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Catherine of Aragon Timeline

Date Summary

Detailed Information

 16 Dec 1485  Birth

 Catherine of Aragon was born at Alcala de Henares in Spain.

 1489  Treaty of Medina del Campo

 The treaty of Medina Del Campo that agreed the marriage of prince Arthur of England to Catherine of Aragon was signed.

 18 July 1497  Marriage Treaty

 A new treaty agreed that Catherine would come to England when Arthur was fourteen and that her dowry of 200,000 crowns would be paid in installments.

 Aug 1497  Bethrothal

 Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon were formally betrothed at the Palace of Woodstock.

 Feb 1498  Dispensation

 Both Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon made formal appeals to the Pope to grant the necessary dispensation to allow them to marry before coming of age.

 1499  Treaty of London

 The Treaty of London made further arrangements for Catherine of Aragon's marriage to Prince Arthur.

 19 May 1499  Marriage by proxy

 The marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon took place, by proxy, at Prince Arthur's manor house at Bewdley.

 21 May 1501  Catherine left her home

 Catherine left the Alhambra in Granada for the port of Corunna where she would board a boat to England.

 20 July 1501  Journey to England

 Catherine reached the port of Corunna in the north west of Spain.

 17 Aug 1501 Journey to England

 After having to wait nearly a month for favourable winds, Catherine of Aragon set sail for England.

 21 Aug 1501  Journey to England

 A fierce storm in the Bay of Biscay forced Catherine of Aragon to return to Spain. Catherine was very frightened and thought she was going to die. The ships were so battered that they needed re-fitting before the journey could resume.

 27 Sept 1501  Journey to England

 Catherine of Aragon once again set sail for England.

 2 Oct 1501  Journey to England

 Catherine of Aragon finally arrived at Plymouth. The noblemen of Devon and Cornwall quickly formed an escort to take her to Exeter where she was to stay.

 16 Oct 1501 ?  Catherine welcomed

 The King's messengers arrived at Exeter. They brought a letter of welcome for Catherine and a delegation of the English court to escort her to London.

 4 Nov 1501 Henry VII and Arthur leave London

 Henry had planned to officially receive Catherine when she reached Lambeth, but, like his son, he was impatient to set eyes on the young bride and rode to intercept the party travelling towards London.

 9 Nov 1501  Catherine reached London

 Catherine arrived at Lambeth Palace where she rested.

 12 Nov 1501  Formal entry to London

 Catherine made her formal entry into London. The streets were hung with tapestries and she was greeted along the way by pageants.

 14 Nov 1501  Wedding

 Prince Arthur aged fifteen years and Catherine of Aragon, aged sixteen years, were married in St Paul's Cathedral. Catherine was 'given away' by Prince Henry who escorted her up the aisle. The ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry Deane, who was assisted by the Bishop of London, William Warham. The couple knelt to take their vows on a platform, draped with red cloth, six feet high which ran the length of the nave to the west door of the choir. The wedding banquet was followed by dancing and the couple were publicly put to bed as was the custom.

 mid-late Nov 1501  Wedding Celebrations

 The wedding celebrations lasted for two weeks and included daily jousts and banquets followed by pageants, disguising and dancing.

 late Nov 1501  Living Arrangements

 The wedding celebrations were over and the court had moved to Windsor. Arthur had to return to the Welsh Marches to take up his position as Prince of Wales. Although some people thought that Catherine was too young to be expected to live in the Welsh Marches, it was eventually decided that they should live together as man and wife.

 28 Nov 1501  Dowry Payment

 The Spanish sovereigns handed over the first part of Catherine's dowry, 100,000 crowns.

 Dec 1501  Nobles return to Spain

 The Spanish nobles that had escorted Catherine to England returned to Spain with gifts from England.

 21 Dec 1501  Journey to Wales

 The Prince and Princess of Wales left Baynards Castle and travelled West to form their own court at Ludlow in the Welsh marches.

