On this day in 1501 – Katherine of Aragon set sail from Spain for England

Katherine of Aragon left her life behind in Spain as she left the Alhambra Palace in Granada on 21st May 1501 for a new life in England. Katherine was heading to England to marry Prince Arthur Tudor, son and heir of King Henry VII whom she had been betrothed to since she was three years old.

Katherine and her party attempted to set sail from Coruna on the 17th August after saying a tearful goodbye to her parents who had travelled with her to Galicia. Storms in the Bay of Biscay caused the fleet to land at Laredo, Bilbao. King Henry VII heard of the failed attempt and sent Stephen Butt, one of his best naval captains, to guide the Spanish party across the Bay. The fleet regrouped and at 5pm on the 27th September a second attempt was made to carry the 15 year old Katherine to her new life 500 miles away.

Katherine landed at Plymouth on the 2nd October and brought with her a dowry of 200,000 that was to be split into two payments and in return Henry had agreed to settle a third of the Prince of Wales’ land so she would be provided for in the event of her new husband’s death.

Katherine and Arthur’s betrothal had many false starts although the marriage was first suggested when Katherine was just three years old and Henry wanted Katherine sent to England straight away to learn the ways of the English court. However, her parents were keen to keep her in Spain until the couple were at the age to be married. Various events in England saw a potential end to the alliance including the pretender Perkin Warbeck. Eventually the couple were formally betrothed in two ceremonies in England where the Spanish ambassador De Puebla acted as proxy for Katherine.

The couple were eventually married at St Paul’s on 14th November 1501.

Katherine of AragonThe young Katherine of Aragon

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