swuklink: Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales  
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Born at Winchester, Hampshire, on September 20th, 1486, Arthur Tudor was the eldest son of King Henry VII of England by his wife, Elizabeth of York.

Henry, who had established the Tudor dynasty by conquest was very keen to establish Tudor legitimacy to the throne of England and named his eldest son "Arthur" after the legendary Celtic warrior "King Arthur" to associate the Tudor family with an ancient lineage of English kings, their association with Wales and, perhaps, his hopes for a rebirth of English greatness under the Tudors. As part of this, what would be known in modern times as 'spin', the pregnant Elizabeth of York was sent to the ancient Saxon and Norman capital of Winchester to give birth to Arthur.

Arthur was christened in Winchester Cathedral, his godfathers being the Earl of Derby and the Earl of Oxford, his grandmother, Elizabeth Woodville, being his godmother. The infant prince was made a Knight of the Bath at his christening.

The Duke of Cornwall from his birth, Arthur was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on November 29th, 1489. When aged five, he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Arthur recieved the best education that the Renaissance could provide; his first tutor was John Rede, later he came under the instruction of Bernard Andr�. In his unfinished life of Henry VII, Andr� claimed that the fifteen-year-old prince was familiar with a11 the best Greek and Latin authors.

When Arthur was aged only two, his father arranged for his marriage to the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536), daughter of Ferdninand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The royal couple were married on November 14th, 1501 at St Pauls Cathedral in London and moved to Ludlow in Shropshire on the Welsh borders, Arthur's residence as Prince of Wales and President of the Council of Wales and the Marches.

The proposal that Prince Arthur would be married to Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile was included in the negotiation in 1488-9 of the treaty of Medina del Campo with Spain by Henry VII. Henry VII had come to the throne by winning the Wars of the Roses in 1485, after many changes of monarchs, and Ferdinand and Isabella were keen to ensure that the Tudor dynasty Henry hoped for, would succeeded before sealing the alliance by the royal marriage. Their fears for the survival of the Tudor dynasty were much allayed after the execution of Perkin Warbeck and the Earl of Warwick in 1499. During further negotiations between the monarchs of England and Spain in 1496, it was agreed that Catherine would come to England in 1500, when the prince would be fourteen years of age.

The terms of the royal marriage were finally settled during a meeting outside Calais in 1500 and the sixteen-year-old Catherine arrived in October 1501, after sixteen years of negotiations.

The following spring, sixteen-year-old Arthur died of a fever, possibly caused by the damp weather conditions. The question of whether his marriage to Catherine was ever consummated would have a powerful effect on the subsequent history of Britain.

Arthur died at Ludlow Castle the following spring, on April 2nd, 1502, of a fever possibly caused by the damp weather conditions, leaving his younger brother, Henry, Duke of York, to inherit his titles and become heir to the throne and king as Henry VIII (1509-1547) on his father's death.

Arthur's remains were interred in Worcester Cathedral where the memorial to the prince, `Prince Arthur's Chantry', was erected in 1504.

Papal dispensation was eventually obtained for Henry to marry his brother's widow, Catherine, on the grounds that her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated.

A weak child from birth, Arthur was never known for the athletic prowess displayed by his younger brother, Henry, and his untimely death aged only sixteen has prompted some, such as Christopher Guy, archaeologist at Worcester Cathedral, to consider not only the wisdom of, but even Henry VII's the motives behind sending the young Prince of Wales to face the rigors of Ludlow, so far from the royal physicians of London. The suggestion has been mooted that, perhaps, Henry VII made the decision concious considering that the survival of the Tudor dynasty might better be served by the strong Henry, Duke of York than by the sickly Arthur.

Generally, however, it is believed that there were no alterior motives involved and rather that Arthur's condition itself is interesting and may have been genetic causing the illness and premature death of King Edward VI (1547-1553).

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Katherine of Aragon   (1485-1536)

Youngest daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of castile, was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, by the Treaty of Medina del Campo (1489) made with Henry VII of England (1485-1509) seeking to increase his political power and secure the Tudor dynasty. She married Arthur in 1501 but was widowed the following year. Reluctant to return her huge dowery, Henry VII started negotiations for her marriage to Prince Henry, the marriage taking place after long delays in 1509 when Henry became king. The only survivor of six children by the marriage was Mary (1515-1558, queen of England, 1553-8) and Thomas Cromwell arranged Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine in 1534 causing England's rift with the Roman Catholic Church.

Edward VI   (1547-1553)

The ill-health of the two Tudor princes from birth and their death in their mid-teens has caused historians to speculate about the nature of their illness and whether it might have been a genetic condition.

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1486.Sep.19Birth of Arthur, Duke of Cornwall, eldest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York
1489.Nov.29Arthur Tudor, Duke of Cornwall, created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester
1501.Nov.14Arthur, Prince of Wales married to Catherine of Aragon
1502.Apr.02Death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, at Ludlow Castle. His brother Henry becomes heir to the throne
Reluctant to return the widowed Katherine of Aragon\'s dowery, Henry VII started negotiations with Aragon and Castile for her marriage to Henry

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII
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