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Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza

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Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

.

She married the king in 1662. In the beginning of her tenure as queen consort, she was not popular with the English people, due to her Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 religion and inability to speak the English language. The port cities of Tangier and Bombay
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 were part of her dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

.

As none of her pregnancies produced surviving offspring, the throne passed to Charles' brother James, Duke of York
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

. Her husband kept many mistresses and fathered numerous illegitimate offspring which he acknowledged.

Early life



Infanta Catarina of Portugal (or of Braganza) was born in Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 195.0 km² and a total population of 8,745 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the District of Évora....

 as the second surviving daughter of John IV of Portugal
John IV of Portugal
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...

 (at the time Duke of Braganza
Duke of Braganza
The title Duke of Braganza in the House of Braganza is one of the most important titles in the peerage of Portugal. Since the House of Braganza acceded to the throne of Portugal in 1640, the male heir of the Portuguese Crown was known as the Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil until 1822, or...

) and his wife, Luisa de Guzmán
Luisa of Medina-Sidonia
Luisa Maria Francisca of Guzman was a Queen consort of Portugal. She was the spouse of King John IV, the first Braganza ruler, as well as the mother of two Kings of Portugal and a Queen of England...

, a daughter of the duke of Medina-Sidonia. Through her mother, Catherine was a 3rd great granddaughter of Saint Francis Borgia. Although she was raised in a convent, Catherine's upbringing and education were closely supervised by her mother.

Following the restoration of the Portuguese Royal House
House of Braganza
The Most Serene House of Braganza , an important Portuguese noble family, ruled the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial Empire, from 1640 to 1910...

, and her father's accession to the throne on 1 December 1640, she was proposed as a bride for John of Austria
John of Austria the Younger
John of Austria was a Spanish general and political figure. He was the only natural son of Philip IV of Spain to be acknowledged by the King and trained for military command and political administration...

, François de Vendôme, duc de Beaufort, Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 and Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

. She was seen as a useful conduit for contracting an alliance between Portugal and England, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees
Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

 in 1659 in which Portugal was arguably abandoned by France. Upon Charles's restoration to the English throne in 1660, Catherine's mother reopened negotiations with his counsellors, and a marriage treaty was signed 23 June 1661.

As queen consort



She was married by proxy
Proxy marriage
A proxy wedding or is a wedding in which the bride or groom is not physically present, usually being represented instead by another person...

 in Lisbon on 23 April 1662. After arriving in Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 on 14 May 1662, the couple were married in two more ceremonies – a Catholic one conducted in secret, followed by a public Anglican service – on 21 May at Domus Dei
Domus Dei
Domus Dei was an almshouse and hospice established in 1212 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK by Pierre des Roches, Bishop of Winchester....

 now known as the Royal Garrison Church at Portsmouth. Catherine married at the age of 23.

Her large dowry brought the port cities of Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

 and Bombay (now Mumbai) to British control. The former had only a transitory significance, but the latter had a major lasting influence on the development of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and the History of India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, as the British would develop Bombay - which had only 10,000 inhabitants under the Portuguese - into a major centre of commerce.

At the time, she was not a particularly popular choice of queen, being Roman Catholic, and her religion prevented her from being crowned, as Roman Catholics were forbidden to take part in Anglican services. She initially faced hardships due to the language barrier, the king's infidelities and the political conflicts between Roman Catholics and Anglicans. Over time, her quiet decorum, loyalty and genuine affection for Charles changed the public's perception of her.

Catherine became pregnant and miscarried at least twice, and during a severe illness in 1663, she thought, for a time, she had given birth. Charles comforted her by telling her she had indeed given birth to two sons and a daughter. Her position was a difficult one, as Charles continued to have children by his many mistresses, but insisted she be treated with respect, and sided with her over his mistresses when he felt she was not receiving the respect she was due.

Throughout his reign, he firmly dismissed the idea of divorcing Catherine, even when Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 exerted pressure to beget or declare a Protestant successor.

Though known to keep her faith a private matter, her religion and proximity to the king made her the target of anti-Catholic
Anti-Catholicism
Anti-Catholicism is a generic term for discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed against Catholicism, and especially against the Catholic Church, its clergy or its adherents...

 sentiment. In 1678, the murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey
Edmund Berry Godfrey
Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was an English magistrate whose mysterious death caused anti-Catholic uproar in England...

 was ascribed to several of her servants. In November of the same year she was accused by Titus Oates
Titus Oates
Titus Oates was an English perjurer who fabricated the "Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II.-Early life:...

, an instigator of the "Popish Plot
Popish Plot
The Popish Plot was a fictitious conspiracy concocted by Titus Oates that gripped England, Wales and Scotland in Anti-Catholic hysteria between 1678 and 1681. Oates alleged that there existed an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, accusations that led to the execution of at...

", of being part of a conspiracy to poison the king, even though Charles himself disbelieved the entirety of the plot. Although both the evidence in her case and the Popish Plot were later discovered to be fabrications, the House of Commons voted unsuccessfully for an address calling for the Queen and her household to be banished from Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

. In 1679 she was defended against the allegations by the king himself.

