Prince Arthur

Prince Arthur

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Arthur, the first son of Henry VII was born at St Swithun's Priory, Winchester, on 19th September 1486. He was born prematurely and spent the first months fighting for his life. (1)

Henry, who had become king in 1485, was determined that the Tudor family should rule England and Wales for a long time. To do this he needed to protect himself from those who had the power to overthrow him. His first step was to marry Elizabeth of York, the eldest child of Edward IV. (2)

Arthur was baptized on 24th September in Winchester Cathedral and named after the famous British hero whose fabulous exploits fill the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Initially he was put into the care of women and his nursery at Farnham. This was headed by Dame Elizabeth Darcy. (3)

Spain, along with France, were the two major powers in Europe. Henry VII constantly feared an invasion from his powerful neighbour. Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile were also concerned about the possible expansionism of France and responded favourably to Henry's suggestion of a possible alliance between the two countries. In 1487 King Ferdinand agreed to send ambassadors to England to discuss political and economic relations. (4)

In March 1488, the Spanish ambassador at the English court, Roderigo de Puebla, was instructed to offer Henry a deal. The proposed treaty included the agreement that Henry's eldest son, Arthur, should marry Catherine of Aragon in return for an undertaking by Henry to declare war on France. Henry enthusiastically "showed off his nineteen-month-old son, first dressed in cloth of gold and then stripped naked, so they could see he had no deformity." (5)

Puebla reported that Arthur had "many excellent qualities". However, they were not happy about sending their daughter to a country whose king might be deposed at any time. As Puebla explained to Henry: "Bearing in mind what happens every day to the kings of England, it is surprising that Ferdinand and Isabella should dare think of giving their daughter at all." (6)

The Treaty of Medina del Campo was signed on 27th March 1489. It established a common policy towards France, reduced tariffs between the two countries and agreed a marriage contract between Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon and also established a dowry for Catherine of 200,000 crowns. This was a good deal for Henry. At this time, England and Wales had a combined population of only two and a half million, compared to the seven and a half million of Castile and Aragon, and the fifteen million of France. Ferdinand's motivation was that Spanish merchants wishing to reach the Netherlands, needed the protection of English ports if France was barred to them. The English also still controlled the port of Calais in northern France. (7)

However, the marriage was not guaranteed. As David Loades points out: "The marriage of a ruler was the highest level of the matrimonial game, and carried the biggest stakes, but it was not the only level. Both sons and daughters were pieces to be moved in the diplomatic game, which usually began while they were still in their cradles. A daughter, particularly, might undergo half a dozen betrothals in the interests of shifting policies before her destiny eventually caught up with her." (8)

In August 1497, Prince Arthur and Catherine were formally betrothed at the ancient palace of Woodstock. The Spanish ambassador, Roderigo de Puebla, standing proxy for the bride. "De Puebla's own role, a conventional one by the standards of the time, was that of the bride; as such he not only took the prince's right hand in his own and was seated at the King's right hand at the subsequent banquet but also inserted the statutory symbolic leg into the royal marriage bed." (9)

Catherine arrival was delayed until Prince Arthur was able to consummating the marriage. Catherine was also encouraged to learn French as very few people in the English court spoke Spanish or Latin. Queen Elizabeth also suggested she accustom herself to drink wine, as the water in England was not drinkable. (10)

Catherine and Prince Arthur wrote several letters to each other. In October 1499 Arthur wrote to her thanking her for the "sweet letters" she had sent him: "I cannot tell you what an earnest desire I feel to see your Highness, and how vexatious to me is this procrastination about your coming. Let it be hastened, that the love conceived between us and the wished-for joys may reap their proper fruit." (11)

Catherine left the port of Corunna on 20th July 1501. Her party included the Count and Countess de Cabra, a chamberlain, Juan de Diero, Catherine's chaplain, Alessandro Geraldini, three bishops and a host of ladies, gentlemen and servants. It was considered too dangerous to allow Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile to make the journey. The sea-crossing was terrible: a violent storm blew up in the Bay of Biscay, and the ship was tossed about for several days in rough seas and the captain was forced to return to Spain. It was not until 27th September, that the winds died down and Catherine was able to leave Laredo on the Castilian coast. (12)

