Tag Archives: Arthur Tudor

On this day in 1501 – Katherine of Aragon set sail from Spain for England

Katherine of Aragon left her life behind in Spain as she left the Alhambra Palace in Granada on 21st May 1501 for a new life in England. Katherine was heading to England to marry Prince Arthur Tudor, son and heir of King Henry VII whom she had been betrothed to since she was three years old.

Katherine and her party attempted to set sail from Coruna on the 17th August after saying a tearful goodbye to her parents who had travelled with her to Galicia. Storms in the Bay of Biscay caused the fleet to land at Laredo, Bilbao. King Henry VII heard of the failed attempt and sent Stephen Butt, one of his best naval captains, to guide the Spanish party across the Bay. The fleet regrouped and at 5pm on the 27th September a second attempt was made to carry the 15 year old Katherine to her new life 500 miles away.

Katherine landed at Plymouth on the 2nd October and brought with her a dowry of 200,000 that was to be split into two payments and in return Henry had agreed to settle a third of the Prince of Wales’ land so she would be provided for in the event of her new husband’s death.

Katherine and Arthur’s betrothal had many false starts although the marriage was first suggested when Katherine was just three years old and Henry wanted Katherine sent to England straight away to learn the ways of the English court. However, her parents were keen to keep her in Spain until the couple were at the age to be married. Various events in England saw a potential end to the alliance including the pretender Perkin Warbeck. Eventually the couple were formally betrothed in two ceremonies in England where the Spanish ambassador De Puebla acted as proxy for Katherine.

The couple were eventually married at St Paul’s on 14th November 1501.

Katherine of AragonThe young Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1486 – Prince Arthur Tudor was born

Following King Henry VII’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth he would have found it vital to secure the throne and produce an heir so when his new bride, Elizabeth of York announced her pregnancy there was great joy in the new Tudor court.

Just weeks before the new Queen was due to give birth; Henry moved his court from London to Winchester, 60 miles away. Henry believed that Winchester was the home of Camelot where King Arthur and his knights of the round table held court, Henry felt a strong connection to King Arthur and had even ordered a family tree to be commissioned that traced his ancestors back to the time of Arthur. The Queen had not been due for a few more weeks but Bernard Andre believed that the upheaval and the long journey caused Elizabeth to go into premature labour and she gave birth to a son in the early hours of 20th September 1486 at St Swithun’s Priory.

St Swithun's GateSt Swithun’s Gate, Winchester

Upon Arthur’s birth he was bestowed the title of Duke of Cornwall and his birth firmly cemented the union between the Houses of Tudor and York. Messengers were sent out and bonfires were lit across the country to announce the birth of the new Prince and Te Deum’s were sung in Cathedrals up and down England to celebrate the arrival of Arthur.

Due to Arthur’s early birth plans for his baptism had to be brought forward to the 24th September, with the King hoping that four days would be enough time for people to arrive at Winchester for the celebration as due to the early arrival key peers such as John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford had not yet arrived at the new court, in fact he was still at his home in Lavenham, Surrey over 100 miles away.

On the morning of the 24th September the Earl of Oxford, who was a godparent to the new Prince, had still not arrived. King Henry had been informed that Oxford was within a mile of the ceremony and so the decision was made to postpone the beginning of the baptism. However, after three hours, Oxford had still not arrived and the congregation was getting restless so Henry intervened and asked Thomas Stanley, his stepfather, to act as a proxy godparent. With this agreed Henry returned to being out of sight, as was the protocol at baptisms, and ordered the ceremony to begin.

With the ceremony underway the priest was beginning to name the child when Oxford entered the Cathedral, Oxford then proceeded to take Arthur in his right arm and presented him for his confirmation. Arthur’s other godparents would be William FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, Elizabeth Woodville, Dowager Queen and Arthur’s grandmother and Cecily of York, Queen Elizabeth’s sister and Arthur’s aunt.

Following the ceremony Arthur was taken back to his mother, who had not been present as tradition dictated and would be missing from the court until her churching, which normally took place 60 days after the birth of a child but Elizabeth’s churching took place just 40 days after Arthur’s birth. Arthur was carried by his aunt, Lady Cecily and was followed by a procession that passed through the nursery with the King’s musicians. Arthur was then delivered back to his mother and nurses whilst the court went and continued celebrating the new heir to the Tudor throne.

