Skip to content

December 16, 1485 – Birth of Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon, Aged Around 11, by Juan de Flandes (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Catherine was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, the monarchs whose marriage created a dynastically unified Spain – and whose children were placed into strategic marriages that brought them important alliances.

The oldest daughter, Isabella, was married to King Manuel of Portugal. She gave birth to a son, Miguel, but then died…so, following a papal dispensation to get around the Levitical prohibition, her younger sister Maria took her place. Sound familiar?

[In the unlikely event that you’re scratching your head, Catherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur Tudor of England…and when he died after six months, a papal dispensation was obtained to allow her to marry Arthur’s younger brother Henry, who went on to become Henry VIII.]

Interestingly, when Henry sought to annul his marriage to Catherine, his principal argument was that the Pope did not have the right to issue a dispensation where the first marriage had been consummated…which explained why Catherine could not bear him a son. And yet, when we look at Catherine’s older sisters, we see a situation where the first marriage was definitely consummated (since it resulted in a child) but the second one proved fertile…

As any Tudorphile will tell you, blame Henry!


If you like my posts, you’ll love my books! My Seymour Saga trilogy tells the gripping story of the short-lived dynasty that shaped the Tudor Era. Jane the Quene skews romantic, The Path to Somerset is pure Game of Thrones (without the dragons), and The Boy King is a noir coming-of-age. Get them now through AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and Apple, or even your local independent bookstore!

(PS Already read them? Did you love them? Then please review them – even just a stars rating! It makes a huge difference in helping new readers find them and would mean the world to me!)

December 16, 1485 – Birth of Catherine of Aragon
Published inOn This Day

One Comment

  1. Barbara Cross-Nicolosi Barbara Cross-Nicolosi

    Dear Henry loved to bend the rules to suit himself. Poor Catherine suffered mightily for his arrogance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.