In late December 1535, aware that she was dying Katharine of Aragon wrote a last letter to King Henry VIII. Despite the divorce and his recent marriage to Anne Boleyn much to Henry’s irritation she continued to refer to herself as his lawful wedded wife regardless of having been exiled from Court and demoted in status to Dowager Princess of Wales, worse still in her missive she proceeded to both warn and scold him in equal measure and even condescended to forgive his past behaviour.
Unwavering in the face of years of bullying and intimidation she remained defiant until the end signing her letter – Katharine, the Queen.
She passed away on 7 January 1536, aged 51.
The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.
Katharine the Quene.