 Jan 1502  Ludlow Castle

 The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived at Ludlow and set about making the castle, which had been uninhabited since 1483, warm and hospitable.

 late March 1502 ? Viral infection

 Prince Arthur and his wife Catherine were struck down with a viral infection.

 2 April 1502  Death of Arthur

 Prince Arthur died at his castle in Ludlow, Shropshire. Arthur's body lay in state at Ludlow Castle.

 23 April 1502  Funeral and burial of Arthur

 After a funeral service at the Parish church of Bewdley, Arthur was buried in the Abbey of St Wulfstan in Worcester. Catherine, as royal tradition dictated, did not attend her husband's funeral. She was also still confined to her bed with the same virus that had killed Arthur.

 late April 1502  Return to London

 As soon as she was well enough to travel Catherine, dressed in widow's black travelled back to London.

 10 May 1502  Negotiations for marriage to Henry

 Ferdinand and Isabella were anxious not to lose the English alliance and instructed the Spanish ambassador to negotiate for a subsequent marriage to Prince Henry.

 Autumn 1502  Negotiations for marriage to Henry

 Dr De Puebla was nominated to be the Spanish negotiator for the terms of Catherine's subsequent marriage to Henry. He met daily with the English council.

 25 June 1503  Betrothal to Henry

 Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon were formally betrothed by the Bishop of Salisbury. Catherine was now able to discard her mourning black and appeared dressed in white.

 late June 1503 ?  Catherine at the mercy of Henry VII

 The terms of the marriage treaty meant that Catherine had no income of her own and was completely at the mercy of the English King.

 early Aug 1503 ?  Dispensation requested

 A papal dispensation was requested from Pope Alexander VI by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and King Henry VII of England to allow Prince Henry to marry Catherine of Aragon.

 30 Sept 1503  Marriage Treaty

 The new treaty for the marriage of Prince Henry to Catherine of Aragon was ratified by Isabella of Spain.

 Summer 1504  Catherine ill

 Catherine was taken ill with a mystery illness which kept her confined to bed for much of the summer. She was subject to fits of fever and shivering and at times it was feared that she would die.

 July 1504  Pope delays dispensation

 The Pope wrote to Henry VII. He told him that he needed more time in which to examine the case of Prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon.

 Aug 1504  Spanish complain about dispensation delay

 The Spanish ambassador, Estrada, formally complained about the delay in granting the dispensation.

 Oct 1504  Dispensation arrives

 Julius II sent the dispensation that allowed Prince Henry to marry Catherine of Aragon, to England.

 Jan 1505  Catherine's allowance stopped

 Catherine's dowry remained unpaid and Henry was not so keen on a Spanish alliance now that Spain was not united. Henry felt he could find a better match for his son and stopped Catherine's allowance.

 Feb 1505  Catherine unable to pay her servants

 Catherine now had no money of her own and was unable to pay her servants. the Spanish ambassador, Dr De Puebla, wrote to Ferdinand to seek his advice.

 27 June 1505  Marriage to Henry delayed

 Prince Henry, on his father's orders, made secret but formal protest against marriage to his brother's widow. the King was anxious to delay the marriage as he still hoped to find a better match for his son. However, he did not want to formally break off the engagement as he wanted to keep the first instalment of Catherine's dowry which had been paid after her marriage to Arthur.

 Nov 1505 ?  Catherine told to join the King's court

 Catherine, as mistress of her own court at Durham House, was faced with severe financial problems. After protesting to Henry VII, she was instructed to give up Durham House and join the court.

 24 Nov 1505  Spain tries to speed up marriage

 Ferdinand sent copies of the papal dispensation, sent to Spain, to England hoping to speed up the marriage of his daughter.

 Dec 1505  Catherine in poor financial situation

 Catherine's financial position was very bad. With both her father and the King refusing to give her an allowance she was finding it difficult to pay her household.

