Catherine of Aragon – Your Thoughts?

Posted By on December 16, 2016

Today is the birthday of Catherine of Aragon, or Catalina de Aragón, so I wanted to take this opportunity to ask you for your thoughts on this 16th-century woman.

Even though she was married to Henry VIII for nearly 24 years, she’s so often ignored in favour of the wives who people perceive to be a bit more exciting. There is also sometimes the mentality that if you like Anne Boleyn then you’re “Team Anne” and can’t possibly like Catherine, but I find her fascinating.

Catherine was only fifty when she died, but what a life she led! She left her homeland of Spain, never to return, in 1501 at the age of fifteen to marry Prince Arthur, heir to the English throne, and then he died less than six months after their marriage! She served as the Spanish ambassador to England for a time and then married Henry VIII shortly after his accession to the throne. Catherine is left Regent of England in 1513 and her troops are victorious against the Scots at the Battle of Flodden, what a triumph!

After having experienced at least six pregnancies which resulted in miscarriages, stillbirths, the infant death of a son and one surviving daughter, Catherine is abandoned by her husband for a younger model. Not only that, but her husband has a surviving son by another woman who he has made Duke of Richmond and Somerset! This Spanish princess and Queen of England is banished from court and separated from her beloved daughter and spends her days worrying about the fate of her husband’s soul. Catherine never stops loving Henry VIII and dies believing herself to be his true wife and the real queen.

Phew! That’s just some of this queen’s life story!

It’s wonderful that her life has been re-examined recently by authors and historians like Giles Tremlett, Patrick Williams, Julia Fox and Amy Licence, don’t you think?

There are so many questions surrounding Catherine: Did she consummate her marriage to Prince Arthur? Should she have accepted the annulment of her marriage? Should she have followed the Pope’s advice and entered a convent? Why did she experience so many stillbirths?

Here are some links to articles about Catherine of Aragon but there are plenty more on this site so do have a browse.

So, what do you think of Catherine? Have you read a good book on her? Please do share any thoughts, views, recommendations etc. you have regarding Queen Catherine of Aragon.

30 thoughts on “Catherine of Aragon – Your Thoughts?”

  1. CB says:

    Aside from providing her husband with a male heir, Katherine of Aragon was the ideal sixteenth-century queen. Intelligent, modest, pious, well-liked and forbearing, she was utterly loyal to her husband. Katherine was respected for her diplomatic talents, although she occasionally irritated Henry when she appeared to overly favour the interests of her Habsburg relations. As an intercessor and as a patron, Katherine was highly effective. She provided her daughter Mary with an excellent education, as befitted Christian ideals, and she concerned herself with Henry’s interests when she was appointed regent. Katherine was triumphant when the Scots were resoundingly defeated at Flodden, but she nonetheless wrote to her widowed sister-in-law, Margaret of Scotland, expressing sympathy for her loss.

    Katherine was a highly intelligent woman and was loved deeply by her subjects. You could say she was the perfect queen. It was not always essential for a queen to produce sons, in order for her to be seen as successful. Anne of Bohemia, for example, was dearly loved by the English, but she never produced a son and, as a result, contributed to her husband Richard II’s unstable position following her unexpected death. Other kings, such as Henry I, were not overly concerned when they approached death without a male heir. Henry I was adamant that his daughter Matilda should succeed him and, if Henry had had his way, Matilda would have been the first queen regnant of England.

    However, Henry VIII was not like his predecessor and namesake. He was determined that a son, not a daughter, should succeed him. Katherine may have sympathised with Henry’s concern, but it is unlikely that she shared it. Her mother had proven that a woman could successfully and actively rule and, like her mother, Katherine was a militant queen who was not concerned to be merely relegated to the background in a ceremonial role. Katherine knew that her daughter Mary could be an excellent queen, and she saw Henry’s doubts as a gross betrayal not only of her, but also of their daughter. Although Mary has been unfairly criticised and disparaged, she actually was a highly effective queen in many respects, despite the best efforts of Elizabethan propaganda to slander her memory.

