The Birth of Arthur Prince of Wales

Arthur Prince of Wales c.1500

Arthur Prince of Wales c.1500. Believed to be the only contemporary portrait of Arthur, on display at Hever Castle

On 20th September 1486 Arthur, Prince of Wales was born at St Swithuns Priory in Winchester, the first child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV, had become pregnant very quickly after marrying Henry VII in January 1486 and the pregnancy was widely celebrated throughout England. Henry had married Elizabeth to unite the houses of Lancaster and York after years of conflict during the Wars of the Roses so a baby was just what was needed to cement that union as well as strengthen the new dynasty that Henry had established.

Henry was convinced the baby would be a boy and planned to name his new son Arthur after the legendary King Arthur of Camelot who Henry believed was his ancestor. Henry was convinced Arthur’s birth would herald in a new Golden Age for England like the one presided over by King Arthur and he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. To further emphasise the point Henry also decided the birth should take place at Winchester which was widely believed to be the capital of King Arthur’s Camelot.

Henry moved his Court to Winchester in early September in preparation for the upcoming birth. Not long after they arrived Elizabeth went into labour and gave birth to Arthur a month early. Despite being premature Arthur was a healthy baby. Elizabeth was not as fortunate and suffered with a fever soon after the birth but thankfully made a full recovery.  Continue reading

BBC2’s Tudor Court Season

Anne Boleyn - portrait on display at Hever Castle

Anne Boleyn – portrait on display at Hever Castle

BBC2’s Tudor Court Season of programmes starts tonight at 9pm with a documentary on the fall of Anne Boleyn called ‘The Last Days of Anne Boleyn‘.

Other documentaries to be screened over the next couple of weeks are:

  • Henry VIII’s Enforcer: The Rise And Fall Of Thomas Cromwell – 24 May 9pm
  • Henry VII: Winter King – 30 May 9pm
  • Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England – 31 May 9pm
  • The Most Dangerous Man In Tudor England (about William Tyndale and the reformation) – 6 June 9pm

Anne Boleyn was the first Queen in Britain to be executed and tonight’s programme explores the reasons why she had to die. Due to the fact that none of the evidence conclusively proves any of the theories this is a topic that continues to seriously divide opinion amongst historians. Continue reading