‘The Spanish Princess’: 5 Things To Know About Catherine Of Aragon Before The Show Premieres

'The Spanish Princess' premieres May 5 and will take a closer look at Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII. While Henry is talked about the most in the history books, this new series is all about Catherine.

Charlotte Hope will be playing Catherine of Aragon in the 8-episode Starz limited series The Spanish Princess. The show will peel back the layers on Catherine, who is largely forgotten about when discussing the Tudor era of English history. The Spanish Princess chronicles Catherine’s rise from being the young Princess of Spain to the Queen of England. Charlotte will be joined by Ruairi O’Connor as Prince Harry/King Henry VIII, Laura Carmichael as Maggie Pole, Stephanie Levi-John as Lina, Nadia Parkes as Rosa, and more.

1. Catherine of Aragon was married to Henry’s older brother first. Catherine had been betrothed to Prince Arthur at an early age. Catherine and Arthur married in 1501. Arthur passed away 5 months later from an illness. He was just 15 years old when he died.

2. Catherine went on to marry King Henry VIII. Catherine married Henry, who had just recently acceded to the throne, on June 11, 1509. At the time, it was against the law for a man to marry his brother’s widow but Catherine testified that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated in the 5 months they were together. At the time, if a  marriage wasn’t consummated, then it wasn’t valid.

3. Catherine and King Henry VIII had one child together. Catherine was pregnant 7 times over the course of her life, but all of her children except one were stillborn or died as infants. Mary Tudor, who survived into adulthood, was born on Feb. 18, 1516. She would become Queen of England from 1553 until her death in 1558.

4. King Henry VIII infamously divorced Catherine to be with Anne Boleyn. When Catherine could not produce a male heir to the throne and he became involved with Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII wanted to end his marriage to Catherine so he could marry Anne. Henry tried to get the Catholic Church to annul his marriage because Catherine had been married to his brother, but Catherine was adamant that her marriage to Arthur was unconsummated. The Pope would not grant Henry’s request for a divorce, so he had the Archbishop of Canterbury annul the marriage in 1533. King Henry VIII’s divorce led to England breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church. The king would become the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Henry and Anne were married and they had one daughter, who would become Queen Elizabeth I. After Anne was beheaded in 1536, King Henry VIII went on to marry 4 more times.

5. Catherine didn’t live long after her marriage to King Henry VIII was annulled. Catherine was banished after Henry got their marriage annulled and was not allowed to see her daughter. Catherine died on Jan. 7, 1536, at the age of 50.

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