    We can only wonder how differently history might have turned out had Mary succeeded her father when he died in 1547, had Henry stayed married to Katherine instead of marrying a further five women. We cannot blame Anne Boleyn for Henry’s wish to annul his marriage, it was not her fault, although she surely wished to be queen. Perhaps Anne would have gone onto become a countess, had Henry stayed married to Katherine and been content for his daughter to succeed him. Perhaps Anne would have lived into old age, with numerous children of her age. Alas, this was not to be the case. Katherine died in disgrace, a virtual prisoner, all because she refused to accept her husband’s argument that their marriage was unlawful and that their daughter lacked the capability of ruling. Mary proved that she could rule and, like her mother, was much loved by the English, although the religious persecution did erode some of this popularity.

    Henry, however, was not to know this; he was not to know that two of his daughters – Mary and Elizabeth – would rule England triumphantly for fifty years.

    1. Claire says:

      An interesting what-if. I wonder what would have happened if Henry had accepted that Mary could rule. Would this have been challenged or would Mary have acceded to the throne unchallenged in 1547? Hard to say. Would Catherine of Aragon have died when she did or would she have lived longer? Would Henry have remarried after her death and had a son with a new queen? So many what-ifs. I can understand Henry’s obsession with having a son, the Tudor dynasty was so new still and his father had had many challenges to his authority and throne.

      1. Anyanka says:

        Henry would have re-married as the political advantages would be served by marrying back into the Hapsburg’s or into France or an Italian state would be worth it. Since Henry had not abandoned KOA nor cast doubts on their marriage , he’d be a very eligible bachelor by all accounts and certainly worth gaining as an in-law.

        The chance of a legitimate son would feature as well. I think he’d rather a legitimate son than any number of legitimate daughters..He certainly was aware of the value of the spare prince.

  2. Christine says:

    Like you Claire I find Catherine fascinating, her strength of character and resilient nature she inherited from her famous mother, Isabella the warrior queen of Castile, she endured many hardships all at a very young age to, leaving her beloved family and homeland behind all at the tender age of fifteen, widowed before her sixteenth birthday and facing an uncertain future she was then at the mercy of her frosty stingy father in law and her status as Arthur’s wife was diminished, I dont find her successors more exciting than Katherine apart from Anne Boleyn who is regarded as a sexy siren but you don’t have to be considered attractive or sexy to be interesting, maybe to male historians but Katherine was fearless and a reliable ruler as when she valiantly defended England against the Scots at Flodden, her sister in law was the queen of Scots at the time but she like a true monarch, did not allow sentiment to take over, she was every inch a queen regal and noble and was gracious and the people loved her, some early writers have called her fat and boring and it’s true that as she aged after many pregnancies, she did grow quite fat yet in her youth she was slim and had beautiful long auburn hair, her early portraits show a serene young woman with ivory skin and a rosebud mouth and rippling hair, very Madonna like and she was fond of dancing and court masques and dressed in colourful gowns and ornate jewels, this early Katherine people seem to forget and only see her as an aging corpulent wife nagging at her erring husband a woman dressed all in black and given over to extreme piety, yet after so many disappointments losing her children is it any wonder she withdrew from much of the court life, she was possibly suffering from depression which was an illness not recognised at the time, her one joy was her daughter who was a bright pretty little girl and she dreamed of her becoming queen one day, all her hopes rested on her after sadly losing so many sons, those who find Henry’s first wife dull do not really know the calibre of this amazing woman, for one thing she always treated her rival Anne Boleyn with respect and it is said, never allowed anyone to bad mouth her in her presence, when one of her maids after seeing her weeping quietly began to complain about her, Katherine told her to desist and said be sorry for her for one day she will suffer the same treatment, how prophetic those words were, she could have roused the common people against Henry yet she never did, she could have asked her nephew the emperor Charles to declare war on England on her behalf yet she wanted no suffering on her account, all she wished was for her daughter to be recognised as Henry’s true heir and legally she was, yet Henry needed a son and thus these two once beloved happily married people were caught up in a war from which neither would back down, it is to her credit that she remained Henry’s longest married wife and her rival who her husband was so besotted with only lasted three years, if you just count the time she was married, all the other wives came and go in a matter of two years, Jane Seymour, six months with Anne of Cleves and a few years with his last two, Katherine has a fitting memorial in Peterborough cathedral yet I feel she surely deserves a place amongst the highest in Westminster, I feel she should be buried in the chapel Royal of Henry V11 not just because she was Henry’s first wife but as the queen who defended her chosen country from invaders and also his most beloved queen amongst his subjects, from the lowliest to the most noble in the land, RIP Queen Katherine, you are not forgotten.

