The Six Wives of Henry VIII Wiki
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"I would rather have a word of a Henry." 

~Catherine to Henry early in their marriage

Catherine was born the youngest child and third daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile.

Early Life[]

Catherine was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Queen Isabella of Castile. She had three older sisters -- Isabel, Juana, and Maria -- and one older brother, Juan. Catherine was rumored to have been raised on the battlefield, due to her mother and father fighting the war against the Moors all throughout Spain when she was a young girl.

She was betrothed around the age of five to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, after her mother and father reached an agreement with Henry VII of England and his wife, Queen Elizabeth of York. Catherine left Spain at the age of fifteen and sailed to England, landing there in November of 1501 for the wedding.

First Marriage[]

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Catherine first encountered Prince Arthur when his father, the King of England, insisted upon meeting her after her arrival in the new country. Her duena, Dona el Vera, refused to allow the couple to meet, due to the fact that Catherine had already retired for the evening to prayer, and it would have been seen as inappropriate. However, the king replied that he and his son would visit Catherine in her bedchamber, to which her duena permitted the meeting to take place, as this would have been even more unsuitable.

Catherine was brought out of her room in a long, white nightgown, and a veil over her face for modesty. The king ordered the veil be removed and it was done so and, when Catherine looked up at her future father-in-law, he was impressed with her beauty and welcomed her to England. Catherine thanked the king gratefully in Spanish before lowering her eyes again. Prince Arthur was pushed forward then as a means of introduction and the king introduced them; he introduced Arthur as her future husband. The young couple shared a smile before Arthur had a fit of coughing, thus ending the scene on a low note.

She married firstly Arthur, Prince of Wales, at St. Paul's Cathedral in England as planned. However, her first marriage was brief, but seemed happy, although it is unseen in this version. The funeral of Prince Arthur is seen, however, although Catherine is not seen in its attendance.

Widowhood[]

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Catherine endured widowhood from April 1502 until April 1509.

Catherine later loses her household, as part of her dowry while married to Arthur Tudor was not paid; Henry VII wishes for the rest of it to be paid, while her father demands it back as he learns that Henry Tudor has protested against a betrothal with Catherine. To cut down on his own expenses, the king orders that Catherine live at court permanently so as she can be looked after. Catherine still manages to provide for herself and ladies in waiting, as the king will not do so, and begins selling off her gold plate -- which is part of her dowry -- in order to pay for food. A new Spanish ambassador questions the food she serves, and learns that she buys day-old fish from the market because it costs less, and he is angered by this, due to it being stale, but the English privy council does nothing about it.

While at court, Catherine encounters the young Prince of Wales; Henry, now in his late teens, is apparently attracted to Catherine, as she is to him, but they don't speak. One of Catherine's other ladies in waiting tells her that the ambassador is arranging to have her dowry sent out of the country, and persuades her mistress to return to Spain. This angers Catherine, calling the ambassador a traitor as well as her lady in waiting, and demands that she never speak of it again; we never see the lady in waiting after this exchange.

Catherine, now called the Dowager Princess of Wales, insists that she is the Princess of Wales still as she was promptly betrothed to Henry Tudor, Arthur's younger brother. Catherine insists to her lady in waiting and closest friend from Spain, Maria de Salinas, that her mother wished for the marriage to take place. She then states that she would rather die than return to Spain as a widow or otherwise unmarried.

Immediately thereafter, the news of the king's death sweeps throughout the court, and Maria de Salinas learns from Lord Willoughby, her suitor, that the new king is meeting with the privy council for advice on his marriage. Lord Willoughby informs Maria de Salinas that there is a match for a French princess (likely the future Queen Claude of France) and one for the Habsburg princess, Eleanor, daughter of Catherine's older sister, Juana, Queen of Castile. Maria de Salinas is, of course, worried for her mistress and dearest friend, and Lord Willoughby says he is more concerned with what will happen to her. Likely sacrificing her own happiness by saying so, Maria de Salinas informs Lord Willoughby that if Catherine returns to Spain, she will go with her. Maria then descends into tears of worry and fear, and the Earl of Surrey interrupts them, and Maria whispers to Lord Willoughby that he always brings bad news. The Earl of Surrey states that he needs to speak to the Princess Dowager and Maria informs him where she is.

