Fact of the day: 7th January

On this day in 1536 Catherine of Aragon died. Following from yesterday’s fact of the day, today’s fact focuses on Henry VIII’s first wife. 

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Catherine of Aragon was Queen of England from 1509 until 1533, when King Henry replaced her with Anne Boleyn. In doing this he fell out with the Catholic Church and created a seperate Church of England.  Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England, refusing to give up her religion. Until her dying day, she considered herself the King’s rightful wife and queen, gaining a lot of popular sympathy. In some respects, this is like Princess Diana, who the public loved and still do. 

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Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at . After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle and died there on 7 January 1536. Catherine’s English subjects held her in high esteem, thus her death set off tremendous mourning among the English people.

In the reign of her daughter Mary I, her marriage to Henry VIII was declared “good and valid.” Her daughter Queen Mary also had several portraits commissioned of Catherine, and it would not by any means be the last time she was painted. After her death, numerous portraits were painted of her, particularly of her speech at the Legatine Trial, a moment accurately rendered in Shakespeare’s play about Henry VIII.

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