    1. Claire says:

      I went to the Alhambra last Sunday and it always makes me feel close to Catherine. I think of her walking around the beautiful palaces there, picking oranges, lemons and figs, enjoying all of the water features and the beauty. To imagine her leaving that beautiful palace to go to smelly London always makes me grimace. It was also an incredibly long journey from southern Spain. And to think that this Spanish princess, daughter of the warrior queen, a faithful wife and queen ended her days separated from those she loved, haunted by the things that had happened and devastated by the end of her marriage… So sad.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes she deserved a lot better but then so do many, Anne Boleyn herself had a terrible end and one always wonders how he could ever have executed her after being his darling his one true love for so many years, yet some say she deserved it, it seems all those who done their best to serve Henry inevitably came to a tragic end, from Katherine Wolsley Cromwell and Anne, Henry Norris who was his loyal friend, among countless others they all suffered as a result of their connection to this most fickle of men, Alhambra sounds a beautiful place and I should imagine in the 16th century it was stunning with the King and Queen in all their opulent majesty the beautiful horses and the wild beautiful countryside, I have visited northern Spain yet never the south, maybe one day…..

  3. Alison Browning says:

    I like Catherine she is one of my favourite of the wives. I like how she supported lace makers as well, i came from Bedfordshire where she was kept almost under house arrest and helped the lace makers in the area, maybe including some of my ancestors who were poor lace makers, It is a shame that Arthur died things would maybe have been different. Rest in peace Catherine. Henry was awful to her but then he wasn’t nice to any of his wives or friends.

    1. Christine says:

      Yes she did to a lot for the common people she was very popular that is what I find so sad about her daughter, Mary was vilified for burning the Protestants yet she too at one time had been as popular as her mother, yet whearas Katherine is remembered with affection, Mary is remembered only with horror and has the name ‘Bloody Mary’ attached to her.

  4. Mindy Newell says:

    Just a couple of quick thoughts…

    1) The cultural difference between Katherine and Henry might have (did have?) a huge impact on their marriage. Although Katherine left Spain at the age of 15, her most formative years were under the reign of Isabella, her mother, one of the most respected and powerful women ever to sit on the throne of a European power–remember, it was her financing of Christopher Columbus that helped discover the “New World”–so that Katherine was socio-culturally comfortable with the idea of a “Queen Regent.” Whereas Henry had only the failed rule of Matilda to base his opinion of a woman on the throne,

    2) Without Anne Boleyn and the whole divorce thing, would Henry have broken with the Roman Catholic Church? In other words, I wonder if there would have been a Church of England? It’s quite possible that there would have been, or some other form of it, as the Reformation was in the process of taking a firm grip in England at the time.

  5. Esther says:

    IMO, Katherine of Aragon is often given a bad rap. She was offered the opportunity to retire to a convent in 1528 — when there was no reason to believe that Henry would threaten the life of his own daughter, let alone killing his friends — and by the time people realized what Henry would do to gain his own ends, it was too late.

    Also, as the daughter of Isabella of Castile, Katherine knew perfectly well that a woman could rule a country. She proved to be correct — and Henry was proven wrong..

    She might also have realized that Henry’s purported concern about the succession was faked. Henry made the infant Elizabeth heiress to the crown, over the older Mary, showed that he wasn’t really concerned about the succession, but about his own ego trips. After all, English history had shown that child rulers brought disaster — making me, Elizabeth a “two strike loser” (youth as well as gender) whereas Mary only had one strike (gender) against her.

