March 27, 1489: Catherine of Aragon Betrothed to Prince Arthur Tudor

Janet Wertman

Catherine of Aragon, Aged Around 11, by Juan de Flandes Catherine of Aragon, Aged Around 11, by Juan de Flandes

In 1489, Henry VII had reigned for only four years. To solidify his somewhat shaky hold on the throne, he sought to arrange an illustrious marriage for his three year old son, Arthur. And he found one.

The four-year-old Princess Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Queen Isabella of Castille and King Ferdinand of Aragon, was the perfect choice. The family was one of the most powerful in Europe. Isabella was descended from Edward III of England – some said that she had a better claim to the English throne than Henry VII himself. Indeed, Henry VII was thrilled to secure such a bride for his son.

The betrothal was formally confirmed in 1497, when Arthur was eleven and Catherine was twelve. The couple were married by proxy on May 19, 1499, but it was not until 1501 (when Arthur turned…

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