Sunday, May 16, 2010

Question from Alia - Opinions on Catherine of Aragon

Hi. I want to hear everyone's opinion on Catherine of Aragon. What do you think? My favorite historical figure EVER is Anne Boleyn, so I have to admit that I'm a little prejudiced against her...but I'm eager to hear new thoughts. Thanks!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You and I are opposites then, because I myself am a big Katherine of Aragon fan myself and ama bit prejudiced against Anne a small bit. It's her determination, strong will, and devotion to her child that makes me love her so much.

tudor fanatic said...

I don't really have much of an opinion on this, because I think that both women had their good points and bad points, and you can see why both of them behaved the way that they did. Even though they were arch-enemies, I can kind of see both sides of the story. I love them both! My opinion of Catherine is that she was very religious and completely unswerving in her beliefs. Also, she somehow remained absolutely devoted to Henry even when he treated her badly ie seperating her from Mary. I know I wouldn't have been able to stay so devoted to someone who treated me like that!

Luv said...

Katherine of Aragon is one of my favorite Queen. It was Katherine of Aragon strong will and determination that made me love her so much. She was very smart,(even smarter than Henry VIII in some ways) and she knew how to rule. She was the only one of Henry VIII's queens that was a true queen,imo.

Katja Stroke-Adolphe said...

I hate Anne Boleyn because of the way she treated Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon. I think Catherine was a great woman. She was very kind and a good mother. I am impressed by her determination (like Anonymous). She was not afraid of giving up her life for her child and I think that is amazing.

Katja said...

I hate Anne Boleyn because of the way she treated Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon. I think Catherine was a great woman. She was very kind and a good mother. I am impressed by her determination (like Anonymous). She was not afraid of giving up her life for her child and I think that is amazing.

Taryn said...

I'm also of the Anne Boleyn faction, and personally I feel sorry for Catherine of Aragon. Her first husband died, she had miscarriage after miscarriage, and then her second husband cheated on her relentlessly and eventually threw all of Europe into a tizzy just to be rid of her. I can't imagine how it must have felt to know that the man that swore to love you for eternity would go to those lengths to be rid of you. I hope that her soul can feel vindicated in that Mary did, eventually, become Queen.

Liz said...

For a long time, I was in the Anne Boleyn camp, but after learning more about Katherine's early years as queen, I have a lot more respect for her.

I now respect both of them quite a bit. Katherine was a fantastic queen, the only queen that Henry ever left in charge of his country while he went abroad. She was strong and brave, very intelligent and a great administrator of England.

On the other hand, I also respect Anne quite a bit. It took a lot of determination to wait to be queen and she had some very progressive ideas about education, religion and the running of the country that helped bring about the world we know today. Without her, I think the world would be a very different place.

Anonymous said...

She was a remarkable woman, and her advanced ideas of the education of women and equality, foerign policy, and her introduction of slaad in England, her Regency, victory over the Scots and numerous other thing has cchanged the world and given me a lot of resepct for a woman you was called "the queen of earthly queens", "the most ebautiful creature in the world", and even highly praised by Cromwell.

Stacey said...

I am a huge Anne fan myself, but you have to respect & admire Catherine. She was a good queen, wife & mother. The people all loved her, she was a very popular queen. That is mostly why all the people hated Anne.

Scarlet said...

Just a wee correction; Catherine Parr was also "left in charge" when Henry went off on his last invasion of France.

