Article-2135911-01F4B7A0000004B0-300 468x286

The relationship between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was what characterized his life before he initiated the Reformation- which in turn made him so confident and power-hungry that he took and discarded several additional wives.  Catherine was originally supposed to marry Henry's brother Arthur, the Prince of Wales, but he died after a short time and their marriage was supposedly unconsummated.  Wanting to keep his alliance with Spain and Catherine's high dowry, King Henry VII had Henry marry her instead on his coronation; the Pope gave them a special dispensation.

Catherine and Henry were married undisputedly for almost 24 years; she was his wife longer than all his subsequent wives combined.  Henry and Catherine developed a very loving relationship, but Henry's impatient, amorous and angry nature caused him to be unfaithful occasionally, which was hurtful to Catherine as she was a pious Catholic.  However, she endured his infidelity without complaint, and the relationship was still intact at the start of The Tudors, but it was breaking down over Henry's paranoia that Catherine did not have any male children by him.  She had born him various stillborn children, a boy who died after twelve days and a single healthy daughter, Mary, but Catherine- who was several years older than her husband- was now going through menopause and could not conceive more children, much as she prayed for them.  Henry, meanwhile, was paranoid of not having a male heir (he was afraid that if he named his daughter as heir the nobility would erupt into another civil war) and though he treated Catherine with affection, he no longer showed any sexual interest in her, taking various mistresses.  Their only real connection was their daughter Mary. 

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