Letter from Katherine of Aragon, Princess of Wales, to Her Father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, 1505

A little background you may not have known about the first of Henry VIII’ s First Wife 🐵

The Freelance History Writer

Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7 Image from Huntington Library Ms HM 60, f°7

Many years ago, when I first began studying Tudor history, I read the masterful biography of Catherine of Aragon by Garrett Mattingly which was first published in 1941. I can vividly remember him describing Katherine’s pitiful, poverty stricken circumstances after her husband Arthur, Prince of Wales had died. She literally was between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”.

Because Katherine’s father had defaulted on paying her original dowry in entirety, King Henry VII used this as an excuse not to provide for Katherine’s welfare as she waited to marry his son Prince Henry. He also forbid her to return to Spain as he could use her as a bargaining chip. And most disheartening for Katherine, she was forced to appeal to her father to pay the dowry at the very most and to provide some monetary assistance at the very least…

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6 thoughts on “Letter from Katherine of Aragon, Princess of Wales, to Her Father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, 1505

  1. Great post. Yes, Kings and Queens did not have the life that most of us think of. They were constantly haunted by fears of being deposed, murdered, or exiled into great poverty and their children’s fate was equally as dangerous. Fortunately in the present era, for sometime, Kings, Queens, Presidents, most leaders and their families are not murdered in their beds (except maybe Russia, Middle East, China). The Common People (most of us) fare quite well most of the time in the modern era as evidenced by: no witch burning, no beheading(s) (except in some Islamic countries and electrocution(s) in America -far worse and lots more barbaric than beheading(s). A high point in human advancement in our human condition is, of course, a middle class that fares fairly well, deadly viral diseases are mostly a thing of the past, living conditions are vastly improved for many, educational possibilities are dramatically accessible to many. So, I am quite happy living in the Modern era – until now, because when Robber Barons and heartless people get in power everyone else loses. My opinion and I am not shy….obviously 🙂 K. D. Dowdall

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  2. Stories from history are usually so sad, and seem as faraway as another universe. Yet all one has to do is see a news headline to know the present is no different. History repeating endlessly, just wearing different costumes. The future is now. The past is now. I actually thought I was going to a positive place when I put my fingers to the keyboard, so I apologize. I think a second cup of coffee is in order, dear Ape. Do you take cream, or have it black? Have a sublime Sunday. Mega hugs.

    Liked by 1 person


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