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age of fourteen demanded in marriage by our Edward IV., and capriciously rejected on account of his passion for Elizabeth Woodville, an insult which left a lasting impression on the mind of the royal Castilian maid.’ Finally, the young queen Isabel was wedded to don Ferdinand, heir of the kingdom of Arragon; and though the married sovereigns each continued to sway an independent sceptre, they governed with such connubial harmony, that the whole peninsula of Spain was greatly strengthened and benefited by their union. At the close of the year 1485, the ancient Moorish city of La Ronda had just fallen beneath the victorious arms of queen Isabel, and several other strongholds of the infidel had accompanied its surrender, when she set out from her camp in order to keep her Christmas at Toledo, which was then the metropolis of Spain. On the road the queen was brought to bed of a daughter,” at the town of Alcala de Henares, December 15, 1485. This child was the youngest of a family consisting of one prince and four princesses. The new-born infanta, though she made her appearance in this world some little time before she was expected, was, nevertheless, welcomed with infinite rejoicings by the people, and the cardinal Mendoga gave a great banquet to the maids of honour on occasion of her baptism. She was called Catalina, the name of Katharine being unknown in Spain, excepting in Latin writings. The first historical notice of this princess in Spanish chronicle is, that at the early age of four she was present at the marriage of her eldest sister, Isabel, with don Juan, heir of Portugal. The early infancy of Katharine of Arragon was passed amidst the storms of battle and siege; for queen Isabel of Castile herself, with her young family, lodged in the magnificent camp with which her armies for years beleaguered Granada. “Nor was this residence unattended with danger: once in particular, in a desperate sally of the besieged Moors, the queen's pavilion was set on fire, and the young infantas rescued with great difficulty from the flames. The little Katharine accompanied See life of queen Elizabeth Woodville. *These particulars are taken from a beautiful Spanish MS., the property of
or Thomas Phillipps, bart., of Middle Hill, by André Bernaldes, called Historia de los Reyes Catolicos Don Fernando y Donna Isabel; fol. 12, 13,41,42,125.
her parents in their grand entry, when the seat of Moorish empire succumbed to their arms, and from that moment Granada was her home. She was then four years old, and thus early the education of the young Katharine commenced. The first objects which greeted her awakening intellect were the wonders of the Alhambra, and the exquisite bowers of the Generaliffe; for in those royal seats of the Moorish dynasty Katharine of Arragon was reared. Queen Isabel, herself the most learned princess in Europe, devoted every moment she could spare from the business of government to the personal instruction of her four daughters, who were besides provided with tutors of great literary attainments. Katharine was able to read and write Latin in her childhood, and she was through life desirous of improvement in that language. She chiefly employed her knowledge of Latin in the diligent perusal of the Scriptures, a fact which Erasmus affirms, adding, “that she was imbued with learning, by the care of her illustrious mother, from her infant years.” It was from Granada, the bright home of her childhood, that Katharine of Arragon derived her device of the pomegranate, so well known to the readers of the Tudor chroniclers." That fruit was at once the production of the beautiful province with which its name is connected, and the armorial bearings of the conquered Moorish kings. How oft must Katharine have remembered the glorious Alhambra, with its shades of pomegranate and myrtle, when drooping with ill health and unkind treatment under the grey skies of the island to which she was transferred Her betrothment to the eldest son of Elizabeth of York and Henry VII. took place in the year 1497, as mentioned in the formal state-letter written in the name of the English queen to queen Isabel of Castile. The young spouses were allowed to correspond together, for the double purpose of cultivating mutual affection and the improvement of their Latinity, for in Latin the love-letters
* This device is still to be seen among the ornaments of the well of St. Winifred, to which building Katharine of Arragon was a benefactress.-Pennant. It likewise frequent in the ancient part of Hampton-Court, particularly in the hly ornamented ceiling of cardinal Wolsey’s oratory, now in private occupa
, but shown to the author through the kindness of Mr. Wilson, surveyor of
were composed which passed between the Alhambra and Ludlow-castle. Of course they were subjected to the surveillance of the two armies of tutors, preceptors, confessors, bishops, lady-governesses, and lord-governors, who were on guard and on duty at the said seats of royal education; therefore the Latin letters of Arthur and Katharine no more develope character than any other school epistles. This extract is a fair specimen:"—“I have read the sweet letters of your highness lately given to me,” says prince Arthur in his Latin epistle, dated Ludlow-castle, 1499, “from which I easily perceived your most entire love to me. Truly those letters, traced by your own hand, have so delighted me, and made me so cheerful and jocund, that I fancied I beheld your highness, and conversed with and embraced my dearest wife. I cannot tell you what an earnest desire I feel to see yout highness, and how vexatious to me is this procrastination about your coming.” Arthur endorses his letter, “To the most illustrious and excellent princess the Lady Katharine, princess of Wales, duchess of Cornwall, and my most entirely beloved spouse.” Dr. Puebla was then the resident minister in England from the united crowns of Spain; according to poor Katharine's subsequent experience, he proved the evil genius of her Young days. At this period he was very active in penning despatches in praise of Arthur, urging that he would soon be fourteen, and that it was time that the “señora princess” should come to England: nevertheless, a twelvemonth's further delay took place. “Donna Catalina,” (Katharine of Arragon) says the manuscript of her native chronicler, Bernaldes, “being at Granada with the king and queen, there came ambassadors from the king of England to demand her for the prince of England, his son, called Arthur. The union was agreed upon, and she set off from Granada to England, Parting from the Alhambra on the 21st of May, in the year 150l. There were at the treaty the archbishops of St. Jago, Osma, and Salamanca, the count de Cabra, and the countess his wife, the commander-mayor Cardenas, and donna Elvira
*Wood's Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies.