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Katherine of Aragon- Something I was thinking about.
October 9, 2013
3:01 am
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Boleyn
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Boleyn said

annacarina1 said

I noticed!! But still, even thought Elizabeth Woodville was (i think) a schemer, she was portrayed as a nice person. Though PG has said that she liked the historical figure of Elizabeth Woodville…
Anyway, I think COA was a virgin when she married Henry, and did not lie about her virginity. Arthur was sickly, seemingly, so maybe they did not consummate their love.

S.W.M.N.B.N said the same about Anne Boleyn, but her maybe/almost certainly radio interview didn’t reflect that.
Starkey puts the words of the dispensation that K.O.A and Henry needed to marry as a kind of belt and braces affair. Left open to debate I think is the best way to describe that. I believe that Arthur and K.O.A did some heavy petting but I don’t believe they had intercourse. I read somewhere many years ago that her maids did see blood on her sheets the morning after they had bedded together, but K.O.A explained this by saying she had pricked her heel and wiped the blood on the sheets to spare Arthur’s ineptitude at not being able to perform. We will never know if Arthur and K.O.A had sex, but Henry made himself believe they had. He was having doubts about his marriage with K.O.A as early as 1513 I believe, but chose to ignore them. I believe that K.O.A was a virgin.
Personally I think Henry was a hypocrite of the highest order. In fact if there was an olympic sport in hypocracy Henry would win all 3 medal just by opening his gob.
Elizabeth Woodville I don’t think was a schemer as such, she mearly took an oppotunity that happen to come her way.. The saying “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” comes to mind here.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 14, 2013
6:54 am
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Mimico
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annacarina1 said

I noticed!! But still, even thought Elizabeth Woodville was (i think) a schemer, she was portrayed as a nice person. Though PG has said that she liked the historical figure of Elizabeth Woodville…
Anyway, I think COA was a virgin when she married Henry, and did not lie about her virginity. Arthur was sickly, seemingly, so maybe they did not consummate their love.

Arthur was never sickly, he was just portrayed that way becuase he died aged only 15. In fact he is quite the athlete, because he a noted archer. There was no reason to not consummate, they were both young healthy people and a heir was need. It should also be noted that Katherine didn’t deny that the marriage was consummate until it benifitted her to do so. Yes Katherine was pious but that didn’t mean she couldn’t lie because there is at least one record of her lying to her father, saying that she had just lost the baby ‘a few days ago’ when in fact she had miscarried nearly half a year ago. She was devouted but she was a politicain first. Even if she did lie, she lied to protect herself and Mary and i deem that a good cause.

October 14, 2013
8:24 am
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Boleyn
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It’s a difficult one to call, about K.O.A. and Arthur.
Arthur was certainly under a lot stress from his father, can’t of been easy living with a man, who dictated you every move etc.
Rumour has it that Arthur was born a month premature, no knowing for sure if that is true or not. But I do think this was just an excuse to perhaps explain why he was considered sickly. He perhaps wasn’t quite as robust as Henry, but he certainly wasn’t sickly. Henry’s childhood was different to Arthur’s anyway. Whereas Henry more or less lorded over his sisters and the nursery staff etc, and was pretty much able to do what he wanted when he wanted, he grew up much like any child today does. Arthur on the other hand was literely glued to his father’s side, and although he did go riding, and hunting, etc I think these activities were strickly governed and only allowed if the weather was good. H7 must have put an awful lot of pressure on to Arthur’s shoulders, and I feel that a lot of Arthur’s problems could have been stress related. In much the same way as Mary’s (Bloody Mary) were when she was younger and even more so when she became Queen.

The baby miscarriage bit with K.O.A as I remember it was that she miscarried but her stomach stayed bloated and the doctor thought, that she had been carrying twins, and had lost one of them, when the swelling finally went down 6 months later it was then admitted that she had miscarried, 6 months before.
If K.O.A did lie about her marriage/consumation with Arthur it was an honrable lie, done for the best intentions, but in the end it didn’t save her so to speak. Henry got his way, she was chucked out of the palace and stripped of everything she held dear. The Pope may have finally ruled that Henry’s marriage to her was legal and valid, but it was too late to change the situation. Henry had moved on and even if he hadn’t married Anne I still feel he wouldn’t have taken K.O.A back just because the Pope had declared the marriage valid.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 14, 2013
8:12 pm
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Sharon
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Arthur had his own household in the Welsh marches by age seven where he was “gaining the hands-on experience deemed necessary for kingship.” Henry VII kept in constant touch with the prince’s council, but Arthur was in his own residence. He was being groomed for the crown like any young prince would be. It was Henry who was kept close to his Father starting in 1504. After what happened to Arthur, and the subsequent loss of his Queen, the King decided that Henry’s household and council was to be absorbed within his own. The King decided that he was going to be fully involved in Henry’s life, and that included sharing his servants.

