Tomb of Catherine of Aragon - Peterborough Cathedral
Catherine (1485 - 1536) was the youngest surviving daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. She was betrothed when she was three to Henry VII eldest son Arthur Tudor who was two. The pair married in November 1501, but five months later Arthur died suddenly in April 1502 at Ludlow Castle. After Arthur's death negotiations took place to arrange a marriage between Catherine and Arthur's brother Henry. During these negotiations Henry VII started to put up obstacles and delayed payment of a dowry as thought that he could arrange a better match for his son. The young Henry and Catherine, however, grew closer together and Henry married her secretly on the death of his father in 1509.
However, Catherine was unable to give birth to a son, and by 1525 Henry had become convinced that the failure to produce a son was punishment for having married his brother's wife. Henry started proceedings to obtain a divorce which eventually lead to the break from Rome and the establishment of the Church of England.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer ruled that marriage between Henry and Cartherine was invalid at Dunstable Abbey on the 23rd of May 1533. After the divorce Catherine was stripped of her previous royal titles, and referred to as the Dowager Princess of Wales due to her marriage to Arthur. In 1535 she was moved to Kimbolton Castle where she lived in one room, leaving only for mass, and dressed in the hair shirt of the Order of St. Francis. She died on January 7th 1536.
Her burial at Peterborough Abbey was as the Dowager Princess of Wales, rather than as Queen. Henry did not attend the funeral and did not allow her daughter Mary to attend either. In the early part of the 20th century, the grandmother of Elizabeth II, Mary of Teck, ordered that the trappings of Queenship be hung above her grave. There is some suggestion that Peterborough Abbey was designated as a Cathedral in 1541 as a memorial to Catherine.