1638 (25th November)
Catherine of Braganza was born to John, Duke of Braganza and his wife, Luisa de Guzman, at the Palace of Vila Vicosa in Portugal. At the time Portugal and Spain were under one rule.
1640 (1st December)
Following a rebellion led by Catherine’s father against the rule of Spain, he became King John IV of Portugal.
King Charles I
of England suggested a marriage between his son, Charles
and Catherine. Negotiations between England and Portugal began but were ended with the outbreak of the English Civil War.
Catherine began her education and her lessons were supervised by her mother. She lived a fairly sheltered life either in a nearby convent or in the royal palace.
1643 (21st August)
Catherine’s brother Alfonso was born to John, Duke of Braganza and his wife, Luisa de Guzman.
1653 (17th November)
Catherine’s elder sister, Joana, died
1656 (6th November)
Catherine’s father, John IV of Portugal, died. Her brother Alfonso became King Alfonso VI. Catherine’s mother was regent because Alfonso was only 13 years old.
In England it was suggested that negotiations with Portugal for a marriage between King Charles II and Catherine of Braganza be reopened. The idea was not popular in England due to Catherine being a Catholic but the negotiations went ahead.
1661 (23rd June)
The marriage treaty with Portugal finally agreed the marriage of Catherine to King Charles II. England was to receive Tangiers in North Africa, the Seven Islands of Bombay as well as trading rights in Brazil and the East Indies as well as a £300,000 cash payment. In return England would provide military support for Portugal in its war with Spain. Catherine, who was a Catholic, would be allowed freedom of worship. Charles took little part in the negotiations and was totally disinterested in the marriage other than for its political value.
1662 (23rd April)
Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II of England by proxy in Lisbon.
1662 (14th May)
Catherine of Braganza arrived in England. However, Charles was not present to welcome his future bride.
1662 (20th May)
King Charles finally came to visit Catherine at Portsmouth.
1662 (21st May)
Charles married Catherine of Braganza who was a Catholic in a secret private Catholic ceremony and a public Anglican ceremony.
Henry Hyde was appointed Catherine’s Private Secretary.
Catherine soon realised that Charles would not be a faithful husband and that he had a number of mistresses. She also found court life difficult since she did not speak English.
Catherine was furious when Charles appointed his mistress, Barbara Palmer, as Lady of the Bedchamber. When she protested he sent most of her Portuguese attendants back to Portugal. Catherine eventually had to endure the appointment.
Catherine of Braganza suffered a miscarriage.
Catherine was taken seriously ill and for a time it was thought she may not recover. Charles sat at her bedside often during her illness.
The artist Jacob Huysmans painted Catherine as Saint Catherine.
Catherine ordered a religious house to be built to the east of St James’s Palace.
Catherine suffered a bout of illness possibly caused by stress of not producing an heir for Charles and the possibility that he may divorce her.
Henry Hyde was appointed Catherine’s Lord Chamberlain.
Catherine and Charles left London for Salisbury to escape the Great Plague
Catherine of Braganza was delivered of a stillborn child at Oxford.
1666 (late February)
The religious house ordered by Catherine in 1665 was completed. It was occupied by 13 Portuguese Franciscan monks and became known as the Friary.
1668 (7th May)
Catherine of Braganza was delivered of a stillborn child.
Catherine tried to persuade Charles to take action against the Turks who had laid siege to Candia, in Crete.
1669 (7th June)
Catherine of Braganza was delivered of a stillborn child.
The Pope sent Catherine a number of religious devotion items.
Charles ordered a yacht to be built for Catherine. Catherine enjoyed trips on the Thames as well as two journeys to Portugal on board Her Majesty’s Yacht Saubadoes
Catherine and Charles went on a tour of England.
This act stated that anyone in public office had to swear an oath of allegiance and could not be a Catholic.
An order that all Irish and English Catholic priests should leave the country left Catherine without a priest. She appointed Catholic Portuguese Francisco de Mello as her Lord Chamberlain.
Catherine’s Lord Chamberlain, Francisco de Mello, was dismissed from office for ordering the printing of a Catholic book.
There was growing concern over the succession since Charles II had no legitimate children. Heir to the throne was Charles’s brother, James who had converted to Catholicism. In a bid to persuade people that the royal family were not Catholic, Charles insisted that James’s daughter Mary
be married to her cousin William III of Orange
Titus Oates claimed that there was a plot to assassinate Charles and replace him with his brother James who had converted to Catholicism. He stated that Catherine had been part of the conspiracy. The rumour sparked a wave of anti-Catholic hysteria and supposed conspirators were executed.
The 1673 Test Act was extended and effectively barred Catholics from being members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
1683 (1st April)
Rye House Plot
This was a plot to assassinate King Charles and his brother James while they were at the races at Newmarket. However, a fire in Newmarket led to the cancellation of the races and Charles and James returned to London.
News of the failed Rye House Plot leaked and Charles’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, was implicated as being one of the conspirators. He fled England and sought refuge in the court of William III of Orange.
1685 (2nd February)
Charles suffered a seizure.
1685 (5th February)
Charles realised he was close to death and converted to Catholicism. He also requested that Nell Gwyn be provided for.
1685 (6th February)
Charles died. He was succeeded by his brother James as King James II of England VII of Scotland.
1685 (after 6th February)
Catherine suffered a period of depression.
1688 (after 6th February)
Catherine continued to live at Somerset House, London but her position as a Catholic in England was becoming increasingly difficult.
Parliament passed a bill to limit the number of Catholic servants that Catherine had.
Catherine returned to Portugal where she looked after her nephew Prince John.
Catherine acted as regent for her brother, Peter II of Portugal.
1703 (27th December)
Catherine supported this treaty between Portugal and England.
Catherine acted as regent for her brother, Peter II of Portugal again.
1705 (31st December)
Catherine died at the Bemposta Palace, Lisbon. She was buried at the Monastery of St Vincent of Fora in Lisbon.