Arthur Prince of Wales: The Tudor Hope

Arthur Prince of Wales was the eldest son of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and an older brother to the future King Henry VIII.

He was Duke of Cornwall from birth and was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in 1489.

As the heir apparent of his father, Arthur Prince of Wales was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor.

Infancy and Childhood

Arthur was born at Saint Swithun’s Priory on the night of 19/20 September 1486 at about 1 am. Arthur‘s birth was anticipated by French and Italian humanists eager for the start of a “Virgilian golden age”.

Arthur Prince of Wales became Duke of Cornwall at birth. Four days after his birth, he was baptised at Winchester Cathedral by the Bishop of Worcester, John Alcock, which was immediately followed by his confirmation.

Initially, Arthur‘s nursery in Farnham was headed by Elizabeth Darcy, who had served as chief nurse for Edward IV‘s children, including Arthur‘s own mother.

Plans for Arthur‘s marriage began before his third birthday. He was formally betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, a daughter of the powerful Catholic Monarchs in Spain, at the age of eleven, in an effort to forge an Anglo-Spanish alliance against France. Arthur Prince of Wales was well-educated and was in good health for the majority of his life.

Marriage and Death

Soon after his marriage to Catherine in 1501, the couple took up residence at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, where Arthur Prince of Wales died six months later, possibly from the sweating sickness, which Catherine survived.

Catherine later firmly stated that the marriage had not been consummated. One year after Arthur‘s death, Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance with Spain by arranging for Catherine to marry Arthur‘s younger brother Henry, Prince of Wales, who would ascend to the throne in 1509 as King Henry VIII.

Arthur Prince of Wales: The Tudor Hope
Image: Royal Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Arthur‘s life was marked by his birth as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor, his formal education, his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and his untimely death at the age of 15.

Though his reign was short, he played a significant role in Tudor history, including his betrothal to Catherine and his place in the lineage of the Tudor dynasty.

*Feature Image: Royal Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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