Student Research Projects

Catherine of Aragon and Normative Gender Roles in Tudor England

Student Natasha Bugey
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course HIST 460: Senior Thesis Seminar


This paper examines the extent to which Catherine of Aragon adhered to feminine roles in Tudor England. Previous researchers generally characterized her as either a victim or a powerful political figure. This paper examines these polar identities through Catherine of Aragon’s role as a political partner with her husband, King Henry VIII, from 1505 to 1513. Using gender analysis, this paper argues that Catherine of Aragon both adhered to normative feminine roles through motherhood and marriage, but she also defied contemporary notions of femininity through her regency and her roles as host and ambassador. This research shows that she was not either of the polar identities assigned to her by many scholars; rather, she was a combination of both identities to form a complex queen.