Catherine of Aragon (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Twice married to English princes, Catherine, the first wife of Henry VIII, refused to accept a royal divorce, which led to Henry’s expulsion of the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of the Protestant church in England.
Born Catalina (Catherine), an Infanta of Spain, to their Most Catholic Majesties Queen Isabella of Castile and Leon and King Ferdinand of Aragon, this fifth surviving child and youngest daughter was named for her maternal English great-grandmother, Catherine of Lancaster. Catherine was twice descended from English kings: maternally from Edward III and paternally from Henry II.
For the first fifteen years of her life, Catherine remained under the tutelage of her mother, Queen Isabella, who considered her own education so deficient that Catherine was tutored by scholars Peter Martyr and Antonio and Alessandro Geraldini. Catherine was instructed in the Bible, Latin histories, and Roman and Christian writers. She spoke fluent classical Latin, in addition to Spanish; studied heraldry, genealogy, and civil and canon law; and gained proficiency in music, dancing, drawing, and the domestic arts of spinning, weaving, and embroidery.
Contemporary accounts describe the young Catherine as having naturally pink checks, white skin, a fair complexion, and fairly thick hair with a reddish gold tint. Catherine’s features were neat and regular in an oval...
(The entire section is 2060 words.)
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