By , .

Biographies and Portraits

Catherine of Braganza (also referred to by Wheatley as Katherine of Braganza) was the queen consort to King Charles II. Detailed web biographies are located at the following websites: 1911 Encyclopedia, BBC, Queens’ Royal Surrey Regiment and Wikipedia. Perhaps her most famous portrait is the one by Dirk Stoop, which is believed to be the portrait that Charles II saw of a very young Catherine prior to their marriage. Catherine is displayed here at a youthful age most likely around the time that Sam first saw her. The beautiful Jacob Huysman portrait depicts Catherine as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, presenting her image as a faithful servant of God whose devotion to her Catholic religion was unwavering. The National Portrait Gallery includes a collection of other portraits of Catherine over her lifetime.

Queen Catherine in the Diary

Throughout the Diary, Queen Catherine is someone that Sam hears of, perhaps sees from afar on occasion, but doesn’t directly interact with. Regardless of his distance from Catherine, his observations and reports of the Court gossip surrounding the Queen and the Court of Charles II have provided priceless insight into her life, and the world in which she lived. Sam first writes of Catherine’s contemplated arrival when he hears privately from Lord Sandwich that he has been made an Embassador by King Charles II in order to bring the Queen over from Portugal. Sam records assorted details of her life ranging from her 17 October 1661 pre-arrival dietary change in status afforded to her in her homeland, “now that the Infanta is become our Queen, she is come to have a whole hen or goose to her table, which is not ordinary” ; excitement over her arrival “At night, all the bells of the town rung, and bonfires made for the joy of the Queen’s arrival, who came and landed at Portsmouth last night”; the horribly upsetting Bedchamber Incident and his first actual sight of Catherine when Mr. Pierce

took me into Somersett House and there carried me into the Queen-Mother’s presence-chamber, where she was with our own Queen sitting on her left hand (whom I did never see before); and though she be not very charming, yet she hath a good, modest, and innocent look, which is pleasing…The King and Queen were very merry; and he would have made the Queen-Mother believe that his Queen was with child, and said that she said so. And the young Queen answered, “You lye;” which was the first English word that I ever heard her say which made the King good sport; and he would have taught her to say in English, “Confess and be hanged.” The company being gone I walked home with great content as I can be in for seeing the greatest rarity…

Sam also writes, with mixed feelings, of the neglect that Catherine felt living with a Libertine husband whose ongoing involvement with his mistress Lady Castlemaine and desire for the lovely Frances Stuart, were a sad and constant struggle for Catherine.

Sam expresses the Court’s hopes for Catherine to fulfill her role and bring forth a royal heir on both 9 Oct 1662 and again on 7 June 1663 when he shares the gossip that “Mrs. Turner, who is often at Court, do tell me to-day that for certain the Queen hath much changed her humour, and is become very pleasant and sociable as any; and they say is with child, or believed to be so.” After these fruitless attempts to carry a child, Sam notes the Queens’ visit to Tunbridge to take the waters. Sam details the weeks of harrowing illness that the Queen endured in October 1663, which nearly killed her. His writing records the early years of a marriage marred with a husband’s infidelity and neglect and a young Queen’s hopes at fulfilling her role in spite of the Court around her.

Outside of the Diary

Sam’s Diary offers rich insights into the life of this very devout, sadly neglected, yet dignified woman, and offers substance to the words of Lillias Campbell Davidson, Queen Catherine’s biographer who explains in the preface to Catherine’s biography that:

The court of the second Charles of England fluttered with dazzling and frivolous beauties. They obscured the softer light of other women who boasted only such trite and gentle virtues as womanliness, the fear of God, modesty, honesty and truth. Queen Catherine’s contemporaries detested her for her creed and her piety, for her uselessness as a political tool, for her bitter misfortune of childlessness, for the stumbling block that she innocently formed to their greed and ambition. They have left her portrait to posterity painted in malignant colours. They drew her hideous, repulsive fool, too dull to be wicked, to narrow and prudish to have a heart. It is time that the blots should be sponged from the picture. Catherine lived in her husband’s court as Lot lived in Sodom. She did justly, and loved mercy, and walked humbly with her God in the midst of a seething corruption and iniquity only equaled, perhaps, in the history of Imperial Rome. She loved righteousness and her fellows, and, above all, the one man who won her heart on the day of her marriage, and kept it till the grave shut over her. She was one of the best and purest women who ever shared the throne of England. She had equal qualities of head and heart, and both were beyond the average. It has been a pleasant and wholesome labor to trace her blameless life, and to unfold the wrappings that have long hidden the character refined and ennobled by much unnecessary suffering.

Surprisingly, and somewhat sad are the two places that Sam’s life and that of the Queens’ overlapped long after he ceased to write in his Diary. First, both Sam and Queen Catherine became targets of the Popish Plots, although the charges were unrelated to each other. Luckily for both, after each experienced a frightening set-up and horrifying scrutiny, they each emerged innocent of any of the false charges filed against them. By far, the most touching link between the two will take place as both have moved on in years and have poignantly felt the bittersweet lessons that life and maturity have afforded them . Upon her return to Lisbon many years after the death of her husband, Catherine’s biographer Lillias Campbell Davidson (p 481), tells us that:

Those who had esteemed her and loved her in the country she had left, did not now forget her. In 1700 Pepys wrote to his nephew in Portugal to wait on Lady Tuke, and if the honour of kissing the hand of the Queen-Dowager were offered him, to be sure to present to that royal lady, whom Pepys held in great honour, his profoundest duty.

Perhaps the greatest honour that Sam afforded Catherine was to present her to history, in her humanness, within the pages of his Diary. For more comments and interesting discussion about Queen Catherine please refer to the annotations below (where some of the links set forth herein have been drawn from).

Further Resources

Biographies and related non-fiction about Catherine are listed below. These books tend to be rare and may be available through your local library (with the help of the research department) or are sometimes available through the used book search.

  • Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest, (volume numbers vary depending upon edition) by Agnes Strickland
  • Catherine of Braganza, Princess of Portugal, Wife of Charles II by Manual Andrade Sousa
  • Catherine of Braganza by Janet Mackay
  • Catherine of Braganza, Infanta of Portugal and Queen Consort of England by Lillias Campbell Davidson
  • Catherine of Braganza by Hebe Elsna
  • Catarina de Braganca by Augusto Casimiro (Portuguese)
  • D. Catarina de Braganca, rainha de Inglaterra by Virginia Rau (Portuguese)
  • Richer Than Spices by Gertrude Z. Thomas (related to her dowry)
  • King’s Wife by Robert Gray (this may be available on Amazon, and also features a section on Charles II’s mother, Queen Henrietta Marie)

Additional Background


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 10 June 2024 at 4:11AM.