 Feb 1506  Visit by Philip and Juanna

 Catherine was provided with new clothes to wear during the festivities laid on for the visit by her sister Juanna and her husband Philip. Although Catherine wanted to tell her sister about her situation in England she was given no opportunity to speak to her sister alone.

 late April 1506  Marriage to Henry postponed

 Henry VII stated publicly that because prince Henry had been underage at the time of his betrothal, the ceremony, which had been held in 1503, was therefore invalid. All further discussions regarding a marriage between prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon were to be postponed until the remainder of her dowry was paid.

 Summer 1506  Catherine's situation in England bad

 Catherine now had no money to pay her servants. She suffered recurrent bouts of fever and her illness was made worse by the high state of anxiety regarding her position in England.

 Autumn 1506  Catherine and Prince Henry

 Catherine of Aragon's health improved and she began to spend time in the company of Prince Henry. they began to enjoy each other's company.

 late Autumn 1506 ?  Catherine sent away from court

 Henry VII was alarmed when he discovered how close Prince Henry had become to Catherine. He sent Catherine and her household to live at Fulham Palace, saying that the country air would be more beneficial for her health. ?

 March 1507  Catherine's dowry demanded

 Henry VII gave Ferdinand a six-month deadline in which to hand over the second part of Catherine's dowry.

 July or Sept 1507  Catherine receives money from Spain

 Ferdinand sent Catherine two thousand ducats but the money was not nearly enough. Over the years, Catherine had been forced to pawn many pieces of jewel and plate which was part of her dowry.

 Oct 1507 Catherine's dowry

 Henry VII extended the deadline for the payment of Catherine's dowry to March 1508. He did not want to lose the money.

 Sept 1508 Catherine's situation in England worsens

 Henry was angry that Ferdinand had not paid his daughter's dowry as arranged and broke off Catherine's allowance. Fuensalida wrote to Ferdinand asking him to send a ship to the Thames so that he and Catherine could return to Spain.

 Early 1509 Catherine's situation

 Catherine's financial situation was now worse than ever, not only did she have no money with which to pay her servants, she now had nothing left to pawn.

 21 April 1509 Death of Henry VII

 After a long illness, King Henry VII, aged fifty-two years, died from tuberculosis at Richmond palace, Surrey. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

 Early June 1509  Henry proposed to Catherine

 The members of the Privy Council urged Henry to marry Catherine of Aragon. Henry visited Catherine in her private apartments and, after dismissing her servants, asked her to be his wife. Catherine had, by now, learned enough English to get by and was able to accept his proposal.

 11 June 1509  Wedding

 King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were privately married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, in the Church of the palace Friary at Greenwich. It was necessary for the marriage to be kept a very quiet affair because Henry was still in mourning for his father.

 15 June 1509  Queen of England

 Catherine made her first appearance at court as Queen of England.

 Aug 1509  Pregnancy

 Catherine announced that she was pregnant.

 31 Jan 1510  Stillbirth daughter

 Catherine was prematurely delivered of a stillborn daughter. Both the King and Queen were disappointed, but not unduly so, for miscarriage or stillbirth of a first pregnancy was a common occurrence.

 May 1510  Second Pregnancy

 Catherine of Aragon announced her second pregnancy.

 1 Jan 1511  Birth of Prince Henry

 Queen Catherine was delivered of a son who was named Henry after his father. Guns were fired from the Tower and the city bells were rung. Beacons were lit and free wine was distributed to all Londoners. The new prince was immediately created Prince of Wales.

 6 Jan 1511  Prince Henry Christened

 Prince Henry was christened at Richmond. His godparents were, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the earl of Surrey and the Countess of Devon.

 22 Feb 1511  Death of Prince Henry

 Prince Henry died at Richmond Palace. Both King and Queen were devastated. The young prince was given a lavish funeral and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

 30 June 1513  Catherine Regent of England

 Catherine was left as regent in England when Henry went to fight in France.

 9 Sept 1513  Battle of Flodden Field

 The English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Flodden Field. Catherine ordered that the bloodied coat of James IV be sent to Henry in France.

