Thursday, August 07, 2008

Question from Nikki - Possibility of twins for Catherine of Aragon's first pregnancy

I was watching a documentary about Henry VIII and it mentioned that with her first pregnancy, Catharine of Aragon miscarried. Her stomach was still very swollen and they told her she was pregnant with twins & the second child was still alive. She took to her chamber, but after a month her stomach soon went down and they lost all hope that there was a second child. I'm going to assume her stomach was swollen due to infection. This is the first time I've heard of a possibility of twins?

1 comment:

Elizabeth M. said...

There is some controversy surrounding this pregnancy. In May, 1510, the Spanish ambassador, Friar Diego, wrote to King Fersinand, Catherine's father, that the Queen had miscarried her child the previous January. Supposedly, it was Friar Diego who came up with the story that Catherine may have been carrying twins, as her belly remained swollen for a long while after the miscarriage, thus the belief that the second fetus remained in her womb until May. Catherine herself finally wrote to her father and admitted she had lost her child--no mention of multiple fetuses. She confessed to losing the child only a short time previously. So there was at least one miscarriage in January, which was supposedly kept secret, and the possibility that Catherine was afraid to disappoint her father and did not inform him of it until several months after the event. Or, there is the possibility she became pregnant immediately after the January miscarriage and lost another fetus in May. This latter seems unlikely, as her next pregnancy resulted in the birth of the New Year's Boy, born on January 1, 1511--thus he had to have been conceived in late March or early April, 1510.
In addition, Friar Diego was replaced by a new ambassador named Caroz, who seemed to make it his business to find out when exactly Catherine had her periods, and his snooping revealed Catherine began menstruating shortly after the supposed January miscarriage, making the likelihood of a continuing pregnancy with a remaining twin very unlikely.
The story seemed to come from the imaginative mind of a Spanish ambassador eager to dull the extreme disappointment of his master towards his daughter at losing the child who was the heir to the English throne. Plus, if she was indeed swollen, it was likely an infection, and with the primitive knowledge of pregnancy and the lack of understanding of the importance of good hygiene, they could have actually believed that the queen was carrying another fetus, and then found it was untrue when the infection subsided and her abdominal swelling subsided.