Catherine of Aragon arrived in England on 2nd October 1501. Arthur was just fifteen, and Catherine nearly sixteen. (13) As a high-born Castilian bride, Catherine remained veiled to both her husband and her father-in-law until after the marriage ceremony. Henry would have been concerned by her size. She was described as "extremely short, even tiny". Henry could not complain as Arthur, now aged fifteen, was very small and undeveloped and was "half a head shorter" than Catherine. He was also described as having an "unhealthy" skin colour. (14)

Arthur and Catherine married on 14th November 1501, at St Paul's Cathedral in London. That night, when Arthur lifted Catherine's veil he discovered a girl with "a fair complexion, rich reddish-gold hair that fell below hip-level, and blue-eyes". (15) Her naturally pink cheeks and white skin were features that were much admired during the Tudor period. Contemporary sources claim that "she was also on the plump side - but then a pleasant roundness in youth was considered to be desirable at this period, a pointer to future fertility". (16)

The couple spent the first month of their marriage at Tickenhill Manor. Arthur wrote to Catherine's parents telling them how happy he was and assuring them he would be "a true and loving husband all of his days". They then moved to Ludlow Castle. Arthur was in poor health and according to William Thomas, Groom of his Privy Chamber, he had been over-exerting himself. He later recalled he "conducted him clad in his night gown unto the Princess's bedchamber door often and sundry times." (17)

Alison Weir has argued that Arthur was suffering from consumption: "There was concern about the Prince's delicate health. He seems to have been consumptive, and had grown weaker since the wedding. The King believed, as did most other people, that Arthur had been over-exerting himself in the marriage bed." (18) Almost thirty years later Catherine deposed, under the seal of the confessional, that they had shared a bed for no more than seven nights, and that she had remained "as intact and incorrupt as when she emerged from her mother's womb". (19)

Antonia Fraser, the author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) has argued that she believes the marriage was unconsummated. "In an age when marriages were frequently contracted for reasons of state between children or those hovering between childhood and adolescence, more care rather than less was taken over the timing of consummation. Once the marriage was officially completed, some years might pass before the appropriate moment was judged to have arrived. Anxious reports might pass between ambassadors on physical development; royal parents might take advice on their offsprings' readiness for the ordeal. The comments - sometimes remind one of those breeders discussing the mating of thoroughbred stock, and the comparison is indeed not so far off. The siring of progeny was the essential next step in these royal marriages, so endlessly negotiated." Fraser goes on to argue that the Tudors believed that bearing children too young might damage their chances of having further children. For example, Henry VII's mother, Margaret Beaufort, was only thirteen when she had him and never had any other children in the course of four marriages. (20)

On 27th March 1502, Arthur fell seriously ill. Based on the description of symptoms by his servants, he appeared to have been suffering from a bronchial or pulmonary condition, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or some virulent form of influenza. David Starkey has suggested he might have been suffering from testicular cancer. (21) Antonia Fraser, believes that as Catherine was also ill at the same time, the both might have had sweating sickness. (22)

Arthur died on Saturday, 2nd April, 1502.

In an age when marriages were frequently contracted for reasons of state between children or those hovering between childhood and adolescence, more care rather than less was taken over the timing of consummation. The siring of progeny was the essential next step in these royal marriages, so endlessly negotiated.

Where an heiress was concerned, her "spoiling" by being obliged to have sex and bear children too young might have important consequences. The physique of the great heiress Margaret Beaufort was considered to have been ruined by early childbearing. She bore the future Henry VII when she was only thirteen, and never had any other children in the course of four marriages. Henry survived, but the existence of a single heir was in principle a great risk to any family in this age of high infant mortality, as the shortage of Tudor heirs would continuously demonstrate.

