Fact of the day: 11th June

On this day in 1509 Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon.

Henry VII died on the 22 April 1509, and the young Henry succeeded him as king, adopting the regnal name of Henry VIII.

Soon after his father’s burial on 10 May, Henry suddenly declared that he would indeed marry Catherine, leaving unresolved issues concerning the papal dispensation and a missing part of the marriage portion.

The new king maintained that it had been his father’s dying wish that he marry Catherine.  Whether or not this was true, it was certainly convenient.

Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I had been attempting to marry his granddaughter (and Catherine’s niece) Eleanor to Henry; she had now been jilted.

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Henry’s wedding to Catherine was kept low-key and was held at the friar’s church in Greenwich on 11 June 1509.

On 23 June 1509, Henry led Catherine from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey for their coronation, which took place the following day.

It was a grand affair: the king’s passage was lined with tapestries and laid with fine cloth. Following the ceremony, there was a grand banquet in Westminster Hall.

As Catherine wrote to her father, “our time is spent in continuous festival.”

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