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
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureCatherine of Braganza's signature

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.

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.

Early life and family

The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza, in Vila Viçosa.
Infanta Catherine of Portugal by Dirk Stoop, 1660–1661

Catherine was born at the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa as the second surviving daughter of John, 8th Duke of Braganza, and his wife, Luisa de Guzmán.[3] Following the Portuguese Restoration War, her father was acclaimed King John IV of Portugal on 1 December 1640. With her father's new position as one of Europe's most important monarchs, Portugal then possessing the widespread colonial Portuguese Empire, Catherine became a prime choice for a wife for European royalty, and she was proposed as a bride for John of Austria, the duc de Beaufort, Louis XIV of France and Charles II of England. The consideration for the final choice was due to her being seen as a useful conduit for contracting an alliance between Portugal and England after the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659, in which Portugal was arguably abandoned by France. Despite her country's ongoing struggle with Spain, Catherine enjoyed a happy, contented childhood in her beloved Lisbon.

Commonly regarded as the power behind the throne, Queen Luisa was also a devoted mother who took an active interest in her children's upbringing and personally supervised her daughter's education. Catherine is believed to have spent most of her youth in a convent close by the royal palace where she remained under the watchful eye of her protective mother. It appears to have been a very sheltered upbringing, with one contemporary remarking that Catherine, "was bred hugely retired" and "hath hardly been ten times out of the palace in her life".[4] Catherine's older sister Joana, Princess of Beira, died in 1653, leaving Catherine as the eldest surviving child of her parents. Her husband was chosen by Luisa, who acted as regent of her country following her husband's death in 1656.[1]


Negotiations for the marriage began during the reign of King Charles I and were renewed immediately after the Restoration. On 23 June 1661, in spite of Spanish opposition, the marriage contract was signed. England secured Tangier (in North Africa) and the Seven Islands of Bombay (in India), trading privileges in Brazil and the Portuguese East Indies, religious and commercial freedom for English residents in Portugal, and two million Portuguese crowns (about £300,000). In return, Portugal obtained English military and naval support (which would prove to be decisive) in her fight against Spain, as well as liberty of worship for Catherine.[5] She arrived at Portsmouth on the evening of 13–14 May 1662,[5] but was not visited there by Charles until 20 May. The following day the couple were married at Portsmouth in two ceremonies – a Catholic one conducted in secret, followed by a public Anglican service.[5]

Catherine of Braganza departs Lisbon from the Palace Square, 23 April 1662.

On 30 September 1662, the married couple entered London as part of a large procession, which included the Portuguese delegation and many members of the court. There were also minstrels and musicians, among them ten playing shawms and twelve playing Portuguese bagpipes, those being the new Queen's favourite instruments. The procession continued over a large bridge, especially designed and built for the occasion, which led into the palace where Henrietta Maria, the Queen Mother, waited along with the English court and nobility. This was followed by feasting and firework displays.

Catherine possessed several good qualities, but had been brought up in a convent, secluded from the world, and was scarcely a wife Charles would have chosen for himself. Her mother-in-law, the Queen Mother, was pleased with her, and wrote that she is "the best creature in the world, from whom I have so much affection, I have the joy to see the King love her extremely. She is a Saint!" In reality, her marriage was plagued by infidelities on Charles's side.[6]

Little is known of Catherine's own thoughts on the match. While her mother plotted to secure an alliance with England and thus support Portugal's fight for independence, and her future husband celebrated his restoration by dallying with his mistresses, Catherine's time had been spent in the sombre seclusion of her convent home, with little opportunity for fun or frivolity. Even outside the convent, her actions were governed by the strict etiquette of the royal court of Portugal. By all accounts, Catherine grew into a quiet, even-tempered young woman.

Catherine became pregnant and miscarried at least three times, and during a severe illness in 1663, she imagined, for a time, that 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, and though Charles continued to have children by his many mistresses, he insisted she be treated with respect, and sided with her against his mistresses when he felt that she was not receiving due respect. After her three miscarriages, it seemed to be more and more unlikely that the queen would bear an heir. Royal advisors urged the monarch to seek a divorce, hoping that the new wife would be Protestant and fertile – but Charles refused. This eventually led to her being made a target by courtiers.[1] Throughout his reign, Charles firmly dismissed the idea of divorcing Catherine, and she remained faithful to Charles throughout their marriage.

Queen consort (1662–1685)

King Charles II and Queen Catherine of Braganza

Catherine was not a particularly popular choice of queen, since she was a Roman Catholic.[1] 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.

Queen Catherine as St Catherine of Alexandria, by Jacob Huysmans

Although her difficulties with the English language persisted, as time went on, the once rigidly formal Portuguese Infanta mellowed and began to enjoy some of the more innocent pleasures of the court. She loved to play cards and shocked devout Protestants by playing on Sundays. She enjoyed dancing and took great delight in organising masques. She had a great love for the countryside and picnics; fishing and archery were also favourite pastimes. In 1670, on a trip to Audley End with her ladies-in-waiting, the once chronically shy Catherine attended a country fair disguised as a village maiden, but was soon discovered and, due to the large crowds, forced to make a hasty retreat.[7] And when in 1664 her favourite painter, Jacob Huysmans, a Flemish Catholic, painted her as St Catherine, it promptly set a trend among court ladies.[4]

She did not involve herself in English politics, instead she kept up an active interest in her native country. Anxious to re-establish good relations with the pope and perhaps gain recognition for Portuguese independence, she sent Richard Bellings, later her principal secretary, to Rome with letters for the pope and several cardinals. In 1669 she involved herself in the last-ditch effort to relieve Candia in Crete, which was under siege by the Ottoman Empire and whose cause Rome was promoting, although she failed to persuade her husband to take any action. In 1670, as a sign of her rising favour with the then-new Pope Clement X, she requested and was granted devotional objects.[4] The same year, Charles II ordered the building of a Royal yacht HMY Saudadoes for her, used for pleasure trips on the River Thames and to maintain communications with the Queen's homeland of Portugal, making the journey twice.[8]

Catherine fainted when Charles's official mistress, Barbara Palmer was presented to her. Charles insisted on making Palmer Catherine's Lady of the Bedchamber.[9] After this incident, Catherine withdrew from spending time with the king, declaring she would return to Portugal rather than openly accept the arrangement with Palmer. Clarendon failed to convince her to change her mind. Charles then dismissed nearly all the members of Catherine's Portuguese retinue, after which she stopped actively resisting, which pleased the king, however she participated very little in court life and activities.[10]