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(1) David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (2003) page 27

(2) Eric W. Ives, Henry VIII : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(3) Rosemary Horrox, Prince Arthur : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(4) Eric W. Ives, Henry VIII : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(5) Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 17

(6) Roderigo de Puebla to Henry VII (July, 1488)

(7) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) page 14

(8) David Loades, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 11

(9) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) page 20

(10) Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 22

(11) Prince Arthur, letter to Catherine of Aragon (October 1499)

(12) Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 25

(13) Jasper Ridley, Henry VIII (1984) page 31

(14) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) page 24

(15) Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 28

(16) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) pages 24

(17) David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (2003) page 76

(18) Alison Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2007) page 35

(19) John Sherren Brewer, The Reign of Henry VIII from his Accession to the Death of Wolsey (1884) page 303

(20) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) pages 29-30

(21) David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (2003) pages 76-77

(22) Antonia Fraser, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) pages 32

The real history behind The Spanish Princess

How historically accurate is The Spanish Princess? The drama tells the story of Catherine of Aragon, the Spanish royal who married both the teenage Tudor heir Prince Arthur and his younger brother Henry. Read more about the real history behind the young princess’s arrival in England, her relationship with the princes, and her journey to becoming the first wife of Henry VIII…

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Published: September 24, 2020 at 10:05 am

The Spanish Princess dramatises the story of the Spanish Catholic royal Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536), who married into the Tudor dynasty at the beginning of the 16th century, setting in motion a chain of events that would redefine the history of the western world. But what’s the real history of the events behind the drama?

Did Catherine and Prince Arthur really consummate their marriage? How did Catherine come to marry Henry VIII? What happened to Catherine’s children? And was their marriage a happy one? Read on for the real history behind The Spanish Princess parts 1 and 2 (warning, there may be spoilers ahead).

About The Spanish Princess

The drama, available to watch on Starz, is based on two works by bestselling historical writer Philippa Gregory – The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse – and sets out to challenge the popular perception of her as “an unwanted and burdensome wife”, say showrunners Emma Frost and Matthew Graham.

It follows two previous adaptations of Gregory’s work: The White Queen set during the Wars of the Roses following Elizabeth Woodville’s marriage to Edward IV and The White Princess, about the young Tudor king Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, a union that attempted to reunite the York and Lancaster houses after years of bitter dynastic conflict.

Parts 1 and 2 of The Spanish Princess are available to watch now with a subscription to Starz.

The wedding and marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur

Catherine of Aragon was born in the Archbishop’s Palace of Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid, on 15 or 16 December 1485, just four months after a Welshman by the name of Henry Tudor seized the English crown. The betrothal of Catherine, the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, and Arthur, the Prince of Wales and son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, signalled a pivotal alliance between the kingdoms. The 1489 Anglo-Spanish treaty of Medina del Campo had first set out the plans for Arthur to marry the youngest child of the powerful Catholic monarchs, and the union between the children signalled Henry VII’s ambitions for the Tudor dynasty.

England’s king had elaborate plans to welcome the young princess to England, filled with pomp, ceremony and theatrical entertainment. However, her arrival was delayed by poor weather, the dangerous crossing taking longer than expected. She landed at Plymouth in October 1501, her journey to London becoming a rapid progress. Her retinue included Iberian Moor Catalina (played in the drama by Stephanie Levi-John), who served Catherine for 26 years as the lady of the bedchamber. Catalina served her mistress for 26 years as the lady of the bedchamber and was married to a “Hace ballestas”, a crossbowman also of Moorish origin (in the show, Oviedo).

On 14 November 1501, the teenagers were married in a sumptuous ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London Catherine and Arthur were both 15 years old (Arthur’s younger brother Henry was 10 years old). As well as sealing the alliance, the wedding was an exercise in Tudor propaganda, writes historian Sean Cunningham.

“The interior of St Paul’s had been redesigned. A raised walkway drew the attention of all people crammed into the space as the royal couple, dressed in white satin, took centre stage in a full-blown royal performance.”

Following the wedding the young couple moved to Ludlow Castle, Shropshire, where Arthur’s role as head of the Council of Wales and the Marches was considered to be good preparation for his future reign.

Did Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon consummate their marriage?

The intimate issue of Arthur and Catherine’s marriage consummation has been hotly debated for centuries, due to its later significance to Catherine’s marriage to Arthur’s younger brother, Henry VIII. In 1527, Henry VIII tried to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon on the grounds that it had been “against God’s will” to marry his brother’s widow. However, if the previous marriage had been unconsummated it was not a legal union, and as Henry battled for an annulment Catherine adamantly claimed that she had still been a virgin at Arthur’s death. The truth of her assertion is still under scrutiny.

