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Prince Arthur Tudor, 1486-1502

Prince Arthur Tudor was the eldest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Named after the great hero of British mythology, Arthur’s birth in 1486 symbolised hope and unity for a country which had been ravaged by the Wars of the Roses. His parents' marriage united the houses of Lancaster and York and the new Tudor dynasty was born.

Henry arranged an advantageous foreign marriage for his son, to Princess Catherine of Aragon. The newly-wed Prince and Princess of Wales began their married life at Ludlow Castle but they had only been married a few months before both of them became dangerously ill with 'sweating sickness'. Catherine recovered but Arthur died aged only 15 in 1502.

Arthur was buried in Worcester Cathedral and his chantry, located to the right of the High Altar, near the tomb of King John, still survives. Included on the chantry are many heraldic carvings symbolising the various houses such as York, Lancaster, Beaufort and even Catherine of Aragon's pomegranate. 

On Arthur's death, his younger brother Henry became heir to the throne and the new Prince of Wales. Henry VII died in 1509 and after some years of uncertainty, the new king Henry VIII married his brother’s widow. They were married for 24 years before Henry sought an annulment to marry Anne Boleyn and change the Church in England forever. It was her previous marriage to Arthur that gave Henry the opportunity to divorce Catherine.

During the reign of Henry VIII's son (and Arthur's nephew) the protestant Edward VI, some of the carvings on Arthur's chantry were damaged, but the chantry itself survived.