Though known to keep her faith a private matter, her religion and proximity to the king made her the target of anti-Catholic sentiment. Catherine occupied herself with her faith. Her piety was widely known and was a characteristic in his wife that the King greatly admired; in his letters to his sister, Catherine's devoutness is described almost with awe. Her household contained between four and six priests, and in 1665, Catherine decided to build a religious house east of St James's to be occupied by thirteen Portuguese Franciscans of the order of St Peter of Alcantara. It was completed by 1667 and would become known as The Friary.[4]

Queen Catherine as a Shepherdess, by Jacob Huysmans

In 1675 the stress of a possible revival of the divorce project indirectly led to another illness, which Catherine's physicians claimed and her husband cannot fail to have noted, was "due as much to mental as physical causes". In the same year, all Irish and English Catholic priests were ordered to leave the country, which left Catherine dependent upon foreign priests. As increasingly harsher measures were put in place against Catholics, Catherine appointed her close friend and adviser, the devoutly Catholic Francisco de Mello, former Portuguese Ambassador to England, as her lord chamberlain. It was an unusual and controversial move but "wishing to please Catherine and perhaps demonstrate the futility of moves for divorce, the King granted his permission. De Mello was dismissed the following year for ordering the printing of a Catholic book, leaving the beleaguered Catherine even more isolated at court".[4] One consolation was that Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, who replaced Barbara Palmer as reigning mistress, always treated the Queen with proper deference; the Queen in return showed her gratitude by using her own influence to protect Louise during the Popish Plot.

Popish plot

The Test Act 1673 had driven all Catholics out of public office, and anti-Catholic feelings intensified in the years to come. Although she was not active in religious politics, in 1675 Catherine was criticised for supposedly supporting the idea of appointing a bishop to England who, it was hoped, would resolve the internal disputes of Catholics. Critics also noted the fact that, despite orders to the contrary, English Catholics attended her private chapel.

As the highest-ranking Catholic in the country, Catherine was an obvious target for Protestant extremists, and it was hardly surprising that the Popish Plot of 1678 would directly threaten her position. However, Catherine was completely secure in her husband's favour ("she could never do anything wicked, and it would be a horrible thing to abandon her" he told Gilbert Burnet), and the House of Lords, most of whom knew her and liked her, refused by an overwhelming majority to impeach her.[4] Relations between the royal couple became notably warmer: Catherine wrote of Charles's "wonderful kindness" to her and it was noted that his visits to her quarters became longer and more frequent.

After Charles's death

During Charles's final illness in 1685, she showed anxiety about his reconciliation with the Roman Catholic faith, and she exhibited great grief at his death. When he lay dying in 1685, he asked for Catherine, but she sent a message asking that her presence be excused and "to beg his pardon if she had offended him all his life." He answered, "Alas poor woman! she asks for my pardon? I beg hers with all my heart; take her back that answer."[11] Later in the same year, she unsuccessfully interceded with James II for the life of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, Charles's illegitimate son and leader of the Monmouth Rebellion – 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,[12] through the reign of James and his deposition in the Glorious Revolution by William III and Mary II. She remained in England partly because of a protracted lawsuit against her former Lord Chamberlain, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, over money that she claimed as part of her allowance and that he claimed was part of the perquisite of his office. Catherine's fondness for money is one of the more unexpected features of her character: her brother-in-law James, who was himself notably avaricious, remarked that she always drove a hard bargain.

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.

According to Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, in her widowhood she secretly married his relation Louis de Duras, 2nd Earl of Feversham, despite the earl being a lifelong Protestant.[13]

Back in Portugal

Her nephew Dom João Prince of Brazil.

She finally returned to Portugal in March 1692.

In 1703, she supported the Methuen Treaty between Portugal and England. She acted as regent for her brother, Peter II, in 1701 and 1704–05. Catherine was a mentor for her nephew, Dom João Prince of Brazil, from 1706 on the Portuguese Sun King (o Rei-Sol Português). His reign saw the rise of Portugal and its monarchy to new levels of prosperity, wealth, and prestige among European courts.

She died at the Bemposta Palace in Lisbon on 31 December 1705 and was buried at the Pantheon of the House of Braganza.


The quarter-scale bronze model installed in 1998 in northeastern Lisbon

Catherine's marriage had an important result for the later history of India and of the British Empire. Charles II rented the Seven Islands of Bombay, part of her dowry, to the East India Company which moved its Presidency there – resulting in Bombay/Mumbai eventually growing to become one of the main cities of India.

Catherine is often credited with popularizing tea drinking in Britain, which was uncommon in her time.[14][15] Beyond tea, her arrival brought and promulgated goods such as cane, lacquer, cottons, and porcelain and so revolutionized taste, manners, craftsmanship, and history in both England and America.[16]

Queens, a borough of New York City, was supposedly named after Catherine of Braganza since she was queen when Queens County was established in 1683. Queens' naming is consistent with those of Kings County (the borough of Brooklyn, originally named after her husband, King Charles II) and Richmond County (the borough of Staten Island, named after his illegitimate son, the 1st Duke of Richmond).[17][18][19] However, there is no historical evidence that Queens County was named in her honour, neither is there a document from the time proclaiming it so. Some written histories of Queens skip over the monarch entirely and make no mention of her.[20]

After the tri-centennial of the establishment of Queens County in 1983, the Portuguese-American "Friends of Queen Catherine" society began raising money to erect a 35-foot statue of Queen Catherine on the East River waterfront in Long Island City. Audrey Flack was hired by the society to serve as the sculptor of the proposed statue, and the project received support from several notable public figures in New York City, including Claire Shulman and Donald Trump. However, the project was well into development when opposition to the statue arose from multiple parties; historians objected to the statue on the grounds that there was no evidence that Queens was actually named after her, and thought that the location of the proposed statue was misplaced. Meanwhile, the African-American Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church opposed plans for the statue after allegations that Queen Catherine and the House of Braganza had profited from the slave trade emerged, while Irish-Americans in Queens were upset that the proposed statue would eclipse the Calvary Cemetery, which had been established for the Irish immigrant community in the United States. As a result of this public opposition, Shulman was forced to withdraw her support, and the statue was never erected.[21][22] A quarter-scale model survives at the site of Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal, facing west across the Atlantic.

Catherine Street, formerly Brydges Street, in central London is named after her.[23]

Novelists, notably Margaret Campbell Barnes in With All My Heart, Jean Plaidy in her Charles II trilogy and Susanna Gregory in her Thomas Chaloner mystery novels, usually portray the Queen in a sympathetic light. So did Alison Macleod in her 1976 biography of the queen, The Portingale and Isabel Stilwell in her 2008 historical novel Catherine of Braganza – The courage of a Portuguese Infanta who became Queen of England.


