Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England

(1638-1706)
   The daughter of King João IV and Queen Luisa de Gusmão and born at Vila Viçosa. In 1659, Catherine was a prospective bride of King Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King," but the marriage negotiations failed. In 1661, marriage negotiations began in London under the auspices of Portugal's ambassador, Dom Francisco de Melo, and it was arranged that Catherine would marry King Charles II of England. The marriage arrangements were confirmed in the famous Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 23 June 1661, one of the keystones of the ancient Anglo- Portuguese Alliance, and Catherine's dowry was established. As a result, England received from Portugal some two million cruzados (about £350,000 in English money at the time) and the cession of Tangier, Morocco, and Bombay, India.
   In May 1662, Catherine arrived in England at Portsmouth harbor and began a residence of some 30 years. While Catherine contributed a mighty dowry and introduced the custom of tea-drinking to her husband's country, she failed to adjust either to the climate or the culture and remained a melancholy exile. Her staunch Catholic faith made her suspect among the English Anglican majority, and Charles II's unfaithfulness marred their relationship. Charles died in 1685, but Catherine remained in England until 1692. When she returned to Portugal, she lived in Bemposta Palace and supported the controversial Methuen Treaty (1703) and maintenance of the Anglo-Portuguese connection. Before her death in 1706, she was named regent twice, in 1704 and 1705.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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