October 14, 2013
11:49 pm
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Anyanka
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Boleyn said

Rumour has it that Arthur was born a month premature, no knowing for sure if that is true or not. But I do think this was just an excuse to perhaps explain why he was considered sickly. He perhaps wasn’t quite as robust as Henry, but he certainly wasn’t sickly.

Henry and Elizabeth were married on Jan 18 1486 and Arthur was born September 20…using a due date programme I found on the internet, he should have been born around Oct 25.

So he was either around 36 weeks gestation or , and in my mind more likely, Henry and Elizabeth had jumped the broom first.

eta..that was if her LMP was the same date as the wedding, if she was regular and had her LMP 2 weeks earlier then the due date would have been aound October 11 making Arthur 2 weeks premie..
Calculating dates was an inaccurate science in those days, though there is the old rhyme about the child wandering for 40 weeks before entering the world mirroring Christ’s fasting in tghe wilderness.

It's always bunnies.

October 15, 2013
9:49 am
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Boleyn
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Yes you are right there Pregnancy was a difficult to determine back then. In fact I don’t think they were really sure that a woman was pregnant until the baby moved, butterflies in the stomach as they say. It’s possible that H7 and Elizabeth had a dabble before marriage, after all he would have heard the rumours of her alledged relationship with Richard and he perhaps wanted to know if she was spoilt goods before he took her on so to speak.
Either way we won’t ever know if Elizabeth and Richard had a dabble, but I think not. Richard seemed genuinely fond of Elizabeth, despite his feelings about her mother and I don’t think he would dishonour her like that. If he had won Bosworth, I don’t think he would have married her either, I rather think he would have looked around for a foriegn match. Anne of Brittany possibly.
I’d be interested to know what the doctors thought they were hearing or feeling, over Mary Tudor’s phantom pregnancies. They must have been suitably convinced that she was pregnant to allow her to believe it etc. Did she feel what she thought were kicks? did she see movement across her extended stomach? Or as I suspect she thought she felt and saw things, because she was so obsessed, with the idea of being pregnant.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 16, 2013
4:32 am
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Anyanka
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I’m sure that Folk Wisdom or Old Wives Tales were far more accurate than those modern practioners of Physick were ever able to manage..

Womenkind always apeared to have a secret knowledge of which was never disclosed to the menfolk..

MY grandmother used to say that the first child came when it wanted*, the rest took at least 9 months following the birth of an earlier child…

* anytime from the day after the wedding in reality…or olden time rellies knew consumation happened with or without the benefit of clergy..k

It's always bunnies.

October 16, 2013
5:55 am
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My humble opinion regarding COA…I agree that a better question to ask would be why wouldn’t they had consummated the marriage? I have heard a report that said Arthur could have died of testicular cancer, though I’ve only heard this once, but I believe it was in a Lucy Worsley documentary. If this is the case that could explain why the marriage wasn’t consummated. I am sure if Arthur was able it would have been done.

As to whether COA would lie…I believe she would have if she felt it would save her marriage. What I don’t think she would have done is lie under the seal of confession. As a Catholic she could have lied and confessed it and no harm, no foul. But if she doesn’t confess, or if she purposely lies in her confession, this becomes a much greater matter, and there is evidence that she made public confessions on at least 2 occasions and stated categorically that she was a virgin when she married HVIII. Because of this I believe she was. Although didn’t she wear a hair shirt regularly after her banishment? Was she doing penance for something? I o think she was a virgin, but I suppose it’s possible that she could have discussed the matter with her confessor and received absolution for the lie due to extreme circumstances. Much the same way that Mary was told she would not be responsible for signing any document betraying her faith if it was done under duress.

Has anyone else heard the theory that Arthur died of testicular cancer, rather than TB or the sweat?

October 16, 2013
9:39 am
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Bob the Builder
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AnnaKarenina said
…Has anyone else heard the theory that Arthur died of testicular cancer, rather than TB or the sweat?

i’ve certianly heard it, but what evidence there is to support such an idea i don’t know..

i do know that there was (2002) talk of performing some kind of examination on his remains at Worcester Cathedral, however i can’t as yet work out whether such a thing happened. i know the effort to find the coffin was successful, and that it was a joint project with Birmingham University, but wht hppened i don’t know…

wiki says that an inspection of the body was done, presumbly by endescope, but i can find no other refence to such a result. i’m going to contact Worcester Cathedral and ask them about the project and what happened to it.

on the substantive issue, Testicular cancer will interfere with the body’s ability to produce healthy semen, it does not affect the body’s ability to produce an erection. if Arthur had testicular cancer, theres no medical reson why he would have been unable to consumate his marriage – he might not have felt like it, but he would have been incapable.