As far as Catherine of Aragon, I believe it was Erasmus who lamented it was a pity she hadn't been born a man because she was so intelligent. She ensured Mary received an intensive education as well. Catherine served as Ferdinand's ambassador to England in the early days of her marriage to Henry & it's my opinion that this was when their marriage first began to fall apart. She may have been left in charge, but under that charge she scored a far more significant military victory than Henry with the defeat of the Scots & the death of James IV at Flodden Field, supposedly triumphantly dispatching the Scots' king's bloody shirt to Henry in France. Ferdinand also double-crossed Henry in this joint venture, not ponying up his share of the cost & going behind Henry's back to make a peace that left him out & made him look like a fool. Henry essentially felt Catherine betrayed him by getting him into this alliance with her father the begin with, she lost the child she was carrying when Henry left for France, & he made no territorial gains or scored anywhere near as great a victory as Catherine had in his absence.
Catherine may have been lauded for her intelligence, but she was "book-smart", not "street-smart". Only 2 of the 6-7 pregnancies she had in the 1st 9 yrs of the marriage were live births, & the one who survived was unfortunately of the wrong gender. England had become nothing more than Mary's dower lands. Catherine was 5 & 1/2 yrs older than Henry & there's no reports of her conceiving past 1518, a good decade before "The King's Great Matter" became publicized. Born in 1485, she was already past 40 & supposedly perimenopausal. Catherine was not going to give Henry a legitimate male heir & she had to have realized it by then. Had she agreed to Campeggio's suggestion of taking the veil & retiring from court under the circumstances of "barrenness", it wouldn't have affected Mary's status. Henry was prepared to be generous if he got his way & Clement would've breathed a sigh of relief to have it settled so easily. There would've been no arguing about the validity of Julius's dispensation or whether Catherine had slept with Arthur in the 5 mos they were wed. She could've stepped down with honor, freeing Henry to remarry, still been able to be in contact with her daughter, & Henry would've been as pleased with her as he later was with Anne of Cleves.
I don't think her refusal had anything to do with Catherine's religious convictions or any great "love" between her & Henry. Sometimes we tend to assign modern values to history; there was a huge difference between "courtly love" & actual love, & simply because Henry hurried up & married her after his father's death didn't mean he was madly in love with her or she with him. She was stuck & he was her way out; he could've been thumbing his nose at Dad & Grandma Beaufort.
I think Catherine was guilty of pride & vanity. The daughter of the great Isabella set aside, the granddaughter of the great Isabella deemed not fit to rule? To walk away from a score of yrs of finally queening it, to a convent? And all so Henry could marry a "commoner", Anne Boleyn? Not on Catherine's watch was this happening. She was not only stubborn but arrogant, & because of her attitude, this devoutly religious woman brought about a schism with Rome that lasted forever, & she lived to see the consequences of naysaying Henry. Had she the smarts to cooperate, England & perhaps the world would've been very different places today. Catherine's stubbornness showed Henry that he could do whatever he pleased, even stick his tongue out at the pope, & get away with it, setting the scene for the rest of his wives & reign.

Anonymous said...

I think Catherine had divided loyalties. I would venture to guess she would have liked her English, yet Spanish daughter, to marry a King of Spain, so that her more Spanish than English grandchild could rule over both countries. I think her first loyalty was not just to her daughter, but to Spain and her family there. I think Henry knew this and this was another reason, he needed a son, an English son to wear the Crown of England. If Catherine was loyal to England she would have retired to a convent with conditions. Her daughter remained legitimate and was allowed to marry. Though she would probably have preferred a Spaniard, yet it was probably best Mary did not marry until Henry had a son or was married to someone Henry could control. But then again what was was and I am sure Catherine would say it was God's will, so be it.

paroberts said...

How could anyone admire Anne Boleyn because it took determanation to wait to be Queen? Really. You can not be serious. She was a Tudor slut, excuse the language. She had ideas, yes, but that does not in anyway make up for the way she treated Queen Katharine, or Mary. Her daughter, though I respect Elizabeth I, was a replica. Anne Boleyn got what she deserved when Henry did to her with Jane Seymour,what they did to Queen Katharine.

Anonymous said...

Katherine of Aragon is an amazeing role model. She was extremely intellegent and she refuses to back down when Henry told her to. She also was the first female ambassodor and won at the battle of Flodden. It is very annoying when pepole forget about her and credit Anne Boleyn for doing "amazing" things. Anne Boleyn was a cruel woman. The power she got from becomeing queen ultimitly cuased her downfall. She was also rude manipulative and was in some ways a back stabber. I don't really like Anne Boleyn as you can tell but the fact that she is admired for being a homewrecker and being creul to her step daughter and Katherine of Aragon deivws me insane.

Anonymous said...

If you hate Anna because she was a slut, you should really hate her father, because that certainly makes him his daughters pimp. Both of them were used by him to advance at court and when their luck turned, he turned his back on his own children and left them to die without looking back.

Oh, and don't forget dear Henry. He wanted her, took her, used her and got rid of her, like a child woth a toy he broke. As he did with both Catherine of Aragon and Howard and almost did with Parr.

