate Rodgers says:

    The scale of personal tragedy that poor Catherine suffered never fails to move me. It makes her courage and stubborness over the divorce even more admirable. I think if I had endured her losses, I would not have had the will to fight Henry like she did, even if I did believe God was on my side.

  2. Banditqueen says:

    We don’t know much about this last baby, but I always think of this little girl as the forgotten child, overlooked and only mourned by those of the court as a stillborn child. We know far more of the first pregnancy which ended in tragic delivery of a stillborn girl and of course of the birth and death of Prince Henry of Cornwall and the birth of Mary. The child was at least mourned by the people. Children were treasured even in death, as many poems and lamentable words have shown, even at a time when infant mortality was high. Poor Katherine would enter early menopause and have no more children, but she still hoped she could. By 1524 Henry stopped sleeping with the Queen and was questioning the validity of his marriage. It was a real tragedy that Henry and Katherine could not have one healthy son. Prince Henry of Cornwall was born healthy but it appears he died of what we would call a cot death, but he showed promise. However, it was not to be and they were left with a healthy daughter instead. Henry couldn’t accept a female ruler was possible even though he showered affection and lavishness on Mary as if she was his heir, until faced with an alternative.

  3. Christine says:

    I think by now Henry and most of the country had given up hope of having a prince, I cannot begin to imagine how devastating it must have been for him and Katherine to lose one child after another, I think this could have been the turning point in his life when he must have seriously considered making Bessie Blounts son his heir, although parliament would have been against it they may have come round to the idea, the fact that he bestowed on him the title Duke of Richmond is very telling, it was a royal title his own father had been Earl Of Richmond and as he grew older the boy was very like his father in that he enjoyed sports and was athletic, he would I think have made a fine King but he was destined to die young to, his half brother Edward never reached seventeen and even Henrys two surviving daughters were plagued by ill health, Mary suffered from migraines and painful periods which sound like endometriosis, this condition alone would have made it impossible for her to have children and she did in fact remain barren, the stress she suffered when her parents marriage broke up could have contributed to her health as now it is proven stress can cause the body to react in different ways, in the end she sadly died of what could have been cancer like her mother before her, it is believed by modern doctors that she suffered this condition to, as according to the autopsy reports there was found a black mass on her heart, which more than likely was a tumour, Elizabeth herself only reached seventy and she too was prone to bad headaches, heart palpitations and her periods were said to be very scanty, she also suffered from smallpox early on in her reign which left scars on her complexion, hence possibly why she smothered white lead on her face, lead as we know is poisonous which could have entered her bloodstream and been a contributing factor to her death, there were no vaccines in those days so only the toughest survived, Henry V111 was very robust as noted from very young, he was athletic and enjoyed good health, he suffered from malaria when younger but shook it of and it wasn’t till he suffered the two jousting accidents which may or may not have been responsible for his black moods that he began to take a downward spiral, as he reached middle aged he became more sedentary and eat and drank more, leading to a marked increase in his weight, he could well have died from a number of factors diabetes has been mentioned as he was morbidly obese, it was very sad for a man who had enjoyed good health most of his life and who had been so fit and active, strange also when we consider the lost infants who did not appear to have inherited their fathers good health and Katherine too, who was bonny herself when born and survived all the deaths of her children, was there a weakness in the Tudor genes we can only wonder, or could it have come from Katherine?

    1. Banditqueen says:

      It was a very sad set of events and I totally agree that both Henry and Katherine must have been devastated with every loss. They went through a complete pregnancy only to lose the baby at the last moment. I have not been blessed with children but I cannot imagine anything more devastating than carrying a baby to term and then having to go through labour in order deliver a dead baby ( save the loss of a living child). Katherine and Henry when Prince Henry died in 1511, although he was born healthy, are recorded as being upset and cried. Katherine mourning deeply was comforted by the King. Everyone mourned the loss of baby after baby and it is no wonder Henry was overjoyed when Mary was born, even though she was a girl, but he did hope boys would follow.

      The point about Bessie Blount is interesting because Henry recognised her son and he was honoured with two significant titles in 1525. It is possible that he realised he may have no more children with Katherine because this was the first and only child he recognised. Being a son helped as it proved to himself that he could have sons, but he may have had other children but not recognised them as it was not convenient to do so. Mary Boleyn may or may not have given Henry two children, a boy and a girl, but he didn’t recognise them as she was married and he was looking at a more permanent relationship. Henry became enamoured of Anne Boleyn in 1526 and this may be why he chose to not recognise Mary’s children. In any event he had a son by 1519 with Bessie Blount and publicly recognised his son. He may well have been told Katherine could have no more children, even though she didn’t give up hope. I have to admit I admire Katherine’s faith, in the face of constant disappointment and her prayers going unanswered. Henry needed a son and now he knew it was possible it set him to thinking about things.

      The titles Henry gave Henry Fitzroy were those of his father and grandfather and it signalled he may have big ideas about the boy. He couldn’t make him his heir in 1525, because it was illegal for illegitimate sons to inherit. However, a Bill in Parliament could change that, but he only came up with this in 1536 when Anne Boleyn had also failed to have a son. He was very much more powerful at that point, no longer in his prime, beginning to be overweight, had problems with his leg and had experienced a couple of brushes with death. He was far more able to ask Parliament to grant him the impossible. Henry was quite serious about including Henry Fitzroy in his Act of Succession but the boy died aged seventeen in July 1536. Henry had dotted on him and he was an important part of his life and represented him in Parliament a few times. He was a young man who could have been trained to be King and who had outstanding qualities.

