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The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour Anne of Cleves Catherine Howard Catherine Parr
Meet the Wives Find a Wife Portrait of a King Tudor Times
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Catherine of Aragon/Prince Arthur of Wales
C
atherine's marriage in 1501 to Henry VIII's elder brother, Arthur, would haunt her for decades. To wed Henry, the question of whether or not she had consummated her union with this sickly prince was paramount. Catherine insisted she had not. Under church law, Catherine's prior marriage had made her Henry's sister. But that relationship was contingent on whether or not Arthur and Catherine had had sex. To hedge his bets, Catherine's father, Ferdinand of Aragon, received a dispensation, or special permission, from the pope that acknowledged that "perhaps" Catherine had consummated her union with Arthur. At the time, it seemed enough. But some 30 years later, this quandary from the past would supply a handy tool to a king eager for divorce.

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Top: Prince Arthur © National Portrait Gallery
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Intro Background Why choose this wife? Role as queen King vs. queen Love Life Children Ultimate fate