    Henry didn’t have to hold Mary illegitimate when he got his annulment — he could have agreed that he married Katherine in good faith; in such cases, the later determination that the marriage was invalid would not affect the child’s legitimacy (Margaret Tudor, Henry’s sister, used this “good faith exception” to protect the legitimacy of her daughter when she got an annulment of the second marriage).

    1. Christine says:

      Esther what you have to realise is that Katherines mother Isabella Of Castile was an exceptional ruler, like her daughter yet just because those two were capable does not mean that the princess Mary would be, women on a whole are too emotional too rule and particularly in that age which was more dangerous when life was cheap and dying was a part of everyday life, it was difficult for a man to rule let alone a woman, men died easily, Mary Queen Of Scots was not fit to rule a turbulent country like Scotland and Elizabeth 1st would have hysterics at the mere suggestion of going to war, men did not respect women rulers and yes Isabella ruled successfully yet she was an exception to the rule, if a country was ruled by a woman she stood more chance of being invaded according to the power politics of the age, this may seem like sexist yet it was 16th century thinking, Queen Mary was popular when she came to the throne yet she damaged her reputation by marrying King Philip Of Spain, thus making England a vessal of that country, this was what made leaving England to a woman dangerous, any husband she married became consort and there was a fear that they would interfere with ruling the country, Philip was not popular and there was a genuine fear he would bring the inquisition to England, Kings were not only rulers but led their men into battle, something a queen could not do, Henry’s concern about not having a son to inherit his kingdom was very real and sincere, it was a violent age and in fact the only other queen England had had her reign was short lived and had ended in disaster – Matilda whose accession led to the usurpation of her throne by her cousin Stephen, years of bloody strife followed as Matilda battled to win back her crown, it was said that Christ and his saints slept as England had been deserted by God, Henry did not have to look far back into history to know that women were not fit to rule, apart from Isabella and Katherine but as we have seen they were an exception to the rule.

      1. Esther says:

        First, that Isabella was an exceptional ruler — and recognized as such at the time — merely shows the potential in women rulers. There were others, although they ruled as regents (Margaret of Austria and Louise, queen mother in France negotiated a peace treaty between France and the Empire, for example)

        Henry’s daughter Mary might well have been such another such exceptional ruler also, if Henry had not subjected her to such abuse connected with the unnecessary attack on her legitimacy — we don’t know what would have happened,. Most importantly, Henry had to look back several hundred years to show that women (maybe) could not rule England (a, but he only had to look back a few decades to show that child rulers were also a big problem. Yet, he had no qualms about leaving the crown to an infant girl instead of an older one…. casting doubt on his claimed “concern” about female succession.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Just a question…when did Henry will his crown to an infant girl? If you refer to Elizabeth, Henry still wanted a son by Anne, not for Elizabeth to rule. If you refer to his accident and Elizabeth possibly succeeding had he died, she was then considered his only legitimate heir. Also, Henry did not nominate Elizabeth at this time, he was unconscious. Elizabeth would merely have succeeded by default, with Anne as regent and the Boleyn family cooing like the Woodvilles.

          Other than the above scenario, please can you clarify what you refer to?

          Thanks

          LynMarie

        2. Christine says:

          He certainly did have qualms about leaving the throne to an infant girl, it’s just that as Mary was declared illigetimate Elizabeth was his heir, Henry certainly did not intend to die he wanted Anne to give him sons but because his first marriage was declared null and void poor Mary lost her status as his heir, Henry’s ill treatment of Mary is well documented but she chose to side with her mother and disobeyed Henry many times, he was hurt and angry by her flouting his wishes to acknowledge Anne as his queen and was acting as a grevious father chastising a rebellious child, he loved her unconditionally she was the only one of his children through his union with Katherine to survive, but he was the King and he couldn’t allow her to disobey him time and again.

  6. Banditqueen says:

    Katherine the loyal wife, mother, partner, warrior, commander, intercessor, equally a Queen and woman in every sense, the perfect Queen. Henry would have married nobody else while Katherine lived had they been granted sons. Henry and Katherine were married for 24 years. They were happy for eighteen of those years, shared tragic loss, seperation by war, happy times, difficult times, every hope and every sorrow, joy and love, were helpmates and he trusted her advice and judgement. Katherine was the one he chose from the very beginning, he would have chosen her again, but he needed a son and heir.

