You can’t have missed yesterday’s big news, that of the official engagement between Prince William and Catherine Middleton (Kate) – Congratulations Prince William and Kate! – but what’s interesting for us Tudor history fans is that it has sparked off a whole load of history articles:-

  • Royal wedding: Kate Middleton will be first middle class queen-in-waiting – Here the Daily Telegraph talks of Kate being a commoner but also points out that “she will not, however, be the first commoner to marry a future king”, citing the examples of Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Boleyn, Anne Hyde, Wallis Simpson and Camilla Parker Bowles. As I have said before, in my article “Anne Boleyn’s Royal Blood”, Anne was not exactly the “commoner” that people believe she was and may actually have had more royal blood than Henry VIII.
  • The Latest Royal Wedding in a Line of Colourful Nuptials – In this Channel 4 article, David Starkey explores other colourful royal marriages, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Victoria and Albert, George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and Charles and Diana.
  • Five Queen Catherines – The Daily Mail looks at the previous Queen Catherines: Catherine of Valois, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr and Catherine of Braganza
  • William gives Kate Middleton a cursed ring – A Report about how William has given Kate his mother’s engagement ring, a ring cursed not only because it belonged to Princess Diana but because it was given to Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII. Just in case anyone believes this report, it is on a website called “The Spoof” whose tagline is “always there with the funniest spoof headline” and the historian quoted is called Getta Lyffe! Funny!

Please let me know if you read an article about Wills and Kate – sorry, Prince William and Catherine – which is linked to Tudor history. Thanks!

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13 thoughts on “A Queen Catherine and a Commoner Too”
  1. I don’t think most people in the US understand that to many people in England, the royal family is still a symbol of the country and participates in many activities, I was surprised that a small mention of the wedding in the LA Times should bring about so many negative responses. If I am correct the government is called a constitutional monarchy so obviously the monarchy has some role, even it is it mostly symbolic. It’s interesting that many don’t see how presidents and even vice presidents have become symbols of this country. Chelsea Clinton’s wedding was covered in the media and nobody spoke against it. Yet I’ll bet many will watch this wedding!

  2. Interesting article i am one of the ones who is very excited about this wedding . Many of Diana’s fans have waited so long for this day . William is not like his father you can see that he actually cares for this young lady. I am sure Charles cared for Diana but like many of his generation did not know how to show it. Catherine on the other had will havea protector in her Prince. Diana’s ring is nota curse as some may think it is a symbol of his love for Catherine and a memento of his mother.

  3. FYI — I’m sure you have all heard about Kate supposedly being related to Anne Boleyn — I don’t know where the information is coming from as it has not come from any official book or the palace — those of us who do our research and have been doing it for hundreds of years know that her family is not documented in the peerage books — there is no official proof.. and the whole time they were dating there was NO mention of this and now it just happens to pop up — There is no listed William Davenport who married a Grace Galloway listed in any of the history books. Burke’s Peerage which is used by official genealogists was published way back before Kate was even born.. like a century ago.. this is not correct! You can’t mess with history. The book was published in 1847!!

  4. Also, I’m not sure I like having her compared to the other Catherine’s. She’s nothing like them and didn’t have to endure what they did. It’s insulting to those who came before her.. as they were all strong women who worked hard. Kate Middleton has never worked a day in her life!

    1. Hi Lady Meg,
      Kate Middleton may be different to the Catherines who came before her but the comment “Kate Middleton has never worked a day in her life!” is just not true. Kate Middleton went to University where she got a 2:1 in her BA History of Arts which is a fantastic grade. After university she worked as a buyer for the clothing chain Jigsaw and then, after training as a photographer, she worked for her parents online business. She has juggled all that along with supporting William in what he does so I think she is a hardworking girl.

  5. They should swab her for DNA to prove she’s descended from Eve. That would settle everything.

    And while they’re at it, swab William’s brother to prove he’s not Charles’ son – everyone knows it, but it’s not a big deal. Bit of a laugh, no harm.

    This couple look good and happy, so all the best.

  6. Hi Claire, here’s a blog post I found (website is one of the Melbourne papers) setting out an imaginary conversation between Henry VIII and Cromwell – thought you might find it entertaining.

    I wish the happy couple all the best, but have to confess to being a little bit over the coverage of the pending royal wedding already – for many Australians, it isn’t that big a deal except among the trash mags (I’m a bit sick of hearing about “our” Princess Mary of Denmark (formerly Mary Donaldson) too – that said, I’ll probably watch it on TV anyway). It might be different if I was in England at the time. But good luck to them – they seem like nice people.

  7. Clarification – Anne Hyde didn’t marry a king, she married the heir to the throne and she died before he became king. You’ve left out Anne Neville (wife of Richard III), also a commoner

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