Arthur’s nursery consisted of Lady Darcy who was in charge of the nursery itself, a position she held previously with King Edward IV’s son, Arthur’s wet nurse was Catherine Gibbs and his rockers were Agnes Butler and Evelyn Hobbes.

Arthur Tudor was idolised by his mother and father who viewed him as the future of the country until his untimely death in 1502.

ArthurPrince Arthur Tudor

On this day in 1491 – King Henry VIII was born

On 28th June 1491 the future King Henry VIII was born in the manor house of Placentia, Greenwich. A small country manor house within the vicinity of Greenwich Palace. It was a far less significant birth to his older brother, Arthur, who was the Prince of Wales and the heir to the throne. Henry’s birth was largely less important as he was viewed as ‘the spare’

Henry’s mother, Elizabeth of York, would have gone into confinement after hearing a mass at the beginning of June. Her confinement would have been arranged down to the finest detail. Elizabeth’s chamber would have been highly decorated with intricate tapestries hanging from the walls, bed and windows they would be rich in colour and heavy. There would have also been hangings and cloth across the chamber. It would have been Elizabeth’s first confinement to take place in the height of summer and with the room plunged into darkness it would have been hotter than usual.

On 28th June Elizabeth gave birth to her second son. Henry would have been taken by his nurses and bathed in various substances including milk, sweet butter and barley water amongst others in the hope of preventing death before the infant was baptised.

Henry’s birth was less significant compared to his elder brother and sister. Very few records exist of Henry’s birth and even his paternal grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, only wrote a small note in her Book of Hours when she had wrote dates and times for Arthur. Henry was destining for a quiet life as the spare.

Henry was baptised in Greenwich Church of the Observant Friars where Richard Foxe, Bishop of Exeter presided over the service. The church was lavishly decorated with tapestries, damask and cloth of gold and a wooden stage was built where the Canterbury silver font was placed. Now baptised Henry would soon be sent to Eltham where he would join his sister in the royal nursery. Just 11 years later Henry would suddenly find himself the new heir to the throne after the unexpected death of his older brother and with that Henry was catapulted into a life that would lead him to be King.

Henry VIII childThis bust is believed to be Henry VIII as a child

On this day in 1503 Prince Henry Tudor and Katherine of Aragon were formally betrothed

Following the premature death of her husband, Prince Arthur Tudor, Katherine of Aragon found herself widowed at the age of 17. Both King Henry VII and King Ferdinand of Aragon and his wife Queen Isabella of Castile were keen not to lose the alliance that was formed between England and Spain. Therefore on 10th May 1502 negotiations began for the new heir to the English throne, Prince Henry, to be married to his brother’s widow.

Dr De Puebla was nominated by the Spanish to be their ambassador and representative during the negotiations. De Puebla began meeting daily with the English council to work out an agreement that would benefit both countries.

On 23rd June 1503 a treaty was signed between the two nations and a formal betrothal took place two days later on 25th June 1503.

It was agreed that the newly betrothed couple would marry before Henry’s 15th birthday on 28th June 1506. This allowed enough time for a Papal dispensation to be obtained by both England and Spain. The dispensation allowed the marriage to proceed despite the fact that Katherine had been married to Henry’s brother. It also covered Katherine if the first marriage had been consummated, something that Katherine denied for her whole life and in court when Henry began proceedings to annul his marriage on the moral and religious grounds that by marrying his brother’s wife he was breaking the word of the bible.

With the death of Queen Isabella in November 1504, King Henry VII saw his son’s match with Katherine as weakened as without Castile Katherine’s inheritance significantly weakened. With this King Henry VII began to encourage his son to abandon the match.

On 27th June 1505, the day before the intended wedding day and Prince Henry’s birthday Henry declared that he no longer wished to marry Katherine and with this the betrothal was broken.

Katherine was left uncertain of her future. Henry VII was unwilling to allow her to return to Spain as it would mean that he would have to return her dowry from her marriage to Arthur. This was another reason why Henry persuaded his son to not go through with the marriage as King Ferdinand had only fulfilled half of the dowry and was stalling on paying the rest.

