Arthur Tudor

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

Died aged 15

Arthur, Prince of Wales (19/20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502), was the eldest son of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. He was Duke of Cornwall from birth, and he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in 1489. As the heir apparent of his father, Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Edward IV, and his birth cemented the union between the House of Lancaster 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 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 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. The question over whether Arthur and Catherine had consummated their 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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