    When Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn in 1526 or 1527 he knew that Katherine could no longer have children, he had looked at getting an annulment, but now Anne gave him a new opportunity. She presented him with the real possibility of taking a second wife and giving him sons. Now he had to get his marriage annulled legally and Katherine to agree.. But it was here that we see Katharine the strong and defiant woman. Purely from a practical point of view it would all be much simpler had Katherine gone into a religious house, she would have an honourable retirement and Henry be free to marry. Her daughter’s rights would be protected. However, Katherine saw marriage as the calling God gave her, her marriage as totally legal and refused to budge. Now the three most stubborn people in history were at loggerheads.

    Katherine stands heroic for me in this process, she was Henry’s legal wife and her defence in court was magnificent. I don’t blame her for standing firm, it was courageous. However, the Pope was a useless pawn of the Emperor and did nothing for years. The Curia got bogged down in petition and counter petition, putting of its judgement. Henry in the end lost patience and found his own solution. When Katherine refused to accept the reality of her banishment from court, that Henry and Anne were married, that she was no longer Queen, because the Curia declared her marriage to Henry valid, Henry made her living situation uncomfortable, hoping to change her mind. Despite being threatened, bullied, moved about, separated from her daughter, Katherine remained true to her principles to the end. This is both admirable and sad. Yes, Katherine had her victory, but at what cost. I feel deep sympathy for Katherine, but having her moral victory, I don’t believe it was rational to not accept that she was no longer Queen and come to an acceptable agreement with Henry. Katherine still loved him, but love can be processive. Katherine should have let him go, asked for a deal and had access to her daughter as a result. She was right to fight, but now the war was over. It was time for peace.

    For me Katherine will always be Henry’s first and true love. She was his true wife, but it was not worth her health to not compromise. I don’t know what she could have done as she believed that she would always be his true wife, but I am certain the woman who sent an army to Flodden and acted as an Ambassador could have found a compromise, perhaps now she could retire to a convent. Who knows, she may have had Mary with her during her final years.

    1. Christine says:

      Katherine does come across as rather narrow minded in the subject of her refusal to accept that her marriage was over, I agree it’s not rational to act the way she did, Royal marriages had been annulled before, it wasn’t as if it was unique but she was as single minded in her belief that it was her duty to be England’s queen as she had been schooled for the purpose from her youth in Spain, when her parents informed her she was to be engaged to prince Arthur, and quite possibly she thought amongst many other reasons that it was an affront to them to back down also, she was right in a sense that the pope had granted the dispensation allowing her to marry Henry therefore her marriage was legal and Henry using the quote from the book of Leviticus was just his way of getting out of his marriage, she saw through that immediately as did many, Henry using his conscience as an excuse just because he had fallen for a younger more exciting lady, yet he was genuinely worried that he had no sons therefore we can understand his predicament, it was a very sad situation that this couple found themselves in and yes I do believe that had they both had a son or two Henry would never have sought to rid himself of Katherine, there would have been no need, where Anne held all the aces was because she knew of Henry’s need for a son and played on that, it wasn’t just because of lust that he wanted her, she was young and healthy and intelligent, he thought she could have healthy intelligent sons, the love and affection he once had for Katherine soon evaporated in her obstinate stance over their anullment of their marriage, and he soon found that his second wife could not give him what he wanted either, and his love and affection or rather burning desire soon evaporated also, I think in Henry’s queens he was just unlucky, both Katherine and Anne were said to be genetically at fault, had Jane Seymour not died she could have given him more sons, had Katherine’s sons not died Henry would not be remembered for the notorious much married wife killer he was, he would just have been another King with one wife and there would have been no reformation, no dissolution of the monasteries, and no Elizabeth 1st, now that is hard to imagine because she was every bit as colourful as her father.