 Nov 1513  Birth and death of premature son

 Queen Catherine went into labour prematurely. She was delivered of a son at Richmond Palace, Surrey, who was styled Duke of Cornwall from birth. He died shortly after birth and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

 June 1514  Fourth pregnancy

 Catherine announced that she was pregnant again.

 8 Jan 1515  Stillborn son

 Catherine of Aragon was delivered of a stillborn son.

 Summer 1515  Fifth pregnancy

 Queen Catherine announced her fifth pregnancy. However, less hope was placed on an heir resulting from the pregnancy.

 18 Feb 1516  Birth of Mary I

 Queen Catherine was delivered of a healthy baby girl at 4am at Greenwich Palace, Kent. She was named Mary. Although celebrations to mark the birth were genuine, there was still disappointment that she had not been a boy. Henry tried to hide his disappointment by saying that if it were a girl this time then surely boys would follow.

 20/21 Feb 1516 ?  Mary's Christening

 The princess Mary was christened in the chapel of Observant friars at Greenwich.

 Feb 1518  Sixth Pregnancy

 At the age of thirty-two years, the Queen conceived for the sixth time.

 March 1518  Pilgrimage

 Queen Catherine visited Merton College, Oxford. The visit was combined with a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Frideswide.

 10 Nov 1518  Birth and death of daughter

 The Queen was delivered of a daughter, but she was weak and died within days.

 Summer 1519  Birth of Henry Fitzroy

 Catherine learned that Henry's mistress, Bessie Blount had given birth to a son, Henry Fitzroy. She was upset and humiliated and began to withdraw from court life.

 11-22/24 June 1520 ?  Field of the Cloth of Gold

 Catherine accompanied Henry to France for a meeting with Francis I at the field of the cloth of gold.

 1524  Henry begins to doubt marriage

 Henry stopped having sexual relations with Catherine who was plagued with gynaecological problems. He no longer found his wife desirable and was beginning to have serious doubts regarding the validity of his marriage. He believed that God was punishing him for marrying his brother's wife by not giving him a son.

 Aug 1525  Princess Mary sent to Ludlow

 Princess Mary was sent to Ludlow to establish her own court. Catherine was upset that she was to be parted from her daughter indefinitely.

 1526  Institution of a Christian Marriage

 Catherine of Aragon gave her approval to Erasmus' book 'The Institution of a Christian Marriage', she had been shown the book by Thomas More.

 Christmas 1526 ?  Princess Mary returns to Court

 Catherine was reunited with her daughter when Mary came to court for Christmas which was held at Greenwich.

 Spring 1527  Henry wants a divorce

 Henry was concerned about the validity of his marriage. He reasoned that his lack of male issue was God's punishment for having married his brother?s wife. This reasoning together with his infatuation with Anne Boleyn, led him to the decision that he must divorce Catherine.

 22 June 1527  Henry tells Catherine of separation

 Henry told Catherine that they must separate because they had been living in sin. He asked her to co-operate and to choose a house to retire to until the matter was resolved. Catherine was stunned and upset and made it quite plain that she would resist any divorce.

 Oct 1527  Charles of Spain pressured the Pope

 Charles told the pope that he was going to protect his aunt, Catherine of Aragon. He demanded that Clement take no steps that would further an annulment.

 Summer 1528  Public support for Catherine

 The population of England were still firmly on the Queen's side with regard to the King's divorce and cried "victory over your enemies" whenever she was seen.

 Autumn 1528  Catherine isolated

 Catherine still lived at court but was now left in relative isolation with the majority of courtiers seeking out Anne Boleyn in preference to Catherine.

 early Oct 1528 ?  Catherine's counsel for the divorce

 Catherine's counsel for the divorce case included, William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Dr Henry Standish, Bishop of St Asaph's, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London and John Clerk, Bishop of Bath and Wells.

 Oct 1528  Divorce case

 Catherine announced that she had in her possession a copy of the dispensation issued by Julius II in 1504 allowing her to marry Henry regardless of whether her marriage to Arthur was consummated or not.

