Just a quick post to mark the 504th anniversary of the wedding of the twenty-three year old Catharine of Aragon and the then seventeen-year-old Henry VIII (eleven days off of his eighteenth birthday.)
Of course we all know what ensued, but what we often forget is that before the arrival of ‘La Boleyn’ in the late 1520s Henry and Catharine had been married nearly twenty four years and had been (in those early years) happy. As Henry her ‘Sir Loyal Heart’ would write to his father-in-law shortly after their marriage, if he were still free he would chose her again before all others, so strong was his bond with her.
Catharine of course in her own right gained some remarkable achievements throughout her life; as Spanish Ambassador to the English Court in her years preceding marriage to Henry she became the first woman to hold such a post in sixteenth-century Europe. She also experienced military success. Whilst Henry captured Therouanne and Tournai upon his French campaign in 1513, Catharine as Queen Regent oversaw the defeat of the English ‘Auld Enemy’ the Scots at Flodden Field and sent the dead King James IV’s bloodied and tattered coat to her hubby as a gift.
In my youth I always preferred the dark-haired glamour and wit of Anne Boleyn but as I have matured it seems by far Catharine who deserves attention and admiration, to say she went through a lot in her life is an understatement. I’m looking forward to reading more about the former Spanish Infanta and daughter of the warrior Queen, Isabella of Castille in the future.
- The last words of Anne Boleyn, Friday May 19th 1536. (thehistorygraduate.wordpress.com)
- Spain: Orange and Almond Cake (thewayfaringbaker.com)
- Today in History, June 11th! (hankeringforhistory.com)
- Little Known Black History Fact: John Blanke, Black Trumpeter (blackamericaweb.com)