25 thoughts on “Ranking Catherine of Aragon on Screen

  1. The 1970s “Six Wives” has some problems, being a classic BBC production, all filmed indoors in the same sets, & some of the costumes are very gold lame & plastic pearls (which shows more on today’s HD TV than they prob. did when originally broadcast), but the casting & acting is AMAZING. Each queen is spot on & Henry is so right in all stages.

    It’s on Netflix, so ppl, go watch it now!

    1. I agree that much of the casting was excellent in that series. Amongst the wives, Annette Crosbie definitely ticked all of the boxes when it came to her physical resemblance and the way in which she chose to portray the part. Amongst the wives though, I have to say that I hard a hard time accepting Dorothy Tutin in the role of Anne Boleyn. Her acting was acceptable and she certainly possessed the physical attributes according to Anne’s contemporaries, but I just found her too old looking to be convincing in the role. The actress was about 40 years old and I actually thought she was older than that. Anne was roughly 35 years old when she was executed. Of course, the lighting they used was not the most flattering, but even then, the wrinkles were very evident.

  2. Have you read Garrett Mattingly’s bio of Catherine of Aragon? It’s wonderfully written and he definitely shows Catalina as far more than just a bitter wronged wife. Mattingly also puts her story in political perspective internationally, not just from the English political point of view. Highly recommended!

  3. Thank you for posting this. I’ve often said that if one of the boys had lived, we’d talk about Henry and Catherine as one of the great royal love stories. Personally, I’d like to see a miniseries that starts with Catherine’s marriage to Arthur, and lets us see how she and Henry fell in love, and then how their marriage slowly fell apart. Of course, as s friend pointed out, if you did that people would want to throw rocks at Anne Boleyn when she showed up.

    1. I would LOVE to see that! Plus, you could also get into the whole Catherine and Arthur thing. Philippa Gregory tried this in one of her novels, but it wasn’t very good (typical!).

  4. Hi! Long time follower, first time poster here.
    Just a small correction: Juana was the older sister, not Catalina (who was the baby of all of Isabel and Fernando’s children, who go like this: 1. Isabel 2. Juan 3. Juana 4. María 5. Catalina)
    Also, if you ever get access to it, I dearly recommend you the Spanish TV series “Isabel” about the life of Catalina’s mother, Isabel de Castilla. It’s three seasons and Catalina only appears in a few episodes of the last season, but the choice of casting (a young actress called Natalia Rodríguez) is pretty much excellent.
    Here you have a side by side comparison of two portraits of Catalina and two screencaps: http://38.media.tumblr.com/0fc6d58a562ff2a0a57c6b5923e3d44d/tumblr_ndtixui8Ok1ro4t7go1_500.jpg
    Overall it’s a highly recommendable series, pretty accurate historically speaking and with a pretty solid cast. Also, the costuming is pretty much excellent considering it was done on a budget and reused a lot of costumes from other historical productions.

    1. Thanks for the birth order correction! I would LOVE to see a series about Isabella. I’ll see if I can track it down!

      1. As far as I see (cannot access to the videos from Spain) this website is hosting season 1 and 2 with subtitles (with the permission of TVE aka the channel that has broadcasted it here in Spain)
        http://www.dramafever.com/es/drama/4315/Isabel_-_Season_2/ (Yep those are Isabel and Fernando)

        Here are some promo pictures from season 2:

        (Including some members of the Castilian Court, Boabdil of Granada and his mum Aixa, Beltrán de la Cueva (the hot, bloodied guy that is being pointed at with a sword), and yep, that guy in the picture just before the trailer is who you think he is.

        Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

        Also, they are preparing another show about the life of Charles V, which promises to be more historically accurate than that movie starring Adrien Brody as the very same Charles that is also in the works.

  5. I could never for the life of me find the 1972 “Henry VIII and his Six Wives” movie, but all the stills I’ve seen make me think I might like it.

  6. Hi! I just discover your website and it’s amazing! I love Catalina de Aragon (I’m spanish, so if I have some mistake, sorry) but, you should watch the TV series ‘Isabel’, it takes the live of Isabella of Castile, mother of Catherine and I must say that in last season it’s about the marriage of her children and Catherine it’s blonde (quite amazing for what I say). Thanks you

  7. Thanks for your commentary on Catherine of Aragon. Really enjoyed reading it and I totally agree with your assessment. In fact, I just watched Annette Crosbie in the role this evening and you’re right – she fit perfectly. Nothing against the other actresses, but when it came down to physical characteristics, Crosbie was definitely the winner. She was also very believable in her portrayal of one of the most endearing and tragic queens in English history.

  8. Hello, I found actually another actress who played Catherine of Aragon; Adrienne Byrne in “The Shadow of the Tower” (BBC 1972). She also has red-fair hair and bright skin. In this series she is shown with her just married husband Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (one episode).
    Here are some good pictures of her:
    I think she’s the most historically accurate actress playing Catherine.

  9. Thank you, thank you! As a fair skinned, red haired, green eyed woman of Castillian decent it really frosts my flakes that Catherine is portraited as looking old and well, mexican. She is also shown looking decades older than Henry, when in fact the age difference was 7 years.
    I would love for a biopic to show her as more than the long suffering wife being wronged and focus on her political savy. If she had been more cold hearted she could have continued to rule from the shadows while Anne was used as a brood mare. Or, if she disliked Anne that much, another girl of her choosing to be Henry’s baby maker. Because if she agreed to retire to a convent and allow a divorce contingent on Henry not wedding Anne, he would have agreed to disolve the marriage.

  10. To be fair to Wolf Hall, there is a part where Worsley talks about Catherine’s red hair. Perhaps they thought the actress’ own hair wouldn’t show from beneath the hood. Still, not as poor a casting as some of the Others…

  11. I’ve always believed the Sittow portrait to be of Katherine rather tha Mary, because of the Ks in her necklace….signing her name, Katherine tended to spell it with a K rather than a C.

  12. I like how the 1970s programs ACTUALLY took the time to research and get Queen Catherine right!! Like I saw Juana la Loca and they even got Juana wrong like her and Catherine were the only ones out of Isabella’s children that resembled their mother and didn’t have the contemporary Spanish looks. Spain……SPAIN of all people couldn’t get Catherine or Juana right.

  13. It’s almost like the shows get Catherine and Anne’s looks reversed: Catherine is shown with darker hair/skin/eyes when it was really the other way around.

  14. I’m here now because I’m mildly curious about where Charlotte Hope of the PFG Spanish Princess series falls — I’m guessing right around Maria Kennedy Doyle, bc while they did try for an actress who looks like Catalina looked, the writing is just…no.

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