 24 Oct 1528  Catherine refused to enter a convent

 Campeggio met Catherine. He advised her to enter a convent and retire gracefully. She made it plain that she intended to live and die a married woman.

 late Oct 1528  Public Support for Catherine

 Catherine was as popular as ever with the people who cheered her in large numbers whenever she was out. Anne Boleyn on the other hand, was insulted with cries of "adulteress and sorceress". Catherine received a letter telling her that by riding out and attracting the cheers of the people, she was inciting rebellion. The council also told her that if she continued to work against the King in this way she would be completely separated from both the City and Princess Mary.

 Nov 1528 ?  Catherine separated from Mary

 Because she continued to fight the divorce, Catherine was now separated from Mary and the isolation she was kept in meant that she was very lonely, but she still refused to enter a convent.

 Jan 1529  Catherine appealed to Rome

 Catherine lodged an appeal to Rome against the authority of the Legatine Court and the ability of Wolsey and Campeggio to try the case.

 April 1529  Catherine's representatives

 Henry asked Catherine to choose those she wished to represent her during the forthcoming trial. Although she still refused to acknowledge the authority of the Legatine Court, she chose Archbishop Warham, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Ely and St Asaph and her main supporter, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.

 31 May 1529 ?  Divorce case began

 Wolsey and Campeggio opened court at Blackfriars. Henry and Catherine were summoned to appear before the court on 18th June.

 6 June 1529  Formal protest to Rome

 Catherine made formal protest to Rome against the Legatine Court.

 18 June 1529  Catherine questions valildity of Divorce Court

 Catherine was loudly applauded as she made her way to the Legatine Court. Once inside, she challenged that authority of the Court and the qualification of the two legates to hear the cast. She stated her wish for the case to be heard in Rome, but this was denied. Both Catherine and Henry were told to reappear on 21st June.

 mid July 1529  Pressure put on Catherine

 Henry ordered the legates to visit Catherine and persuade her to submit to his wishes. Catherine was reluctant to receive them privately saying that they could speak freely in front of her women. She maintained her belief in the legitimacy of her marriage.

 23 July 1529  Divorce case adjourned

 The Legatine court reassembled at Blackfriars. The house was packed as it had been rumoured that a decision would be made. However, Campeggio announced that because of the large number of documents to be examined he would be unable to give judgement today. He went on to say that the court would now have to be adjourned until October because it was practice in Rome to break for the summer months.

 Aug 1529  Henry summoned to Rome

 Henry received a summons from Rome to appear before the papal curia. He was furious. His anger with Rome was growing as was the awareness that the Pope may never grant him a divorce. He realised that he needed to find another solution.

 Autumn 1529  Cranmer suggests divorce tried by universities

 Thomas Cranmer was summoned to appear before the King. Cranmer told Henry that it was his opinion that the marriage should be tried by the Doctors of Divinity in the Universities for it was them that studied the Bible and were therefore better qualified to discuss its meaning. If the marriage were found to be invalid then all that would be necessary would be for the Archbishop of Canterbury to pronounce the King a free man.

 30 Nov 1529  Henry dined with Catherine

 Henry was fed up with Anne's complaints and chose, instead, to dine with Catherine. However, the evening did not go as he had expected. Catherine was angry that he treated her so badly in private while in public he was civil and courteous.

 early Dec 1529  Catherine ordered to go to Richmond

 Catherine was ordered to leave Greenwich Palace and go to Richmond.

 24 Dec 1529  Henry determined to divorce Catherine

 Henry told Catherine that even if the Pope declared their marriage to be lawful he would still have his divorce. He told her that the Church of Canterbury was more important than that of Rome and that if the Pope found against him then he would declare the Pope a heretic and marry wherever he chose. Catherine had been brought back to court for Christmas because there was a general sense of unease since she had been sent from court.

 Late Dec 1529  Catherine returns to Richmond

 With the Christmas festivities over, Catherine was sent back to Richmond.

 March 1530  No action from the Pope

 At Catherine's request, the Pope issued a brief that forbade Henry from re-marrying until a verdict had been passed on his marriage in Rome. However, the Pope refused to publish it.

