Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Question from Arianne - More on Catherine of Aragon's name

Hello, Lara, and anybody else willing to answer,

I have been wondering about Katherine of Aragon's name and its use. I've been looking through several Q&As here on the topic, and it was brought up on the topic "The Wives' Last Names" that "Katherine of Aragon" was only occasionally used during her lifetime, and mostly by her detractors. On that note, I was wondering:

1) Why was it primarily her detractors who used "Katherine of Aragon?" Was it somehow rude?
2) At what point did "Katherine of Aragon" become the generally accepted term to use?
3) What do modern day Spaniards refer to Katherine of Aragon as, i.e. what term would Spanish textbooks use? Do they say "Catalina de Aragon" (which I suppose would be the literal Spanish translation of "Catherine of Aragon"), the more complete "Infanta Catalina De Aragon y Castilla," or something else?

[Note - link below for the previous thread]


Lara said...

This is definitely beyond my knowledge, but I'm willing to bet others can chime in!

Lucretia said...

Spanish Wikipedia has "Catalina de Aragon" as the wife of Enrique VIII.

kb said...

I can only speak to a small part of this -

Referring to the queen of England as being from Spain would have been one way of saying 'she's not one of us - she's a foreigner'. This would have been especially rude during those times when English foreign policy favored the French over the Spanish/Hapsburg kingdoms.

When Katherine was in high favor, she would have been Katherine Queen of England and her English heritage emphasized. (She was a descendant of Edward I via John of Gaunt)

Foose said...

I haven't been able to find any references to Catherine being styled "of Aragon" (or Arragon, the variant spelling) in Letters & Papers except by the editors.

Some biographies of Anne Boleyn and the poet Wyatt note that there is extant a book of poetry belonging to George Boleyn with some scribbled Latin and an English fragment "Spanish Kathryn" that "does not sound complimentary to Katherine of Aragon." (Sir Thomas Wyatt and his Background, by Patricia Thomson.)

kb said...

Thanks to foose's research we can probably establish that she was not called Katherine of Aragon by her English contemporaries. This still leaves open the question of when this style of reference became popular. I have no hard information on this but suspect it was after Henry VIII's reign and possibly as late as the Victorian era. I am stuck with the phrase 'Katherine Queen of England, come into the court' ringing in my head from all the film versions....

Foose said...

I was inclined to agree with kb that the "of Aragon" style was applied by later centuries. However, when I did some random Googling, I saw that Nicholas Harpsfield, one of Anne Boleyn's detractors, has his manuscript of 1540 listed as "A Treatise of Marryinge occasioned by the Pretended Divorce of King Henry ye Eigth from Q. Catharine of Arragon" and William Forrest, a chaplain to Queen Mary, wrote a poem in 1558, "The History of Grisild the Second: A Narrative, in Verse, of the Divorce of Queen Katherine of Arragon."

However, I don't know if these really were the original titles or were applied by later editors/publishers. It's interesting that both Harpsfield and Forrest are supporters of Catherine and use the "Arragon" title; you'd think they'd downplay her foreign antecedents and just say "the noble Queen Katherine" or something along those lines.

Perhaps the "of Aragon/Arragon" style might have started in the polemics written around the Divorce, which is why it is not found in Letters & Papers.