      There are several theories about why Katherine didn’t have any living male children or any other living daughters. They cannot be proven but range from genes, a fault in either parent genetic make up and reproductive capability, problems with their blood, Katherine’s regime of fasting and complications in the final stages of labour. If there was a genetic problem, it affected the whole House of Lancaster, not just the Tudors. In fact it may not be the Tudor genes as Henry’s grandfather was one of four sons, with a fifth half brother. The only reason Henry Tudor was an only child was because his father died before his birth and poor Margaret was only thirteen and it has been theorized that she experienced internal injuries from the birth. However, both Katherine and Henry had the blood of other branches of the House of Lancaster and their are examples of low birth rate or children dying in their teens. He also had the blood of York, who although much more fertile saw numbers of children die in infancy or in their teens. Henry Vi had only one child, after seven years of marriage, seven of the York kids died young, as did a few of Elizabeth Woodville’s children, despite being from a fertile family. Richard iii only had one child who died when he was ten and his wife was one of two daughters. Katherine was one of five children to live into adulthood, but none of them had large families. In fact they lacked heirs. The girls did better than the boys and there was also a problem with bone disease and madness in all branches of the two families. Henry himself was part of a large family, but Henry and his two sisters were the only ones to live into adulthood. Prince Arthur died aged sixteen and Henry Fitzroy died at a similar age, as did Prince Edward, Henry’s only legitimate son. Mary as you say had difficulty in her periods and possibly reproductive difficulties as a result. She appears to have suffered some form of cancer which caused tumours to form in her womb. Elizabeth didn’t marry so we have no idea whether she could have children or not and she was rumoured to have given birth to at least one son. With a number of infant and young people dying in any event, far higher than today, it is very hard to say if Katherine or any of Henry’s relatives or himself had any genetic problems. The birth pattern that she suffered could just as well be a tragic coincidence. When you remember that all of these noble and royal families were closely related, it was only a matter of time before problems having children or children with genetic illness or insanity came about. It doesn’t make things any less painful or tragic and Katherine and Henry are to be pitied at this time in their lives.

      1. Christine says:

        Richard 111 had a daughter born out of wedlock I believe and yes Henry V111 was said to have fathered another daughter Ethelreda Malte, by his washerwoman, I believe they too died without issue, but yes there was mental instability in Katherines side of the family and in the Plantaganets, Henry V1 who was said to have been schizophrenic, and was deemed unsuitable by his contemporaries to rule, the problem was as you mention the fact that the royalty and nobility of the day were related it enhanced the medical issues, this they had no idea of but it could explain why Katherine of Aragon and Henrys children were doomed to die young, as they were quite closely related, both being descendants of Edward 111, today the marriage of cousins though not illegal has most families worried about the health of their children, there was so much inbreeding of blood in early times that it’s a wonder any of them survived, yet they had to keep the blue blood pure, sadly they did not realise that this obsession caused a lot of genetic problems for the future.

        1. Madeleine says:

          Dear Banditqueen, I disagree with you on that Katherine’s siblings did not have large families and lacked heirs, quite the contrary. That’s true Katherine’s eldest sister Isabel had only one bony and sickly child, a boy, named Miguel, who died at 2 years of age, but it is no wonder, given princess Isabel had died giving birth to him. Prince Juan died a few months after the marriage, leaving his wife pregnant, who plunged in mourning, delivered of a female fetus, but Juana and María did not have problems at all. Juana gave birth to six children, two boys and four girls, who came to be emperors and queens. No miscarriage or stillborn child was ever noted and I am pretty sure that if it had not been for her husband’s untimely death, she would have had more kids. Infanta María, Queen consort of Portugal, had ten children; three daughters and seven sons, out of whom eight lived into adulthood. The descendants of both Juana and María live to this day.
          The one who exhibited some problems was Katherine’s mother, Isabella I of Castile. At first she conceived very quickly. She gave birth to her first child 17 days before her first wedding anniversary, but then 5 long years had passed before he conceived again. Sadly, due to being overworked and due to her constant travels on a horseback she had a miscarriage, and the expelled fetus was said to be male. Her fertility issues continued, and the constant separations from her husband did not help either, until in 1478 she have birth to prince Juan, partly thanks to the medicine that Ferdinand’s personal physician had given her. A few months after Juan’s birth, Isabella got pregnant again, and then she had twins in 1482 (one was stillborn) and Katherine in 1485.

      2. Pilar says:

        Within the Trastámara family, two sisters of Katherine were very fertile. Mary of Portugal, second wife of Portuguese King Manuel I, had ten children. Two died at birth and eight reached adulthood ( two were Kings of Portugal and one daughter were Holy Roman Empress). Joanna I of Castile had six children (her four daughters were Queens consort and her two sons, Holy Roman Emperors and one of them, King of Spain). Joanna have descendants today. Why Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr didn’t have any living male children? I think Henry had a problem.

