Description of Figure/Doll

Handcrafted figure of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England. She is made with stuffed cloth and felt that is decorated with gold applique. Her dress is similar to that in the miniature portrait that was created in 1525 by Lucas Horenbout. She has a red headpiece and a matching dress with a square collar. She is wearing a cross necklace, symbolizing her dedication to the Catholic religion. Her facial features are created with pen on her face of felt. Catherine is wearing garments customary for the British culture at that time. To learn more, read her story.

England: United Kingdom

Location: Europe

Capital: London

Main language: English

Currency: British Pound

Figure/Doll

Construction: felt, appliques

Height in Centimeters: 16

Height in Inches: 6

Catherine of Aragon: 1st Wife of King Henry VIII; Mother of Queen Mary I

Reading Level: 6.20

My name is Catherine of Aragon. I grew up as a Spanish Princess. My parents were King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. They were the same people who gave Christopher Columbus the money for his exploration of America. Long ago, it was very common for a princess of one country to marry a prince of another country. In my case, I married Prince Arthur of England when I was 15 years old. Unfortunately, Prince Arthur died soon after our wedding. I stayed in England for the next 8 years, and I was very, very lonely.

In 1509, King Henry VII (my father-in-law) died, and his other son became King Henry VIII. Soon after that, King Henry VIII asked me to marry him. I was so excited to finally be the Queen of England. I had beautiful crowns with jewels, fancy robes, and I lived in wonderful castles with many servants. It was like living in a fairytale.

King Henry and I had lots of fun when we were young. We both liked to dance, play music, and hunt. We wanted to have lots of children, but we only had one daughter, Princess Mary. Although King Henry loved Princess Mary, he really wanted a son, who could become the next King.

I cried every night because I was not able to give Henry the son he wanted. Finally, after about 18 years of marriage, King Henry started to look for a younger wife. One woman that he really liked was named Anne Boleyn.

At first I wasn’t too worried because I thought Henry still loved me. I also knew that Kings and Queens were not allowed to divorce in England. The religion in England was primarily Roman Catholic, and divorces were not possible. The Pope was very powerful, and he would not consent to Henry’s divorce.

I pleaded with King Henry to forget his plans to divorce me. He would not listen to me, and he started to punish me in many ways. First he banished me from the palaces and made me live in the country. Then, he refused to let me see Princess Mary, my only daughter.

I kept hoping that Henry would forget about Anne Boleyn and return to me. Unfortunately, he vowed to find a way to end our marriage, no matter how long it took. Finally, he did find a way. He changed the religion in England from Roman Catholic to the Church of England. He made himself the religious leader.

After Anne Boleyn married Henry and became Queen of England, my life became even more difficult. They made me live in a drafty old castle with very little food. I was not allowed to see my friends or my daughter, Princess Mary.

I died when I was about 50 years old - cold, alone, and very poor. My story is true; you can read about it in all of the history books. I guess my life shows that not all royal princesses “live happily every after!”


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