Fact of the day: 20th September

On this day in 1486 Arthur, Prince of Wales (d. 1502), was born.

Arthur Tudor (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 and his wife, Elizabeth of York—daughter of Edward IV—and his birth thus cemented the union between the House of Tudor and the House of York.

He was their eldest child and was born months after their marriage. Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor, as his birth symbolised the end of the Wars of the Roses, during which his great-uncle Richard III, the final Yorkist king, had died in battle. 00d7ef01b434fe4ac71aac9ea58961d7

Plans for Arthur’s marriage began before his third birthday; he was installed as Prince of Wales two years later. He grew especially close to his siblings Margaret and Henry, Duke of York, with the latter of whom he shared some tutors.

At the age of eleven, Arthur 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 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 would later firmly state 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 betrothing Catherine to Arthur’s brother Henry, who had by then become Prince of Wales. Arthur’s untimely death paved the way for Henry’s accession as Henry VIII in 1509.

His subsequent reign encompassed the separation between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church and Henry’s quest for a male heir, which endured six marriages.

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