Catherine of Braganza

Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1662 to 1685 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Catherine of Braganza (Portuguese: Catarina de Bragança; 25 November 1638 – 31 December 1705) was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland during her marriage to King Charles II, which lasted from 21 May 1662 until his death on 6 February 1685. She was the daughter of John IV of Portugal, who became the first king from the House of Braganza in 1640 after overthrowing the 60–year rule of the Spanish Habsburgs over Portugal and restoring the Portuguese throne which had first been created in 1143. Catherine served as regent of Portugal during the absence of her brother Peter II in 1701 and during 1704–1705, after her return to her homeland as a widow.

Quick facts: Catherine of Braganza, Queen consort of Engla...
Catherine of Braganza
Portrait of Catherine in her twenty-seventh year
Portrait by Peter Lely, c.1663–65
Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland
Tenure21 May 1662 – 6 February 1685
Born(1638-11-25)25 November 1638
Palace of Vila Viçosa, Vila Viçosa, Portugal
Died31 December 1705(1705-12-31) (aged 67)
Bemposta Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
(m. 1662; died 1685)
FatherJohn IV of Portugal
MotherLuisa de Guzmán
Religion Roman Catholicism
SignatureCatherine of Braganza's signature

Owing to her devotion to the Roman Catholic faith in which she had been raised, Catherine was unpopular in England.[1] She was a special object of attack by the inventors of the Popish Plot. In 1678 the murder of Edmund Berry Godfrey was ascribed to her servants, and Titus Oates accused her of an intention to poison the king. These charges, the absurdity of which was soon shown by cross-examination, nevertheless placed Catherine for some time in great danger. On 28 November 1678, Oates accused Catherine of high treason, and the English House of Commons passed an order for the removal of her and of all Roman Catholics from the Palace of Whitehall. Several further depositions were made against her, and in June 1679 it was decided that she should stand trial, which threat however was lifted by the king's intervention, for which she later showed him much gratitude.

Catherine produced no heirs for Charles, having suffered three miscarriages.[1] Her husband kept many mistresses, most notably Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, whom Catherine was forced to accept as one of her Ladies of the Bedchamber.[2] By his mistresses, Charles fathered many children, whom he acknowledged.

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