        1. Christine says:

          It is true that two of Katherines sisters were very fertile, but siblings although from the same parents are different and Mary and Juana quite possibly did not make long pilgrimages and fast for days on end which their sister was apt to do, Katherine was over rigorous with both and could have been responsible for the deaths of her infants, very sad as if that was the case it was completely out of ignorance, she is said to have suffered from an eating disorder during her early years in England following Arthur’s death which could have been triggered from stress and an uncertain future, her father in law kept her short of money and she must have struggled for several years, her eating habits were a cause for concern as the Spanish ambassador noted in his dispatches and although when she married Henry, they possibly disappeared as she was happy and in love, she did push her body with the extreme fasting she did and she rose early in the morning and then in the night to pray for hours on end, and when she discovered she was pregnant she would journey to the shrine of my lady of walsingham instead of taking it easy, all unknowingly she could have contributed to their deaths, however it doesn’t explain the death of her first born Prince Henry who was born perfectly healthy and who could have been a victim of cot death, (sudden infant death syndrome), she was very fertile like her sisters she had no problem getting pregnant, but she could have had something medically wrong with her that made her miscarry time and again, that coupled with her punishing schedule could sadly have made it impossible for her to give birth to healthy babies, Anne could have been rhesus negative which meant that after the birth of a first child, the anti bodies in the mothers blood attack the next foetus believing it to be a virus, this would have happened if the father was rhesus positive, if Henry V111 was of this rare blood group and Anne to it would explain the miscarriages she had, sheer bad luck as he had pinned all his hopes on Anne giving him sons, he had put his country through turmoil to achieve that end, and it had all been for nothing all he had was another useless daughter, he also could have suffered from erectile problems which was a source of great embarrassment to him, this was what Anne was supposed to have told her brother and sister in law, after Edward was born he never got another queen of his pregnant but is said to have had several bastard children when younger and one Henry Fitzroy was his pride and joy, at this distance in time we cannot say whose fault it was for the lack of children in Henrys family but iv often pondered if Henry had chosen to marry Bessie Blount instead of Anne he could well have fathered several more sons, she gave her husband two children I think that I read of and history would have been very different.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Hello Pilar and Madeleine, thanks for the details of the high fertility of Katherine’s sisters which in two are considerable but I am wondering to what you are disagreeing as I was speculative of the House of Lancaster, from which Henry, Katherine and their families descended, not her immediate Spanish family. This line also began with a fertile line, the very productive Plantagenets but there were signs of dwindling fertility as in the case of Henry Tudor’s half uncle, Henry vi who had only one child, after not being able to have any. There followed a pattern in the Tudors then of children dying in their teens. There is also an example of early death in Katherine’s immediate family, as her brother Juan died when he was eighteen. Her sister Isabella also only had one child who died as an infant. This generation were generally fertile and successful as your examples of Maria and Juana confirm, but the interbreeding down the generations produced total sterility as well as numerous infant male deaths. Although infant death and even premature death was not uncommon due to a lack of advanced medical understanding, by the time of Philip II and Mary I the two houses were experiencing real difficulties in producing healthy children. Mary was unable to have a child and although Philip would father sons, the majority died very young. Katherine and Henry were both descended from the same fertile family and yet their reproductive crisis stands out even by the sad statistics of this time. I would speculate that genetic problems were starting to show. Katherine should ideally have been as fertile and productive as her sisters and mother and on the face of it, coming from two fertile parents and fertile grandparents, Henry should have had no problems either. The House of York was another fertile family on paper, but they also endured the loss of children and infant death. Four of Elizabeth Woodville’s large brood died before they were fifteen, not counting Edward V and Richard of York, who of course vanished. Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor lost at least three children under four in addition to Prince Arthur, so perhaps the key is in the blood of the York Tudor link, but it could have a common root. I am speculating that something changed genetically in Henry’s generation, something mutated to cause reproductive problems and the intermarriage of two close relatives had now had negative results. It is entirely possible that the problems lay with Henry because he had a woeful lack of healthy daughters, let alone healthy sons, with five different women, that he married and slept with. The pattern continued with Anne Boleyn, who had one healthy daughter and two or three miscarriages. Now she may well have had a healthy son had she not suffered two shocks within three days and lost her son in January 1536, but there is no guarantee. It has been speculated that Anne and Katherine had rare blood groups, but for them both to do so somehow defies the odds. A K blood cell has also been given as a reason Henry apparently had hit and miss motility but again it is an unproven theory as we cannot test it. Jane Seymour of course got lucky and gave Henry his heir, but died twelve days after his birth. Again Edward died before his sixteenth birthday, possibly following a genetic pattern and of family tendencies to pulmonary and lung infections like TB. With Katherine Howard Henry had an active sex life at first but then his health problems, which were not genetic took over so this declined. He had intermittent impotency which is not inconsistent with his age but which is also linked to gross obesity and any number of health problems. Any inherited mutant gene would have made these even worse, so yes, this can explain in part why he didn’t have a child with Katherine Howard. However, if you believe the unproven allegations against Katherine Howard, she may have had a reason to ensure she didn’t have a child. In the case of Katherine Parr, although all of the same health factors come into play, she also had a problem conceiving. She was married twice to two infirm older men, but that doesn’t exclude a sex life, but she had no children. It was with stud Thomas Seymour that she had her only child, a daughter, Mary and died soon afterwards. Henry may or may not have had a problem, as his record suggests, but he was not infertile. His first three wives got pregnant at least ten times, if not more and for most carried the bsbies to term or had living children. He also had at least three illegitimate children, experts believe, although he only acknowledged one, a son. It is very difficult to know why nearly all if his legitimate children died and if the priblem was his wife or him or both. A genetic link is hard to make due to the generally succesdful live births in the immediate families of both Katherine and Henry but we now know that couples with apparent good health can have rare genes which randomnly mutate, causing birth defects, rare congenital conditions and low birthrate, problem pregnancy, and infertility, even when both parents come from large healthy families. Christine has suggested that Katherine had endometriosis, because of her experience of particularly painful periods and that Mary had similar problems. As someone who was treated for this twice, yes, this is a real possibility. It may cause infertility, but it is not always the case although it does make conception difficult. After the birth of Henry Duke of Cornwall in 1511 Katherine didn’t conceive again for almost two years. Ironically, one way to clear endometriosis is to get pregnant.