With no money or allowance from the King, Katherine was forced to live in poverty and had to resort to selling her personal belongings to survive along with her maids. By reducing her income Henry VII was hoping to force Ferdinand into paying the second half of the dowry owed when Ferdinand heard the conditions Katherine was living in. However, this never came to happen.

Miserable and suffering ill health Katherine wrote to her father asking that she returned to Spain and entered into a nunnery. Instead Ferdinand granted Katherine the position of Spanish Ambassador to the English court.

Katherine would eventually marry Prince Henry but waited until 1509 when King Henry VII died. You can read about Katherine and Henry’s wedding here https://thetudorchronicles.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/on-this-day-in-1509-king-henry-viii-married-katherine-of-aragon/

Katherine of AragonKatherine of Aragon

On this day in 1509 – King Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon

Following the death of Prince Arthur Tudor Katherine of Aragon returned to London and her future was left undecided. Henry VII did not want to send her home to Spain but equally he did not want her to remarry, Henry was still arguing with Katherine’s father, Ferdinand, over Katherine’s dowry and did not intend to return it. After 14 months Henry VII decided that Katherine could marry his other son, Prince Henry but they would have to wait until Henry was old enough to marry.

On 23rd June 1503 a marriage treaty was signed and the two were officially betrothed on 25th June. It was decided that the couple would marry on Henry’s 15th birthday on 28th June 1506 giving the two countries enough time to get the papal dispensation required as Katherine and Henry were related in the first degree of affinity. In 1504 the Pope was willing to grant the required dispensation and sent it to Katherine’s mother, Isabella, in Spain but she died shortly after receiving it.

With Spain no longer as strong as they were with the death of Isabella Henry VII believed that the alliance was not as attractive to England as a country and so began persuading Henry to declare that he did not want to marry Katherine. The evening before the marriage was meant to be solemnized Henry declared that he wanted it called off and so Prince Henry was now free to marry who he wanted and Katherine was now about to lead a life in virtual poverty.

Upon his deathbed it was said that Henry’s dying wish to his son was that he married Katherine, whether this was true or if Henry truly loved Katherine enough to marry her is debatable and so one of Henry’s first acts as King was to declare his intention to marry Katherine. On 8th June 1509 the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, issued a marriage licence.

The couple were married in a private ceremony in the chapel of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich on 11th June 1509, there were two witnesses to the ceremony; Lord Steward Shrewsbury and groom of the privy chamber, William Thomas. Katherine was 23 years old and Henry was on the verge of turning 18.

The wording of the ceremony was;

Most illustrious Prince, is it your will to fulfil the treaty of marriage concluded by your father, the late King of England, and the parents of the Princess of Wales, the King and Queen of Spain; and, as the Pope has dispensed with this marriage, to take the Princess who is here present for you lawful wife?

The King answered: I will

Most illustrious Princess, &c. (mutatis mutandis)

The Princess answered: I will”

The couple went on to be married for 24 years before Henry divorced her to marry Anne Boleyn.Henry and Katerine

King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1541 – Lady Margaret Pole was executed

Margaret Pole was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence and Lady Isabel Neville making Margaret niece to both King Edward IV and King Richard III. Margaret would have had a claim to the English throne had it not have been for the attainder passed against her father after he was executed for treason.

During King Richard III’s reign Margaret and her brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, were kept at Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire until Richard was defeated by the hands of Henry Tudor’s army at the Battle of Bosworth. After this Margaret’s brother was taken into the Tower of London only to be seen once in 1487 before he was eventually killed as he was considered a rival to the throne and the focus of the rebels cause. Margaret, however, was married of to Henry’s cousin Sir Richard Pole in an attempt to make her forgotten by marrying her to a lowly courtier.

Sir Richard Pole was created Chamberlain for Arthur Tudor, Henry’s eldest son and when Arthur married Katherine of Aragon Margaret was one of her ladies in waiting. The Pole’s would be at Ludlow Castle until Arthur died in 1502 and Richard was put in charge of the Welsh Marches.

Sir Richard and Margaret Pole had five children when Richard died in 1504 and with the death of her husband Margaret was left with limited land and no income and so Henry VII paid for Sir Richard’s funeral to help ease the financial burden. Also to help her family Margaret arranged for one of her sons, Reginald, to enter the Church. Reginald’s relationship with his mother was to be strained after this and he had a career that eventually led him to be Archbishop of Canterbury during Mary I reign.