The royal arms of the British monarch are impaled with the royal arms of her father. For supporters, she used the crowned lion of England on the dexter side, and on the sinister, the wyvern Vert of Portugal.[24]

Catherine's coat of arms as queen consort of England


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Kenneth J. Panton; Kenneth John Panton (24 February 2011). Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Scarecrow Press. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-0-8108-5779-7. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  2. ^ Herman (2005, p. 61)
  3. ^ Laufer (1999, p. 83)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Heidi Murphy. "Biographies of Great Men & Women of England, Wales and Scotland". Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Wynne, S. M. (2004). "Catherine (1638–1705)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4894. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Herman (2005, pp. 58–59)
  7. ^ HMC 6th Report (Sir H. Ingilby) (London, 1877), pp. 367–368.
  8. ^ Madge, Tim (1997). Royal Yachts of the World. East Molesey: Thomas Reed. ISBN 0901281743
  9. ^ Herman (2005, p. 60)
  10. ^ Herman (2005, pp. 61–62)
  11. ^ Laufer (1999, p. 83)
  12. ^ British empire; British isles (1856). The land we live in ... the British Islands. pp. 157–. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  13. ^ "C'est celle avec qui le comte de Feversham, frère des maréchaux de Duras et de Lorges, était si bien qu'on ne douta pas qu'il ne l'eût épousée dans l'intervalle de la mort de Charles II et de son départ." (It is she with whom the Earl of Feversham, brother of the marshals de Duras and de Lorges, got on so well that there was little doubt he had married her in the time between the death of Charles II and her going away) Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon. "VIII". Mémoires. Vol. 1. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Catherine of Braganza", UK Tea Council. Retrieved 1 March 2013
  15. ^ Martin, Laura C (2007). Tea: the drink that changed the world. Catherine of Braganza: Tuttle Publishing. pp. 120–123. ISBN 978-0-8048-3724-8.
  16. ^ Thomas, Gertrude Z. (1965). Richer than spices; how a royal bride's dowry introduced cane, lacquer, cottons, tea, and porcelain to England, and so revolutionized taste, manners, craftsmanship, and history in both England and America. New York: Knopf.
  17. ^ Adrian Room (2006). Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites. McFarland. p. 308. ISBN 978-0-7864-2248-7. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  18. ^ Jason D. Antos (2009). Queens. Arcadia Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7385-6308-4. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  19. ^ Jane Mushabac; Angela Wigan; Museum of the City of New York (1999). A Short and Remarkable History of New York City. Fordham Univ Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8232-1985-8. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  20. ^ More, James F. (2003). The History of Queens County. Ontario: Global Heritage Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1894378789.
  21. ^ New York Times, 11 October 1990 and 9 January 1998.
  22. ^ Catherine Of Braganza: The Fall Of A Queen Archived 19 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Queens Tribune
  23. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 130.
  24. ^ Pinches, John Harvey; Pinches, Rosemary (1974), The Royal Heraldry of England, Heraldry Today, Slough, Buckinghamshire: Hollen Street Press, p. 181, ISBN 0-900455-25-X

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Catherine of Braganza". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


Further reading

External links

1893 text

Katherine of Braganza, daughter of John IV. of Portugal, born 1638, married to Charles II., May 21st, 1662. After the death of the king she lived for some time at Somerset House, and then returned to Portugal, of which country she became Regent in 1704 on the retirement of her brother Don Pedro. She died December 31st, 1705.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

37 Annotations

First Reading

Emilio  •  Link

Wife of Charles II, daughter of the man who regained control of Portugal after 50 years of Spanish rule, and the "Queen" that the New York borough is named for--she was in the middle of quite a few interesting events. She herself, however, lived much of here early life in a convent, and was only out a handful of times before her marriage.

This site has lots of details about her:… .

Pedro.  •  Link

Catherine before Charles.
Looking in the Portuguese language for info about Catarina de Braganca (at pesent anyway)that there has been no mention of an arrangement before 1660.
However it appears that, even before the age of 8, there were negotiations for a marriage to D.Joao of Austria the natural son of Filipe IV of Spain.
Later ideas about a marriage with the Duque de Beaufort, grandson of Henrique IV.
Also a proposal by Cardinal Mazarin of marriage to Luis XIV of France. All of course fell through.
(Appologies if something is lost in translation)

Pedro.  •  Link

(Jeannine)Books On Catherine

Unfortunately Jeannine is completely right in her comments above. As Catarina spent a number of years in England, Portuguese writers would not have known much about her time here. However, some of the books have references to sources used, and they may be useful in disregarding some of the fiction.

Emilio mentions in this first annotation the New York connection, and others have told of the controversy of the revival of the statue in Queens.…

This led me to Portuguese site for information with a Portuguese angle. It appears that the author of the biography Manual Souza, mentioned by Jeannine, was associated with the

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705). Daughter of Juan IV, King of Portugal 1640-56, and from 1662, wife of Charles II. Unequipped by nature or upbringing to play any part in public affairs, she remained to the end a very private person. She had to suffer exile and the neglect and infidelities of her husband. In the end Charles came to respect her and stoutly defended her against the attacks made on her during the Popish Plot. She amused herself with cards and music, and consoled herself with her religion.

She took over Somerset House when Henrietta-Maria left Elgland in 1665 and as a widow lived both there and at the nunnery she had founded at Hammersmith. She left England in 1692 to spend her last years in Portugal, where she acted as Regent to her brother Pedro in 1704-5.

Jeannine  •  Link

Thanks to Pedro for the poems and the commentary about the controversy, which still exists today. I've read several articles or book excerpts that basically rip Catherine apart. A section on Edward Montague in "The Way of the Montagues" by Bernard Falk was EXTREMELY mean spirited and "The King's Wife" by Robert Gray was also quite negative, while "Royal Survivor" by Stephen Coote practically made her invisible.

On the flip side, Antonia Fraser's "King Charles II", Derek Wilson's "All the King's Women", Manual Sousa's "Catherine of Braganza..." ( a biography)along with Agnes Strickland's "Lives of Queens" (another biography)presented a more factual, kinder and dignified picture.

What is true in all writing about her (good or bad)is that Catherine was pious, unquestionable faithful (which can not be said about ANY of his mistresses), simple in nature and totally unprepared for the morally depraved husband and court that he surrounded himself with and forced her to live with. She was basically imprisioned, ridiculed, neglected and alone.