 April 1530  Catherine appeals to Rome

 Catherine wrote to her representative in Rome, Dr Pedro Ortiz. She begged him to put pressure on the Pope to find her marriage lawful.

 June 1530  Divorce Campaign

 A massive campaign was launched to declare that the relevant passage in Leviticus was subject to Canon law and libraries across Europe were searched for information that would help prove the King's case. All those scholars deciding that Henry had a good case were sent a sum of money.

 June/July 1530  Catherine Optimistic

 Catherine was feeling more optimistic. She was heartened by her nephew's stand for Catholicism in Germany and by the news that Anne Boleyn was losing popularity with the Court.

 Nov 1530  Catherine ill

 Catherine, who was ill, was left alone at Richmond while Henry went to London with Anne Boleyn.

 Christmas 1530  Catherine at Court for Christmas

 Catherine, whose health had improved, was present at court for the Twelfth Night celebrations, that included a masque and dancing. Henry was courteous towards her and dined at the same table.

 March 1531  Henry visited Catherine

 In an attempt to make people believe that he was forced to set aside his wife against his will, Henry visited Catherine regularly.

 31 May 1531  Pressure put on Catherine

 A deputation of Privy Councillors - Dr Stephen Gardiner, Rowland Lee, Dr Sampson and Longland, Bishop of Lincoln - were sent to try to persuade Catherine to agree to an annulment of her marriage. She refused and went on to deny Henry's Supremacy of the Church and stated that she would only abide by a decision made by the Pope.

 June 1531  Catherine to be with Mary

 In an attempt to appease Catherine, Henry arranged for her to be with Mary when the court moved to Windsor.

 11/14 July 1531 ?  Henry left Catherine at Windsor

 Henry moved the court to Woodstock for a spell of hunting. He did not tell Catherine about the move, choosing, instead, to leave her and Mary alone in the deserted apartments at Windsor. On finding her husband gone, Catherine wrote to Henry expressing her regret that she hadn't been up to say goodbye to him when he left to go hunting.

 Christmas 1531  Catherine ignored

 Catherine was not invited to court for Christmas and Henry returned her gift saying that they were no longer man and wife it was not proper for them to exchange gifts.

 Jan 1532  Mary allowed to visit Catherine

 Princess Mary made a much publicised visit to her mother at Enfield. Henry had reluctantly agreed to the visit in a bid to placate his subjects. However, he was very worried that mother and daughter might intrigue against him with the Emperor and he vowed to keep them apart in future.

 May 1532  Catherine told to move

 Catherine was instructed to leave The More and move to the palace at Bishop's Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

 August 1532  Catherine further isolated

 Catherine's closest friend, Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, was ordered to leave Catherine's household. she was told not to make any attempt to communicate with Catherine.

 August 1532  Supporter sent to the Tower

 Thomas Abell, who had spoken in public for Catherine, was sent to the Tower.

 early Sept 1532 ?  Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury

 Thomas Cranmer who supported royal supremacy over the church, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. However, he was in Germany serving as English ambassador to the German court.

 13 Sept 1532  Catherine told to move

 Catherine was told to move to Enfield where she would be less comfortable.

 1533  Catherine's former confessor imprisoned

 John Forrest, a member of the Observant Friars at Greenwich, former confessor of Catherine, was imprisoned for supporting Catherine rather than the King.

 early Jan 1533  Anne Boleyn pregnant

 Anne Boleyn told Henry that she was pregnant. Henry now knew he had to marry Anne as soon as possible to ensure the child's legitimacy. He decided that the marriage should take place as soon as possible, but should be kept secret until an ace could be passed abolishing all appeals to Rome.

 Feb 1533  Catherine ordered to move again

 Henry ordered Catherine to move to Ampthill which was some distance from London. She wrote letters to both the Pope and Charles saying that she wanted no bloodshed and would not sanction any invasion of England on her behalf.

