David Starkey explores how the story of British music has been shaped by the monarchy.
Runtime: 60 minutes
David Starkey's Music and Monarchy - Catherine of Aragon - Netflix
Catherine of Aragon (Spanish: Catalina; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536), was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII; she was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother Arthur. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was three years old when she was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. In 1507, she held the position of ambassador of the Aragonese Crown in England, the first female ambassador in European history. Catherine subsequently married Arthur's younger brother, the recently ascended Henry VIII, in 1509. For six months in 1513, she served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden, an event in which Catherine played an important part with an emotional speech about English courage. By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heir presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was consequently declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and queen, attracting much popular sympathy. Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, and died there on 7 January 1536. English people held Catherine in high esteem, and her death set off tremendous mourning. The controversial book The Education of a Christian Woman by Juan Luis Vives, which claimed women have the right to an education, was commissioned by and dedicated to her. Such was Catherine's impression on people that even her enemy, Thomas Cromwell, said of her, “If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History.” She successfully appealed for the lives of the rebels involved in the Evil May Day, for the sake of their families. Catherine also won widespread admiration by starting an extensive programme for the relief of the poor. She was a patron of Renaissance humanism, and a friend of the great scholars Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More.
David Starkey's Music and Monarchy - In art and media - Netflix
Over the years, numerous artistic and cultural works have been dedicated to Catherine, have been written about her, or have mentioned her, including some by her husband Henry VIII, who wrote “Grene growth the holy” about and for her, and Juan Luis Vives, who dedicated The Education of Christian Women to her. Catherine of Aragon has been portrayed in film, television, plays, novels, songs, poems, and other creative forms many times, and as a result she has stayed very much in popular memory. There has never been a film or television series in which she is the main character, the nearest is the first episode of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which is told from her point of view (and in which she is portrayed by Annette Crosbie). William Shakespeare's play Henry VIII succeeds in recreating with great accuracy Catherine's statement about the legitimacy of her marriage at the court in Blackfriars before King Henry, and Shakespeare's portrayal of Catherine is remarkably sympathetic; however, most of the rest of the play is an attempt to absolve many, especially Henry VIII, and the timing of key incidents (including Catherine's death) is changed and other events are avoided (the play makes Henry nearly an innocent pawn in the hands of a dastardly Cardinal Wolsey, and the play stops short of Anne Boleyn's execution). Although Catherine is often portrayed in film and on stage as having possessed stereotypically Spanish dark hair and eyes and olive complexion, existing portraits and contemporary descriptions depict her with blue eyes, fair skin, and reddish-blonde hair, not uncommon for Spaniards from the northern regions of Spain, including her father's land of Aragon. And she was part English, through her ancestresses Katherine of Lancaster and Philippa of Lancaster, who were daughters of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Catherine often is played with a Spanish accent. From most reports, this is accurate, as she never fully mastered the English language. In January, 2013, the National Portrait Gallery in London revealed that its curators had recently discovered that a portrait at Lambeth Palace formerly believed to have been a portrait of Catherine Parr in fact shows Catherine of Aragon. The National Portrait Gallery announced that the painting, which had hung in a private sitting room of the Archbishop of Canterbury since at least the 19th century, would be paired with a portrait of Henry VIII already in the museum's collection, and would remain at the museum on loan.
David Starkey's Music and Monarchy - References - Netflix