With Henry VIII coming to the throne after the death of his father Margaret was again appointed a lady in waiting to his new wife and Margaret’s former lady, Katherine of Aragon. Henry was very favourable to Margaret and restored some of her brother’s lands to her at the cost of 5000 marks. She was restored the lands of the Earl of Salisbury making her one of only two ladies in England to be a peer in her own right and by 1538 Margaret was the fifth richest peer in England.

Margaret’s other children became favoured by the new King, her eldest son Henry was created Baron Montagu and her second son Arthur was a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Margaret’s daughter, Ursula, married Henry Stafford and her youngest son, Geoffrey, married the daughter of Sir Edmund Pakenham.

Margaret’s favour continued when she was made Princess Mary’s Governess and she remained loyal to Mary. When Mary was declared illegitimate and her household was broken apart Margaret asked to remain with Mary at her own cost, a request that was turned down. Even the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, suggested to the King that Mary was kept with Margaret again Henry refused calling Margaret ‘a fool, of no experience’.

The Plantagenet name remained a strong name in England and when Henry began to turn away from Rome the north began to rise and the Pole name, in particular Reginald, was a name that the rebels would march behind. Henry began investigating the rebels and Sir Geoffrey was arrested after being found communicating with Reginald. Under interrogation Geoffrey admitted that Lord Montagu and his mother as well as Henry Courtenay had all corresponded with Reginald as well. They were all arrested in Novemnber 1538.

January 1539 saw Geoffrey pardoned and released but Lord Montagu and Henry Courtenay were executed on the charge of treason. All those arrested were attainted this included Montagu and Courtenay who were already dead. As part of the evidence for the attainders Thomas Cromwell had produced a tunic worn by the Pilgrimage of the Grace that bore the symbol of the Five Wounds of Christ. This was enough for Henry to condemn his mother’s cousin to death.

Margaret Pole and her grandson, Henry and Courtenay’s son were held in the Tower of London where they would remain for the next two and a half years. On the morning of 27th May 1541 Margaret was informed that she was to executed within the hour and prepare herself. Her execution is remembered as being one of the most horrific. A block was prepared and 150 witnesses were there to see the former Countess of Salisbury die. Margaret was dragged and forced to place her head on the block and the executioner took his first swing, missing Margaret’s neck completely and hitting her shoulder. It allegedly took a further 10 blows before Margaret died. She was later laid to rest in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London.Margaret Pole

On this day in 1533 – Archbishop Cranmer ruled that Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon marriage was annulled.

On 23rd May 1533 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer declared that the marriage between King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon was annulled and they were never lawfully married. With convocation already ruling on the matter in March and the King already married to Anne Boleyn it feels that this was just a formality in proceedings.

Archbishop Cranmer issued the following statement after his trial into the annulment at Dunstable Priory, Bedfordshire;

“Notification of the sentence of divorce between Hen. VIII and Katherine of Arragon pronounced by archbishop Cranmer. Dated in the monastery of Dunstable, 23 May 1533. Present, Gervase prior of the said monastery, Simon Haynes, S.T.P., John Newman, M.A., and others.

The matrimony between the King and the lady Katherine being dissolved by sufficient authority, all pactions made for the same marriage are also dissolved and of none effect. That is, the jointure shall return again to the King’s use, and the money paid to him by her friends shall be repaid to her. The matrimony being dissolved, the lady Katherine shall return to the commodity and profits of the first matrimony, and the pactions of the same, made with prince Arthur, and shall enjoy the jointure assigned to her thereby, notwithstandingany quittance or renunciation made in the second pact. For as these renunciations were agreed unto for a sure trust and hope to enjoy the commodities and pactions of the second marriage, which now she cannot enjoy, unless without fault she should be deprived of both, equity and right restore her to the first. This, we think, by our poor learning, to be according both to canon and civil law, unless there are any other treaties and pactions which we have not seen.

For the more clear declaration hereof, we think that when a matrimony is dissolved, if there is no paction of a further bond, then by law the money paid by the woman or her friends shall be restored to her, and the jointure return to the man and his heirs. In this case there is an especial pact that she shall enjoy her jointure durante vita, so that the said jointure is due to her by the pact, and the money paid by her and her friends by the law.”

Henry VIIIKatherine of Aragon