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14    <Metadata name="Content">Primary Sources - Letter of Katharine of Aragon to her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, 2 December 1505</Metadata>
15    <Metadata name="Title">Primary Sources - Letter of Katharine of Aragon to her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, 2 December 1505</Metadata>
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43    &lt;p align=&quot;center&quot;&gt;&lt;b&gt;&lt;FONT size=+1&gt;
44    Letter of Katharine of Aragon to her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon &lt;br&gt;2 December 1505&lt;/FONT&gt;
45    &lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
46    &lt;p&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;&lt;b&gt;Background&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br&gt;The following letter was written in Spanish by
47  Katharine while she was Princess Dowager of Wales.&amp;nbsp; Katharine only wrote
48  in English after her marriage to King Henry VIII.&amp;nbsp; Her mother, the famous
49  Queen Isabella of Castile, had died in the previous year; her father was beset
50  by diplomatic troubles, particularly with the English (he was unable to force
51  Castilian acceptance of a trade agreement with England, which resulted in loss
52  of money for the parsimonious King Henry VII.)&lt;/FONT&gt; &lt;/p&gt;
53    &lt;p&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;In
54  1502, Katharine's husband and Henry VII's heir, Prince Arthur, had died.&amp;nbsp;
55  Katharine was put in an untenable position, and spent seven years of miserable
56  widowhood in England before Arthur's brother married her.&amp;nbsp; Her father was
57  never able to pay the full amount of her dowry to Prince Arthur.&amp;nbsp; This
58  issue became even more pressing when she was then betrothed to Prince
59  Henry.&amp;nbsp; Ferdinand and Henry VII were equally wily monarchs, each
60  unwilling to compromise in order to make Katharine's life in England
61  bearable.&lt;/FONT&gt; &lt;/p&gt;
62    &lt;p&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;The marriage to Prince Henry, though
63  formally recognized in 1504, was not to be celebrated until two years later
64  when the prince came of age.&amp;nbsp; The Spanish ambassador Dr De Puebla had
65  negotiated the contract, and assumed Henry VII would gladly support Katharine
66  for those two years.&amp;nbsp; But Henry gave her barely enough money for food;
67  she had no money to pay servants' wages or buy clothing, among other
68  things.&amp;nbsp; She lived in extreme poverty and with a frightening lack of
69  attention or respect.&amp;nbsp; Henry VII made it clear that if her dowry was not
70  paid, he would renege on the marriage to Prince Henry.&amp;nbsp; And Ferdinand
71  made it clear that he lacked the funds to pay the dowry; indeed, it was not
72  even a priority in his tumultuous life.&lt;/FONT&gt; &lt;/p&gt;
73    &lt;p&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;In this
74  letter, Katharine mentions an 'Infanta Isabel'; this was her older sister
75  Isabella.&amp;nbsp; She also unfairly maligns the amiable Dr De Puebla.&amp;nbsp;
76  Katharine's duenna Dona Elvira despised De Puebla for political reasons and
77  poisoned the young woman's mind against him.&lt;/FONT&gt; &lt;/p&gt;
78  &lt;P&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;This letter, a litany of complaints - all politely phrased -
79  is fascinating, and offers invaluable insight into Katharine's life as
80  Princess of Wales.&amp;nbsp; She was poor, hungry, and desperately ill; 'I shall
81  soon die,' she wrote to her father in despair.&amp;nbsp; She survived, of course,
82  but these conditions explain why she considered her marriage to King Henry
83  VIII to be so miraculous.&lt;/FONT&gt;&amp;nbsp; &lt;FONT size=-1&gt;This letter also offers a
84  funny glimpse into Henry VII's miserly nature.&lt;/FONT&gt;
85  &lt;P&gt;
86  &lt;HR width=&quot;100%&quot;&gt;
88    &lt;p&gt;&lt;font face=&quot;Times New Roman&quot;&gt;Most high and most puissant lord, &lt;BR&gt;Hitherto I have not wished
89    to let your highness know the affairs here, that I might not give you
90    annoyance, and also thinking that they would improve; but it appears that
91    the contrary is the case, and that each day my troubles increase; and all
92    this on account of the doctor de Puebla, to whom it has not sufficed that
93    from the beginning he transacted a thousand falsities against the service of
94    your highness, but now he has given me new trouble; and because I believe
95    your highness will think I complain without reason, I desire to tell you all
96    that has passed. &lt;BR&gt;Your highness shall know, as I have often written to
97    you, that since I came into England, I have not had a single maravedi,
98    except a certain sum which was given me for food, and this such a sum that
99    it did not suffice without my having many debts in London; and that which
100    troubles me more is to see my servants and maidens so at a loss, and that
101    they have not the wherewith to get clothes; and this I believe is all done
102    by hand of the doctor, who, notwithstanding your highness has written,
103    sending him word that he should have money from the king of England, my lord
104    that their costs should be given them, yet, in order not to trouble him,