  7. Tina says:

    While Anne Boleyn certainly has a great deal of public popularity, it seems to me that most historical writers are quite sympathetic to Katherine and all her personal tragedies while Anne is portrayed with a mixture of reactions in the final analysis. No doubt Catherine was a strong and intelligent woman who’s success as Queen Regent and famously standing up to Henry in court and during her banishment bare witness to this. She was also a devoted mother . Being the devout Catholic she as I am sure she would not have lied about the controversy of intercourse with Arthur. She was the dutiful wife when Henry had his mistresses. When it came to the divorce however, she stuck to her convictions regarding her marriage and her queen-ship and rigidly resisted the King’s will. I think the King was going to get what he wanted in the end and Katherine would have been wiser to find a way to quietly bend to his will. It would have saved her a great deal of angst for many years emotionally as she would have likely been able to see her daughter regularly and lived in greater comfort. While its noble to be a martyr and hold to all of ones principles, when dealing with a tyrant like Henry it is not a force easily dealt with. Kind of like a tree resisting a hurricane instead of bending to the wind.
    Katherine also continued to blame Anne for all the misfortunes of her late years instead of blaming Henry who she refused to put the responsibility on for her misery. As much as possible she would have been better off to choose a path similar to Anne of Cleves and rid herself of Henry. Henry was going to have Anne B and vice versa and Katherine was not going to stop it. She should have seen the “handwriting on the wall” mid way through that affair.
    Tina

    1. Tidus says:

      I honestly have to say I don’t think it was that she didn’t want to give up Henry. She didn’t want to give up being Queen.

      Yes I believe she consumated her marriage to Arthur.

      Yes she should have accepted the annulment or at least tried to make a deal. In the end I think she would have been happier. I don’t think Henry would have split her and Mary up.

      While I don’t think she should have been forcibly sent to a convent, It would have been better than how she ended up.
      Again, she shouldn’t have fought him. In the end she lost him and a lot more by fighting him. She was too stubborn for her & Mary’s own good.
      I guess I’m unusual in that I have no respect for her.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        For a Queen to take the veil she would be given a special dispensation. They often became an abbess with all the power and honour that brought to them. They may be officially retired but they lived with reasonable comfort and status and as a lay person who did not have to take full vows, they often kept some property. I believe that she would have been treated well, but she was also right to stand up for her rights and that of her child. Henry was just as to blame, he wanted a son and he wanted Anne. He abandoned a loyal wife, and although I wish she had have come to an agreement with Henry once she had her ruling in 1533, I believe and respect her decision to stand firm before then was correct, as she was the true Queen. Of course she was stubborn, she was the daughter of Isabella the Catholic, a warrior Queen.