“The bawdy evidence of how Arthur greeted his friends on the morning after his wedding sounds like the well-rehearsed tale of a teenager trying to impress,” says Cunningham.

“The prince emerged from his chamber and called servant Anthony Willoughby over with the words: ‘Willoughby, bring me a cup of ale, for I have been this night in the midst of Spain.’ Then to all of the others present: ‘Masters, it is good pastime to have a wife.’”

Other lords such as Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, recalled having seen Catherine awaiting Arthur under the bedclothes during the previous evening’s bedding ceremony, later noting Arthur’s “good and sanguine” complexion the next day. Willoughby, too, believed Arthur and Catherine had lain together as man and wife at Ludlow, until Arthur became fatally ill at Easter 1502. Sir William Thomas, a groom of the prince’s privy chamber, revealed how he had many times escorted Arthur to Catherine’s room and collected him again in the morning.

Yet when defending her virginity at the time of her marriage to Henry, Catherine and many of her supporters insisted that the two young royals had only shared a bed for seven nights, while others stated that the small and physically weak Arthur had been too sickly to consummate the union.

“Catherine had ‘remained as intact and uncorrupted as the day she left her mother’s womb,'” writes Giles Tremlett of Catherine’s argument. “The sexual impediments to their marriage that could only be overcome by a papal dispensation had never existed. Henry’s argument, Catherine was saying, was irrelevant. They had been properly married – and still were.”

Cunningham concludes: “While other evidence suggests the frequency of their contact, only Catherine and Arthur would have known what went on behind the bedroom door.”

How did Prince Arthur die?

The cause of Arthur’s premature death on 2 April 1502, at the age of 15, is unknown, though it is most commonly attributed to a regional outbreak of sweating sickness. Others have suggested tuberculosis.

Sweating sickness symptoms included cold shivers, headaches, pain in the arms, legs, shoulders and neck, and fatigue or exhaustion. Far from being a disease that raged through the lower classes, many well-known figures in the Tudor court contracted the illness, including Anne Boleyn and her brother and father, George and Thomas. Catherine also fell ill, supporting the theory of sweating sickness, though she recovered.

Arthur’s death came suddenly and left Catherine a young widow after less than five months of marriage. Henry became the new heir to the throne at the age of 10.

Following the death of her elder son, Elizabeth of York was expected to provide another ‘spare’ male Tudor heir. Elizabeth fell pregnant but, following the premature birth of a baby girl at the Tower of London, the 37-year-old queen died in February 1503.

“Henry was aged 11: old enough to be fully aware of events, young enough to truly feel the loss of a mother,” writes Philippa Brewell of Henry’s relationship with his mother.

“The impact of losing his mother, with whom he had built such a strong bond during the many hours spent with her at Eltham Palace, is worth consideration when thinking about Henry’s subsequent relationships with women, wives in particular.”

Want to know even more about the real events from history that inspired your favourite dramas? Read more from the experts at our curated TV and film page

Why did Henry VIII marry Catherine of Aragon?

Following Elizabeth’s death, in an effort to keep Catherine’s dowry the ageing King Henry VII began negotiations to marry Catherine himself, though his plans were blocked by Catherine’s mother, Isabella of Castile.

Upon the death of Henry VII in April 1509, 17-year-old Henry acceded to the throne. Prince Arthur’s death was to become even more significant when Henry VIII made the decision to marry his brother’s widow, a choice for which the couple had to receive special dispensation from the pope. Yet it was not a choice born purely of obligation, writes historian Alison Weir.

“While the truth about her marriage to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, would remain a mystery for centuries, there was never any doubt that Catherine of Aragon’s second marriage to his brother, Henry VIII, was ardently consummated on their wedding night in June 1509.

“To the 18-year-old, idealistic king, she was a great prize, this princess from mighty Spain, who brought him a rich dowry and international prestige to the fledgling Tudor dynasty,” says Weir.

