The King and Queen of Castile Are Shipwrecked in England and Visit King Henry VII

Juana of Castile and her husband, Philip, Duke of Burgundy and titular King of Castile, sailed from Brussels in January 1506 for Spain. They ran into a terrible storm with the wind tossing and whipping the ships from wave to wave, in a westerly direction. When the weather finally cleared, the ships were deemed too unsafe to take on the full wind force of the Atlantic Ocean. They decided to make for the nearest anchorage in England which was Falmouth, where the people were very hospitable to the royal travelers, putting Philip at ease.

He sent his secretary, Pedro de Anchemont to let King Henry VII know he had landed in England while the Cornish people entertained their unexpected guests. Henry was delighted at his good fortune and immediately sent an escort of many lords and knights under the Earl of Arundel. They reached Falmouth in the evening and welcomed the King and Queen of Castile by torchlight, in the name of the King of England, making a good impression on the couple. Philip departed Falmouth, leaving Juana behind to come by a slower route.

Philip was met some miles from Windsor Castle by Henry, Prince of Wales, who was supposedly still affianced to Juana’s sister, Catherine of Aragon. Henry was accompanied by five earls and diverse lords and knights, as well as others to the number of five hundred persons, all gorgeously appareled. The entire visit is recounted in a Cotton manuscript:

Memorandum that the 31st of January which was a Saturday in the year of our Lord 1506 and the 21st year of our Sovereign Lord King Henry VII. His Highness received the King of Castile at his castle of Windsor in manner as followeth: first His Grace rode towards the said King of Castile a mile or more out of Windsor, and there in an arable field met with him, and when the King’s company approached near to the said King of Castile, some stood on one part and some on the other part, and so made a lane, that the two kings might meet together, and then the King of Castile perceived the King, he took off his hat, and in like manner the King took off his, and with a loving and glad countenance each saluted and embraced the other, and the King with many other good words welcomed him to his realm, and the King of Castile with humble and loving words similarly thanked the King for the great honors that he did him, and for the great pleasure and kindness that the King had showed and done unto him, since his arrival and at diverse times before. The said King took the King of Castile on his left hand, and in good ordinance rode towards the said Castle of Windsor, the Officers of Arms bore their coat of arms. The trumpets blew at the meeting of the Kings, and so by the way, and the Earl of Derby bore the sword right before the Kings.

It is to be noted that there were many noblemen very well appointed, both with cloth of gold and goldsmiths’ work, as my Lord Marquis, the Earl of Kent, the Earl of Derby, the Lord Henry Stafford, with many and diverse other nobles and gentlemen. When the Kings entered the first gate of the Castle, the minstrels and sackbuts played, and when they approached to the place where they have alighted, the King of Castile tarried and would have alighted after the King, but the King would not suffer him, but took him forth with him, so they alighted at once, the King of Castile somewhat before the King.

In like order the Lords and other noblemen went before the Kings through the nether gallery towards the Hall. Then as the King perceived that the King of Castile’s hat was off, he took off his hat, and would not put it on till the King of Castile was almost ready to put on his, and so they went up the stairs, and passed through the upper gallery to the King’s Great Chamber, which was richly hanged with cloth of Arras and a great bed in the same chamber; where remained Knights and Esquires, and from thence proceeding to the second Chamber, which was also richly hanged with a very rich Arras, and in which there was a cloth of estate and as rich  bed as I have seen, where remained the Bishops, Earls and Officers that attended upon him.

A veiw of Windsor Castle in the 16th century (Photo credit:

From thence they would have conveyed the King of Castile to the fourth Chamber which was all hanged with rich cloth of gold, the border above of crimson velvet, and embroidered with the King’s arms and other of the King’s devices, as roses, portcullis, etc., but the King of Castile excused him and said that the King should not take the pains to convey him to his lodgings. Then the King showed him that all that he had passed through was and should be his lodgings and that the King thought that place honored by his coming, and said that he was as welcome to him as though he had been his own natural son, and that his coming was not only agreeable and joyful to him, but to all his subjects, and that room and all his servants should be at the commandment of the said King of Castile, and that he should think that he was come unto his own father’s house; and so desired him to go at his pleasure to dinner or to change his clothes.

Then when the King of Castile perceived that great lodging was for him, he thanked the King bareheaded, for he had taken off his hat a little before, and said that he was sorry that the King had taken so much labor and pains for him. And for any words that King could do he would convey the King to his Chamber, the King would have somewhat reconveyed him, but the King of Castile would not suffer it, and so they entered and saluted the one the other and departed. The King remained in his chamber, and the King of Castile went to his, and so they both went to dinner each one in his own chamber, for it was a Fast day, and Our Lady’s Eve. The King of Castile’s officers and servants served their own Lord


That as soon as the King came into the third chamber he took the great lord the King of Castile by the hand, and immediately after took the most of the great lords by the hands, as the Lord Marquis with others which were attendant upon the King. Within two hours afterwards came my Lady Princess Catherine of Aragon with her company to the said Castle. After supper the King of Castile took with him one torch, and with five or six gentlemen privately went to visit the King, whereat a gentleman usher and others would have warned the King, but he held them back with his hand, and said he would warn the King of his coming himself, and so he came to the King’s secret chamber door unawares of the King, and so they communed together, which was a great sign of perfect love; and whereas the King would have reconveyed him, he would in no wise the King should take the pains, and so departed for that night.

