The Spanish Alliance.

Catherine of Aragon as young woman.

Forgive me for posting this a day late, but yesterday (14th November), saw the anniversary of the wedding of Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, the Spanish Infanta (daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon).

Negotiations for the marriage were long, complex and drawn out.  Internal affairs threatened the whole process, and pretenders shook the confidence of both Spain and England to the core.  But, King Henry persevered, and the grand alliance was made.  It was worth it, as well.  For a newly established, and seemingly highly vulnerable Dynasty like the Tudor Dynasty, this could only have come as a real shot in the arm in terms of their prestige, and their standing on the European main stage.

As always, neither Catherine nor Arthur had met prior to their wedding at Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  But for two years before hand, they had exchanged letters in Latin – probably coached by Tutors as to exactly what they should say (so, sadly, no longing teen romance there!).  However, following the wedding, Prince Arthur did write to his new father-in-law to thank him for sending Catherine to him, and assuring him of her safe arrival.

Of course, the big question surrounding this couple popped up much later – following the death of the Prince after barely six months of marriage.  Did they, or did they not consummate their union.  I don’t especially want to get drawn into that.  It’s a useless, circular, debate that ultimately leads nowhere.  Arthur boasted to friends that he had; Catherine insisted that they hadn’t.  But for a while, this was the greatest match in Europe. So, a happy anniversary to them!

 

Arthur, Prince of Wales (allegedly)

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