“He adored her: she was, we are told, ‘the most beautiful creature in the world’. She was 23, plump and pretty, and had beautiful red-gold hair that hung below her hips. Henry spoke openly of the joy and felicity he had found with Catherine.”

Prince Arthur’s tomb

Prince Arthur, born 1486 in Winchester- the heir uniting the white rose with the red, died on April 2, 1502 after a few short months of marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Three weeks later he was buried in Worcester Cathedral parallel with the altar with much pomp and pageantry. We know about Arthur’s funeral because a royal herald, one William Colbarne or Colbourne (the York Herald) wrote a first hand account. Being Henry VII’s son there is also a detailed account of the cost of the funeral.

A chantry where prayers could be said for Arthur’s soul was built two years after the prince’s death. It’s a two-storey affair that rather overshadows the fourteenth century tombs beneath it. His tomb chest is made from Purbeck marble and decorated with the arms of England, although he is buried beneath the cathedral’s floor several feet away from the tomb that visitors can see. Archeologists discovered the actual grave in 2002 with the use of ground penetrating radar that gave rise to speculation as to whether it might be possible to find out what Arthur died from. At the time it was announced that he’d died from sweating sickness. Historians tend to think it is more likely that he had tuberculosis, the disease that ultimately, probably, carried off his father (Henry VII) and his nephew (Edward VI).

The inscription round the tomb’s edge reads that Prince Arthur was the first begotten son of the ‘right reknowned’ King Henry VII and that he popped his clogs in Ludlow in the seventeenth year of his father’s reign. Having lost his heir, Henry appears to have been keen to remind everyone how successful his reign had been, that he had more sons and that he was perfectly entitled to the throne, thank you very much, and hadn’t he done well arranging a marriage with a European royal house such as Ferdinand and Isabella’s. The symbolism on the chantry is typical of Tudor iconography. There’s the white rose of York and red rose of Lancaster for instance as well as the Tudor rose the Beaufort portcullis a pomegranate for Catherine of Aragon whose home was Grenada and a sheath of arrows which belong to her mother Isabella of Castille a Welsh dragon and the white greyhound of Richmond – a reminder that Edmund Tudor, Henry VI’s half brother was the earl of Richmond. The prince of Wales feathers are also on display.

Prince Arthur's disappearance

There's a lot of debate and such about what happened to Edward IV's children, dubbed by history as the Princes in the Tower.

A lot of people seem to forget that another little boy in a similar situation disappeared too. Arthur, the son of John's older brother Geoffrey. and therefore taking precedence before John in line to the throne.

What are the basic theories behind this disappearance? I know most people cite John as taking Arthur out - are there any opposing theories to this?

History Chick

You mean Arthur, Duke of Brittany? I don't think he was a prince.

I don't know of any other theories - after all, England wasn't exactly in the middle of a civil war at the time like the Princes in the Tower were so I'm not sure there's really anyone else to point the finger at.

Arthur certainly had a legitimate claim to the throne but whether it took precedence to John's is debatable. He was not the son of a king whereas John was and I think Richard named John as his heir.


You're right. He wasn't a prince. I was just trying to draw a parallel between his disappearance and that of the princes in the tower.

I mayhaps presumed too much in my first post. (though I do believe I read somewhere that Richard cited Arthur as his heir, but I freely admit to be rather ignorant on this period of English history). Thanks for the response. I guess there doesn't seem to be any other suspects at all. I was hoping that maybe there was someone out there with a conspiracy theory to chew on, but somethings really are black and white I suppose. Thank you again!

Louise C

It seemed to have been generally considered at the time that John had murdered Arthur, possibly doing the deed himself.

As the son of John's older brother Geoffrey, it could be argued that Arthur had a claim to be king, but John got the throne, and Arthur had probably been unwise to oppose him, and certainly taking his grandmother hostage was not a wise move, Eleanor of Aquitaine wasn't someone you wanted to get on the wrong side of.


I think it's a really interesting question - I think we massively underplay the importance of Arthur's death. Richard had as you say recognised Arthur as his heir. Arthur's death, and John's complicity in it I think is the biggest single cause of the dismembership of the Angevin Empire. For centuries, French kings had broken on the rock of the myriad of Norman castles - John is thrown out in months. That's because his credibility was shot - so his barons deserted him and took their castles to Philip.

