Catherine of Braganza
Charles II died in 1685. Catherine, who was born in 1638 at Vila Viçosa, two years before the restoration of Portuguese independence from Spain (1), was therefore forty seven years of age. It had been twenty three years since, a shy bride, she had arrived at Portsmouth and, on being offered a glass of ale, said she was unused to this beverage and would prefer a cup of tea which surprised her hosts. Later she had floated in magnificent progression down the Thames from Hampton court to Whitehall.
The King's death left Catherine prostrate with grief for she, like many others, had fallen in love with her royal spouse, that «Prince of many virtues and many great imperfections» as John Evelyn said. John Dryden also attests her great attachment to the King. He writes of Catherine: The best of Queens, the most obedient wife;
His life the theme of her eternal prayer.
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