Queen Katherine of Aragon, the most noble of women.
Katherine of Aragon not her real name, though sounds English so will do for the people to get to like her. Her real name is Catalina de Aragon but that sounds far too foreign for our Prince Arthur’s new wife to be.
How many more times will I cross this problem of Anglicized names? Who are these historians who manipulate the facts to appease the Royals of the day? Stop it!
• Born: 16 December 1485
• Birthplace: Alcala de Henares, Spain
• Died: 7 January 1536 (natural causes)
• Best Known As: First wife of Henry VIII , mother of Mary I.
Boy! what a lot has been missed, and will our children go through life only knowing these facts?
Let me try and put this Lady into perspective for you.
Catalina de Aragon. (Katherine)
Katherine was the youngest, 5th surviving child of Ferdinand II(Fernando) of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Katherine's sister, Joanna the Mad was 6 years older than Katherine, consequently it was Joanna who became Queen of Castile upon their mother's death rather than Katherine. Through her mother, she descended from Katherine of Lancaster, her name-sake and source of her auburn hair. Katherine of Lancaster was a daughter of John of Gaunt and so gave credence to the Tudors of another Lancastrian strain.
A beautiful girl of just 16 years of age, engaged to be married from the age of 4 years by her parents ambitious plan to expand into Europe. Not King Henry VII at the reigns of this marriage after all, England was a cold wet poor island who have been fighting each other for over a century because of the colour of a flower and who now have a rebel leading them, the winner at Bosworth who killed the last King. No England was not admired for its strength, it was desired for its strategic position and its wealth of minerals and food growing capacity. Poor old Catalina must have cried a lot at the news of leaving her home on the Spanish plains to go and marry a foreigner who lives in the midst of civil wars. King Henry VII being the propagandist we all know, made most of the deal and claimed to the people it was his idea, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella would have laughed him out of their court for such a suggestion had England not been so an attractive proposition.
The coming together of her parents to trounce the Moors out of Spain gave both of them a great reputation, especially Isabella who was well known for her leadership in battle, she was the power behind the throne. Ferdinand, sorry Fernando was a powerful soldier but not so clever, his wife was the brains and so she must have been the one who decided on England for the marriage of her daughter. Being brought up as a genuine European Princess in a wealthy nation will produce a well educated, demure girl who knows her place at the top table and has manners to suit. She would not cower to anybody especially a King who was on the run a few years before.
21st May 1501 Katherine left Alhambra in Granada for the port of Corunna where she would board a vessel for England. The weather was bad and the party had to wait four weeks until safe enough to take the last part of the journey. A fierce storm in the Bay of Biscay forced Katherine of Aragon to return to Spain. The damage to the ships caused a further delay of 4 more weeks.
Katherine of Aragon finally landed on the South coast at Plymouth on 2nd October 1501 and took her good time to get to London by 12th November 1501 so the people could come out and admire her looks and entourage. This girl was a real Royal and she looked the part.
Poor old Arthur, being brought up in the austere world of his father, cold wet and pale in complexion, he must have felt quite low comparing himself to this tanned beauty with head held high in the royal clouds. Being married to Arthur was a big event for England and Henry VII put on a good show uncharacteristically dipping his hands into the coffers he loved, so many foreign dignitaries turned up and as he knew the power of propaganda, he even had his younger son Henry to be the page boy who gave her away. Six months later Arthur was dead, she claimed the marriage was never consummated and so not a real contract, this was so her parents Ferdinand and Isabella could get the Pope to allow her to marry the spare in the family, Henry the 10 year old. But now Katherine’s position was changed, no more dowry, now a widow, her parents a long way away. King Henry had other plans for Prince Henry, another wife, another country another dowry. Negotiations continued and eventually it was agreed that Katherine could marry Prince Henry.
7 years later, the old king died, Henry became King Henry VIII and he married Katherine. They were actually quite in love and produced 6 babies, but sadly only one survived. Thank the times and the lack of knowledge for this terrible death rate amongst babies, blame the intransigent belief in the inferiority of women and this is the reason why the surviving child, Mary was not an end to the problem of finding an heir to the Tudor throne. People were scared of returning to civil war and they thought a powerful man was needed to keep the peace.
Here are some dates and events which moulded our royal couple’s relationship.
Date 31st January 1510. A stillborn daughter
Date 1st January 1511. A baby boy named Henry the new Prince of Wales.
Date 22nd February 1511. Baby Henry dies.
Date November 1513. Another Boy is born but dies at birth.
Date 8th January 1515. Another Boy is born but dies at birth.
Date 8th February 1516. The Birth of Mary.
Date 10th November 1518. The Birth and death of a baby girl.
Date Summer 1519. King Henry father’s boy with Elizabeth Blount, a Boy called Henry Fitzroy.
Date 22nd June 1527. The King now courting Anne Boleyn separates officially from Katherine.
