Today is the 477th anniversary of the death of one of England’s great Queens. Catherine of Aragon died on the 7th January 1536 at the age of 50 years old. Catherine was the first wife of King Henry VIII and they were married in 1509. However, this wasn’t her first marriage Catherine had once been married to Henry’s elder brother Arthur, Prince of Wales. She had married Arthur in 1501. However, in 1502 both Arthur and Catherine became ill which is thought to have been sweating sickness. However, when Catherine eventually recovered from this illness to found out the news that would indeed change her life forever. Her beloved husband the young prince Arthur had actually died at the age of just 15.
Henry had set his eyes on Catherine since the day he became his father’s heir. Henry was certain that he was going to marry Catherine once he was of age. He did eventually fulfill this desire and made Catherine his wife in 1509. Catherine soon became pregnant and on the 31st January 1510 Catherine unfortunately gave birth to a stillborn daughter. However, good news was to come as Catherine found out she was pregnant for the second time and on New Year’s Day 1511 Catherine gave birth to a baby boy an heir for Henry. They named this child Henry, Duke of Cornwall and once again their happiness was short lived when only 52 days later the young heir suddenly died. In 1513, Catherine eventually did fall pregnant again. Henry was away in France when Catherine gave birth for the third time she had given birth to another baby boy however it is believed that this young Prince has either been stillborn or died shortly after childbirth. In December 1514 Catherine fell pregnant for the fourth time and again Catherine gave birth to another son they named the young Prince Henry and once again their happiness was short lived because the young Prince died shortly after childbirth. Finally, on the 18th February 1516 Catherine gave birth to a healthy baby daughter. They named the young Princess Mary. Once again in 1518 Catherine fell pregnant for the last time. On the 10th November Catherine gave birth to another daughter however the child is very weak and it is not known whether the young princess lived for a few hours or at most a week.
By this point Henry’s love for Catherine had slowly but surely disappeared and he had turned his attention to a Young Anne Boleyn. Catherine was devastated and was still trying to deal with the lost of five children out six. When Henry decided that he wanted a divorce he separated his young daughter from her mother. Due to the fact that the Pope would not give Henry the divorce that he desired so much he broke from the Roman Catholic church and created his own church which was know as the Protestant church. Once this had happened Henry annulled his marriage to Catherine and sent her away from court life. However, once Catherine had life court life Henry had forbidden her to see their daughter Princess Mary. They were even forbidden to write letters to each other however they still wrote to each other and they were passed along to each other. But on the other hand, Henry did offer both Catherine and Mary better quarters and also permission to see each other if they just accepted Anne Boleyn as their new Queen however they both refused and they never saw each other again.
In December 1535 Catherine knew her death was near so she sent two letters one to her nephew Emperor Charles V and that asked him to protect her daughter and the second letter was written to Henry which she addressed as her most dear lord and husband. In this letter Catherine asked Henry to come and see her before she died as she wanted to see him. Henry never did go and see Catherine and on the 7th January 1536 Catherine died and Catherine was buried in Peterborough Cathedral with the ceremony due to a Dowager Princess of Wales, not a funeral of a Queen of England. Henry never attended the funeral of his first wife and forbade Mary from attending too.