 1 April 1533  Decision on marriage made

 Convocation declared by 14 votes to 7 that if Catherine's first marriage had been consummated, then her marriage to Henry was against God's law and as such invalid.

 5 April 1533  Decision on Pope's authority

 Convocation ruled that the Pope did not have the authority to issue a bull setting aside the ruling in Leviticus that no man shall marry his brother's wife. The ruling was opposed by Fisher.

 7 April 1533  Act in Restraint of Appeals

 Act in Restraint of Appeals The passing of this act forbade all appeals to foreign tribunals in all spiritual, revenue and testamentary cases. Spiritual and secular jurisdiction was to be the ultimate responsibility of the King and the Pope's right of intervention was abolished. This bill had taken several weeks to pass through parliament, with some, such as Sir George Throckmorton, speaking against it. It had to be amended before it would be accepted. It was obvious to all that this act had been passed to prevent Catherine making any further appeal to Rome.

 9 April 1533  Catherine told of King's marriage

 Norfolk and Suffolk were sent to Ampthill to tell Catherine that Henry and Anne were married. She was told that as she was now no longer queen she must use the title Princess dowager of Wales. She was allowed to keep her property but her servants and household expenses would now be her responsibility. She was also told that if she submitted to the King's will she would be generously provided for.

 8 May 1533  Court to try validity of marriage opened

 Thomas Cranmer opened court and duly summoned Catherine to appear. However, he was very worried of the consequences should she decide to appear in person.

 13 May 1533  Marriage declared invalid

 Thomas Cranmer pronounced judgement on Henry's marriage. He declared the marriage null and void on the grounds that it was contrary to divine law. Bishop Fisher was the only bishop to protest against the decision and secretly appealed to Charles to intervene, using force if necessary. However, although angry, Charles had no intention of starting a war.

 3 July 1533  Catherine told to agree to the King's wishes

 Catherine was visited by a deputation of Councillors led by Lord Mountjoy. She was told that if she would submit to the King's wishes he would provide her with a handsome estate but that if she persisted in her obstinacy things would go badly for her daughter and servants.

 Late July 1533 ?  Catherine ordered to move again

 Henry was furious with Catherine's continual obstinacy and ordered her to move to the Bishop of Lincoln's Palace at Buckden in Huntingdonshire.

 early Dec 1533  Catherine requested a more favourable move

 Catherine swallowed her pride and wrote to Henry asking if she might be allowed to move to a healthier house. Henry replied that she could move to Fotheringay Castle if she chose. Knowing it to be worse than Buckden, Catherine declined.

 early 1534  Act in Absolute Restraint of Appeals

 The Act in Absolute Restraint of Appeals This act put into effect the terms of the Act of 1532 and transferred all payments from the pope to the King. Henry was declared to be, next to Christ, the only Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England. It also laid down that all future abbots and bishops were to be chosen for election by the King.

 23 March 1534  Act of Succession

 Act of Succession. This Act was introduced to exclude Mary from the succession and settle it instead on the children born from his marriage to Anne. It registered the invalidity of Henry's first marriage and proclaimed his second to be legal. Severe penalties were to be imposed on all those who opposed Henry's second marriage and this Act, either openly or secretly. The Act also gave Henry the power to extract oaths from any of his subjects regarding the provisions of the Act. Anyone refusing to swear the oath would be guilty of treason.

 early April 1534 ?  Catherine refused Oath of Succession

 Catherine refused to swear the oath of succession. She now feared for both her own and her daughter's life. She only ate food prepared by trusted servants and kept a constant watch on all strangers.

 mid May 1534  Catherine moved to Kimbolten

 Catherine moved to Kimbolten Castle. Henry's loyal subjects, Sir Edmund Bedingfield and Sir Edward Chamberlain, were appointed Steward and Chamberlain respectively. They were told that Catherine was to receive no visitors unless they held a special licence from the King. Catherine spent most of her time in the seclusion of her own rooms with a few trusted servants. Her apartments were more comfortable than those of Buckden and from her window she could look across the rooftops to the country beyond. She also had her own chapel behind which was a small walled garden where she could walk on fine days.

