Catherine of Braganza

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Catherine of Braganza.
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Catherine of Braganza.

Catherine of Braganza (November 25, 1638November 30, 1705), or Catarina de Braganša was the queen consort of King Charles II of England.

She was born in Lisbon, Portugal, daughter of King John IV of Portugal (at the time Duke of Braganza) and his wife, Louise of Guzman. Following the restoration of Portuguese independence from Spain, and her father's accession to the throne on December 1 1640, Catherine was engaged to Charles II. They married on May 3 or May 21, 1662, in Portsmouth, and her dowry brought Tangier and Bombay to British control. She was not a particularly popular choice of queen, being a Roman Catholic, and her religion prevented her ever being crowned, since she could not take part in an Anglican service. Despite Charles's reputation as a womaniser, Catherine never gave birth to a live heir, though she had several pregnancies, the last being in 1669. Her position was a difficult one, as Charles continued to have children by his mistresses, but he insisted that she be treated with respect, and refused to divorce her. Following his death, Catherine remained in England through the reign of James II of England and returned to Portugal during the joint reign of William III and Mary II. She died in Lisbon in 1705. Catherine introduced, and made fashionable, the custom of drinking tea in England. She was very popular and loved by the people, and the Queens borough of New York City was named after her.

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