      2. Christine says:

        She was a Spanish Princess and had been queen of England when Henry inherited the throne, she was acknowledged as such, after being queen for over twenty years it was an insult to some one of her status, her character and reputation to admit she hadn’t been queen for all those years, merely Henry’s mistress, she loved him dearly and was heartbroken when he told her he had doubts over their union, I agree that she should have just backed down as she was forced to live in abject misery in the ensuing years, being seperated from her daughter and having to live in draughty old castles, she would have her way or no way and that was her tragedy, a less resilient woman would maybe have thought, ‘very well he doesn’t want me, I will go to a nunnery but will still be his friend and be welcome at court, let him have his anullment because in the eyes of the catholic world it won’t be valid and throughout Europe I will be referred to still as queen of England, albeit a cast off queen, but he will have lost his good name and for what good it does him, see if that tart Anne Boleyn can make him happy and give him a son, as long as Mary is recognised as his heir I won’t care’ . Now if Katherine were not still in love with Henry she might have come to some arrangement with him, they hadn’t shared a bed for some time and from all accounts she spent much of her time in chapel and retired early in the evening leaving him to preside over the court entertainments, perhaps she did not miss the physical side of her relationship, she had taken to wearing a hair shirt under her gowns and was like a nun anyway, in middle age some women do go off sex and find the lack of it doesn’t bother them much, so really after many years together they had grown apart, Henry still thought of himself as a love God and continued to take mistresses so he was getting fulfilled elsewhere, Katherine expected that which was what a model queen in those days did, yet he completely took her by surprise by his belief that their marriage was no marriage in the eyes of God, her shock and dismay moved her to anger and it is because she was so emotionally involved she would not, in fact could not back down, it’s very sad that she did not fall out of love with him, the awful irony of this situation is that out of all Henry’s wives she alone appeared to genuinely love him, what Anne Boleyn felt about him we do not know, we do not know how Jane Seymour felt as she was a closed book but we know the remaining three married him because they had no choice.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          Hi Christine, I agree with everything. It is very sad that she still loved Henry, as her last letter says, she loved him to the point of death. Some people, although I am not sure who, but I have heard it said in documentaries and read somewhere that Henry still had some love for Katherine. He certainly kept comparing Anne and others to Katherine, she never spoke to him with disrespect etc, she overlooked his faults, in other words Katherine was his perfect wife and she laid the benchmark by which the other five were judged. Legend tells us he wept over her final letter. This actually makes sense as Henry was married to Katherine and connected to Katherine for well over half his adult life. They had shared everything since he was 17. Katherine was well known to him as he had grown up around her. She was part of his family since he was 10. His emotional connection to her was very deep and divorced couples even now still feel some connection to their old partners. It may not be love, but it is something. Katherine and Henry had at least six children together. They shared the sorrows of the loss of five and for a number of years, the joy of raising Mary. It may have been regret for what could have been, but the news that Katherine still loved him apparently shook Henry to the core. Did he wonder what he had given Katherine up for as he buried another dead child with Anne at the end of that January? Did he wonder why he turned the world upside down just for another daughter? The loss of their baby son at the end of January 1536 upset both Anne and Henry, but their reaction was accusations..you are to blame, my heart broke to see you loved others, etc. This was not the end for Anne, that was due to conspirators bringing her down in April and May and a plot either by Cromwell or Henry. However, the loss of Katherine ironically did not make Anne more secure, it meant Henry could get rid of her more easily if the marriage did go south as Henry no longer felt he had to fight to protect his marriage to Anne, certainly without a legitimate son. Katherine was a deep thorn in the side of Anne and Henry, while alive, but ironically she was Anne’s salvation as well. It was after Katherine died and tragedy struck that things came apart in numerous ways. Katherine loved Henry, that, he realised too late and by then he was probably no longer in love with Anne. It is also possible that he did not love anyone quite as much after this. He had passion with Anne, he had a deep, grown up love with Katherine.

      3. joseja says:

        Where is there good evidence to back up the statement that Katharine didn’t so much want to hold onto Henry as to remain Queen?
        History has shown that she was not just a princess raised in the circles of power but a devout Catholic who found her real calling in the vocation of marriage. Her letters and the testimonies of those who knew her revealed a woman of kindness, fidelity to duty, deep loyalty and piety. Her piety was sober to be sure, but she could not warrant the accusation sometimes thrown in her direction of Pharisaistic practices. Contrarily, she was said to be often joyful and lighthearted. (I might be so bold as to say she was comparable in these ways to King St. Louis IX of France, notwithstanding that Louis was a king regnant and had all the power of actual rulership).

        Again, where is there evidence to the statement that she consummated her first marriage?
        She testified in a papal deposition to the contrary, knowing that to lie would be for her a mortal sin. From all accounts her faith was of first importance to her, and she lived it out in the context of her royal marriage and family life.

        That brings me to my final point, and yours: that she might better have forgotten her stubborn hanging on to her position and gone quietly to a convent. The fact is she could not leave her marriage even if she wanted to. She knew that the constant and perpetual teaching of the Church is that a validly contracted marriage is a sacrament, and neither her husband nor even the pope had the power to command her to leave, let alone take up the religious life while Henry was alive.
        That is why I have the greatest respect for her wisdom, patient acceptance of suffering, and her courageous and loving admonishment of her husband who caused so much of it. Love is no more or less than willing the actual good (not necessarily the desires) of another. Her behavior in this personal trial was surely testimony to that.

        1. Tidus says:

          What I said was “I honestly have to say I don’t think it was that she didn’t want to give up Henry. She didn’t want to give up being Queen.”
          I never said or tried to imply it was fact. Most everyone here offers opinion’s, Yet I am the only one you expect to show evidence or facts. hmm.