On the morrow, being Sunday the first day of February, the King being lodged in the Queen’s lodgings went from his chamber to the Chapel, having so many noblemen before him that it was a long time ere they could pass. The Lord Henry Stafford bare the sword, and in the right hand at the upper end of the choir there was ordained a very large Traverse (traverse: curtain rod with a cloth that can be drawn back and forth) of cloth of gold, in the which the King sat and heard mass sung by the Bishop of Chichester in pontificals. After mass, the King went to visit the King of Castile who heard mass that day in the closet within his own lodgings. When the King of Castile understood that the King came towards him, he hastily came and met the King at the second chamber door; for in the third chamber stood the King’s guard, and at the meeting the King of Castile took off his bonnet, made a low curtsey and bade the King good morrow, and the King said he could not have well dined that day unless he had seen him and bid him good-morrow. The King of Castile thanked the King for his great courtesy, and so with diverse other good words they both proceeded to the King of Castile’s dining chamber, and stood by the fire.

Then after they had awhile communed together the King desired him to tarry there still, but he excused him and said that he would convey the King to his lodgings, and so the King took him on his left hand and went to the second chamber, there the King desired him to tarry, but he would not, and from thence they went to the third chamber door, when the King stopped and said that he had given him too much pain to have gone so far. There at the King had much ado to make him tarry; and said that he would rather reconvey him, than that he should go any further. Then answered the King of Castile, ‘I see right well that I must do your commandments and obey as reason will,’ so for that time he departed and the King returned to his chamber to dinner, and the King of Castile returned in like manner to his chamber.

After dinner the King sent to the King of Castile to understand whether it would please him to see the ladies dance for pastime, inasmuch as it was Holy day, and they might not hunt, to which the King of Castile answered ‘gladly’. A little before by the King’s commandment my Lord Herbert emptied all the King’s chamber except the lords, officers and certain knights of honor. When the King understood that the King of Castile was coming, he went to the door of the great chamber and there received him and desired him to take him by the arm, or else the King of Castile would not have taken so much upon him. So, both together, they went through that chamber, the King’s dining chamber, and from thence to an inner chamber where was my lady Princess Catherine and my Lady Mary, the King’s daughter, and diverse other Ladies.

After the King of Aragon had kissed them and communed awhile with the King and the ladies, they came into the King’s dining chamber where danced my Lady Princess and a Spanish lady with her in Spanish array, and after she had danced two or three dances, she left, and then danced my Lady Mary and an English lady with her, and ever anon the Lady Princess desired the King of Castile to dance, which after he had excused him once or twice, answered that he was a mariner, and yet, said he, ‘ye would cause me to dance.’ And so, he danced not but communed with the King still, and after that my Lady Mary had danced two or three dances she went and sat by my Lady Princess of Estate, and near where the King and the King of Castile stood. Then danced one of the strange Lords and a Lady of England. That done my Lady Mary played on the lute, and after upon the claregalles (clavichord), and played very well, and she was of all folks there greatly praised for her youth, while in everything she behaved herself so well.

And then immediately after came the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other Bishops and the Dean of the Chapel in their Amices [cloth worn around the neck, under the alb] and showed the King that it was evensong time, but there tarried his pleasure. Within a while after, both Kings, arm in arm, having the noblemen before them went to the chapel and so to the great Traverse of Cloth of Gold and sat within it both together, everyone having his cushion, and at the entering of the Traverse the King preferred the King of Castile to the upper hand, but he refused it, and so the King took it himself and thus they heard evensong together.

The Bishop of Canterbury, who did the divine service, sat in the Dean’s stall and the Dean next him. After evensong, the King had appointed to convey him to his lodgings; and from the Chapel door to the King’s chamber stood the King’s guard all along. When the King and the King of Castile were entered the chamber of the King of Castile’s, the Lords, who were of the L’Ordre de la Toison d’Or, [Order of the Golden Fleece] warned him that it was his lodging. Then he wrestled with the King, and said that the King should not convey him to his lodgings, but that he would turn back and convey him to his; and with diverse other words the King answered that in any wise he would see him in his lodging; and so they went together through that chamber to the second. The King came to the door of the King of Castile’s dining chamber where there is another door that goes into a closet and so to the King’s chamber.

