Catherine of Aragon (December 16, 1485 – January 7, 1536) was Queen of England from June 1509 until May 1533 as the first wife of King Henry VIII. The fiercely intelligent, thoughtful and popular Catherine was the daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Following her first short-lived marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne in 1501, she served as ambassador – the first female ambassador in Europe – of the Aragonese Crown to England in 1507. She married her dead husband’s brother, the recently crowned Henry VIII in 1509. The couple had one daughter, later to become Mary I, but the lack of a male heir infuriated her husband. By 1525 Henry had fallen for Anne Boleyn and sought to have his marriage annulled thus marking the start of the English reformation. This is one a group of streets, the so-called Tudor Estate, which remembers the key figures in this period of political and religious upheaval, with nearby streets named after Anne Boleyn and Cardinal Wolsey. The estate was laid out in the 1950s on the site of Fencepiece Farm, a fenced clearing in the medieval Hainault Forest. This royal woodland had been used by English kings and queens as a hunting ground for centuries. Near its centre stood an Elizabethan house known as Chappell Hainault. Following an Act of Parliament in 1850 the forest was disafforested meaning it was no longer a royal forest or the property of the Crown. It was broken up and sold as farmland which was later developed for housing.
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