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Tudors - Arthur Prince of Wales

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Arthur Prince of Wales
Name: Arthur Prince of Wales
Father: King Henry VII
Mother: Elizabeth of York
Born: September 19, 1486 at Winchester
Married: Catherine of Aragon, on November 14, 1501
Died: April 2, 1502 at Ludlow Castle, aged 15 years, 6 months, and 11 days
Buried at: Worcester Cathedral

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Arthur was the eldest son of King Henry VII of England and Wales, and Elizabeth of York. He was named after the legendary King Arthur of the Round Table, but is reputed to have been a sickly child. Arthur's father, Henry VII, wanted to strengthen his kingdom through an alliance with Spain, seeking the support of the Catholic Monarchs Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon against French interests and possible aggression. When Arthur was two years old, a marriage with the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon was arranged for him as part of the Treaty of Medina del Campo.

Arthur wrote numerous letters in Latin to his bride, and she would formally reply back. However, the letters were more polite than passionate, since the young couple barely knew each other. The Spanish monarchs promised that they would send their daughter Catherine to England when Arthur was fourteen but it was not until after her bridegroom turned fifteen that Catherine finally started her journey.

Catherine reached England on November 4, 1501. Little is known about their first impressions of each other, but Arthur did write to his father- and mother-in-law that he would be 'a true and loving husband' and he later told his parents that he was immensely happy to behold the face of his lovely bride. They were married at St. Paul's Cathedral on November 14, 1501. At the end of the festive day came the Bedding Ceremony, in which most of the court put the young couple to bed. Whether Catherine remained a virgin later became a controversial issue.

The couple soon went to Ludlow castle on the Welsh border, where Arthur resided in his capacity as Prince of Wales. He then suddenly died on April 2, 1502, at the young age of fifteen. The cause of his death is unknown. It may have been tuberculosis, or the mysterious sweating sickness which modern theorists believe is hantavirus. Seven years later Catherine married Arthurís younger brother Henry (later Henry VIII).

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