Spain crowned a three-year-old queen, catapulting the land into yet another war between opposing factions. The first Carlist war was won by local militia groups, who were armed by the government of the day. But when it came to handing back the weapons, the militia were reluctant. So, how did the government get them back?
Napoleon Bonaparte had already succeeded in eliminating most of those who would oppose his pan-European vision.
Victories over Prussia, Russia and Austria left only Britain to prevent the French from taking over completely.
Although Nelson´s victory at Trafalgar, off the coast of south-west Spain meant that Britain was safe from invasion (Napoleon was however planning to dig a tunnel under the English channel!), his relentless march into other European lands threatened British interests and the balance of power in Europe.
Henry the Eighth, rotund king of England had pulled away from the Catholic church because they wouldn´t let him divorce his wife.
And so, Henry formed the Church of England, made sure that it permitted divorce, became its head, and then gave Catherine of Aragon the choice of divorce, or losing her head.
To put it kindly, when faced with such a choice, “Discretion is the better part of valour” is written in to the DNA of every Spaniard, and she chose to return to Spain in disgrace. But revenge was in the air...