I'm not aware of any other theories about Arthur's death, apart from natural causes. I think the way John treats the Braose family is a pretty good indication of John's guilt.

But thans for raising the question - I think it's importnace is surprisingly underated.



The puzzle of Arthur's disappearance gave rise to various stories. One account was that Arthur's jailers feared to harm him, and so he was murdered by King John directly and his body dumped in the Seine. The Margam annals provide the following account of Arthur's death:

"After King John had captured Arthur and kept him alive in prison for some time, at length, in the castle of Rouen, after dinner on the Thursday before Easter, when he was drunk and possessed by the devil ['ebrius et daemonio plenus'], he slew him with his own hand, and tying a heavy stone to the body cast it into the Seine. It was discovered by a fisherman in his net, and being dragged to the bank and recognized, was taken for secret burial, in fear of the tyrant, to the priory of Bec called Notre Dame de Pres."

William de Braose rose high in John's favour after Arthur's disappearance, receiving new lands and titles in the Welsh Marches, so much so that he was obviously suspected of complicity. Indeed many years later, after conflict with King John, William de Braose's wife Maud de Braose personally and directly accused the King of murdering Arthur, which resulted in Maud and her eldest son, also William, being imprisoned and allegedly starved to death in Corfe Castle in Dorset. William de Braose escaped to France, where he was supposed to have published a statement on what happened to Arthur, but no copy has been found.

The Death Of Prince Arthur, Prince Of Wales, 1502

The first account listed at right was taken from a contemporary herald’s report, first published in 1715. The second account was written by Tudor citizen Richard Grafton. Its spelling has been modernized.
Arthur was the eldest son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He was born on 20 September 1486, barely a year after the pivotal battle of Bosworth Field, and died on 2 April 1502. Arthur was indeed named after the mythical King Arthur Henry VII was Welsh and the legend was popular in medieval England. In fact, it was generally believed at the time that Winchester was built upon the ruins of Camelot. And so Elizabeth of York was sent to Winchester to give birth and Arthur was christened at its cathedral. He was titled Prince of Wales (and was the first to receive the title) when he was 3 years old.

Negotiations for his marriage to Katharine of Aragon, daughter of the famous Ferdinand and Isabella, began in 1488. The terms were settled in 1500 and the couple were married in London on 14 November 1501. They journeyed to Ludlow Castle, the traditional seat of the Prince of Wales, and established a small court. However, Arthur died suddenly on 2 April 1502, possibly of tuberculosis. The two accounts at right record his parents’ reaction to the news.

When his Grace [Henry VII] understood that sorrowful heavy tydings, he sent for the Queene [Elizabeth of York], saying that he and his Queene would take the painful sorrows together. After that she was come and saw the Kyng her Lord, and that naturall and paineful sorrowe, as I have heard saye, she with full great and constant comfortable words besought his Grace that he would first after God remember the weale of his own noble person, the comfort of his realme and of her. She then saied that my Lady his mother had never no more children but him only, and that God by his Grace had ever preserved him, and brought him where he was. Over that, howe that God had left him yet a fayre Prince, two fayre Princesses and that God is where he was, and we are both young ynoughe.
….Then his Grace of true gentle and faithful love, in good hast came and relieved her, and showed her howe wise counsell she had given him before, and he for his parte would thanke God for his sonn, and would she should doe in like wise.

When the king by his high policy had completed his alliance with Spain in this way, there suddenly came a lamentable mischance and loss to the king, queen and all the people. For that noble prince Arthur, the king’s first begotten son, after he had been married to the Lady Catherine for five months, departed this transitory life at Ludlow on 2 April 1502.

With great funeral obsequies he was buried in the cathedral church of Worcester. After his death the name of prince belonged to his brother the duke of York, since his brother died without his issue, and so without being thus created he ought to be called, unless some apparent cause was a let or obstacle to it. But the duke, suspecting that his brother’s wife was with child, as was thought possible by the expert and wise men of the prince’s council, was by a month or more delayed from his title, name and pre-eminence, in which time the truth might easily appear to women.

