Catherine of York

Catherine of York

Infobox British Royalty|royal
name =Catherine of York
title =Countess of Devon

imgw = 180px
spouse =William Courtenay, Earl of Devon
issue =Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter
Edward Courtenay
Margaret Courtenay
titles =
royal house =House of York
father =Edward IV of England
mother =Elizabeth Woodville
date of birth = 14 August, 1479
place of birth = Eltham Palace, London
date of death = 15 November, 1527 (aged 48)
place of death = Tiverton Castle, Devon|

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

She was born in Eltham Palace. She was a younger sister of Elizabeth of York, Mary of York, Cecily of York, Edward V of England, Margaret Plantagenet (Princess 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 August 28, 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 April 9, 1483. This marriage was never concluded.

Her brother-in-law Henry VII of England 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 (June 11, 1488). His son and successor James IV never pursued this agreement.

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

*Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter (c. 1496 - January 9, 1539).
*Edward Courtenay (c. 1497 - July 12, 1502 – July 13, 1502).
*Margaret Courtenay (c. 1499 - before 1526). Married Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester.

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

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 July 13, 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 Tiverton.


* [] Accessed January 26, 2008
* [ Plantagenet family] Accessed January 26, 2008

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