 June 1534 ?  Catherine refused Oath of Succession again

 The Bishop of Durham was sent to make Catherine swear to the Oath of Succession. However, she steadfastly refused to take the oath.

 July 1534  Catherine ill

 Catherine's health began to deteriorate. Chapuys begged Henry to allow him to visit her but permission was refused. Chapuys left London with a large escort to visit Catherine at Kimbolten Castle. He made a great show of the journey, however, five miles from the castle he was met by one of Catherine's messengers who said that she had been forbidden to meet him. He turned back satisfied that the people knew Spain supported Catherine.

 mid Sept 1534  Catherine's health worsened

 Catherine's health continued to deteriorate. Her friend Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, begged permission to visit her but permission was denied.

Nov 1534 Act of Supremacy

 This Act made Henry the Head of the Church of England. He now had more power than ever and was determined that he would not be opposed.

 April 1535  Escape Plan

 With Charles' backing, Chapuys tried to find a way for Catherine and Mary to escape England. He planned to smuggle them out at night and go down river to Gravesend where a Spanish boat would take them to the Netherlands.

 10 May 1535  Escape Plan cancelled

 Charles wrote to Chapuys saying that it was too risky to try to effect Catherine and Mary's escape. Chapuys was forced to abandon all plans for escape as it was feared that Mary and Catherine would be executed if they were discovered.

 1 Dec 1535  Catherine ill again

 Catherine was taken seriously ill. She was complaining of chest pains, was unable to eat and was confined to bed.

 14 Dec 1535  Catherine slightly better

 Catherine had recovered slightly and was able to sit in a chair. She wrote to Charles asking for money to pay her servants as her funds were depleted.

 17 Dec 1535  Fiftieth birthday

 Catherine celebrated her fiftieth birthday.

 26 Dec 1535  Catherine very ill

 Catherine was again taken ill and was forced to take to her bed again.

 30 Dec 1535 ?  Catherine dying

 Henry gave Chapuys permission to visit Catherine who was now considered to be dying. Mary was still refused permission to see her mother although Henry did agree to reconsider this.

 2 Jan 1536  Catherine on deathbed

 Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador, arrived at Kimbolten Castle to see Catherine. He knelt at her bedside and kissed her hand. Catherine told him that she could die happy now she knew she was not abandoned. She asked him questions about Henry and Mary.

 4 Jan 1536 ?  Deathbed confession

 Chapuys told Catherine's physician that if her condition deteriorated she was to swear on her deathbed that her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated. Much store was set by deathbed confessions.

 5 Jan 1536  Catherine visited by Lady Willoughby

 Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, forced her way into Kimbolten Castle to see Catherine, having been refused permission to visit.

 6 Jan 1536  Catherine made her will

 Catherine seemed a little better today and even tidied her hair before spending a long while talking to Maria de Salinas. Catherine also made her will, despite it being against the law for a woman to make a will while her husband lived. She asked for her debts to be paid and her servants rewarded for the good service they had given. She bequeathed a collar of gold that she had brought from Spain to Mary as well as her furs. Chapuys left Kimbolten as Catherine seemed so much stronger.

 7 Jan 1536  Catherine died

 Catherine awoke with stomach pains and nausea. She quickly became very weak and her confessor was summoned. She dictated two letters, one to Henry and one to Charles. She received Holy Communion and extreme unction then prayed aloud for two hours. Catherine of Aragon died at 2 p.m. at Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire, probably of cancer.

 8 Jan 1536  Cause of death

 An autopsy was carried out on Catherine's body. A black growth was found on her heart but no other abnormalities. They pronounced the growth to be caused by poisoning. It was widely believed that Anne Boleyn had slowly poisoned Catherine to death and the death of Mary was expected to follow. The news that Catherine had been poisoned spread throughout Europe.


Catherine was given a state funeral as widow of the Prince of Wales. Henry and Anne Boleyn did not attend the funeral. Catherine was buried in Peterborough Abbey.



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