Friday, June 24, 2011

Waity Katie - Catherine of Aragon

Young Catherine
On June 24th, 1509, Henry Tudor and Catherine of Aragon were crowned King and Queen of England. I'm sure on this day Catherine breathed a deep sigh of relief. Why is this? Well, she almost wasn't Queen of England.

In 1501, Catherine arrived in England and married the heir to the English throne. No, not Henry. His older brother Arthur. Yes, Henry wasn't actually suppose to be King either. A few months into their happy marriage, Arthur gets sick and dies. Catherine quickly goes from Queen-in-waiting, to widow-no-one-really-knows-what-to-do-with. Thus, Henry VII decided to do nothing. Nothing can't hurt, right?

Wrong.

Prince Arthur
Catherine was basically left penniless in a foreign land. She was forced to sell her jewelry and other valuable items to pay her servants. She begged Henry VII and her father, King Ferdinand, to help her. However, they were too busy fighting with each other to notice. Ferdinand wanted Catherine's dowry back. Henry VII didn't like this idea. He proposed to keep the dowry and let Catherine marry his new heir, Henry, Duke of York. The whole "brother marrying his brother's wife" thing required a dispensation from the Pope.

Prince Henry
In the mean time, Henry VII decided to weigh his options. Around this time, Catherine's mother, Queen Isabella died. Her death divided the Spanish Empire, thus Catherine wasn't as valuable of a bride as she had been upon her marriage to Arthur. At one point, probably after a nasty letter brawl with Ferdinand, Henry VII decided that Catherine shouldn't marry Prince Henry. He even had Henry sign a contract that he didn't want the marriage (I'm sure Henry would have liked an endorsed copy of this in the later divorce trial...).

Henry VII
Thus, poor Catherine was caught in the battle between father and father-in-law, alone, penniless, and probably a bit hungry. Though Catherine isn't my favorite Tudor by any means, I feel like she was in the right here. Henry VII could have handled this situation a little better.

Finally, in 1509 Henry VII croaked. Surprisingly, there was little mourning throughout the land...

The new king, Henry VIII, decided that Catherine was cute and nice, thus married her almost instantly. After several years of waiting, Catherine was finally Queen of England. No wonder she didn't want to give it up so easily... Pin It

3 comments:

  1. You're right! Catherine of Aragon was the original Waity Catie. But things didn't turn out that well for her. Let's hope Kate Middleton fares better.

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  2. She's already fairing better! Her dad and Prince Charles didn't get into a brawl, and she didn't end up having to marry Harry instead :)

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  3. Although marrying Prince Harry wouldn't be all that bad... ; )

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