The youngest child of the legendary monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) was born
to marry for dynastic gain. Endowed with English royal blood on her mother's side, she was betrothed in infancy to
Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Henry VII of England, an alliance that greatly benefited both sides. Yet Arthur
died weeks after their marriage in 1501, and Catherine found herself remarried to his younger brother, soon to become
Henry VIII. The history of England-and indeed of Europe-was forever altered by their union.
Drawing on his deep knowledge of both Spain and England, Giles Tremlett has produced the first full biography in more
than four decades of the tenacious woman whose marriage to Henry VIII lasted twice as long (twenty-four years) as his
five other marriages combined. Her refusal to divorce him put her at the center of one of history's greatest power
struggles, one that has resonated down through the centuries- Henry's break away from the Catholic Church as, bereft of
a son, he attempted to annul his marriage to Catherine and wed Anne Boleyn. Catherine's daughter, Mary, would
controversially inherit Henry's throne; briefly and bloodily, she returned England to the Catholicism of her mother's
native Spain, foreshadowing the Spanish Armada some three decades later.
From Catherine's peripatetic childhood at the glittering court of Ferdinand and Isabella to the battlefield at Flodden,
where she, in Henry's absence abroad, led the English forces to victory against Scotland to her determination to remain
queen and her last years in almost monastic isolation, Giles Tremlett vividly re-creates the life of a giant figure in
the sixteenth century. Catherine of Aragon will take its place among the best of Tudor biography.