Also of interesting character note is that she was the ONLY person in Charles's life that NEVER betrayed him or carried a hidden agenda in her dealings with him(like his friends, mistresses or even his beloved sister Henrietta who had conflciting ties with Louis XIV). Even after years of neglect when she did have the chance to return to Portugal (during the Popish polts) she stood behind him,risking her own life in doing so, which was to HIS benefit politically, while Nell and Louise (his mistresses) openly betrayed him (and were of course forgiven).

The only light hearted and uplifting book is by Count de Gramont who actually lived during this time. His "Memoirs of the Courts of Europe --Court of Charles II" recorded the soap opera antics around him and painted a pathetically comical picture of Charles and his court, which although it would have been wonderful reality TV today, must have been awful for any person with even the slightest intelligence and/ or moral character to survive. After reading this it made the thought of moving into a exile (ie. Catherine's solo move to Somerset from about 1671-1678 about 10 years into her marriage) look pretty appealing.

Pedro.  •  Link

On July 2nd 1661, Charles sends letter to Catarina.

"London, 2d of July, 1661. MY LADY AND WIFE,"

"Already the ambassador has set off for Lisbon; for me the signing of
the marriage has been great happiness; and there is about to be
dispatched at this time, after him, one of my servants, charged with
what would appear necessary, whereby may be declared on my part the
inexpressible joy of this felicitous conclusion, which, when received,
will hasten the coming of your majesty."

"I am going to make a short progress into some of my provinces. In the
mean time, while I am going further from my most sovereign good, yet
I do not complain as to whither I go; seeking in vain tranquility in
my restlessness, looking to see the beloved person of your majesty in
these realms already your own; and that with the same anxiety with
which, after my long banishment, I desired to see myself within them,
and my subjects desiring also to behold me among them. The presence
of your serenity is only wanting to unite us, under the protection of
God, in the health and content I desire.

"The very faithful husband of her majesty, whose hand he kisses.

The letter was addressed

"To the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN, my wife and lady, whom God preserve."
"London, 2d of July, 1661. MY LADY AND WIFE,"

History of Charles II by Jacob Abbott

Jeannine  •  Link

Biographies on Catherine

I was able to locate 3 of the actual "Biographies" on Catherine, which are rare and out of print, but only 2 are worth the read.

The first, by Lillias Campbell Davidson, called "Catherine of Braganca, infanta of Portugal & queen consort of England" is referenced in almost all other books and biographies about her since it came out in 1908. It is very thorough (500+ pages), kind hearted yet factual in it's approach to both Catherine and Charles and includes about 80 or so of her letters back and forth to her brother Pedro, and her last will and testament, which give a feel for her "voice" --something which all of the other books about her seem to lack. The dedication itself is lovely and reads "To the people of Portugal who gave their princess throughout her life love, loyalty, devotion and by who in her death she is not forgotten". An interesting quote from one of her letters to Pedro (page 467)starts out "Supposing God is everywhere, yet He is as much forgoten here as if that were not so"...which sums up most of her life experience in England.

The second by Janet Mackay is "Catherine of Braganza" published in 1937. Not as long as the other biography but factual and not open to too much "poetic license" or biased interpretation. It covers a lot of key points that other authors (historical fiction) have obviously drawn on in their writings about Catherine.

The third by Hebe Elsna, "Catherine of Bragana" seemed more like a historical fiction as there was more interpretation of character, etc. On this I'd pass.

Finally as mentioned above in an earlier note, the books by Manual Sousa "Catherine of Braganza: Princess of Portugal Wife of Charles II" and the Agnes Strickland series "Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest" (volume numbers vary) are worth searching for too.

In the US these and other books about Catherine, (some in Portugese, which I can't read myself), are available through the Library of Congress Online Catalog at…
If you do a keyword search on her name, it will pull up listing of the biographies and the fiction. From there I took the listing to my local town library and had the reference librarian do her magic thing ~~ she was able to take the information and find all 3 books I was interested in through a local search tool. The 3 books were all in different local university libraries. They then send for them. A little work, but worth the effort AND FREE!

In the UK the British Library at has a service where you can search and then either have the book sent to your local library or the London reference room (depends on the book). If you are interested, they have a department called articles direct that will actually copy a book and send it to you for a fee--please note, the copying costs won't kill you, but the copyright costs, assessed per chapter, possibly could --so get a quote before hand if you go this option.

Happy reading!

Pedro Ornelas  •  Link

Here's a web page (in Portuguese) on Catarina de Bragan

Pedro  •  Link

The Marriage Treaty.

Below is information (from Virginia Rau's biography), that I do not think we have had access to before.

1. England had wanted to take charge of Tangier before the marriage took place. Freedom of Religion would be granted to those Portuguese that stayed on.

2. The handover of Bombay would not only be a commercial advantage, but would allow the English a base from which to defend the Portuguese traders.

3. Portugal ceded all the fortresses and markets that England could recuperate from the Dutch and that had belonged to Portugal. Except that of the Port of Mascate (Now the capital of Oman, and the Portuguese had seized it in the early 1500

Jeannine  •  Link

Background on the Queen

Jeannine  •  Link

Catherine's marriage to Charles was critical to the independence of Portugal so as Donna Luisa negotiated this deal she promised Charles a large sum of money. When Sandwich arrived to collect the sums Donna Luisa admitted to him that most of the money was gone. Although she had the money to begin with, she had spent most of it when the Spanish army began invading Portugal. She was only able to pay half of the sum. At this time she was taking a huge chance that Sandwich would accept the offer (and Sandwich was taking a huge career chance by accepting the offer), but accept he did, and Portugal owed him immensely for this decision. When Catherine entered the ship Donna Luisa filled it with teas, spices, her jewelery, or anything she could find to fill the void of the money owed. She was desperate to have this marriage consummated. The small sum of gold that Catherine had for Sandwich was all that she had to give. Also, this can

Jeannine  •  Link

Catherine's family.

Pepys says on May 24, 1662

Jeannine  •  Link

Notes on the wedding of Charles and Catherine.
Charles and Catherine actually got married twice but Pepys wouldn

Jeannine  •  Link

Letters from Catherine's Mother Luisa.
In the Portuguese book, "Dona Catarina de Braganca" (currently being translated by Pedro) the author Augusto Casimiro expands upon the work of her previous biographers, providing insights not only into the life of Catherine, but also Portuguese-English political climate, the Portuguese culture and her family relations. Casimiro's biography includes family letters, currently housed in the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon. The following letters by Queen Regent Luisa to Catherine and her son-in-law King Charles II (written in her distinct version of old world Spanish and as translated by Dirk) touch on the private side of Catherine's departure to England and the private sadness behind the highly formal and stoic departure of Catherine from her family and reveal a side of her mother Luisa not publicly seen. In addition, the letter to Charles perhaps touches on a world-wise mother's instinct to protect her sheltered daughter from heartache, and has an almost haunting foreboding of the difficulties to come, as Charles, with his appetite for women always looked to the physical as opposed to the soul.

dirk  •  Link

The first letter is dated the 24th April, after Luisa has said her goodbye to her daughter. She watches from the Palace windows where she can see the Tejo river and the fleet. The fleet was held up for a day, and she must have given her brothers permission to go over and see Catarina again. In the evening they arranged a great party on the river in her tribute.