It was a man's society and neither Catherine nor Anne could have escaped their fate. I hope they both dwell peacefully in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

"Catherine may have been lauded for her intelligence, but she was "book-smart", not "street-smart". Only 2 of the 6-7 pregnancies she had in the 1st 9 yrs of the marriage were live births, & the one who survived was unfortunately of the wrong gender. England had become nothing more than Mary's dower lands. Catherine was 5 & 1/2 yrs older than Henry & there's no reports of her conceiving past 1518, a good decade before "The King's Great Matter" became publicized. Born in 1485, she was already past 40 & supposedly perimenopausal. Catherine was not going to give Henry a legitimate male heir & she had to have realized it by then. Had she agreed to Campeggio's suggestion of taking the veil & retiring from court under the circumstances of "barrenness", it wouldn't have affected Mary's status. Henry was prepared to be generous if he got his way & Clement would've breathed a sigh of relief to have it settled so easily. There would've been no arguing about the validity of Julius's dispensation or whether Catherine had slept with Arthur in the 5 mos they were wed. She could've stepped down with honor, freeing Henry to remarry, still been able to be in contact with her daughter, & Henry would've been as pleased with her as he later was with Anne of Cleves.
I don't think her refusal had anything to do with Catherine's religious convictions or any great "love" between her & Henry. Sometimes we tend to assign modern values to history; there was a huge difference between "courtly love" & actual love, & simply because Henry hurried up & married her after his father's death didn't mean he was madly in love with her or she with him. She was stuck & he was her way out; he could've been thumbing his nose at Dad & Grandma Beaufort.
I think Catherine was guilty of pride & vanity. The daughter of the great Isabella set aside, the granddaughter of the great Isabella deemed not fit to rule? To walk away from a score of yrs of finally queening it, to a convent? And all so Henry could marry a "commoner", Anne Boleyn? Not on Catherine's watch was this happening. She was not only stubborn but arrogant, & because of her attitude, this devoutly religious woman brought about a schism with Rome that lasted forever, & she lived to see the consequences of naysaying Henry. Had she the smarts to cooperate, England & perhaps the world would've been very different places today. Catherine's stubbornness showed Henry that he could do whatever he pleased, even stick his tongue out at the pope, & get away with it, setting the scene for the rest of his wives & reign."

I'm sorry but no, I disagree with this argument. Religion was very important to KOA, and to say it had nothing to do with the annulment is certainly not true. You fail to understand, that for KOA marriage was all or nothing, it was not "I stay married to you unless....or I stay married to you until...", she wasn't going to step down and say her marriage was invalid when she believed it be otherwise. And so yes, that is exactly why she didn't retire to a nunnery, she believed in her status as Queen of England, and that her daughter had the right to become the next Queen of England. Sometimes doing the right thing, can bring you harm or in certain cases cost you your life, KOA to me was one of those people. She wasn't going to agree to anything just to live "a comfortable life".

Now that being said, KOA had her faults and yes she had pride in herself, her lineage and her status. But to say that was the main reason she wasn't going to give in is wrong in my opinion.

Tani J said...

I agree with Scarlet - she has the whole picture. I'd add that I think Catherine was not only proud and stubborn, but that she deluded herself into thinking that all this turmoil she caused (which she seemed to just dismiss uncaringly as if it just a trifle) was due to her "extreme piety." Scarlet is right, she had a legitimate Vatican approved way out of all of it - abdicate the marriage and retire to a nunnery with her child Mary protected.

She seemed to think it "greatly pious" to cause herself suffering - and let everyone else suffer too, even the whole country. Back then it would not have been some easy thing for an entire Catholic country to suddenly go Protestant and get separated from the Pope.

She caused herself mountains of misery, caused her daughter mountains of misery and yes indeed, England is STILL separate from the Vatican!

When Mary became queen, she was known as Bloody Mary due to her cruelty, of course, disguised as extreme piety - that again. That seems to have finished it - the majority of the country turned against Catholics due to Bloody Mary. When Elizabeth, Anne's daughter, became queen, she was one of the most powerful monarchs England ever had - and England became great under her rule. Anne Boleyn is considered a heroine of the Reformation.

When Henry agreed to take up the slack after Arthur died and marry Catherine, he was 12 years old. The Pope, if not being pressured by Spain at the time, would NOT have allowed the marriage as it is against religious law to marry your brother's wife. And truth to tell, after SIX MONTHS of marriage, it was NOT consumated? That just is not believable.

As we can see with the 3rd gracious wife, it was perfectly normal and expected for a King to take a mistress, especially when the wife was pregnant and indisposed.

Even right now, England being in the EU - I don't think that will last at all because England just does NOT march to the same drum beats that Europe marches to - and England never did. Due to what Henry did and what Anne Boleyn caused, the USA was never a Catholic country by any kind of law.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that ! Katharine of arzgi, thr true queen of england ! Saint mary tudor !

Helen Davis said...

I call Katharine Katharine of arrogant.