It is reported that this lady Catherine thought and feared such an unhappy chance might come, for when she had embraced her father and taken leave of her noble and prudent mother, and sailed towards England, she was continually so tossed and tumbled hither and thither with boisterous winds that what with the raging of the water and the contrary winds her ship was prevented many times from approaching the shore and landing.

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Arthur is an expert swordsmen as he has demonstrated on many occasions. He was the champion sword fighter in Camelot (Valiant) and is head of the Knights of Camelot. (Lancelot) Arthur was a swift and precise swordsman, and was known to dart out of the way of his opponents' attacks and immediately counterattack without any wasted movement, but he was by no means lacking in physical strength either, able to ward off blows from strong and aggressive opponents such as Valiant on several occasions. Arthur's expertise with a sword allowed him to defeat several opponents at once. He was also capable of throwing the weapon accurately as proven when he was attacked by a Cockatrice. (The Poisoned Chalice) Many people considered him to be the greatest warrior in the history of Camelot.

A highly trained swordsman

Arthur has been shown to be extremely resilient, as even when his life force was drained by the Eye of the Phoenix, he was able to journey to the realm of the Fisher King, kill two bandits who preyed on him in his sleep and fend off two Wyvern. (The Eye of the Phoenix) Also, even after receiving a sword blow that broke a few of his ribs, Arthur was still able to defeat his attacker. (The Sword in the Stone)

In addition Arthur had excellent skills with a mace and quarterstaff even though they were not his preferred weapon, although he was still beaten swiftly by King Olaf when they fought with them. He was also capable of throwing knives accurately even when he was throwing them at a moving target. (The Dragon's Call, Queen of Hearts) In addition Arthur was very skilled with a lance, and his skill with the weapon even impressed the assassin Myror. (The Once and Future Queen)

Overall, regardless of his particular speciality being with a sword, very few have been able to fight him on equal footing and best him even if he is wielding another weapon he is skilled with. Out of the countless enemies Arthur has faced, only nine known people have ever defeated him in combat, Lancelot, Myror Morgause, Olaf, Uther Pendragon Helios, Ruadan, Mordred and Albin though it has been suggested that Morgana Pendragon may have beaten him too, though this is unconfirmed as Arthur said "that never happened" (possibly out of embarrassment) when Morgana mentioned it. (The Moment of Truth) Also, some of said individuals had an advantage over him. Against Mordred, Arthur hesitated at first and despite being badly wounded still managed to strike down Mordred with a single blow. He also beat King Olaf in swordplay despite losing to him when they fought with a mace and quarterstaff. When he was defeated by Uther, Arthur likely simply held back to allow his father to beat him so as not to humiliate him. When he fought Helios, Arthur was not at peak condition as he was still wounded but still held his own for quite some time before being overpowered. Arthur also disarmed Ruadan in their sword fight and only lost because he caught him off guard and belted him with a mace. A similar situation also caused him to lose against Lancelot, when Arthur, angered by Gwen's apparent betrayal, fought Lancelot without holding back and managed to disarm him first but in his blind rage, he was caught off guard and pinned to a wall, losing his sword in process.

Arthur was also an excellent leader and a talented strategist. Many people felt that he could become a great king. He has also been shown to be aware when Merlin is putting his life in danger for him. They appear to have some kind of psychic link as Merlin was able to summon a light to guide Arthur to safety when Arthur went to find the cure to a deadly poison even though Merlin was both seriously ill and unconscious at the time. (The Poisoned Chalice) This link was also shown when Arthur was bitten by a Questing Beast because when Merlin went to the Isle of the Blessed to save Arthur's life, Arthur sensed that Merlin was danger as he became a bit agitated even though he was unconscious similar to when Merlin was poisoned. (Le Morte d'Arthur)

Since he met Merlin, Arthur has had the distinction of fighting against many creatures of magic, both alone and aided by his knights or by Merlin. He held off a Griffin, animated gargoyles, undead skeletons, the dragon Kilgharrah and two Wyverns. He also killed a Cockatrice single-handedly and slew a Troll with help from Merlin, and later a Lamia.

