Many would agree that the question “what if?” is painfully negative and should generally be avoided. But the fact is human beings have the unique ability to reflect and meditate. Therefore, for this simple reason I will comment on a few “what if?”scenarios regarding England’s famous Queen Katherine of Aragon.
1). What if Prince Arthur never died? No doubt Katherine’s life would have been vastly different because Arthur was a completely different personality to that of Henry the 8th. But it is also important to consider that Katherine’s mother in law Queen Elizabeth of York probably would not have died early trying to give birth to another heir. This means that 16 year year old Katherine would likely have been encouraged to be an even more quiet and submissive queen following her mother in law’s footsteps.
Further, even if Katherine ended up losing many children in death as was the case with Henry it is more likely Arthur would have named Mary Tudor as his heir instead of divorcing Katherine.
2). What if Katherine went back to Spain after Arthur died? Katherine likely would have married again but this time to a lower ranking European royal family. The fact was she was still a prize due to her parentage and youth. But now being a widow it would have likely diminished her value on the royal marriage market. Not to mention the on-going issues regarding her dowry.
3). What if Katherine gave birth to a son prior to Arthur’s death? Realistically this is the only situation that would have given Katherine any measure of security in England. Her future prospects rested heavily on giving birth to a royal heir. But ironically even this situation may still have lead her into a marriage with Henry the 8th.
Because Henry may not have wanted to live in the shadow of his young nephew as he had already done so with his older brother Arthur. He may have wanted to marry Katherine in order to rule England through his young nephew. And to have his own son with Katherine as his heir in the event Arthur’s son died early. Needless, to say things may still have gotten very complicated.
4). What if Katherine agreed to divorce Henry the 8th? Quite simply, Henry may never have broken from Rome. Which means an entire series of major world events may have been severely altered. I feel that this is the biggest “what if?” of all especially when we consider how the decision of one woman, and a foreigner at that, had the ability to transform world events.
That is why I feel that asking the question “what if?” is not engaging in hopeless speculation, but truly understanding how decisions and events have not only affected our past, but can even help determine our future!
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