          The hopes that Henry and Katherine had in 1509 and as she became pregnant very quickly, followed by a healthy son in 1511, must have been high and with her sisters and mothers birth rate, although she only had one son, and rightly so. It must also have made every tragic loss all the more difficult to understand and it is little wonder that Henry saw the hand of God in his lack of sons. It must have been frightening and depressing. Katherine and Henry had a good marriage but it was torn apart by tragedy, fear and obsessive belief that only a man could rule, which was part of the paradigm of that time.

    2. Charlene says:

      Henry Fitzroy hadn’t been born yet. Mary was her fatger’s only living child.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Yes, we know that, but we are talking about events which followed this last stillbirth.

  4. Christine says:

    I don’t really believe that Mary Boleyns son Henry Carey was the Kings as he was born several years after his parents marriage and there is no resemblance at all in his pictures to Henry V111, his sister Catherine however is different as she was born within the time period or thearabouts when she could have been his mistress, facially she appears to resemble Henry V111 and if she was indeed his daughter, then she appears to have been pretty robust as she had many children with her husband and enjoyed a long life, her children went onto to have families themselves, being blessed with many offspring she it seems bypassed the weak Tudor genes that was the curse of her ‘probable’ father, her grandmother Elizabeth Howard had had many children herself, a very fertile woman she had been pregnant every year so her husband had said, of course only three survived but that could have been due to poor sanitation and medical ignorance, so on the Boleyns side they were also blessed with large families, Thomas Boleyn himself had many siblings, we have to also remember that many babies did die young because of the reasons given, for eg, no knowledge of medical matters, young babies were swaddled so tightly the poor little mites could have overheated, circulation is 100% in infants and there is no need to smother them in blankets and they must have been uncomfortable with being swaddled, research has shown that mothers milk is best yet here the babies were given over to a wet nurse, totally unnecessary when the mother had plenty but it was considered unseemly in a queen to suckle her children, today cot death is still an issue and it is one of the mysteries of the age, Katherine last baby it seems was a victim of this medical mystery and yet doctors do not appear to be any closer to unraveling it yet a number of factors have been brought into question, smoking whilst pregnant and the baby being in the room whilst smoking, I think heavy drinking whilst pregnant has been noted as a factor to, this has been raised in discussions also, the fact that the nobility and royalty drank whilst pregnant ale and wine, water not being suitable yet could this have resulted in the early demise of their infants, however weak the wine and ale was it was still alcohol and the fact that they had drunk it constantly for many years from a young age could have been deadly to both the mother and infant.

  5. Banditqueen says:

    Yes, Richard iii had two illegitimate children, Katherine who married a Herbert and John. As far as we know they had no children, which we can be reasonably confident of.

    Henry vi did suffer from long periods of mental breakdown or psychotic break as it is now called, which also left him catatonic. He was unaware that his Queen, Margaret of Anjou was having his child until after Prince Henry was born. He needed two authorized periods of Protectorate as an adult King due to his incapacity and his son may have inherited his mental problems. He was of course the son of Catherine de Valois, herself the daughter of Charles the Mad, King of France, so it was genetic. There are more and more mental and physical conditions which we know are genetic but jump a generation. It is certain that it was only by renewing the blood pool and marriage into new families, more distantly related that some lines had large healthy families and several sons. It was fortunate for the Tudors that there were brothers and sisters, like Mary Tudor, Henry’s sister who were determined ti marry for love and have strong lines of descent, even if it meant rivalry. As you said, they considered themselves to have special blood and needed to strengthen their royal ties with cousins. These also brought alliances and wealth, but were not always wise. If you look at the number of sons and daughters Edward iii had, by the end of the sixteenth century, the numbers of those with royal family lines having healthy children had dwindled as had the number of children per couple. Something must have told them it wasn’t good, but they kept on doing it. Even without medical knowledge people of this era must have been aware that marriage to close cousins was forbidden for a good reason and noticed that their children suffered with deformed limbs, mental problems, physical disability because of inter marriage. History alone could tell them that, but it was ignored.

    Breastfeeding was the only alternative back then, but giving a child to a substitute is not the same as feeding him or her yourself. Only women of good character and clean habits were allowed to serve a Queen, so they didn’t harm their charges but with so many women looking after a child, who knows what lapses occurred. Just how four rockers failed to notice that Prince Henry was in distress in 1511 is amazing but Henry didn’t blame them for failing to watch the infant. Swaddling was intended to keep a babies bones and joints straight and in place because otherwise it was thought they would be deformed. It worked for the most part but it was definitely short sighted. It must have been uncomfortable, although it also seems to have pacified the children. There were many strange ideas about pregnancy including eating very odd things which may have done the mother no good. There are many things which harm the unborn child, but knowledge then was passed from midwife to midwife. In royal families, doctors who had no idea what they were doing told the mother to eat stuff many would consider unfit for human consumption. It was little wonder things went wrong.

    Catherine Carey was Henry’s daughter I believe and she was indeed fortunate to have sixteen children, with the Howard genes and Tudor genes but I don’t think her brother was Henry’s as the timing is wrong. Henry never recognised her but she was very close to Queen Elizabeth, who I suspect also knew the truth.

