With the death of England’s heir, Arthur Tudor, Catherine of Aragon is left rudderless and penniless as the Dowager Princess of Wales. As the sun sets on one son, it rises to beam on the second son, Henry, Duke of York.
But first, a funeral mass for the deceased Arthur. In true Castile fashion, Catherine and her ladies Rosa and Lina, mourn as their country countrypersons mourn: weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. The uptight English are horrified, particularly the king’s mother, Margaret Beaufort. Catherine’s status at court-already diminished-drains the bowl even faster.
With a decided lack of friends at court, no money and even less prospects, Catherine makes a bold decision. She confides to her lady-in-waiting Lina that she plans to wed her brother-in-law, Henry, the newly installed prince of Wales. Lina is shocked and properly addresses Catherine regarding why she cannot marry Harry: she is not a virgin and was married to his brother. La Infanta states that she will let everyone know that she and Arthur didn’t know one another in the biblical sense. In layman’s terms: she’s gonna lie.
With the stress of losing her eldest child, a pregnant Queen Elizabeth goes into early labor. After a hard birth, the child is stillborn and Lizzie succumbs. Before she dies, she implores King Henry to not let Catherine marry Harry. She’s had a premonition that “no sons will come from such a marriage.” With the ghost of Lizzie against her, Harry grieving his mother and Henry in the grip of a massive depression, Catharine chances to marry Harry are looking slim to none.
With Catherine’s plan in full effect, the king’s mother goes on the offensive in trying to suss out her lies. Lady Margaret grills Catherine’s ex-hostess, Maggie Pole, to discern what happened underneath her roof. While Maggie is 98.7% certain Catherine consummated her marriage to Arthur, the small chance she actually didn’t stops her from confirming the fact to Lady Margaret. It irks the king’s mother to no end and she goes so far as to banish Maggie from court.
While she’s in a banishing mood, Lady Margaret gets rid of Catherine from court as well. The young Infanta and her ladies are moved to Durham House, removed from the hub of court and Catherine from the eye of Harry. Although Henry gave his word to young Harry that he could add Catherine, Lady Margaret’s objections are duly noted and taken into consideration. As Catherine is summoned to court-for what she assumes is her betrothal announcement to Harry-she is blindsided when the king announces his engagement…to her. What a conundrum.
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