Spotlight – Arthur Tudor

Name: Arthur Tudor

Title/s: Prince of Wales / Duke of Cornwall / Earl of Chester

Birth / Death: 20 September 1486 – 2 April 1502

Spouse: Katherine of Aragon (1485 – 1536)

Children: None

Parents: Henry VII (1457 – 1509) & Elizabeth of York (1466 – 1503)

Siblings: Margaret, Queen of Scotland (1489 – 1541) / Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) / Elizabeth (1492 – 1495) / Mary, Duchess of Suffolk (1496 – 1533) / Edmund, Duke of Somerset (1499 – 1500) / Katherine (1503)

Noble Connections: Arthur was the son of Henry VII and the grandson of Edward IV through his mother, Elizabeth of York. Arthur was also the nephew of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard Duke of York. Arthur was also the means of creating an alliance between England and Spain to cement the Tudor dynasty.

Events of their Lifetime: Coronation of Elizabeth of York 1486, execution of the Earl of Warwick 1499, marriage to Katherine of Aragon 1501, the pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, the Cornish rebellion 1499.

Controversy: The main controversy surrounding Prince Arthur is the state of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. It only became a controversy when Henry VIII wanted to divorce Katherine to marry Anne Boleyn, and the focal point of the whole trial was whether or not Katherine’s first marriage to Prince Arthur was consummated. It still hasn’t been established, and is highly unlikely to be established for sure.

Works of Fiction:
Amis, Kingsley, The Alteration (1976)
Gregory, Philippa, The Constant Princess (2005)
Lofts, Norah, The King’s Pleasure (1969)
Plaidy, Jean, Katharine the Virgin Widow (1961)

Portrayals on Screen:
Jason Kemp, The Shadow of the Tower, 1972, 2 episodes
Martin Ratcliffe, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, 1970, 1 episode

Further Reading:
Anglo, S., ‘The Foundation of the Tudor Dynasty: the Coronation and Marriage of Henry VII’, Guildhall Miscellanea, 2 (1960)
Carlson, David R., ‘Royal Tutors in the Reign of Henry VII’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 22 (1991)
MacAlpine, Joan, The Shadow of the Tower: Henry VII and his England (1971)
Penn, Thomas, Winter King: the Dawn of Tudor England (2011)
Skidmore, Chris, Bosworth: the Birth of the Tudors (2013)


Prince Arthur c.1500
Prince Arthur c.1500
Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.
Anonymous portrait of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York c.1501.
Prince Arthur by George Perfect Harding c.1815
Prince Arthur by George Perfect Harding c.1815

Author: Helene Harrison

I have an MA in History, with a thesis entitled 'The Many Faces of Anne Boleyn: Perceptions in History, Literature and Film'. I have an interest in the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses along with my love of reading and literature.

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