Arthur Tudor

Arthur was born on 20 September 1486 at Saint Swithun’s Priory, Winchester, now named Winchester Cathedral Priory, and was baptized only four day later. He was the eldest child of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York.

He was named after the legendary King Arthur of Camelot. Elizabeth of York had been sent to Winchester to give birth, as this was believed to be the seat of Camelot.

At birth, Arthur became Duke of Cornwall and at the age of three he became Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester; many more titles were to follow.

Arthur was only two years old when the Treaty of Medina del Campo was signed on 27 March 1489, agreeing the marriage of Arthur Tudor and Catherine, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Henry VII wanted to forge an Anglo-Spanish alliance against France and the agreement of a marriage with Ferdinand’s youngest daughter would achieve this, but they were not to be married until Arthur reached the age of fifteen.

At about the age of five, Arthur started a formal education befitting a royal prince and heir to the throne of England. He was an excellent pupil having a great interest in grammar, reading and memorising many of the great Greek and Roman authors and poets. He also studied rhetoric, history and ethics and learnt music, dance and archery.

It was agreed that Catherine would travel to England when Arthur turned fourteen, and up to this time Arthur wrote letters to Catherine and received replies, however it was not until Arthur reached the age of fifteen that Catherine left Spain to travel to England.

Catherine and her entourage landed in Plymouth, Devon on 2 October 1501, and the following month on 4 November 1501, she and Arthur met for the first time in Hampshire, although having learnt different strains of Latin, they had difficulty communicating well.

Catherine arrived in London on 9 November 1501, and on 14 November she and Arthur were married at St Pauls Cathedral by Henry Deane, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Following the marriage, Arthur, Prince of Wales and Catherine travelled to Ludlow Castle in Wales where they set up their household, but shortly after arriving Arthur became ill, possibly from tuberculosis. His health deteriorated quickly and he was dead within six months at the age of fifteen.

Arthur died on 2 April 1502 at Ludlow Castle, leaving Catherine a widow at only sixteen. He is buried at Worcester Cathedral.

Following the death of his father Henry VII, Arthur’s younger brother Henry was crowned Henry VIII.

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