Monday, June 10, 2019

The Lost Heirs of Henry VIII

From History Extra:
The court was in residence at Westminster when, on 31 January 1510, Katherine, then about six or seven months pregnant, went into labour prematurely. Her infant, a daughter, was stillborn. Although not uncommon in those days, it “was considered in this country a great calamity”, and Katherine suffered a strong sense of failure because “she had desired to gladden the King and the people with a prince”. 
Katherine was profoundly shaken by her loss and tormented by guilt. She did not have the heart to inform her father, “or suffer anyone else” to tell him; and when, some days later, she was persuaded that he would like to hear from her, she begged him: “Pray, your Highness, do not storm against me. It is not my fault, it is the will of God. The King, my lord, took it cheerfully, and I thank God that you have given me such a husband”. Again, she repeated, as if to reassure herself, “It is the will of God”. 
Henry wasted no time in getting Katherine pregnant again, and on 25 May 1510 her confessor was able to inform Ferdinand: “It has pleased our Lord to be her physician, and by His infinite mercy He has again permitted her to be with child. She is already, by the grace of God, very large”. Katherine could only have been seven or eight weeks pregnant; assuming that she carried her child to term, the date of conception must have been between 6 and 14 April. Confusion has arisen because in late May there was a report in Spain that “some days before she had been delivered of a stillborn daughter”. That must refer to her loss in January, because the time frame rules out delayed-interval delivery of a twin. (Read more.)

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