Catherine Michelle of Spain (Blooming Roses)
Catherine michelle.jpg
Queen of England
Queen consort of England (more...)
Tenure 27 November 1590 - 1 February 1591
Coronation 17 December 1590
Predecessor Isabella of Cleves
Successor Elizabeth Howard
Spouse Alexander I of England

m. 1577

Issue Alexander II

Eleanor Philippa, Queen of Denmark
Isabella Catherine, Duchess of Braganza
Edward, Duke of Sussex
Victoria Michelle, Tsaritsa of Russia

House House of Hapsburg (by birth)

House of Tudor (by marriage)

Father Phillip II of Spain
Mother Elisabeth of Valois
Born 10 October 1564
Madrid, Spain
Died 1 February 1591 (aged 26)
Hampton Court Palace, England
Burial Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey
Religion Roman Catholicism, later Anglican

Catherine Michelle (Spanish: Catalina Michela) (10 October 1564 - 1 February 1591) was the eldest daughter of Phillip II and Elisabeth of Valois. Originally planned to marry her cousin Rudolph II, she married Alexander, Prince of Wales as his first wife. Her marriage was the result of a treaty between England and Spain after Spain tried to take over England to bring it back into the Catholic fold. She was arrogant, and therefore, not well liked by her mother-in-law, or her husband. She was humiliated when her husband attempted to divorce her in favor of his mistress, often comparing herself to Catherine of Aragon. She died at the age of 26, and her husband soon remarried.

Early Life

Despite common beliefs, she grew up close to her father as the his only surviving daughter, as her elder sisters Catherine and Isabel had both died before she was born. She was the eldest child Phillip II had with his third wife, Elisabeth of Valois. Her elder brother, Don Carlos, died in 1568, making her the heiress of Spain. Her father proceeded to negotiate for her to marry her cousin, Rudolph, the Holy Roman Emperor. These plans fell through and she was then betrothed to the Prince of Wales. Beautiful, intelligent, and arrogant, she believed that the heir to the English throne should be honored to be given her hand. When she arrived in England to meet him for the first time, she was shocked to discover that he was less than impressed with her.

Life in the English Court

In 1575, Catherine Michelle was brought to England to learn the customs of the people she would eventually have to assist her husband in ruling.  She briefly met her sister-in-law Anna Amalia before she was married off to Sebastian of Portugal, as well as her other sisters-in-law Constance, Sophia, Cecily, Catherine, and Elizabeth. She managed to offended all of them, her arrogant attitude was off putting, especially her response to John's engagement to a peasant girl, going as far as to shun her entirely. When Queen Isabella arranged for the Duchess of Cambridge to be employed in her court, Catherine refused. Isabella had supported Catherine Michelle until this incident, causing many to believe that she had offended the queen by rejecting the Duchess. She had an even worse relationship with Constance, who happened to be one of Alexander's favorite sisters. This had dire consequences for their relationship, and by the time they married in 1577 he was completely uninterested in her, preferring to spend his time with Elizabeth Howard, Anne Veldon, and his sisters.

Princess of Wales

Despite her husband's dislike of her, they managed to have eight children together, five of whom would live to adulthood; although only four would have issue. Her mother-in-law enjoyed inviting her sons and their wives to court, and she spent much time in her company, although Isabella rarely deferred to her. Catherine Michelle was also hurt when she noticed that she was the only daughter-in-law without a nickname. In an attempt to appease her powerful mother-in-law, she named her second daughter Isabella Catherine. It did nothing to impress Queen Isabella because Isabella Catherine was afflicted with the infamous Hapsburg lip and Catherine suddenly began to lose her self esteem under the critical eye of Queen Isabella. Alexander paid no attention to his wife's suffering and Catherine found no sympathy in any of the royal family, causing her to gamble and drink more. This period gave her three stillborn children, and Elizabeth Howard offered her friendship to bring her out of her depression. Although Elizabeth Howard was compassionate, Catherine's arrogant attitude made the marchioness cringe. After Catherine Michelle ended her destructive behavior she gave birth to her last child, Victoria Michelle.