Henry's Wives

Catherine of Aragon, the Warrior Queen

My mother was not just a queen. She was also a warrior, like my father. They rode side by side in times of war, and she fought with no less ferocity than he. They were beloved by their people and feared by their adversaries. They were beloved most of all by me, which was why it was such a blow when they sent me far away from Spain to marry an English prince I had never even met.

At first I was miserable. Not only did my husband and I not speak the same language but he clearly did not want to be in the same room with me, let alone in the same bed. Yet as we learned a little of each other’s language, we slowly learned to like each other. Just as we were learning to love each other, death took him and left me a new husband in his place -- his younger brother.

I married him to maintain the alliance between Spain and England. I was still grieving my husband’s death and did not want to marry anyone else, but I knew my duty. And in truth, I was dazzled by my new husband, flattered by his devotion.

At first it was easy to love him back. He was so full of life, so eager to please me. The English came to love and respect me, too. For the first time I was able to realize a future in this strange country. For the first time I could see myself becoming a good queen to my new people, the English.

It was not to last. His passion quickly cooled when I was unable to give him the son and heir he so desired. Now he is besotted with another, a common girl who belongs to our court. He even wants to annul our marriage so he can marry her. Of course, his adviser is not pleased with this. But there is nothing he can do. There is nothing anyone can do, he says, if the king wants to break the sacred law of the church.

My new husband doesn’t know that I too am a warrior, like my mother before me. I shall not bend to his will without a fight. The blood in my veins runs true. I am no common slut that can be seduced by the promise of a crown. I am a queen and I will always be one. I do not need a crown on my head to know this.

The End

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