My Catarina and all I have,

Such is my misfortune that I even had to watch you enter that ship in which you left me, from these windows that ever since I have looked through so often.

Praise be to God if it be His will that I miss so much so badly, and do not even find it in me to ask Him for patience... So necessary for me since what I have to do is so contrary to my nature.

And be assured, my daughter, that I miss you so much that, were I not confined to this prison, it seems I myself would follow you, but [?] I act with care and stay away from extremes, as you well know. I ask you, for all my love, that you try to find pleasure as well you can, and see if you have need of anything, or of something which they advise you may be missing in your Kingdom - so that I can gladly send it to you.

Your brothers are very sad and Pedro has been weeping a lot overhere. They asked for my permission to go and see you, and I gave it with much envy and in the knowledge that such a consolation was not for me to expect.

I hope all will assist you well and I entrust them with this charge, [?] in memory of my Catarina, whom God may protect as He see fit.

You Mother who loves you so much,

The Queen

Note: I inserted "[?]" at some places in the translation of this letter - and the two to follow - where the meaning of the original Spanish was not unambiguously clear or where marginally different interpretations of the original could lead to slight differences in translation. These minor difficulties arise mainly from "odd" informal use of the language and almost total lack of punctuation, and are generally not important for the understanding of the contents.

(Feel free to mail me for the original text in "old" Spanish...)

dirk  •  Link

The second letter is dated 25th April.

My Catarina, light of my eyes,

I am better at feeling sadness than at telling you about it. I do not know whether this is because I am trying not to show my sadness to others, but I have to tell you that I love you and that my worst torture is the loneliness that remained when you left, which is only broken by moments of profound resignation [?].

And I have done what you told me and always sleep in a hood. And I have been told that you have everything you need, but you know that I care very much, so let me know when there is anything you have need of, so that I may send it off without delay, for I do not know what this might be, and do let me know if there is anything that you like - for everything is yours, child of my soul.

You know of my many duties, and I have been busy at night with so many letters that I have not been able to reply to yours. Nor can I tell you how much I regret the impertinencies they will impose on you. You will just have to answer that "the application of justice is not in my hand", and "that I cannot reply without consulting the ministers."

God guard you, my child, and give you His blessing, for I go now and ask for it, and I am grateful that the convent [?] has been so considerate as to exempt me from all other exercises to allow me to do this. I want you to know that I have had the Bishop of Targa send you his blessing through the window.

Your mother who adores you,

The Queen

dirk  •  Link

The date of the third letter is not clear, but may be 25th so as to depart with the fleet.

My Lord and son,

At last Your Majesty has taken away my heart, and this with such gentleness, that I will freely tell Your Majesty of the sorrow in which I find myself now that my daughter has left. And I hope that she will be onto Your Majesty a fair companion, and better, if you look deep into her soul, rather than at her person, where you will find that among other virtues, she has brightness, seriousness, and judgment without artificiality, capable of pleasing such a generous soul as Your Majesty's. And time will show that Your Majesty has not only gained a wife to be, but also a mother.

That God lead her into your arms [or: into your sight], Your Majesty, and that he may bring me the good news I need to dry my tears. And that it may please Your Majesty that I now have two children, and that I have the same love for both, and offer not part but all of it to Your Majesty.

God guard Your Majesty for as many years as He see fit.

This mother who loves you very much.

Luisa, The Queen

The dates given for these three letters are of course according to the continental, Gregorian calendar. For the British equivalent, substract 10 days.

Pedro  •  Link

Poems, Catarina and tea.

In a previous entry, in the above list, I had found two poems showing the view of Catarina, against and for

Ruben  •  Link

the first adress cited by Pedro for a portrait last year is not available whitout registering. (something I refrain from doing)
David cites the NPG were we can see small reproductions.
You can see a better reproduction of the most known portrait at:…
But the sweetest is the one Pedro posted last October: a young princess full of life.

dirk  •  Link

Dancing, balls & Queen Catherine

"Sinais de controvérsia: D. Catarina de Bragança em dois poemas seiscentistas ingleses", by the Portuguese author Maria da Conceição Emiliano Castel-Branco, discusses “The Queen’s Ball”, a satirical poem from 1670, by Andrew Marvell (?):

"The court of Charles II was a cosmopolitan affair, full of life, overly mundane, very different from the more reserved, to some extent antiquated and clerical court that Catarina had left behind. Theatre, music, dance were the preferred forms of entertainment. In an attempt to conform with the King and his subjects, who loved these activities, the Queen even went so far as to take dancing lessons, organized balls and even danced herself. All this led to a lot of criticism from the puritans, who blamed D. Catarina not only for being a papist (as they called catholics in England at the time) but even worse: a frivolous papist.

The base of this poem is the ever present duality between appearance and reality: [...] the Queen is referred to in superlatives (“great Queen”; “Fairy Queen”) thus apparently expressing sympathy and approval; but this approach is replaced further on by less favourable references to the Queen, using strong vocabulary, biting and cruel (“Reform [...] the errors of your youth”; “pug”; “puppet Queen”). The poet notes also that she had to dance in order to be noticed (“You must dance, and dance damnably to be seen”), but she is then criticized further for dancing like a gnome, a shame to humanity (“Ill natur’d little goblin, and design’d/ For nothing but to dance and vex mankind”) and an outright dissapointment (“You can the most aspiring thoughts pull down,/For who would have his wife to have his crown?”)."

