All About History

Henry’s 7th Queen?

When Catherine of Aragon arrived in England on 2 October 1501, she brought with her a large entourage of around 60 Spanish courtiers, which included several young maids of honour. Their parents considered it a great honour for their daughters to accompany the future Queen of England to her new life as wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales and heir to Henry VII. The following spring, another group of young Spanish maidens arrived in England, this time dressed in mourning. They had been despatched by Catherine’s mother, Queen Isabella, as soon as news arrived of Prince Arthur’s premature death just a few months after his marriage had taken place. The Spanish queen was unable to come in person so did the next best thing, hoping that this influx of familiar faces might help her grieving daughter come to terms with her sudden change in circumstances. Among one of these two groups was Maria de Salinas, whose family were prominent at the Castilian court and may even have been distantly related to the royal family. It’s possible that the two girls knew each other in Spain because we know they quickly became extremely close in the wake of Prince Arthur’s death.

The faithful and devoted Maria remained at Catherine’s side throughout the difficult next seven years as the young Spanish princess existed in a state of agonising limbo and even, on occasion, relative poverty on the periphery of her father-in-law’s court as she waited to learn if she was to return to Spain or marry the next in line to the throne, Prince Henry. Maria’s great loyalty was amply rewarded in the summer of 1509 when Henry VII died and within two

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