Later years


At Charles' final illness in 1685 she showed anxiety for his reconciliation with the Roman Catholic faith, and exhibited great grief at his death. Later in the same year, she unsuccessfully interceded with James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 for the life of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

, Charles's illegitimate son and leader of the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
The Monmouth Rebellion,The Revolt of the West or The West Country rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was a Roman Catholic, and some...

 - even though Monmouth in rebellion had called upon the support represented by the staunch Protestants opposed to the Catholic Church.

Catherine remained in England, living at Somerset House
Somerset House
Somerset House is a large building situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, England, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The central block of the Neoclassical building, the outstanding project of the architect Sir William Chambers, dates from 1776–96. It...

, through the reign of James and his deposition in the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 by William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 and Mary II
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

.

Initially on good terms with William and Mary, her position deteriorated as the practice of her religion led to misunderstandings and increasing isolation. A bill was introduced to Parliament to limit the number of Catherine's Catholic servants, and she was warned not to agitate against the government. She finally returned to Portugal in March 1692.

She supported the Treaty of Methuen in 1703 with England and acted as regent for her brother, Peter II, in 1701 and 1704-05. She died at the Bemposta Palace
Bemposta Palace
The Bemposta Palace , also known as the Paço da Rainha , is a neoclassical palace originally ordered built by the Dowager-Queen Catherine of Braganza after returning to Lisbon, in the area of Bemposta, now the civil parish of Pena...

 in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 on 31 December 1705 and was buried at the Jerónimos Monastery
Jerónimos Monastery
The Hieronymites Monastery is located near the shore of the parish of Belém, in the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal...

, in Belém
Santa Maria de Belém
Santa Maria de Belém, or just Belém , whose name is derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem, is a civil parish of the municipality of Lisbon, in central Portugal...

, Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

.


Historical and cultural impact


Catherine introduced the custom of drinking tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 in Britain, a custom that was already very popular among the Portuguese nobility at the time. The tea had been imported to Portugal from the Portuguese possessions in Asia as well as through the trade Portuguese merchants maintained with China and Japan.

According to the Museum Director of the house of Braganza, it was not only drinking tea but "High Tea" at 5:00 pm (some people believe it to be at 4:00 pm) which is still a Portuguese tradition. Catherine also introduced the fork
Fork
As a piece of cutlery or kitchenware, a fork is a tool consisting of a handle with several narrow tines on one end. The fork, as an eating utensil, has been a feature primarily of the West, whereas in East Asia chopsticks have been more prevalent...

 to the dining tables of England.

Although some have claimed that Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, a borough of New York City, was named after Catherine of Braganza, her name is not mentioned in the first 200 years of historical documents that have been preserved in the county archives. She was, however, queen when Queens County
Queens County
Queens County or Queen's County is the name of:*Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada*Queens County, Nova Scotia, Canada*Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada** former Queen's County...

 was established, alongside Kings County
Kings County
-Canada:*Kings County, New Brunswick*Kings County, Nova Scotia*Kings County, Prince Edward Island and the related King's County -United States of America:*Kings County, California...

 (Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

) in 1683. Kings County was named for her husband, King Charles II.

Because it was alleged that the Queen and her family had profited from the slave trade, a recent effort to build a 10 m (33 ft)-tall statue in her honour in Queens was defeated by local African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, Irish-American and community groups. A quarter-scale model survives at the site of Expo '98
Expo '98
Expo '98 was an official specialised World's Fair held in Lisbon, Portugal from Friday, May 22 to Wednesday, September 30, 1998. The theme of the fair was "The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future," chosen in part to commemorate 500 years of Portuguese discoveries...

, in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal, facing Queens across the Atlantic.

Titles, styles and arms



Titles and styles

  • 25 November 1638–1 December 1640: Dona
    Don (honorific)
    Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

     Catarina de Bragança
  • 1 December 1640–17 November 1653: Her Highness The Infanta Dona Catarina
  • 17 November 1653–23 April 1662: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Beira
  • 23 April 1662–6 February 1685: Her Majesty The Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland
  • 6 February 1685–31 December 1705: Her Majesty The Queen Dowager of England, Scotland and Ireland

Arms


The Royal Coat of Arms of England, Scotland and Ireland
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

 are impaled with the Royal arms
Coat of arms of Portugal
The coat of arms of Portugal was officially adopted on 30 June 1911, along with the republican flag of Portugal. It is based on the coat of arms used by the Portuguese Kingdom since the Middle Ages.-History and meaning:...

 of her father John IV of Portugal
John IV of Portugal
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...

. The arms consisted of "Argent, five escutcheons in cross Azure, each charged with as many plates in saltire Argent, all with a bordure Gules charged with seven castles Or (Portugal)". For supporters she used the crowned Lion of England on the dexter side, and on the sinister used "a dragon Vert, as in the Royal Arms of Portugal".

Ancestry





External links

  • Britannia.com Catherine of Braganza
  • Wynne, S. M. Catherine (1638–1705), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman, January 2008. (accessed November 26, 2010)

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