Did you know that Henry VIII had six wives? Several ended up beheaded or somehow charged for a crime they did not commit. Catherine of Aragon was the first and longest reigning wife of Henry VIII. She ruled more years than all of Henry's wives put together (Wikipedia int). Their marriage was annulled after her failure to produce a male heir as Henry believed that a strong monarchy depended on a male heir (World History 336). Catherine of Aragon reigned as queen consort of England for twenty-four years.
Catherine of Aragon was born in Alaciá de Hendres on December 16, 1485. She was the youngest surviving child of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Catherine was the third-great-granddaughter of Edward III of England. She was a fourth cousin of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York (Wikipedia int).
Catherine's first marriage was to Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII, on November 14, 1501 at Saint Paul's. England needed an alliance with the Spanish royal family; so Arthur, Prince of Wales, was promised to Catherine in the Treaty of Medina del Campo in 1489 (Who's Who int). Shortly after their marriage, both fell to an infection. On April 2, 1502, Arthur died. Because their marriage had never been consummated, Pope Julius II issued a dispensation.
After Arthur's death, Catherine was not allowed to return to Spain. She was used as a pawn of Henry VII. Catherine was left in Europe with no money and consequently fell into debt. Upon the death of his wife, Henry VII suggested that he should marry Catherine. Isabella was so shocked at the idea that she agreed to Catherine's engagement instead to Henry VIII. Though Catherine was not allowed to see Henry often, she continued to work to maintain the Anglo-Spanish alliance (Who's Who int).
Catherine of Aragon married Henry VIII on June 11, 1509 and was crowned queen on June 24 (Who's Who int). Catherine was extremely popular with the people of...