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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Women of Charles II - Catherine of Braganza

Queen Catherine of Braganza Hello everyone, welcome to the first of a four part series on The Women of Charles II. Each day I am going to reveal one woman who played a major role in the life of King Chales II. I thought that it would be appropriate to start off the week with his wife: Catherine of Braganza.

Catherine came to England from the newly recognized country of Portugal. By marrying into England, she was able to protect her home country from invasion by Spain. Catherine and Charles were married on April 23, 1662 - she was 23, considered old for a first marriage, especially a royal one.

Catherine was not popular in England because she was a Catholic and they were still holding a grudge against Catholics after the reign of "Bloody" Mary Tudor. But, she was able to have influence over the people in one way; she introduced the custom of tea drinking to England. This is traditionally thought of as an English custom, but not until she started it!

Catherine had to share her life with Charles with his many other mistresses. Even in this situation, Charles insisted that Catherine be respected, as she was his wife. He took her side when plots were discovered trying to implicate her, as a Catholic, in plans to kill the king. He also refused many times to divorce her. Catherine was never able to carry a child to term, having at least 2 miscarriages, and not having a legitimate heir to the throne was a reason the people brought up the idea of a divorce.

After Charles' sudden death in 1685, Catherine stayed in England for awhile. She returned to Portugal in 1692, during the reign of William and Mary. Upon her return to Portugal, she was named Regent and ruled during her brother's illness. She died in 1705.

If you would like further reading on Catherine of Braganza try:
The Merry Monarch's Wife: The Story of Catherine of Braganza (A Queens of England Novel) by Jean Plaidy


Wife to Charles II by Hilda Lewis

Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Hello, i´m new to this blog. I reached here through the Philippa Gregory´s official site. I just read this post and i have to desagree with you: when you say that by the time Catarina de Bragan├ža reached England to marry King Charles, the country of Portugal was recent - Portugal exists as a contry since about 1143, when the moors where conquered, in the Algarve region. So, by the the time Catarina de Bragan├ža goes to England, to become queen, our contry already existed for about 300 years, at least - and think that 300 years it´s not very recent.

  2. I probably should have stated it as re-recognized. I wasn't looking at it from the standpoint of it being created as a country. I was thinking about how from 1580-1640 Portugal was ruled by the King of Spain and then Catherine of Braganza's father was proclaimed King of Portugal after some unrest. I believe that after that there were some issues with other countries and the Pope recognizing its break from Spain. Sorry about that.

  3. I simply adore CharlesII- so you've got me glued-in!

  4. Dolleygurl
    You're right about the problems with the Pope, and the Restauration of the Monarchy in Portugal, since Catherine could not even get married in Portugal(by proxy) because the Pope would still not recognize it as Independent from Spain well into the reign of Afonso VI, her brother. She also intruduced to England the fan, porcelain and eating with a fork.


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