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Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza (1638–1705), queen of Charles II. Daughter of John, king of Portugal, Catherine's marriage to Charles II on 21 May 1662 was regarded by English merchants as ‘the most beneficial that ever our nation was engaged in’. Her dowry included Bombay, and Tangier, which was subsequently evacuated. Dark-haired, petite, and amiable, Catherine was badly educated, with little command of languages. She had, however, some charm. Pepys thought her ‘mighty pretty’ when he saw her hand in hand with the king in 1663 and the following year remarked on her pretty broken English. Tension inevitably arose between her and Charles's mistress Lady Castlemaine. Catherine miscarried several times and had no live children. This, and the growth of anti-catholic feeling, fuelled suggestions of a divorce, but Charles stood by her. After Charles's death in February 1685, she moved to Somerset House and established a convent, before returning to Portugal after the Glorious Revolution, in March 1692.

Sue Minna Cannon

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Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza (brəgăn´zə), 1638–1705, queen consort of Charles II of England, daughter of John IV of Portugal. She was married to Charles in 1662. As part of her dowry England secured Bombay (now Mumbai) and Tangier. Unpopular in England for her Roman Catholic faith, she also had to suffer the humiliation of her husband's infidelities and the disappointment of her own childlessness. In 1678 she was accused by Titus Oates of a plot to poison the king but was protected from the charge by Charles himself. After William III's accession she returned to Portugal, where she supported the commercial Treaty of Methuen (1703) with England, and in 1704 she acted as regent for her brother, Peter II.

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