personally i think that anyone who believes that if you put two 15yo’s in a freezing castle for 6 months and tell them to make babies, there’s a posibility that they won’t have sex, has obviously never met any 15yo’s…

October 16, 2013
9:50 am
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Bob the Builder said

personally i think that anyone who believes that if you put two 15yo’s in a freezing castle for 6 months and tell them to make babies, there’s a posibility that they won’t have sex, has obviously never met any 15yo’s…

So true! And I agree completely. The ONLY reason I doubt it is because of COA’s, and really most people of the time, faith and her confessions that were made public. I know most Catholics today wouldn’t intentionally lie in confession, and faith was more potent 500 years ago. That being said, it does allow for the possibility of lying under duress, or something to that effect.

October 16, 2013
10:33 am
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Bob the Builder
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most importantly, its about self interest.

Catherine would have known, as would her parents, her Spanish staff, her English family, and everyone else in Europe, that from the moment of Arthurs death, that her best interests – and indeed her parents best interests, Henry VII’s best interests, and her future marriage prospects to Henry Duke of York, or anyone else for that matter – would be best served by her marriage to Arthur not having been consumated.

there is not one person in this whole event – Catherine herself, Ferdinand and Isbella, Henry VII, or her personal staff, who will be saying to Catherine ‘no, its ok, you can say that you and Arthur did the dirty deed – it won’t affect anything in the future..’. the whole narrative of the period is that what ensures a political/dynastic alliance between England and Spain is good, what gets in the way of such an alliance – consumation in this case – is bad.

this looks to me like a classic family tactic – ‘corporate denial’ – something has happened which we’d all rather it hadn’t, so for the sake of the future we’re just going to airbrush it out of our history and pretend it never happened.

October 16, 2013
10:43 am
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AnnaKarenina
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Excellent point Bob, especially considering COA’s devotion to her families interests over those of HVIII and England during the earlier years of her marriage. You may have altered my opinion more towards consummation. I have always felt like they reasonably SHOULD have had sex, but I’ve always had a tough time with the confessions. But perhaps it was her confessor who lied, and not her after all. I mean, no one else heard them…

October 16, 2013
12:28 pm
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Boleyn
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I haven’t heard of the testicular Cancer theory before, but given how sickly Arthur became soon after his marriage, it is a possibility. But until evidence comes up to either say “Yea or Nay” it is still just a theory. I have read somewhere that, that Arthur contracted the dreaded pox from K.O.A and weakened by that disease and by the fever he picked up it finished him off. In short K.O.A was infected by the Pox when she was born. We all know that K.O.A’s father was a bit of a ladies man, and it’s possible that he had picked up the disease from one of his woman, and then passed it on to Isabella who in turn infected her children at birth. I cant say if this is true or not, but it is an interesting idea.
If true that would mean to me at least that some sort of sexual contact did take place between them enough to infect him anyway, and as Bob rightly says, 2 15yr olds in a cold drafty castle would find a way of keeping warm, and not just by rubbing 2 sticks together either.
Both Arthur and Katherine would have known exactly where their duty lay. From the time the priest had said I now declare them and waved his hands, about their duty would have been to provide the throne with a successor, and a few spares to boot.
As daft as this might sound is it just possible that K.O.A convinced herself that she was still a virgin, even though she knew deep within her heart she wasn’t. It could explain her reasons for wearing a hair shirt and basically seeming to punish herself for what she perceived as her faults.
I also believe that K.O.A was a little neurotic, not in the same sence as her sister, but I feel that neurosis was inherited by Mary, which became more evident when she became Queen.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 16, 2013
12:59 pm
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Olga
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Keep in mind Bo that the contemporary rumours about Richard III and Elizabeth of York were that he was planning to marry her, not that he was having an affair with her. The latter theory has no grounds. They may have decided to get started early while they were waiting for their dispensation to arrive, after all they needed an heir quick smart to secure the line.

Arthur and Katherine as far as I know both contracted the sweating sickness, which explains Arthur’s quick death. Katherine may have used his being sickly to help her case, but I have never been able to make my mind up about whether she was telling the truth or not. I like Bob’s theory of corporate denial. Lets not forget she had a dispensation covering her marriage to Henry even if she had consummated her marriage with Arthur. I don’t buy all these new theories of testicular cancer and the like, they convince me as much as all of Henry’s various diseases that “made” him a tyrant.

Thomas More also wore a hair shirt, I don’t read too much into those things.

