‘The Spanish Queen: Katharine of Aragon and her Continental Family’ – Talk by Sarah Gristwood

On Friday evening, I watched Sarah Gristwood’s talk, The Spanish Queen: Katharine of Aragon and her Continental Family.

The talk was part of Peterborough Cathedral’s ‘Katherine of Aragon Festival’ to commemorate the burial of Queen Katherine at the cathedral on 29th January 1536.

Sarah’s talk was every bit as compelling as her book, ‘Game of Queens: The Women Who Made 16th Century Europe’.

It was interesting to hear about the symbols in the chapel at Ightham Mote (a place I have visited), which consist of arrows for Aragon, castles for Castile and pomegranates, the symbol of Katherine’s fertile family.

I learnt more about how Katherine’s family married into the royal houses of Europe and what was particularly interesting was how these may have influenced Katherine’s response to Henry VIII’s reasons for a divorce. This was something I had not thought about before.

Lady Jane also got a brief mention. In that how Mary I had to win her throne against Jane, just like Mary’s grandmother, Isabella of Castile had had to win her throne.

Sarah said that although we remember Katherines’ daughter Mary as ‘Bloody Mary’ and for the religious persecution, it should remembered that Mary’s Queenship did pave the way for Elizabeth I’s rule. Credit should be given to Katherine of Aragon and Mary for the lessons that were passed from Isabella, to Katherine to Mary.

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