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April 22, 1451 – Birth of Isabella of Castille

Isabella of Castille, by a unknown artist (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, yes, the birth of Isabella of Castille is somewhat Tudor-adjacent – but it would set in motion important events for the Tudor dynasty.

Isabella inherited the throne of Castille at the age of 23. Five years later, she married Ferdinand of Aragon to unite Spain into a single dynasty (though there was a brief period after her death when Castille passed on to their daughter while Ferdinand continued to rule Aragon…but I’m getting ahead of things).

This unified Spain was a major power, and the royal couple married their children into the other royal families of Europe – including England. Indeed, Henry VII was thrilled to negotiate a match between his son and heir, Arthur, and Isabella’s daughter, Catherine of Aragon. A Spanish match was seen as the ultimate proof of the legitimacy of the only-fifteen-year-old Tudor dynasty.

And then of course, Arthur died after six months. And while the parents agreed that Catherine should marry Arthur’s younger brother, Henry, there was considerable foot dragging on England’s side. First, was the practical: a dispensation needed to be obtained. But there was a lot more. Isabella died, and with her went half of Ferdinand’s wealth and power. Too, the initial marriage to Arthur had already conferred the desired legitimacy and other opportunities were opening up for England…Basically it would take seven years for this second marriage to take place, and Henry VII had to die first.

And now, fear not, my next blog post will be fully Tudor-based! 😉


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April 22, 1451 – Birth of Isabella of Castille
Published inOn This Day

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