    Katherine of Aragon was a loving and devoted wife and she and Henry must have looked like a golden couple when they were crowned side by side on mid summer day 1509. To Henry she was more than a wife, she was his confidante, his helpmate, his soulmate and she taught him how to be a King. They felt every loss together. They shared every joy together and no matter how many times Henry remarried or the passion he felt for Anne Boleyn, he measured them all against Katherine. He complained a number of times that Anne or another wife spoke to him in ways Katherine never did, comparing them perhaps unfairly to a woman he had worshiped. It was all the sadder that they lost five children and that after they separated, that Henry turned into a cruel man. Katherine was very stubborn, but Henry should not have been surprised at that and their feelings were so strong that they turned into enemies. Katherine loved Henry till her death, but Henry was ruthless in his forced retirement of Katherine and depriving her of her daughter. Katherine defied Henry and refused to lay down her crown, which to him as King was a deep insult, but he still seems to have respected her. He admitted that she was a high and very great princess who could raise an army against him just as her mother commander armies. He wouldn’t move to arrest Katherine even when she kept writing to her nephew the Emperor during her last years and he often remarked that she was the wife he would choose if they had been blessed with sons. He never blamed her for their marriage failure or for their children being lost but accepted it as a curse from God. There is something of a duality in Henry and his relationship with Katherine after the annulment. But they say love and hate or anger at least are two sides of the same coin and Henry wept when he read her last letter. I honestly believe that one son survival and Henry and Katherine would have remained married until her death, regardless of how he felt or even if he had a brief affair with Anne Boleyn.

  6. Christine says:

    I honestly believe Henry would have stayed married to Katherine had they had a healthy son or two that survived, as it was always his lack of sons that was the problem, there would have been no need for him to marry Anne Boleyn even though he was very much in love with her, he was a King foremost and although he and Katherine had drifted apart he still had enormous respect and affection for her, it was just the issue with leaving the country to a girl that was disastrous to Henry and parliament at the time, as noted he never blamed Katherine for the deaths of their children, he began to see it as a very real fear that God had not approved of their marriage as said in the book of Leviticus, ‘it was not right that a man should look on his brothers nakedness ‘etc, Henry was no different from other kings of the time, no country wanted a woman to rule them, a weak woman never! It went against the very rules of nature, when Anne appeared on the scene he was excited as he had never been, the puppy love he had felt for Katherine years before paled in comparison, he was in love really in love for the first time in his life and he wanted Anne like he had never wanted another woman in his life, she represented fertility and he genuinely thought he could have sons with her, it was his and hers tragedy that the intense feelings he had for her evaporated quite rapidly after they married but yes, he stood by her after the birth of Elizabeth and like Katherine, had she given him a son I don’t think he would have put her from him, Kings were used to having mistresses but they didn’t marry them, it was just that his first wife couldn’t give him a son which Anne used as bait, that and the passion he had foe her made her look to him very desirable, I wonder what his rival Francois would have done in the same situation, he didn’t have Henrys sense of chivalry where women were concerned and I think he would have seduced her if she had said no to him, a King was not held accountable for his actions, had Anne given into Henry at the first or maybe not long after he could well have tired of her like her sister or Bessie Blount and others, her refusal to sleep with him and we can speculate if she dared mention that she could give him a legitimate son could have been the deciding factor that made him offer her marriage, we do not know if she mentioned marriage to him in the first place or did Henry, he only knew that he wanted to sleep with her, that’s all he wanted initially but the more she held out only inflamed his ardour, he was smitten and she knew it, he turned the situation to his advantage, he had a barstad son with Bessie Blount, what if Anne gave him another, that’s not what they both wanted, he wanted a legitimate prince to sit on the throne, that’s what really drove his marriage to Anne and the subsequent break with Rome.

  7. Christine says:

    I meant she turned the situation to her advantage, that’s that large glass of baileys I had.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Have another on me, I love Baileys. Yes, Henry might marry again if Katherine died, but he might have been another Louis xiv and had an official mistress but still married to the mother of his sons. Henry was deeply afraid that England would sink back into civil war. Remember his father was only King because he defeated another King in battle after a period of civil conflicts. He was the first adult King to be given the throne peacefully by his father in almost 100 years. The only Queen who had come close to being crowned but then ousted by her cousin was Queen Maud. This was followed by civil war. Only when an agreement for her son, Henry ii to succeed was made did the conflict cease. This was not a great example of female ruler to hold up for Henry to follow.

      Henry Viii was raised in the prejudices of his time, the belief that women could not rule and needed a man to guide and restrain them. Women were meant to obey, not command. He was no different from any ruler, as you say and from the majority of people either. Katherine of Aragon may have had no problem with Mary being Queen, but she would rather have had a son. Women were not equal to men and were the property of a male guardian or relative, father, brother or husband and nothing we believe in the 21st century can change that. It was the way it was. We have had seven Queen Regnants but the last one is a figure head, s tourism attraction, with limited powers, a symbol, who reigns but doesn’t rule. Elizabeth II has to leave the Government to Parliament who are elected by the people, regardless of what we think of them, and she gives her consent to their laws, not hers. Parliament may run the place in her name, but its their manifesto which is voted on by Parliament to make new laws. The Queen can warn and advise and has a few powers. We can sue the Queen and members of the royal family can be prosecuted if they commit a criminal act. This is why we now accept female as well as male rulers and because of equality. None of this was possible in the sixteenth century. The ruler was powerful and Henry made himself even more so with his Supremacy and his treason acts. He couldn’t imagine a female ruler, few people could. Women were not mentally wired to rule or physically able to act as a man, in war for example, although try telling that to Isabella of Castile. This was the way men and most women thought at the time of Henry Viii.

