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Catherine of York (14 August 1479 – 15 November 1527) was the ninth child and sixth daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

Early life

She was born in Eltham Palacemarker. She was a younger sister of Elizabeth of York, Mary of York, Cecily of York, Edward V, Margaret of York, Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, Anne of York and George Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford. She was also an older sister of Bridget of York. She outlived all her full-siblings.

Edward IV hastened to seek a marriage contract for his youngest daughter. On 28 August 1479, a marriage contract was concluded. The contract promised Catherine to Juan of Aragon, eldest son of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The alliance was still being negotiated when her father died on 9 April 1483. This marriage was never concluded.

Her brother-in-law Henry VII later negotiated with James III of Scotland to obtain a possible husband for her. According to an agreement drawn up in November of 1487, Catherine would marry James Stewart, Duke of Ross, second son of James III. The same agreement promised the hand of her mother Elizabeth Woodville to James III and the hand of one of her sisters to the future James IV of Scotland. James III was killed in the Battle of Sauchieburn (11 June 1488). His son and successor James IV never pursued this agreement.


By late October, 1495, Catherine was already married to William Courtenay (born 1475). He was the eldest son and heir-apparent of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon and his wife and distant cousin Elizabeth Courtenay. They were parents to three children:

Her husband was attainted in 1504 and was thus not able to succeed his father on 28 May 1509. Her nephew Henry VIII apparently had greater trust for William and created him Earl of Devon on 10 May 1511. However William died on 9 June 1511. He was Earl for less than a full month. Their son Henry succeeded his father, later being created Marquess of Exeter.

Later life

Catherine was still only 35 years old and would be expected to marry again. However she took a voluntary vow of chastity in the presence of Richard FitzJames, Bishop of London on 13 July 1511.

As a widow, Catherine reportedly went through periods of both "wealth" and "adversity" but was reportedly favored by her nephew Henry VIII who "brought her into a sure estate". She survived her husband by eleven years. She was buried in Tivertonmarker.

External links

  • - Possible discovery of Catherine's tomb.


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