Queen Catherine or Catharina, Infanta of Portugal


Presented Tangier to King Charles II as Part of her Dowry

Catherine, or Catharina, the Infanta of Portugal, was the daughter of John, 8th Duke of Braganza, who was proclaimed king when Portugal seceded from Spanish rule in 1640. She was born in 1638 and in 1662 she was married to Charles II of England under the Portuguese Marriage Treaty. This brought Bombay and Tangier to the English Crown and in return, Charles sent troops to fight in Portugal. When Tangier was evacuated in 1684, the Governor’s Regiment was brought onto the Irish establishment as “Our Most Dear Consort the Queen’s Regiment”, and given precedence as the 2nd of Foot. Catherine remained a devoted Catholic and as such was attacked by the inventors of the Popish Plot. Titus Oates later accused her of trying to poison the king. After more false charges were laid, in June 1679 it was decided that she must stand trial; but she was protected by the king. Catherine suffered three miscarriages, and she did not produce any heir. She and Charles are credited with introducing the custom of drinking tea to the British Court, which was common among the Portuguese nobility. She outlived the king and died in 1705.