The Life of Katherine of Aragon

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Katherine of Aragon is famous for being the first of Henry VIII’s many wives, the one who fought back and defended her papally sanctioned marriage; the mother of Mary I; and the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, founders of the kingdom of España. These facts place her in the position of a traditional sixteenth century woman by defining her as wife, mother, and daughter. In these roles, many women have been overlooked as the subject of their own study, and it certainly makes sense to do this, as on the surface they are not in control of their own agency. Looking deeper, however, one can see that this role places women instead in a position of power. From behind the scenes, women like Katherine were able to pull the strings of their husbands and children, controlling their affairs while keeping a demure outward appearance. During the early years of their marriage, Katherine did just that. The inexperienced Henry was enamored with his wife and would frequently seek out her input in matters of state. Katherine, in turn, was receiving letters from her father, King Ferdinand of Aragon, advising her what to tell Henry to do, how to push him in the direction that Aragon, Castile, and the Holy Roman Empire wanted England to be pushed into. Using primary documents as well as various biographies, articles, and other scholarly works written about Katherine, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Ferdinand, Mary I, and Arthur Tudor, we can learn more about Katherine and the other players in her life before the betrayal of Anne Boleyn. I will argue that Katherine of Aragon led a fascinating life and was just as important before the divorce as she was after it. Betrothal and Marriage to Arthur On the 16th of December in 1485, only 47 da... ... middle of paper ... King demanded that Princess Katherine be returned to Spain and the first half of her dowry (which had been paid upon her arrival in England) returned with her. This was but the first step in his new plan to try and have his daughter marry the new Heir Apparent, Henry VIII. Henry VII was not happy with this order to return the money he had received, so he played right into Ferdinand’s game of chess and began the process of securing a marriage contract between Henry VIII and Katherine. However, the two men continued to haggle over the amount to be paid for her dowry, and the marriage contract began to fall apart. By the time Henry VII died in 1509, Katherine was still a widow waiting to marry the future King of England. A Funeral Followed by a Wedding Works Cited The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir New York Times Article Letters by Katherine of Aragon

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