The Earl of Surrey goes to see Catherine, and she greets him politely. He informs her that the king wishes to "wait upon her" and Catherine is shocked at this prospect, especially when she learns that he is already on his way to her. When they meet, they are slightly awkward with one another, and Catherine expresses her sorrow for the death of Henry VII, claiming that he was like a father to her as well. Young Henry appreciates this and thanks her, and then informs her that his father expressed a final wish upon his deathbed; Catherine tells Henry that she will do whatever he asks. The new king then informs her that his father wished them to be married as soon as possible, and then expresses his love by calling her "dearest Catherine" and tells her that it is his wish as well. The pair promptly marry and Catherine is made Queen of England at his side.

Queen of England[]

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Catherine and Henry's union seemed blessed when Catherine became pregnant almost immediately after they married. Her first pregnancy is mentioned in passing by the Earl of Surrey, who did not want the king to marry Catherine. It is mentioned as being a

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stillborn child (according to history, it was a daughter), yet the whole of London is celebrating because Catherine has given birth to a boy.

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The queen did indeed give birth to a boy, in January 1511, on New Year's Day. However, Catherine's good fortune was short-lived, as hers and Henry's son unfortunately died after fifty-two days.

After a war with France in 1513, Catherine is Regent of England and must rally up the villagers of England to defeat the Scottish king, James IV, husband of her sister-in-law, Margaret. Shortly thereafter, Catherine has two pregnancies, both boys, one of which is stillborn and one of which is dies as an infant. Neither of these scenes (or pregnancies) are made mention of in the serial, just the regency part.

Issue[]

In February 1516, Queen Catherine gives birth to a daughter, Mary, who becomes their heir apparent of her father, although King Henry still desires a son. He has taken advisers on the subject of getting a son, but all keep encouraging him to get one with the queen. Two years after the birth of Mary, Queen Catherine has another short-lived daughter, but afterwards, no further pregnancies.

The King's Great Matter[]

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The story tapers off after the loss of their first son, and picks up again in 1525, after the loss of the war with France against Spain. Queen Catherine spends her time at prayer, with embroidery, reading, or with their daughter, Mary. The king, on the other hand, only sees the queen for prayer and for mealtimes, and spends his time making plans for war, writing songs and playing music, and traipsing around court with various women. Among the women is Bessie Blount, who has given the king an illegitimate son, and Mary Boleyn, the daughter of a well-favored knight. The king, whose attentions have wandered to Anne Boleyn by this point, asks Catherine point blank for a divorce, but she is so devastated that he cannot get through to her, and leaves her chambers in a mixture of sadness and rage.

The king then ordered a trial to discuss their marriage and its legality, which fully formed in 1529. With his intention to marry Anne Boleyn, King Henry hoped that a divorce could be obtained immediately. It came as a shock to him, however, when Catherine confronted him in open court, telling him that since the pope did not authorize this, nor was he present, she had nothing to do with the case and ordered it dismissed. The court was dismissed, but Catherine was left at the palace while King Henry left with Anne Boleyn and the whole of the court. Cardinal Wolsey, now out of favor for not being able to obtain a divorce for the king, was tasked with telling Queen Catherine to leave the palace and go to More Park, and that she would be separated from her daughter until the king's demands were met.

Exile and Death[]

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Catherine would remain in exile until her death in January 1536. She was enraged when the Duke of Suffolk, the king's brother-in-law and best friend, was ordered to fetch the christening gown when Anne Boleyn was pregnant with Princess Elizabeth. Catherine refused, as her son, Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall, wore it, and refused to be parted from it, informing the duke that he could tell King Henry whatever he wanted. As time goes on, she is informed to surrender jewels and sees the missive that she must sign, and strikes out the term Princess Dowager and replaces it with Catherine, the Queen instead. Catherine writes a letter to be given to the king upon her death, telling him that she wishes to see him above all things. The king crumples the letter and refuses to believe that he had any role in her untimely death whatsoever.

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