October 16, 2013
3:10 pm
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Boleyn
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Thank you Olga. If Richard was planning to marry Elizabeth, how would he have got around the fact that he had declared her and her siblings bastards?
I agree that K.O.A could have used arthur’s supposed sickly state as an excuse for the reason why the marriage wasn’t consumated, but with total respect, she didn’t know Arthur that well, she had judged him a little prematurely. Those who had grown up with him would have known him inside out and upside down, and they would have surely spoken out if they felt that Arthur was in no fit state to consumate his marriage.
I do find it very strange that when Lard Arse dragged his love life with K.O.A through the court at Blackfriars, managed to scrape up from somewhere a man who had been with Arthur the morning after his wedding night. Who was he? I have already mentioned about the blood on the sheets rumour, and this may or may not be true. Again this all boils down to the question of WAS the marriage consummated?

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 16, 2013
3:16 pm
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Richard III did not intend to marry Elizabeth of York. At the time he was killed at Bosworth, he was in the middle of negotiating for a Portuguese marriage for himself (with Joanna of Portugal – a descendant of the legitimate Lancastrian line) and a marriage for Elizabeth of York with another Portuguese prince, Manuel.

I am of the opinion that Arthur and KOA did consummate their marriage. That was the purpose of sending them off to Ludlow to cohabit – they were required to have an heir – it was their duty.

With regard to the reported remark that Arthur made on the morning after, that he was thirsty because he had been in Spain all night – that was reported by one of his servants – presumably the person he asked for the wine.

October 16, 2013
7:07 pm
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Sharon
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If Katherine confessed the lie to a priest and then went out and repeated the same lie again, her soul would have been in jeopardy. The purpose of a confession is to ask forgiveness, and to give a promise to never commit the sin again. Katherine was a strict Catholic.
Henry said he thought Katherine was diseased. (therefore he would not sleep with her any longer). A lie. Then Henry said he was afraid she would do him physical harm. Another lie. Then Wolsey claimed that Katherine’s bloody sheets from her and Arthur’s bed had been sent to Isabella and Ferdinand to prove they had slept together. Another lie. Then Katherine was accused of fanning the flames of treason and regicide. Again a lie. She was also accused of banning Henry from her bed. (Which is it Henry? She is diseased and you fear for your health or she is refusing to sleep with you?) How many lies is that? These lies came from Wolsey and Henry. Her public demeanor was denounced as frivolous and/or downright demeaning of the king. Worst of all was her behavior outside the court. She was accused of “exhorting other ladies and gentlemen of the court to dance and pastime, and make other assemblies of pleasure.” They wrote she should have been urging them to pray.
She was being trashed. So even though I believe she was not lying, as far as I’m concerned, if she did lie, good on her.
“When you had me at the first, I take God to be my judge. I was a true maid without touch of man. And whether it be true or no, I put it to your conscience.” This is taken from her speech to Henry under oath at Blackfriars.

October 16, 2013
10:56 pm
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AnnaKarenina
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Sharon, I wasn’t suggesting that COA intentionally lied under confession. You are correct that to confess a sin and then continue to commit that sin would create another sin. My suggestion was that perhaps her confessors were not completely honest about what was confessed, or that perhaps she didn’t say it under the seal of confession as the has d she did. Either way, either she lied or they did, or the marriage was never consummated. I have always felt that she must be telling the truth if she confessed it that way, even though I find it unlikely that they wouldn’t have had sex if Arthur was able to. May was basically told that she could denounce the church on paper if she were under duress. People received dispensations from the Pope for all kinds of things, so it is not outside the realm of possibility that her confessor knew the truth and she was “allowed” to say what she needed to say to keep the marriage in tact. Although I think this unlikely as there is no evidence of this happening, and the Catholic Church certainly would have kept some record it.

October 17, 2013
7:46 am
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Olga
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Boleyn said
If Richard was planning to marry Elizabeth, how would he have got around the fact that he had declared her and her siblings bastards?

Sorry we’re going off topic a bit. That’s probably why it was dropped Bo. It didn’t make that much sense except that he would get the same benefit Tudor did, that is gaining the love of those who were loyal to Edward IV. But it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t a popular idea. The marriage he was negotiating with Joanna of Portugal just after his wife died would benefit him more, she descended from the House of Lancaster. The family was keen but the bride was not, I think I recall she wanted to become a nun. She died only a few years later as well.

Sharon I don’t think I’ve read that in such detail before, is it from Tremlett’s biography? Which I still have to read.

October 17, 2013
1:09 pm
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It is a difficult subject, one which we will probably never know but I truly think Katherine of Aragon was no virgin. What Prince and Princess would wait to consummate their marriage? Heirs were important and people expected them to conceive rather quickly. I also re-call Arthur saying that “he had been in the midst of Spain” which I find quite strange. I do not know If that was just Arthur trying to cover up that he had failed on the night. And I think Arthur was not too sickly at the start.
Katherine was probably under pressure from her parents, they wanted her to make a good match for a political alliance. So she probably did not want to let her parents down and slowly convinced herself that she was a virgin.

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