Arthur Tudor
(1486-1502)

Duke of Cornwall (1486-1502), Earl of Chester (1489-1502), and Prince of Wales (1489-1502)

Died aged 15

Arthur Tudor (19/20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502) was Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall. As the eldest son and heir apparent of Henry VII of England, Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor. His mother, Elizabeth of York, was the daughter of Edward IV, and his birth cemented the union between the House of Tudor and the House of York. Plans for Arthur's marriage began before his third birthday; he was installed as Prince of Wales two years later. At the age of eleven, he was formally betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, a daughter of the powerful Catholic Monarchs in Spain, in an effort to forge an Anglo-Spanish alliance against France. Arthur was well educated and, contrary to some modern belief, was in good health for the majority of his life. Soon after his marriage to Catherine in 1501, the couple took up residence at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, where Arthur died six months later of an unknown ailment. Catherine later firmly stated that the marriage had not been consummated. One year after Arthur's death, Henry VII renewed his efforts of sealing a marital alliance with Spain by arranging for Catherine to marry Arthur's younger brother Henry, Prince of Wales. Arthur's untimely death paved the way for Henry to ascend to the throne in 1509 as King Henry VIII. Whether Arthur and Catherine consummated their six-month marriage was much later (and in a completely different political context) exploited by Henry VIII and his court. This strategy was employed in order to cast doubt upon the validity of Catherine's union with Henry VIII eventually leading to the separation between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

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