Katharine of Aragon is one of the most famous of all England’s Queens Consort. Her battle to preserve her marriage has become the stuff of legend. But there was more to Katharine than the last ten years of her life. She was an exceptionally intelligent and learned woman, who played an influential role in the politics of the first part of Henry VIII’s reign.
When Katharine left the enchanted palace of the Alhambra, she can have had little idea of what lay ahead of her. Once in England, she spent the short months of her first marriage in the Welsh Marches, in a castle that had security rather than comfort as its main function. Later though, she was to live in some of the most up to date palaces in England before being relegated once again to a damp and draughty keep.
Katharine’s story is, in many ways, a tragic one – her destiny was to act as a living symbol of the alliance between Spain and England and to provide an heir for England, which was only partially fulfilled. But for many years she was at the centre of European politics, Henry’s loved and honoured wife.