Date October 1527. The Emperor pressurises the Pope not to give Henry an annulment from his Aunt Katherine. Stalemate.
Date November 1528. Katherine and Mary separated to stop plotting with Emperor.
Date early January 1533. Anne Boleyn pregnant.
Date 7th January 1536. Katherine dies of cancer 2 p.m. at Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire.
Ask people on the street in Spain about the Moor's and they will not know what you are talking about, go into the Museum in Alcala De Henares and you will not find the 700 yearlong invasion period mentioned! Writing history to be what you want it to be is not history.
The Moors still exist, they live across in Africa, they let their storks come over every year.
Here's some pictures of modern day Morocco taken June 2011.
The Moors brought culture, silks, leathers and dyes, beautiful buildings, irrigation, running water, sewers and their art to Spain. They made Spain different to the rest of Europe, the Spain we love to this day.
By Henry Tudor
Shoo away invaders, back to their place of birth
Bring back the land to common rule
Show the world our strength and worth.
Two nations join, become one whole power
Create a Spain from seeds of hope
Keep watered with love, to flower.
Build our new Palace, place near old River fork
Form Royal Spanish family
Over old nests of River Stork.
Clear place to build, shoo storks away
A town is born with Palace, Church and people
But Storks return and nest again,
Still there they are today.
The River ran down the line of roof and tower’s grand
The nests were built upon the roofs
So many, so large, so far past hand.
Many know the storks defend, their right to live above
To the King and Queen of Spanish main
Became their power of love.
Alcala de Heneres, a Palace on river state
A Princess born in Royal nest
To England’s bride her fate.
The storks delivered our Royal bride, to us she shone alone
One Royal Prince her husband
But soon death took him to stone.
Her bravery gave her the courage to wait, for England to decide
Should she return to nest in Spain
Or obey her parents pride.
The wait was long, but soon it came an end was soon in sight
She fell in love with second King’s son
And married when all was right.
She left her nest on Spanish plains, by land and sea to north
She built a new life for herself
A new family, a new nest of Royal Storks.
It was always suspected that Katherine had died of poisoning by the hand of Anne Boleyn, but again such stories would have been passed around by Papist factions and cannot be substantiated. Katherine had not enjoyed good health for many years and she actually lived to an age that was considered old in her time.
Just look at the terrible history of birth and death in this couple life time. It takes nine months of anxiety, fear only to be rewarded with a death and sorrow. Both parents must have been at their wits end for each pregnancy and looking for someone to blame.
Why did Katherine fight so hard for Mary to be the next Queen of England?
Now stop for a minute. Katherine was the daughter of a powerful mother, Isabella was the Queen of Spain and seen as a true leader. So why would Katherine not be slighted at the thought her daughter Mary was not eligible for the throne as well and this belief would fester into never giving up the Queens position whatever the court rules. She was the Aunt of the Emperor of Rome and believed she had influence over the Pope’s ruling regarding her husband’s claim of annulment to their marriage. Definitely her mother’s daughter to the dismay of the King, her husband. Five dead babies, how many marriages would survive today? Not many. The troubled couple blamed each other for the loss of a son but in the end Henry blamed the law of not to marry your brothers widow or no sons will be born. Hence the start of the Kings big problem and his roving eye to prove it was not his fault.
The problem with Katherine was that she had a clever brain and much influence abroad thanks to her place of birth and the fact that the Holy Roman Emperor was her nephew Charles, Charles had imprisoned the Pope and so ruled the Roman Catholic Church in his favour. King Henry VIII had no chance to gain a divorce whilst this situation continued, so the plan to reform the church into The Church of England came into fruition. Henry created his own divorce as head of the new church and Katherine was demoted to dowager Princess of Wales after the title of her first husband Arthur Tudor. She was trundled off into the country but her strong character as ever made distinct objections to the counties of Huntingdonshire, Nottinghamshire, or Northamptonshire as a residence after her divorce. She told Sir Thomas Vaux that she “had no mind to go to Fotheringay," and she was speedily removed from that gloomy mansion to Kimbolton Castle, where she died.
Just a geography solution was the reason for the birthplace of Katherine being Alcala de Henares, it is smack in the middle of where Ferdinand and Isabella originated from. The Palace joined the two factions together on the river Henares which had them divided before. 2,000 feet above sea level on a plateau in the Spanish Plains. The name was from “Citadel on the River Henares”. Alcalá is well-known for its population of white storks. Their large nests can be observed on top of many of the churches and historic buildings in the city. This city was the world’s first ever planned University city. There was a Citadel before the Spanish version, the Moorish town situated on the river for food, and on the plateau for safety.
Here are some pictures of the Palace today, the town which became most well known for the writer of Don Qixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Strangley born the same year that King Henry VIII died, 1547.
A complicated story in verse to be divided into three complete phrases, the Beginning, the Middle and the End.