  8. Teddy says:

    Truly I am in Anne’s team, but I deeply respect Catherine as woman and queen. I just keep wondering, how would happen to England, if she wasn’t so proud and stubborn regarding her marriage. Would she save herself and her daughter all the suffering? The Dissolution wiould not happen? The Reformation would be not so bloody and severe?

  9. Jane says:

    Despite being Catholic myself, I have less sympathy for Catherine than you might expect. Undoubtedly she was intelligent, brave and principled, but she was the daughter of Isabella of Castile, who I also admired until I discovered how bigoted and duplicitous she and Ferdinand were in their dealings with both the Moors and the Jews (I am part Jewish also). I have mentioned before, I forget whether it was a Weir or Starkey biography where it suggested that if any of Henry’s wives could conceivably be considered guilty of active treason, it would be Catherine. She corresponded regularly with Ferdinand during the early years as to how to manipulate Henry and England to the advantage of Spain, and later when she was threatened with divorce/annulment, attempted to encourage the Emperor Charles to invade. Who knows, maybe as Henry matured he became less tolerant of her manipulation? Certainly he did not appreciate subsequent wives meddling in state affairs – Anne lost her head, Jane Seymour was warned about what happened to her predecessor, Catherine Parr had a narrow escape. Seems he did not appreciate clever women much!

    1. Clara says:

      King Edward I of England expelled all Jews from England long before than Isabella and Ferdinand. What a fault Katherine of Aragon has of the actions of her parents? Please! England and Spain shared interests, France. Henry wanted the crown of France and Katherine supported her husband. If Ferdinand betrayed his daughter, Katherine is not to blame. Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr did not manipulate Henry? Really? Katherine of Aragon was a brilliant queen, with her virtues and defects, like the other wives of Henry. They were not perfect, they were human.

      1. Helen says:

        I don’t think the previous poster said Boleyn Seymour and Parr didn’t manipulate Henry. She said he didn’t appreciate clever women. There’s a difference.

  10. Frances Mincherton says:

    I admired Queen Catherine on many levels, but the one fact that has always stood out to me is that Catherine was trained from an early age to be a Queen and not just a Queen Consort. This was mainly due to the influence of her mother. Whether Catherine was right or wrong in the way she stuck to her principles over the divorce is debatable, but history shows her fears were legitimate.

  11. joseja says:

    Where is there good evidence to back up the statement that Katharine didn’t so much want to hold onto Henry as to remain Queen?
    History has shown that she was not just a princess raised in the circles of power but a devout Catholic who found her real calling in the vocation of marriage. Her letters and the testimonies of those who knew her revealed a woman of kindness, fidelity to duty, deep loyalty and piety. Her piety was sober to be sure, but she could not warrant the accusation sometimes thrown in her direction of Pharisaistic practices. Contrarily, she was said to be often joyful and lighthearted. (I might be so bold as to say she was comparable in these ways to King St. Louis IX of France, notwithstanding that Louis was a king regnant and had all the power of actual rulership).

    Again, where is there evidence to the statement that she consummated her first marriage?
    She testified in a papal deposition to the contrary, knowing that to lie would be for her a mortal sin. From all accounts her faith was of first importance to her, and she lived it out in the context of her royal marriage and family life.

    That brings me to my final point, and yours: that she might better have forgotten her stubborn hanging on to her position and gone quietly to a convent. The fact is she could not leave her marriage even if she wanted to. She knew that the constant and perpetual teaching of the Church is that a validly contracted marriage is a sacrament, and neither her husband nor even the pope had the power to command her to leave, let alone take up the religious life while Henry was alive.
    That is why I have the greatest respect for her wisdom, patient acceptance of suffering, and her courageous and loving admonishment of her husband who caused so much of it. Love is no more or less than willing the actual good (not necessarily the desires) of another. Her behavior in this personal trial was surely testimony to that.

  12. joseja says:

    That was in reply to Tidus…
    So sorry for the double post. Not intended. Moderator may delete one.

    Many thanks

    Joseja

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