Catherine Of Braganza, (born Nov. 25, 1638, Vila Viçosa, Port.—died Dec. 31, 1705, Lisbon), Portuguese Roman Catholic wife of King Charles II of England (ruled 1660–85). A pawn in diplomatic dealings and anti-papal intrigues, she was married to Charles as part of an important alliance between England and Portugal.Catherine’s father became King John IV of Portugal in 1640. Her marriage, which took place in May 1662, brought England valuable trading privileges and the port cities of Tangier (in Morocco) and Bombay. In return, England pledged to help Portugal maintain its independence from Spain.
The young queen had little personal charm, and, despite her deep affection for Charles, he paid less attention to her than to his mistresses. When it became apparent that she would bear the King no children, opponents of his brother, James, duke of York, urged him to divorce her in the hope that Charles could then be induced to wed a Protestant. In 1678 they accused Catherine of scheming to poison the King and place his Roman Catholic brother James on the throne. But Charles, who never doubted his wife’s innocence, stood by her until she was cleared of the charges. Catherine helped convert Charles to the Roman Catholic Church shortly before he died in 1685, and in 1692 she returned to Portugal. In 1704 she became regent of Portugal for her ailing brother, King Pedro II. More on Catherine Of Braganza
Peter Lely, Dutch, British, English (Born Soest, Westphalia, 14 September 1618; died London, 30 November 1680). Painter of Dutch origin who spent almost all his career in England and was naturalized in 1662. His family name was originally van der Faes, and the name Lely is said to have come from a lily carved on the house in The Hague where his father was born. Lely was born in Germany and trained in Haarlem.
He moved to England in the early 1640s, and although he first painted figure compositions in landscapes (Sleeping Nymphs, c.1650, Dulwich Picture Gal., London), he soon turned to the more profitable field of portraiture.
Fortune shone on him, for within a few years of his arrival the best portraitists in England disappeared from the scene: van Dyck and William Dobson died in 1641 and 1646 respectively, and Cornelius Johnson returned to Holland in 1643. In 1654 he was described as ‘the best artist in England’. Lely portrayed Charles I and his children, Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard, and other leading figures of the Interregnum. With the aid of a team of assistants he maintained an enormous output, and his fleshy, sleepy beauties clad in exquisite silks and his bewigged courtiers have created the popular image of Restoration England. More on Peter Lely
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