When they were before the King’s chamber door the King of Castile would not further, till the door was opened, whereas the King would have seen him in his chamber but drew back, and said by his faith that he would convey the King to his lodging; and so the King of Castile went sideways into the closet and drew the King in by the arm. All the Lords and other Noblemen except officers remained at the door in the other chamber, and both the Kings departed in an entry by the King’s secret chamber where each one of them had good word the one to the other, and so went to their own chambers separately for the night. They supped each of them in their own lodgings.

On the morrow, the second day of February, Candlemas day, both Kings met secretly together and came to the King’s dining chamber having their noblemen before them, but there were so many that it was a long time before they might well pass through the chambers. The Earl of Derby bare the King’s sword, and when the Kings were entered the chapel, they both together went to the Traverse and there abode till the candles were hallowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who that day sang the High Mass in pontificals, the Bishop of Chichester read the Gospel, and the Bishop of Norwich the Epistles, while the Bishop of Rochester bare the Archbishop of Canterbury’s cross, all in pontificals.

Afterwards in good order both Kings went in a procession round about the hall. The King’s taper borne by the Earl of Kent, and the King of Castile’s taper by one of the L’Ordre de la Toison d’Or. The King’s taper had a close crown and the King of Castile’s an open crown, Garter and Toison d’Or engraved with their coat of arms. Each went before his own master and lord, while the other officers of arms went before as appertained. It was a right goodly sight to see so many noblemen and so well appointed; all other were in cloth of gold, velvet and silk, and with many goodly chains of fine gold of great weight. So, they returned to the Chapel and Traverse again and there heard mass.

After mass the King returned by the King of Castile’s lodgings and would have conveyed the King of Castile to his dining room but he would not the King should take the pains, and so the King entered by the closet door to his chamber and there the King of Castile departed to his, and each of the King’s dined in his own lodging. After dinner both Kings met together in the King’s secret chamber, and from thence both together went to the chapel, where they heard a sermon in French, and immediately the sermon was done they went to evensong and after evensong both Kings returned to their lodgings in like manner as they did after mass. Each of them supped severally in his own chamber.

Tuesday the third day of February, both King’s heard mass in their own the closets, and after dinner went a-hunting in the Little Park, where each of the Kings killed certain deer with their own hands, with the own crossbows.

Wednesday and Thursday, the fourth and fifth of February, both Kings were each one with his own Council, for every Prince had his Council by himself, because the weather was foul and rained, or else they had some other pastime, but this Thursday, February 5, in the morning the statutes which were sealed with the seal of the Garter were sent to the King of Castile. The Garter King of Arms bare them to his presence and there delivered them to the Lord Herbert who presented them to the King of Castile to the intent he should oversee and revise them.

On Friday, the sixth of February, both Kings rode after dinner together a-hunting in the Park.

On Saturday, the seventh of February, they horse baited before the King and the King of Castile, while both stood in the King’s new Tower, which at that time was appointed for the King of Castile’s lodgings. After the horse was baited both Kings went to play Tennis in the Upper Gallery, where was laid with two cushions of cloth of gold for the two Kings who watched the Marquis of Dorset, the Lord Howard and two other knights play together.

Then after the King of Castile had seen them play awhile, he made party with the Lord Marquis of Dorset, the King looked on. The King of Castile played with the racquet and gave the Lord Marquis 15, and after that he had played his pleasure and arrayed himself again it was almost night, so both the Kings returned to their lodgings.

On the Monday the King of Castile was elected a Knight of the Garter. During which ceremony ‘the very cross’ was laid on a cushion of gold, with two tapers burning in honor of it. The Articles of “Amity and Peace’ between the two Kings was then signed in the Chapel, and the Doctor Rothwell, the Kings Secretary, stood upon a form in the midst of the Choir, and there made a goodly proposition in very adorned Latin. The effect of which was to expound the said Amity openly.

And the proposition done, both Kings came forth of their Stalls and went up to the High Altar, and there swore upon the Holy Evangelists Canon of the Mass by them manually touched and by the feast of the Very Cross to keep and observe all the points and articles contained in the said Amity from point to point and afterwards they kissed the Book, and afterwards the Holy Cross before each King read his oath openly himself.

After dinner both Kings remained a great while in communion together. And none entered that secret chamber except knights of the order and certain officers and knights, who all that day through wore their gowns, Hoods and collars of the Garter except my Lord Prince which that day wore the gown, hood and collar of the Toison d’Or. And that day the Court was served like as it had been a right great feast, and as honorably in all things as I have seen.