By Henry Tudor
I miss my parents and family so much these days
Living here, cold, wet, green with strange male ways.
Mother taught me to command and not serve
But here it would take a powerful mind, a lot of nerve.
I can match these Tudor kin, hold up my head, stick-out my chin
Pray to our God, to keep me above all evil out there, England’s sin.
They fight to stay on throne as a rightful place
But usurpers need help to keep their space.
I will be the best Queen here one day
The people will love me, for me they will pray.
No one will usurp me, my power will shine
Arthur and Katherine, legend entwine.
Arthur my Husband, Henry the spare
Margaret the Scot and Mary so fair.
All easy to live with as they know my roots
Respect grows more quickly with historical shoots.
I will make this country a warm place, where I want to be
My opinion to be welcomed, my thoughts will be free.
King Henry will see me as gold in his hand
A passport to power from Isabella and Ferdinand.
By Henry Tudor
The most loyal of women, a true wife to the King
Hearts were warm and tender, to her he did sing.
Poor Arthur his Brother, left her alone and so sad
So Henry the other, to marry her, was so glad.
Six babies, five funerals have frozen their heart
They blame one another daily, it keeps them apart.
Mary, their love child reminds him of fate
He must find a boy soon before it’s too late.
Mistress and mistress now come into play
Fitzroy and Carey, may rule us one day.
But there in the horizon a cunning girl stares
Anne the black haired witch has opened her snares.
The King’s heart has been recaptured, she toyed with him how?
He wants to release me, to forget all our love vow.
My family have power in Papal high place
This witch will not beat me, take over my space.
Dower Princess of Wales
By Henry Tudor
My seat has been taken by the witch with the eyes
She rules the King gently, many despise.
Mary has been taken away from my love
Only my faith now supports me, from heaven above.
Europe laughs loudly as England descends into hell
Rome now rejected, reformed from King’s well.
Gone are the monks who kept us in peace
Gone is the mass for conscience release.
Gone are the books in Latin and verse
Gone are the saints, it could not be worse.
Dismantled the buildings to build his defence
Come is the madness, gone is the sense.
Now I am in sickness, eaten within
My own God will soon take me, free from my sin.
She will not prosper, the Queen with her spell
The King will escape and send her to hell.
I have just returned from another visit to Alcala De Henares so here are some more pictures and poems.
June 1st 2011.
A child's view of her royal parents
Isabella my mother
Gave me power within
Determined and so clever
But soft under skin
Planned and collated
Never a knee jerk
Worked out all the outcomes
Knows which one will work
A queen on the throne
She saw no reason why not
Her power behind her
She got the top spot
Fernando my father
Not up to the task
He really tried his hardest
But couldn't break past
Better stay as her partner
Share the room at the top
A team-play the answer
Separately , a flop
I love both my two parents
He's handsome and so strong
She's clever and inventive
I see nothing wrong
Alcala de Henares
May 28th 2011
By Henry Tudor
I love this place on the hill
Watched over by the stork
Narrow streets so clean, no spill
Cafe's outside to rest from work
Many throng to hear Cervantes tale
With blunderbuss by his lanky side
Don Quixote intrigue never deemed to fail
Bring laughter, fun, feel good inside
But what of Tudor and Royal Princess?
Brought here by command of royal nest
She left as youth for England to bless
First of six but by far the best
Arthur then Henry a Queen worth her weight
In gold and in heart she gave us her soul
A fickle King Harry just would not wait
A son he must gave, rejecting her whole
Poor Catalina, sad, rejected, lost and forlorn
Beaten by a black eyed witch with her evil spell
Stopped being our queen for which she was born
Dying alone, deflated just seems like her hell
By Henry Tudor
Silently watching as crowds pass them by
Nobody takes notice as they sail in their sky
Chimneys and roof tops create homes with their nest
Chicks there do hatch safe, and from Mother their fest.
Left African sun heat to dwell in this land
Poised over the humans in places so grand
Revered as good fortune to nest in our place
Deliverance of our children a blessing of grace.
Return here each summer to nest and to hatch
Live safely amongst us with no notion to catch
A baby in bundle carried in sacred stork beak
Happiness to follow from family we seek.
Back soon to Africa now Winter returns
Cooler there in the mountains with less sunshine to burn
Fear no Alcala De Henares the season is just too cold
We will be back here each Summer until we are old.
By Henry Tudor
A citadel of pure white marble
Created by Moor after Moor.
Running hot water, bathing, sweet smells
Even for the poor.
Ceramic wall type facia
In pictorial form
Mosaics in bright impossible colours
Glass windows the norm.
Food there a plenty
With fruit, bread, and fresh meat
Plenty of underground fresh water
Though surface suffering dry heat.
Irrigation and clever plumbing
Bring this place into the fore
Alhambra is so very special
Built for us by the Moor.
We all take now for granted
This stylised way of clean life
But this was a thousand years ago
When the rest of the world was in strife.