The poem:

"The Queen’s Ball"

Reform, great Queen, the errors of your youth,
And hear a thing you never heard, call’d truth:
Poor private balls content the Fairy Queen;
You must dance, and dance damnably, to be seen.
Ill-natur’d little goblin, and design’d
For nothing but to dance and vex mankind,
What wiser thing could our great Monarch do
Than root ambition out by showing you?
You can the most aspiring thoughts pull down,
For who would have his wife to have his crown?
With a white vizard you may cheat our eyes;
You know a black one would be no disguise.
See in her mouth a sparkling diamond shine!
The first good thing that e’er came from that mine.
Heav’n some great curse upon that hand dispense,
That for th’increase of mischief sent her hence!
How gracefully she moves and strives to lug
A weight of riches that might sink the pug!
Such fruits ne’er loaded so deform’d a tree:
Her jewels may be match’d, but never she.
If bold Actæon in the waves had seen
In fair Diana’s room our puppet Queen,
He would have fled and in his full career,
For greater haste, have wish’d himself a deer,
Preferr’d the bellies of his dogs to hers,
And thought’em the more cleanly sepulchres.
What stupid madman would not choose to have
The settl’d rest and silence of a grave
Rather than such a hell, which always burns,
And from whom Nature forbids all returns?
Ormonde looks paler now than when he rid:
Your visit frights him more than Tyburn did.
Fear of your coming does not only make
Worcester’s wise Marquis but his house to shake.
What will be next unless you mean to go
And dance among your fellow-fiends below?
There, as upon the Stygian Lake you float,
You may o’erset and sink the laden boat,
While we the funeral rites devoutly pay,
And dance for joy that you’re danced away.…

[The translation from Portuguese is my own.]

Emre  •  Link

I think one would do well to remember the relative positions of Henriette Marie (q. of Charles I) and Catherine. One spent 10 years building up enmity at Court, in Parliament and in the country; the other spent 10 years building up goodwill. It is interesting to note that during the second Test Act that the Queen's household was exempted; moreover, this was not from respect for her as a foreign princess. I do not have access to parliamentary records now, but it would be well to look into them again. They read like a vindication of her behaviour. She might have been unsuited to life at the Restoration Court, but her very "unsuitedness" what saved her (in the late 1670s and early 1680s) and her husband a great deal of grief. Can anyone imagine the situation in England in 1680 if Henriette Marie had been queen?!

Dave  •  Link

Can Catherine be connected to the Azores? I have traced the Freitas Family (very common name)back to 1700 in the Azores (San Jorge). Then it stops abruptly. My suspicion is that her return to Portugal is related to the immigration of the Freitas name to the Azores, perhaps from the Low Countries or from England. (Much like the Duchess of Burgundy in the 15th C.) So far I have found little factual support for this thesis.

Joseph  •  Link

Emre you raised a very interesting point. Can you give any more details about the parliamentary records?

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

The manners of this princess, especially at her first appearance at court, retained a strong tincture of the convent; and were but ill formed to please, much less to reclaim, the polite and dissolute Charles. She at first rejected the English dress, and the attendance of English ladies; and chose to appear in the formal habit of her own country, and be attended by her duegnas, whose persons were the scorn and the jest of every courtier. She, for some time, carried herself towards the royal mistress with all the disdain which she thought became her dignity and virtue: but when she saw that the king was resolved to retain her, she suddenly fell into the other extreme, and treated her with such excessive affability and condescension, as lost the little esteem he had for her. The first years of her marriage were rendered unhappy by almost every passion that could disturb a female mind. At length, every spark of conjugal affection seemed to be extinguished, and she sunk into all the tranquillity of indifference.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

CATHERINE of Braganza (1638-1705), queen of Charles II; born at Villa Vicosa; her father king of Portugal in 1640; her education utterly neglected; marriage with Charles, prince of Wales, proposed for her by her father, 1645; renewed proposals made by the Portuguese for her marriage with Charles II, May 1660; proposals opposed by the Spanish party, on the ground of her probable barrenness; the match determined upon by Charles II, acting under French influence, November 1660-March 1661; formal intimation of the match well received in England and enthusiastically in Portugal; marriage treaty signed, 23 June 1661; Catherine sailing for England, 28 April 1662, and reaching Portsmouth, 13 May; privately married, 21 May; arrived at Hampton Court, 29 May; compelled by Charles to receive at court his mistress, Lady Castlemaine, July; arrived at Whitehall, 23 Aug.; submissively accepted Charles IIs infidelities; showed kindness to his illegitimate children, and lived mostly at Somerset House, and not at court, being often in great poverty through non-payment of her allowances; tried to obtain from the pope recognition of Portuguese independence, 1662; seriously ill, October 1663; kept court in Oxford during the plague of London, 1665-6; proposals rumoured for dissolution of her marriage on account of her childlessness, 1667-70; complaints made of the concourse of English people to her chapel services, 1667; went a progress in the eastern counties, 1671; assailed by the whigs as privy to the 'popish plot,' 1678-680, but protected by Charles; attended the Oxford parliament, 1681; again abandoned by Charles for the Duchess of Portsmouth; instrumental in securing Charles II's deathbed profession of Romanism, February 1685; afterwards lived in retirement at Somerset House and Hammersmith; vainly begged James II to spare Monmouth; present at the birth of the Prince of Wales, 10 June 1688; gave evidence as to his legitimacy before the council; tried to recover damages from Henry, earl of Clarendon, her late chamberlain, for negligence in money matters; visited by William of Orange, but soon quarrelled with both William and Mary; travelled through France and Spain, reaching Lisbon, January 1693; resided near Lisbon; regent for her brother Pedro, 1704-5; favoured Italian music; unpopular in consequence of her ignorance of affairs, her haughtiness to her household, and her parsimony.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Catharine of Portugal, was daughter of John IV. and wife of Charles II. of England whom she married 1661. She was treated with unkindness by the licentious Charles, and after his death she returned to Portugal, where she was made regent during the imbecile state of her brother Peter. She conquered the Spaniards, and died 1705. Age 67.
---Universal biography. J. Lemprière, 1810.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Does anyone know why we call the Queen "Catherine of Braganza," and not Catherine of Portugal? Jaoa VI was King of Portugal and she was the Infanta of Portugal when they wed.

It's Anne of Austria, Katherine of Aragon, Mary of Modena, Anne of Cleves ... I believe the Duke of Edinburgh is Philip of Greece.

Mary K  •  Link

I assume that she's so named for her familial house. Cf. Henry Plantagenet, Henry Tudor etc. Her father was the first Braganza ruler of Portugal after the overthrow of the Spanish Hapsburgs and they were doubtless proud of the Braganza name as a result.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Catherine of Braganza's family:

Alfonso VI (King of Portugal) -- her infirm older brother, who became king at 10…

Peter II of Portugal (Regent, 1668-1683) -- her clever younger brother…

Luisa de Guzmán (Queen-Mother) -- her wily mother…

Pepys never mentions Alfonso's and Peter's mutual wife, Queen Catherine's influential sister-in-law:

Louis XIV's cousin, Dona Maria Francisca of Savoy, Mademoiselle d'Aumale, first became Queen of Portugal at the age of 20 on the day of her proxy marriage to Alfonso VI in June, 1666. Upon her arrival in Portugal, she became known as Maria Francisca Isabel de Sabóia. Because the marriage was never consummated, she was able to obtain an annulment in January 1668.

