Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza
born Nov. 25, 1638, Vila Viçosa, Port.
died Dec. 31, 1705, Lisbon

Portuguese wife of Charles II of England.

She was married to Charles in 1662 as part of an alliance between England and Portugal, bringing England trading privileges and the port cities of Tangier and Bombay (now Mumbai). She produced no heir. Though not a faithful husband, Charles defended her against accusations of scheming to poison him. She helped convert him to Catholicism shortly before his death. In 1692 she returned to Portugal, and in 1704 she governed the country as regent for her ailing brother, Pedro II.

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▪ queen of Great Britain

born Nov. 25, 1638, Vila Viçosa, Port.
died Dec. 31, 1705, Lisbon

      Portuguese Roman Catholic wife of King Charles II of England (ruled 1660–85). A pawn in diplomatic dealings and anti-papal intrigues, she was married to Charles as part of an important alliance between England and Portugal.

      Catherine's father became King John IV of Portugal in 1640. Her marriage, which took place in May 1662, brought England valuable trading privileges and the port cities of Tangier (in Morocco) and Bombay. In return, England pledged to help Portugal maintain its independence from Spain.

      The young queen had little personal charm, and, despite her deep affection for Charles, he paid less attention to her than to his mistresses. When it became apparent that she would bear the King no children, opponents of his brother, James, duke of York, urged him to divorce her in the hope that Charles could then be induced to wed a Protestant. In 1678 they accused Catherine of scheming to poison the King and place his Roman Catholic brother James on the throne. But Charles, who never doubted his wife's innocence, stood by her until she was cleared of the charges. Catherine helped convert Charles to the Roman Catholic Church shortly before he died in 1685, and in 1692 she returned to Portugal. In 1704 she became regent of Portugal for her ailing brother, King Pedro II.

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Universalium. 2010.

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