105    will rather entrench upon and neglect the service of your highness.&amp;nbsp;
106    Now, my lord, a few days ago, donna Elvira de Manuel asked my leave to go to
107    Flanders to be cured of a complaint which has come into her eyes, so that
108    she lost the sight of one of them; and there is a physician in Flanders who
109    cured the infanta donna Isabel of the same disease which which she is
110    affected.&amp;nbsp; She labored to bring him here so as not to leave me, but
111    could never succeed with him; and I, since if she were blind she could not
112    serve me, durst not hinder her journey.&amp;nbsp; I begged the king of England,
113    my lord, that until our donna Elvira should return his highness would
114    command that I should have, as a companion, an old English lady, or that he
115    would take me to his court; and I imparted all this to the doctor, thinking
116    to make of the rogue a true man; but it did not suffice me - because he not
117    only drew me to court, in which I have some pleasure, because I had
118    supplicated the king for an asylum, but he negotiated that the king should
119    dismiss all my household, and take away my chamber-equipage, and send to
120    place it in a house of his own, so that I should not in any way be mistress
121    of it. &lt;BR&gt;And all this does not weigh upon me, except that it concerns the
122    service of your highness, doing the contrary of that which ought to be
123    done.&amp;nbsp; I entreat your highness that you will consider that I am your
124    daughter, and that consent not that on account of the doctor I should have
125    such trouble, but that you will command some ambassador to come here, who
126    may be a true servant of your highness, and for no interest will cease to do
127    that which pertains to your service.&amp;nbsp; And if in this your highness
128    trusts me not, do you command some person to come here, who may inform you
129    of the truth, and then you will have one who will better serve you.&amp;nbsp; As
130    for me, I have had so much pain and annoyance that I have lost my health in
131    a great measure; so that for two months I have had severe tertian fevers,
132    and this will be the cause that I shall soon die.&amp;nbsp; I supplicate your
133    highness to pardon me that I presume to entreat you to do me so great favor
134    as to command that this doctor may not remain; because he certainly does not
135    fulfill the service of your highness, which he postpones to the service of
136    the worst interest which can be.&amp;nbsp; Our Lord guard the life and most
137    royal estate of your highness, and ever increase it as I desire.&amp;nbsp; From
138    Richmond, the second of December. &lt;BR&gt;My lord, I had forgotten to remind
139    your highness how you know that it was agreed that you were to give, as a
140    certain part of my dowry, the plate and jewels that I brought; and yet I am
141    certain that the king of England, my lord, will not receive anything of
142    plate nor of jewels which I have used; because he told me himself that he
143    was indignant that they should say in his kingdom that he took away from me
144    my ornaments.&amp;nbsp; And as little may your highness expect that he will take
145    them in account and will return them to me; because I am certain he will not
146    do so, nor is any such thing customary here.&amp;nbsp; In like wise the jewels
147    which I brought from thence [Spain] valued at a&amp;nbsp; great sum.&amp;nbsp; The
148    king would not take them in the half of the value, because here all these
149    things are esteemed much cheaper, and the king has so many jewels that he
150    rather desires money than them.&amp;nbsp; I write thus to your highness because
151    I know that there will be great embarrassment if he will not receive them,
152    except at less price.&amp;nbsp; It appears to me that it would be better if your
153    highness should take them for yourself, and should give to the king of
154    England, my lord, his money.&amp;nbsp; Your highness will see what would serve
155    you best, and with this I shall be most content. &lt;BR&gt;The humble servant of
156    your highness, who kisses your hands.&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
157    &lt;p&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt;
159  &lt;BLOCKQUOTE&gt;
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161    &lt;HR width=&quot;100%&quot;&gt;
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163    &lt;p align=&quot;center&quot;&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;&lt;A
164href=&quot;_httpextlink_&amp;amp;rl=1&amp;amp;;&gt;to Letters of the Six Wives
165of Henry VIII&lt;/A&gt;&lt;/FONT&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
166&lt;P align=&quot;center&quot;&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;&lt;A href=&quot;_httpextlink_&amp;amp;rl=1&amp;amp;;&gt;to
167Primary Sources&lt;/A&gt;&lt;/FONT&gt;&lt;BR&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;&lt;A
168href=&quot;_httpextlink_&amp;amp;rl=1&amp;amp;;&gt;to Tudor England&lt;/A&gt;&lt;/FONT&gt;&lt;BR&gt;&lt;FONT size=-1&gt;&lt;A
169href=&quot;_httpextlink_&amp;amp;rl=1&amp;amp;;&gt;to Katharine of
170Aragon website&lt;/A&gt;&lt;/FONT&gt;&lt;/P&gt;&lt;/td&gt;
171    &lt;td width=&quot;15%&quot; height=&quot;610&quot;&gt;&lt;/td&gt;
172  &lt;/tr&gt;
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