      The one example of a woman ruler that Katherine could point to was her mother. Isabella was the heiress to Castile but she was set aside for her illegitimate half brother. She then basically did two things, found herself a husband and an army and took the crown, ruling on an equal footing with her husband and neighbouring King, Ferdinand ii. The monarchs were a power couple who united Castile and Aragon and formed Spain. They went on to drive the Moores out and unite the Kingdom of Malaga and Granada to form modern Spain. Isabella spent most of the time in the saddle commanding and raising armies. Katherine had her spirit and had already raised an army while Regent to support the Earl of Surrey against the Scottish invasion in 1513. These were two formidable women and Katherine saw Mary as another possible great Queen. Henry too accepted his daughter as his heir and potential Queen until he questioned his marriage. In 1518, Mary was the future, the pearl on whom Henry dotted. She was the centre of his world and Katherine was still his lady and his valid wife. She was his partner in everything still and at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 their daughter was presented to her intended future bridegroom, the heir to the French throne. Katherine was still very much Queen and this was evident here. Even with a son by Bessie Blount in 1519, there was no more indication to suggest Henry wanted to end his marriage, just that he realised for the first time that everything was not right and that for him, at least, a son was possible. This didn’t change until 1525/6 when Henry apparently had his flash of divine revelation in the Third Book of Moses, Leviticus, which told him that he must not sleep with his brothers wife as this was unclean and they shall be childless. Henry took this to mean having no sons and he asked Wolsey to examine the validity of his marriage. He kept it from Katherine, but she found out anyway and she wasn’t going to be put aside quietly. Henry it is believed stopped sleeping with his wife in about 1524 after she entered the menopause. By 1526 he had met and was making eyes at Anne Boleyn.

      I believe Anne at first tried to keep Henry at arms length but after he persisted in visiting her and courting her, although she said she would never be his mistress she saw the potential in his changed relationship with Queen Katherine. During 1526 and 1527 they were courting, but it is not known how or when they decided on marriage. I seriously think that they had fallen in love during 1527 and Anne held out the point that she would not be his mistress, but his wife and promised him sons. Then the annulment became an official investigation. Ironically, it was at this time that Mary was made Princess of Wales and sent to Ludlow Castle the border stronghold to learn how to Govern with her own Council and household and an official Council of the Marchers which ruled the Principality of Wales on her behalf. Mary was still very much part of the court life and she was still visiting with her mother and father up to 1533. Personally, although Henry needed a son, I believe that he accepted Mary as his heir and treated her as such until the alternative, his marriage to Anne and her pregnancy was a reality. He could only get another heir by another woman, after an annulment, but unless that happened, he needed Mary to be treated as his heir whether he believed she could rule or not as it was an uncomfortable reality.

      None of this was the case in 1518, as Henry was mourning this forgotten baby girl and people wept for the loss shared with their Queen. Katherine still hoped to get pregnant. She still went on pilgrimage to Walsingham and she still held out for a miracle. I suspect Henry prayed as well and Katherine became more devout but still loved fun and the joust and Henry was still playing to her. It was not to be.

  8. Christine says:

    Actually our queen has more power than people realise, although a figurehead in her constitutional rights she can do several things, she can sell this country to a foreign power and dissolve parliament, declare wars and abolish taxes, of course these she would never do and the only monarch to dissolve parliament was the ill fated Charles 1st who believed in the divine right of kings, for several years of tyranny it was noted he ruled alone, this led to the growing of the parliamentarian army headed by Oliver Cromwell, a descendant of Henry V111’s right hand man, and which caused the civil war, it actually changed the structure of parliament and today the monarch is indeed just a figurehead, would we be better of without them I don’t know, certainly they cost us millions, personally I think our queens wonderful for her age and the Duke to and she has dedicated her life to this country which she vowed to do at her coronation, she has never put a foot wrong and I just cannot see this country without a king or queen as head of state, royalty is to me as British as fish and chips and cream teas and the rain.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Sell the country? How much do you think she would get for it? At least she pays tax. You may have guessed I am not a supporter of monarchy but I have to admit that the institution brings in tourism and a President would be just as expensive to keep with all of the security. The thought of a Donald Trump in charge actually makes me think kindly of dear old Henry Viii. One thing the crown does is keep an eye or balance on Parliament, acting as a neutral central power that even members of Parliament answer to. But Henry gave himself power, with masterful manipulation of Parliament of course, that our Queen can only dream of, despite having all of his titles.

