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Catherine of Aragon's pregnancy

June 1518

Catherine of Aragon's pregnancy

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  • Intro

    Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was pregnant six times, but only one baby survived: Mary, born in 1516. This letter was written by Henry VIII to Cardinal Wolsey, two years after Mary's birth, while Catherine was pregnant for the last time.  He writes: ‘I trust the quene my wyfe be with chylde’ (‘I trust the Queen, my wife, be with child’).

     

    No doubt remembering past unhappy experiences, Henry adds, ‘My lord I wrytt thys unto nott as a ensuryd thyng, but as athyng wherin I have grette hoppe and lyklyodes’ (‘My Lord, I write this not as a certain thing, but as a thing in which I have great hope and likelihood.’) Henry was eager for a male heir, but the child was in fact a girl, and she died shortly after her birth.  

  • Transcript

    Henry VIII to Cardinal Wolsey

    In present day English:

     

    My lord cardinal, I recommend unto you as heartily as I can, and I am right glad to hear of your good health, which I pray God may long continue. So it is that I have received your letters, to the which (by cause they ask long writing) I have made answer by my secretary. Two things there be which be so secret that they cause me at this time to write to you myself; the one is that I trust the queen my wife be with child; the other is chief cause why I am sloth to repair to London ward, by cause about this time is partly of her dangerous times, and by cause of that, I would remove her as little as I may now. My lord, I write thus unto you, not as an ensured thing, but as a thing wherein I have great hope and likelihood, and by cause I do well know that this thing will be comfortable to you to understand; therefore, I do write it unto you at this time. No more to you at this time, nisi quod Deus velit inceptum opus bene finire. Written with the hand of your loving prince,

     

    HENRY R.

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