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Did Arthur and Katherine of Aragon have sex?

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Did Arthur and Katherine have sex during marriage?

The marriage was not consummated
18
78%
The marriage was consummated
5
22%
 
Total votes: 23

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Thu May 5th, 2011, 7:11 pm

Hey, we actually have a debate going. Sweet! For a while I was afraid this was going to be an agreement-fest.
This is getting good, I'm enjoying hearing everyone's opinion.

Slightly off the did they or didn't they topic, I saw MLE mentioned Katherine's great love for Henry no matter what he did and that's the impression I've always had from any books I've read. PG's finally married Katherine off to Henry and he's more on the buffoonish side, and that's most definitely how PG's Katherine seems to think of him. Her beloved Arthur is everything pure and kingly and Henry is just a macho overbearing dolt. Not much love for her husband in this book :mad:
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Thu May 5th, 2011, 7:58 pm

No I have not read the letters but the problem with letters is that anyone can read them. And that's the point. I'm sure there are people who were reading them at that time too. That must have been in the back of her mind after Arthur died.

However, if you want to take the letters at face value then so be it.

I'm not arguing she wasnt religious or devout. But even in public the most devout can become an S&M mistress on Saturday nights behind closed doors.

Love, it just shows she was stubborn and determined to get what she wanted. The reality is that back then who knew that Henry would break from the Catholic Church the biggest "oh no you didn't!" moments in history. She was playing her hand, never in her mind, (Or in other people's minds) did they think it would be taken as far as it was. Anne would just be another mistress and they have come and gone so why not wait this one out. He would never break with the church, only in the end he did.

I think that some people are putting her up there in the canon of saints and Im not ready to get out my St. Katherine of Aragon prayer card yet.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Thu May 5th, 2011, 8:07 pm

I will add, that since there is not evidence 100% for either argument that there will be no clear answer. Everyone can gather bits and pieces from what they have an create an argument that they think is plausible. Ah, history. :)
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Gregory and facts

Post by Greg » Fri May 6th, 2011, 12:38 am

[quote=""MLE""]And of course, Philippa Gregory is the last word on historical accuracy. After all, we must give her credit for having the inside scoop on Elizabeth I as a weak fool who was managed and manipulated by the men in her life, and that Anne Bolyen slept with her brother.

I stopped reading her after she made it clear that she thought Aragon (a country) was the town where Katherine was born.[/quote]

Oh dear she didn't did she? That's awfully careless though considering some of the suppossed hist fict she writes i'm not overly suprised.

regards Greg

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Post by EC2 » Fri May 6th, 2011, 9:41 am

I think, although we will never know, we can narrow it down slightly.

Was it possible that such and such an event happened in history? - answer is frequently yes.

What is the percentage of likelihood of it happening versus percentage of not likely based on known evidence? That's a whole different ballgame. Doesn't make the dominant percentage correct, but it points up indicators.
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Post by burlgirl » Mon May 23rd, 2011, 9:00 pm

Interesting discussion, especially since I just finished reading Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII by Giles Tremlett, a new biography that spends a good part of the first half on her life prior to and including Arthur. The author presents evidence from the trial (? - I'm at work so can't check the book) in Zaragoza from when Henry was seeking a divorce and appealed to the European ecclesiastical courts (my memory's fuzzy on this, would like to be able to check, but alas, the book's at home). The author, who lives in Spain, I believe, was granted access to Spanish archives which shed some light on what the Spanish people who came with Katharine and then went home, remembered of the night. The consensus was there was a lot of concern over what didn't happen - that Arthur was pretty sick and the Spanish felt quite bad for the princess.

Going into later in Katherine's life, the author points out an instance when she did lie (again, book at home and I can’t remember because I’m feeling guilty posting this at work). Personally, I think everyone lies at one point or another. Katherine was willing to die over the fact that she came to Henry as a virgin, and was willing that Mary would also die for this.

People are willing to die for many things, but not a lie. I believe the circumstantial evidence lies in favor of no consummation.

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Post by Margaret » Tue May 24th, 2011, 6:58 am

What a fascinating thread! I didn't vote because I haven't read enough nonfiction about Katherine to know enough to base an opinion on. Actually, I doubt that at this remove in time we can ever really know enough to be certain whether they did or didn't. Both the pro and con arguments have some strong points to make.

Arthur and Katherine would have been under pressure to produce an heir during their marriage. That doesn't mean they did have sex, but it seems pretty likely that they must have tried.

After Arthur died, the political pressure for Henry and Katherine to marry must have been quite intense. I just don't know enough about Katherine to form an opinion of her personality, but I do think even a very devout young woman could have succumbed to the pressure to go along with the flow and say her marriage had not been consummated so the marriage with Henry could go forward. She was very young and was not in Spain at that point, but in England, surrounded by people who had worked very hard for the alliance with Spain that her marriage represented and who would have seen Arthur's death as a crushing blow which could be reversed only by finding a way for Katherine to marry Henry. England was still a Catholic country, so the people who were pressuring her were as Catholic as she was, and some of them were likely high church officials. And if once Katherine publicly went along with the pressure to say her marriage had not been consummated, it would be very, very hard for her to backtrack and then say it had been.

People are surprisingly capable of persuading themselves to believe things it is to their advantage to believe, especially when not altering their beliefs would produce the kind of powerful cognitive dissonance a pious girl like Katherine would surely have felt if her marriage had been consummated and she had lied and said it had not. Over the years, she might have altered her memories enough to actually believe her marriage had not been consummated even if it had. Seems weird, but similar things happen.

I'm playing devil's advocate by arguing for the side fewer people voted for, when in fact, I really can't make up my mind one way or another. Based on the little I do know, I think both the pro and con have strong arguments going for them.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue May 24th, 2011, 2:40 pm

Actually, Margaret, the pressure was AGAINST Henry marrying Katherine. His father was trying to marry her widowed sister Juana instead, a much richer prize. He didn't give her a household allowance, trying to literally starve her into going back to Spain.

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Post by Divia » Tue May 24th, 2011, 8:55 pm

Yes but her eye was always on the prize. Queen or nothing.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue May 24th, 2011, 11:31 pm

Divia, you've been reading too much PG. And you know how reliable she isn't.

The reason Katherine didn't go back (In her letters she begged to) is that Henry VII wouldn't return the dowry. A portion of the dowry was comprised of her 'plate' -- gold-plated tableware-- which she had to sell in order to feed her ladies. (Later her father-in-law would make an issue of this, charging her with irresponsibility.) Many of her Spanish household returned to Spain at their own expense-- the rest were stranded in England.

A French marriage was being arranged for Henry, then Prince of Wales. Everybody was amazed when after his father's death he married the dowager princess of Wales, whose money had already been spent and whose political connections were iffy. (Charles wasn't Holy Roman Emperor, or even King of Spain at the time; he was a nine-year old in Flanders. And it looked very likely that Ferdinand would have a son by his new queen, and Spain would break up into two kingdoms again, if not a bloody civil war.)

I would theorize that although Henry mostly loved only himself, Katherine probably got as much of his heart as he ever genuinely gave anybody.

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