      1. Christine says:

        I too am not a royalist and sadly I find our present monarchy rather dull compared with the antics of our long dead kings and queens, they seemed more colourful but then I am looking at them through a nostalgic vision of the past, Kings were kings in those days, they rode on the battlefield with their army, they made their mark on history, the queens too were colourful characters in their own right, they were either temptresses and poisoners like Queen Alfrida and Anne Boleyn, or pious and noble like Eleanor of Castile and Katherine of Aragon, Eleanor of Aquitaine was a remarkable woman and so was Elizabeth Woodville, Matilda herself the daughter of Henry 1st was no ninny and had the crown but foolishly lost it through her domineering ways, Alfred the Great was a great King and Henry V, no need to mention Henry V111 but they were all so colourful yet different in their own ways.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Yes, our history is full of great and notorious leaders, Kings and Queens who brightened up the place with their antics. I don’t know if you have seen any of the recent documentaries on the present Royals, but if you ever get a chance the Channel Four Inside Buckingham Palace and Inside Windsor Castle had a few tales that would make you shake your head. For example, the early years with Prince Phillip the Playboy out on the town at clubs and with several shady women and characters, would make an interesting book. The Queen Mother was a little too fond of champagne and gin and was always in debt over her wild weekends at her lodge in Windsor Park. And this went on into her 80s, when the Queen cut of the money to pay for them and the Government reviewed her privy purse. The Queen has an enormous private fortune and yet these parties were being paid for by us because of the huge debts that had to be settled. Queen E the lovely Queen Mum was a harsh woman, she was very much for protocols and hated outsiders. She didn’t like Princess Diana and goodness knows what she thought of Sarah Ferguson. Those two young women livened the royals up and dragged the monarchy kicking and screaming into the modern era. They were very different people, with Diane being the public darling because she reached out to people our society shuns like Aids victims and campaigned to have mines removed from war zones. Sarah was the fun bunny and got into trouble for her unconventional behaviour. It was a pity their marriages broke down but things were bad behind the scenes. It was a marked turning point for the entire Royal family who were keeping conventional rules when Diana died and they have had to change a lot since. Now we have Prince Charles and his offshore and lawful tax avoidance but its still scandalous. Thank goodness his sons are acting with credit and have grown up into sensible humans, after some years of party going and have served with honour in the forces, on voluntary service in India and as rescue pilots. Both or either would make a decent King. Anne is the one for me, down to earth and hard working. The Queen has also tried to keep everything honest and acted with dignity and probably hasn’t done anything but serve with hard work and as a monarch should, doing the right thing, getting it wrong, but making amends. I just wish the poor woman could retire. She looks exhausted. How old is she? April 1926 so, yes, 91so very well done at that age and her mother was just over 100.

          The things they got up to in the past make our lot seem tame, with perhaps the exception of Edward Vii, who although a good King in his short reign of nine years, as he was 60 odd when Victoria died, with his extravagant lifestyle and many women made him the talk of the town. Edward Viii was like him, with his parties, passion for race cars and horses and his love for Mrs Simpson. I would add that when he came to love her, he stuck by her and did the right thing, making a sacrifice of ruling in order to marry her. In the case of Henry Viii, everyone else made the sacrifice. We have everything you need for a good soap opera in his pursuit and marriage to Anne. Henry ii and Eleanor of Aquitaine make some interesting reading with their passionate relationship, turbulent marriage, rebellious sons, adultery, murder, political intrigue, possibly and her raising her own army against him. John was very colourful, with numerous crimes blamed on him, murder, kidnap, mistreatment of his wives, rebellious knights, excommunication, wars, the siege of Rochford Castle, starving people to death, heavy taxation, the 1215 crises, Magna Carta, and losing the crown jewels in the Wash on his last journey. Isabella the Fair and her life with Edward ii was one dark round of murder, terror, execution, wars, rebellion, mayhem and her alleged affair with Roger Mortimer and rising in the name of Edward iii make any modern affair at the top look ordinary and boring. You don’t need to invent extra stuff for drama, the original story is always dramatic enough.

          The story of Anne Boleyn and Henry Viii has so dominated our understanding of him as a man and King because of her ultimate fate and the injustice of the accusations against her and her rise and fall. However, his life with Katherine made him as a King. We forgot that he was her devoted husband, that he was her knight, her hero, that they had a strong partnership and he chose her above other women. He made certain that the treaty was quickly concluded and they were crowned together as a golden young couple hailing a new age. Their story still had passion and drama, war and the threat of invasion, separation and colour, flair and extravagance, but also loss and tragedy. Maybe it lacked the high drama of Anne until the later years, with the powerful political story of their annulment and struggle with each other, but for me it is still a fantastic story which needs to be told. It is the lost Henry Viii, the one before his famous portraits, the one who was gracious and still had a sense of justice. He could show a ruthless side, but on balance, the number of political executions were kept to a small number. He was enthusiastic about sport and life, was admired and he had real dreams of making England a force in Europe. He encouraged art and science and scholarship. His taste of decorations show an interest in the Italian style and his skills were many. Henry was a force of nature and Katherine was a real match for him, highly educated, a woman who loved fun and to party, loved his dressing up to thrill her, had sophisticated skills as an ambassador, was his Regent, taught him how to be a real King and was in every way his deputy. She was recognised for her skills to intercede and to lead and even govern and she was as beloved as he was. They were a perfect couple, but all this was blighted by the loss of three sons and at least one girl. There was an emptiness in their lives as their children died and in Henry as he became more insecure after the loss of this last baby. I don’t believe Henry gave up hope, because he still visited Katherine and they had a strong daughter on whom both parents lavished love and attention. Henry planned for Mary’s future, there is evidence that Katherine was still an important part of his life and she still had a role as Queen, even during his early years with Anne Boleyn. Even during the last years when Henry sought the trial of their marriage, Katherine was an active Queen. She was still living as Queen in the state apartments, still appeared with Henry in public, still attending the official and nightly banquets and receptions and still sowed his shirts, which Henry was happy to wear. Unfortunately, this meant that she was present to be critical of his behaviour and she became delusional over the reality of Henry’s desires, as she believed Henry would come back to her as his wife. Henry had had mistresses, some very short, while Katherine was pregnant, but he had been discrete. He had one or two longer term relationships, but now he was flaunting his mistress in public and Anne had a real role at court, giving Henry advice and acting as a second Queen. He made no sign of giving up the fight and it was clear to most people who knew Henry well that he wanted Anne and was going to find a way to have her. Even though by 1530/1 it must have been pretty obvious that Henry was not prepared to wait for Rome, Katherine still claimed he would see sense. Personally for all of her denial that her marriage was over and declared belief that Henry would come back, I believe Katherine deep down knew the truth and had to accept it. For her part Katherine was Queen, crowned by God and his true wife and their marriage was valid. Everyone had to call her Queen after Henry had Thomas Cranmer declare the marriage invalid and he was wed to Anne or she would not answer them. One of the best qualities Henry loved in his first wife, a stubborn strong will which made her an able Queen and Regent was the thing which now enabled her to hold out against his many attempts to get her to agree to an annulment. Katherine and Henry were both stubborn. They were both strong willed and pig headed, both powerful in their faith and conviction and both convinced that they wrr always right. It’s only her acceptance of her duty to Henry as her Lord and King and her commitment to her marriage and vows to honour and obey him and her devoted love for him which kept her mindful that she would always submit to his will save when it clashed with God’s will and her faith in her vows of marriage. We often talk about Henry and his conscience which is the root of his bug about the legality of his marriage but we forget that Katherine also talked about her conscience and her calling as a wife. Katherine refereed to this in her speech in Blackfriars, in her response to Henry when he sent Suffolk 1531/2_to ask her to submit her cause to him, saying she served Henry in all things, but two higher powers, God and her conscience. When two people had such delicate consciousness off their rightful cause it was no surprise that nobody would give in, and that the annulment ran on for seven years.