On 28 March, 1668, Maria Francisca Isabel de Sabóia married Alfonso VI's brother, the Infante Peter [Pedro], Duke of Beja, who was appointed Prince Regent the same year due to Alfonso's incompetence.

The poor Mademoiselle who endured these indignities was part of Louis XIV's policy of boxing in Spain, which went well until Peter [Pedro] II sided with William III in the 18th century. But by then Maria Francisca was long gone.

I've put more about her contributions to the angst of the age in her husbands' pages.……

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Charles II was repeatedly encouraged to divorce Catherine, in order to find a wife who could give him a legitimate heir. For whatever reason[s] he never did it, and protected Catherine from the mob.

One reason Charles may have resisted was because nothing existed like the divorces we enjoy today. This article outlines the history of trying to end a marriage in the late 16th and early 17th century:


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In May, 1669 Cosmo, later the Grand Duke of Turin, visited London and left us a report on the structure of Queen Catherine's Court.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

The court of the reigning queen is not so full of officers as that of the king; still there is no want of splendor or magnificence, in which it is almost on an equality with the latter; and to support it, the queen has a yearly income of 40,000/.s sterling, which the king pays her as her appanage in addition to 20,000/.s sterling which his majesty reserves to pay the inferior services of her table, and of the stables.

Her chapel is provided with a sufficient number of ministers, under the direction of the Grand Almoner, Philip Howard.…

For the civil management of her court, her majesty has a council composed of persons oY rank and consequence; who are:
Viscount Carbery, Lord Chamberlain.
[My guess is John Vaughan (1639 - 1713), who became the 3rd Earl of Carbery.… ]

Viscount Brouncker, Keeper of the Great Seal.
[A busy man. William, 2nd Viscount Brouncker… ]]

Sir [RALPH] Montagu, Head Master of the Horse.…

My Lord Hollis, Superintendent of the Household.
[There are quite a few MPs named Holles, but none of them mentioned holding this post.]

Sir [WILLIAM] Killigrew, Chamberlain.…

Sir [JOHN] Hervey, MP, Treasurer. https://www.historyofparliamenton…

Sir [RICHARD] Bellings, Secretary of Memorials.…

Mr. [WILLIAM] Montagu, Purveyor-General. https://www.historyofparliamenton…

Mr. Kingsman, Auditor-General.
[According to this book, his name was H. Kinnesman, but that’s equally unhelpful. https://courtofficers.ctsdh.luc.e… ]

Sir [HENRY] Hyde.…

Sir [ROBERT] Atkyns, Solicitor-General. https://www.historyofparliamenton…


Sir Slingsby.

Mr. Marryot, Secretary to the Council, and Actuary of the Court of Chancery, &c.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Of her majesty's ladies, the first lady of honor is the Countess of Suffolk,
[Lady Barbara Villiers Wenman Wentworth Howard, Countess of Suffolk… ]

the rest being those who keep the keys of the queen's chamber, and wait at table when she eats privately with the king: they are called Ladies of the Bedchamber; and are
the Duchess of Buckingham, Mary Fairfax Villiers…

the Duchess of Richmond, Mary Stuart,…

the Countess of Castlemaine, Barbara Villiers Palmer.…

the Countess of Falmouth, Mary Bagot Berkeley…

the Countess of Bath, Rachel Fane.…

and my Lady Howard, all married women.

She has also some young unmarried ladies, who live under the direction of Mrs. Sanderson; they are four in number, Miss Wells, Miss Carew, Miss Price, and Miss Baynton: there are also other ladies, to each of whom a specific charge is assigned.




The service of the privy chamber is performed by 16 gentlemen, and as many pages, besides numerous other officers of the wardrobe, and of the great chamber;
and, for the service of the table, there are 2 cup-bearers, 2 carvers, and 2 squires, all persons of condition.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

During Cosmo's visit, he frequently attended Queen Catherine in the late afternoons for something equivalent to 17th century Happy Hour for the Court. She was pregnant at the time, and taking it easy in her apartments:

... and, in the evening, for the first time, to Whitehall, to the queen's cabinet, where the king was the whole time, and a great part of it, the Duke of York also, with whom (after talking with the queen) his highness conversed.

That chamber of the queen's apartments, which is contiguous to the bed-chamber, is called the closet; it is furnished with sky blue damask, corresponding with the other, with divisions of gold lace; it is lighted up in the evening by chandeliers, which are suspended from the roof; and is then used as a place of amusement for their majesties, and therefore they go into it every evening (unless particularly prevented) from the other apartments.


The queen sits in front of the door, and enters into conversation with the ladies that happen to be there, who form a circle round her majesty, standing, and discourse on different subjects.

The ambassadresses are very often present. The ladies of the other ministers, resident at this court, and more frequently than any other, the wife of the envoy of Portugal, Habreu, as she is of the same country with her majesty; neither was the entertainment confined to the ladies, but gentlemen were admitted, both natives and foreigners (besides the representatives of sovereign princes) without any other formality than a respectful obeisance to their majesties.

The king and the duke are frequently seen there, seeking relief from more weighty cares, and divesting themselves awhile of the restraint of royalty; sometimes standing, sometimes walking through the apartment, they make themselves familiar with everyone, talking indifferently both to the public ministers and the private gentlemen, of the news of the day, and on any other subject, provided it be unconnected with business and state-affairs; those topics being always reserved for a proper and seasonable time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In this closet, in order to lessen the formality practiced at other courts, and also on account of the incog., which he wished to be observed inviolably, his highness appeared at different times as in the third place, according to his agreement with Monsieur Colbert, ambassador of France; with the Count di Molina, ambassador of Spain; with the ambassador of Venice, Mocenigo; the resident of Sweden, Brachman; and the envoy of Portugal, Habreu; who were the ministers resident, at that time, at the court of England, where was also expected shortly, the arrival of the resident of the States of Holland.


In Cosmo's travelogue, “incognito” is generally shortened to "incog." and I think the meaning was "unofficial, informal", as opposed to "having one's true identity concealed" which is today's definition.

I think that being in the third place means that it had been agreed in advance that Cosmo would place himself behind the Ambassadors, as they are on official business, whereas he was on vacation. As nobility, if it had been an official visit, he would arguably be in second place. Charles II was always in first place.

Cosmo's citation is as above.

Third Reading

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.