Afterwards the King of Castile conveyed the King towards his lodgings, and so amiably for that time departed. To write of the great rich cupboard, which continually stood in the great Hall with all gilt plate, or of the great and rich Heads of Estate, hangings of rich Cloth of Gold, or of the rich and sumptuous cloths of Arras, with diverse cloths of estate both in the King’s lodgings, in the King of Castile’s lodgings, and in so many Chambers, Hall, Chapel, Closets, Galleries with other lodgings so richly and very well appointed with diverse other things, that I suffice and cannot discern; and, as I suppose, few or none that were there ever saw Castle or other Lodging in all things so well and richly appointed; nor the great continual fare, open household, and so many noblemen so well appointed, and with so short warning heretofore as I think it has not been seen.

Juana of Castile

The Tuesday the 10th of the month the Queen of Castile came to the said Castle of Windsor, accompanied by her own servants, by the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Almond, the Lord Mountjoy and diverse other gentlemen, who by the King’s commandment attended upon her.

They entered by the Little Park and secretly came by the back side of the Castle unto the King’s New Tower, where at the stairfoot the King met with her, and kissed and embraced her; howbeit that the King of Castile who was present with the King, had diverse times before desired the King’s Highness to have remained in his own Lodging, and not to have taken the pains to have gone so far. And after the King had welcomed her, my lady Princess, her sister, and my Lady Mary, the King’s daughter, having many ladies and gentlewomen attending upon them welcomed her; and altogether they went up into the King of Castile’s Lodging. But in the outer chamber the King departed from her. And the King of Castile conveyed the King to his lodgings.

The Wednesday the 11th day of February both the Kings dined together in the King’s secret chamber; the King of Castile of his own mind said he would go dine with the King his Father if it were his pleasure; the which lovely motion the King did gladly accept.

And a little before dinner he was shown the King’s genealogy, and how nigh kin the both Kings were to each other, and how the Kings are connected by marriage both with the King of the Romans, his Father (Maximilian) and to the Queen of Castile, his wife, and that the King of Castile was kin unto him, both of his father’s and mother’s side. That day departed my Lady Princess and my Lady Mary for Richmond.

Richmond Palace

The Thursday, the 12th of February, the King nobly accompanied, after he had offered to St. George as accustomed, rode to Richmond to see the house prepared for the King of Castile, who with the Queen his wife remained at Windsor having attending upon them both Lords and Knights by the King’s commandments. They remained at Windsor till Saturday, which day the King of Castile, hawking and hunting by the way rode to Richmond, while the Queen of Castile his wife having the late Queen’s rich litters and chairs, took her way towards the seaside to her ships, which then lay, or rode at Dartmouth and Plymouth. The first night she lay at Reading where I understand she was honorably received by the Abbott and other after their favors, and diverse Lords and others were appointed to wait upon her to the seaside. I leave the Queen’s journey to them that saw it, and return to the King.

When the King perceived the King of Castile was near, he came down from his chamber and met him on the stairs by the waterside and welcomed him to Richmond. How-be-it a little before the King met with him, the King of Castile advised of the house without, greatly praised the beautiful and sumptuous edifice, saying to them that were near him, that should it be his fortune to return to Brussels he desired that Beau Regard should be a pattern unto him for house.

The Sunday following the Ambassador of France came to the King and both Kings heard mass together. And that morning unasked the King of Castile proffered to give up the rebel Edmund de la Pole. On Tuesday a joust took place. On Wednesday horse baiting. On Thursday they went to Baynard’s Castle and a hawking by the way. On Friday they went to Our Lady of Barking and so to the Tower and game shooting. On Saturday they went to Westminster, then returned to Richmond, but first they dined with the Abbot and Prior. On Monday wrestling took place between Englishmen and Spaniards and baiting between the horse and bear.

On Tuesday, St. Matthew’s Day, both Kings dined together served with thirteen courses and on Saturday, on the Surrey side, they returned to Windsor, all the children of Eton standing along the barriers of the churchyard. They were received in the Castle by the Canons, and offered to St. George as accustomed, thence to their lodgings which remained almost as before. On Sunday horse baiting and masking. The Monday, the King of Castile offered to St. George before the King conveyed him on his way one mile or more. The visit had lasted from February to April 23rd when Juana and Philip took sail to return to Flanders.

Further reading: “A queen of unrest: The story of Juana of Castile, mother of Charles V, born 1479, died 1555” by Harry Tighe    

3 thoughts on “The King and Queen of Castile Are Shipwrecked in England and Visit King Henry VII

  1. What amazing details of how they spent their days, being carefully aware of each others’ honours!! As a genealogist, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the two Kings able to see their relatedness… I’m assuming that document itself has been saved somewhere. Thanks so much for sharing this history.


  2. great article thanks for sharing.

    On Fri, Sep 3, 2021 at 4:06 PM The Freelance History Writer wrote:

    > Susan Abernethy posted: ” Philip of Burgundy, husband of Juana of Castile > Juana of Castile and her husband, Philip, Duke of Burgundy and titular King > of Castile, sailed from Brussels in January 1506 for Spain. They ran into a > terrible storm with the wind tossing and whippi” >


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