  9. Christine says:

    Yes Katherine still carried on her duties as queen consort even though her erring husband was with Anne whenever he could, she even continued to sew his shirts diligently until Anne discovered this and flew into a rage, it was also portrayed quite well in the Tudors, Anne was seen pleading with Henry that there could not be three people in a marriage, to Anne it represented something personal, Katherine was his wife still and acted as if everything was normal, for all her nagging Henry I think did care deeply for his wife you cannot wipe out twenty years of marriage just like that, she was his first love but he was just a boy when they married, he had no experience of women before her and had lived almost a monastic life, his father had allowed him no curfew after Arthur died as he probably feared he would lose him to, and besides he was then heir apparent, hence Henry had not had time to sow his wild oats, he had mistresses throughout his marriage which Katherine may or may not have known about, certainly she was aware when Henry Fitzroy was born and it must have been her darkest moment, a woman of no consequence had succeeded where she the queen had failed, she must have felt anguish beyond belief, I agree both Henry and Katherine were both pig headed and Anne to, neither would back down on their beliefs, Henry was caught between two strong tenacious women and their story is still being told today, Princess Mary too, in Lacey Baldwin Smiths book ‘Anne Boleyn, The Queen Of Controversy,’ he says it is difficult to decide who was the more bloody minded Mary or Anne, Henry was hurt that his daughter showed Anne no respect and had sided with her mother over the divorce, they were all caught up in a war that Anne was determined to win and it was inevitable that Katherine and Mary would lose, I think towards the end of her life Katherine must have pondered if she had done the right thing by opposing Henry, certainly she said to Chapyus there may not have been so much bloodshed had she done so, she had not seen her daughter for some years and that had caused them both much sadness, but her proud spirit had not been broken although she must have regretted the way things had turned out, Anne had been triumphant after all, she had married her King and had been crowned and anointed, Mary was now deemed a bastard and Annes child was Henrys heiress, so her long battle had all been in vain, she was not to know that there were cracks in the marriage and that on the day she was buried her rival would give birth to a dead child, possibly male and that just four months later she also would be dead, murdured shockingly by her husband.

  10. Christine says:

    It’s true also what you say about the queen mum, she was the one who didn’t want the title of HRH bestowed on the Duchess of Windsor now that was wrong, because that title becomes exclusively the right of the person on marriage, it was petty and vindictive and also illegal, the trouble with Diana she was very young and naive and did not realise she was just being used to get an heir, it could be she was dazzled by the thought of being queen and did not realise how stuffy she would find the life, also Charles was in love with Camilla and had no intention of giving her up, what she should have done was to tell Charles to get on with his marriage and try to make it work, instead she continued to meet in secret with Charles and that caused untold anguish to Diana, but we will never know the full story, as for Fergie I found her very irritating, both her and Diana complained about all the rules and regulations yet they chose to marry into the royal family and were quite happy to take all the perks that went with it, they were English and had mixed with the royals since childhood yet neither could conform, I cannot see Meghan Markle conforming either if she marries Harry, for one thing she’s American or Canadian, she’s very Independant and her lifestyle is very different from that of a member of the most ancient Royal institution in the world, I cannot see her opening fetes and standing alongside the queen on rememberance day, she will be told what is suitable to say and not to say, what not to wear etc, she won’t be able to mix with certain people, I remember when Andy had to break of his romance with Koo Stark because she starred in porn films, Meghan will be expected to attend the family Christmas at Balmoral and the Sunday service at church, she won’t be able to make a call on her phone or take a selfie when she’s in church or standing to the royal anthem, I think frankly she would find their life stifling.

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