In my copy of Alison Weir’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” it says Elizabeth of York and Margaret Beaufort “suggested that Katherine accustom herself to drink wine, as the water of England was not drinkable.” My previous understanding was that everyone back then drank wine and beer because water was undrinkable… but did the royal family of Spain drink water?

Catherine was going to be spending most of her time in England in London where the water was very polluted due to sewage, washing water, rubbish etc. all going into the River Thames. In Spain, Catherine was used to the running spring water of the Alhambra which would have been wonderful clean and fresh mineral water from the Sierra Nevada mountains and that obviously would have been safe to drink. I live in Spain and when our tap water goes off for some reason we're still ok because our village has three natural springs where we can go and collect the most wonderful water.


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