So, Just Who Was Arthur Prince of Wales?

We take a closer look at the life of Arthur Prince of Wales, the “the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor” and heir apparent of Henry VII of England.

Arthur Tudor, born on 19/20 September 1486 at about 1 am, was a child whose birth was marked with bonfires on the streets and singing at the Winchester Cathedral in a celebratory act. His birth was believed by French and Italian humanists, to be the start of a new age tagged the Virgilian golden age.

Born to King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, he was named after the legendary Dark age King Arthur. This was after King Henry VII had genealogists trace his ancestry, and it was reported he was a descendant of the reputed King Arthur.

Arthur was born a month premature, and though some people claim it was the reason for his weak health later in life, others say the opposite and present claims that he was indeed a healthy child. Arthur was a child whose birth had been symbolized to mean the end of the War of Roses, which was a war between royal houses that had been ongoing since 1455. He was seen as the uniting force between the House of Tudor and the House of York.

He became the Duke of Cornwall at birth. At three years old, on the 29th of November 1489, he was appointed Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester though it was not until the 27th of February 1490, that he was Invested at the Palace of Westminster. On the 8th of May 1491, he was made a Knight of the Garter at Windsor Palace. At five years old, Arthur began to be taught grammar, ethics, history, poetry, and ethics. He soon grew to be skilled in arching and very knowledgeable as a student.

Arthur Prince of Wales

By May 1490, Arthur Tudor has created Warden of all the marches towards Scotland, and within a year he was named on peace commissions. Arthur was involved in the affairs of England as a child, being named the Keeper of England and the King’s Lieutenant when he was 6 years old, following his Father’s departure to France on travels.

At ten years old, Arthur was betrothed by proxy on the 25th of August 1497 to Catherine, the daughter of Catholic Monarchs. This marriage was planned by King Henry VII to strengthen ties and form an alliance with Spain against the French. In 1499, Arthur and Catherine were married by proxy at Arthur‘s Tickenhill Manor in Bewdley. It was not until he attained 15 years of age, that he got married in-person to Catherine. His marriage to Catherine was the only public bedding of a royal couple recorded in Britain in the 16th century.

So, Just Who Was Arthur Prince of Wales?
Catherine of Aragon, circa,

A month after his wedding, Arthur Prince of Wales and his young wife relocated to Ludlow Castle in the Welsh Marches to become the President of The Council of Wales and Marches. Unfortunately, an epidemic broke out which afflicted both the young prince and his bride. His bride survived the illness, but Prince Arthur did not. On 2nd April 1502, a few months before his sixteenth birthday, he died.

So, Just Who Was Arthur Prince of Wales?
Arthur Tudor. Portrait c. 1500

Arthur Prince of Wales‘ funeral was held at Worcester Cathedral on the 25th of April.

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