Victorian revival

The 19th century in Britain was a time of great change, and the Industrial Revolution was transforming the nation irrevocably. But this situation produced great doubt and uncertainty in people's minds - not just in the future direction of the world but in the very nature of man's soul. As we have seen, at times of great change the legend of King Arthur, with its unfaltering moral stability, has always proved popular, and so it proved again in the reign of Queen Victoria.

The Victorian Arthurian legends were a nostalgic commentary on a lost spirit world.

Thus, when the Houses of Parliament were rebuilt after the disastrous fire of 1834, Arthurian themes from Malory´s book were chosen for the decoration of the queen´s robing room in the House of Lords, the symbolic centre of the British empire. And poems such as Tennyson´s 'Idylls of the King' and William Morris´s 'The Defence of Guinevere', based on the myth, became extremely popular. In addition, the Pre-Raphaelite painters produced fantastically powerful re-creations of the Arthurian legend, as did Julia Margaret Cameron in the new medium of photography.

The Victorian Arthurian legends were a nostalgic commentary on a lost spirit world. The fragility of goodness, the burden of rule and the impermanence of empire (a deep psychological strain, this, in 19th-century British literary culture) were all resonant themes for the modern British imperialist knights, and gentlemen, on their own road to Camelot.


Charles was born at Buckingham Palace in London during the reign of his maternal grandfather George VI on 14 November 1948. [14] [15] He was the first child of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (originally Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), and first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He was baptised in the palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, on 15 December 1948. [fn 3] The death of his grandfather and the accession of his mother as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 made Charles her heir apparent. As the monarch's eldest son, he automatically took the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. [17] Charles attended his mother's coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. [18]

As was customary for upper-class children at the time, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed and undertook his education between the ages of five and eight. Buckingham Palace announced in 1955 that Charles would attend school rather than have a private tutor, making him the first heir apparent to be educated in that manner. [19] On 7 November 1956, Charles commenced classes at Hill House School in west London. [20] He did not receive preferential treatment from the school's founder and headmaster, Stuart Townend, who advised the Queen to have Charles train in football because the boys were never deferential to anyone on the football field. [21] Charles then attended two of his father's former schools, Cheam Preparatory School in Berkshire, England, [22] from 1958, [20] followed by Gordonstoun in the north-east of Scotland, [23] beginning classes there in April 1962. [20] Though he reportedly described Gordonstoun, noted for its especially rigorous curriculum, as "Colditz in kilts", [22] Charles subsequently praised Gordonstoun, stating it had taught him "a great deal about myself and my own abilities and disabilities. It taught me to accept challenges and take the initiative." In a 1975 interview, he said he was "glad" he had attended Gordonstoun and that the "toughness of the place" was "much exaggerated". [24] He spent two terms in 1966 at the Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea on a school trip with his history tutor, Michael Collins Persse. [25] [26] [27] In 1973, Charles described his time at Timbertop as the most enjoyable part of his whole education. [28] Upon his return to Gordonstoun, Charles emulated his father in becoming Head Boy. He left in 1967, with six GCE O-levels and two A-levels in history and French, at grades B and C respectively. [25] [29] On his early education, Charles later remarked, "I didn't enjoy school as much as I might have, but that was only because I'm happier at home than anywhere else." [24]

Charles broke royal tradition a second time when he proceeded straight to university after his A-levels, rather than joining the British Armed Forces. [22] In October 1967, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read archaeology and anthropology for the first part of the Tripos, and then changed to history for the second part. [30] [31] [25] During his second year, Charles attended the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, studying Welsh history and language for a term. [25] He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a 2:2 Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree on 23 June 1970 the first heir apparent to earn a university degree. [25] On 2 August 1975, he was awarded a Master of Arts (MA Cantab) degree by Cambridge: at Cambridge, Master of Arts is an academic rank, not a postgraduate degree. [25]

Charles was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, [32] [33] though his investiture was not held until 1 July 1969, when he was crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle. [34] He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1970, [35] [36] and he made his maiden speech in June 1974, [37] the first royal to speak from the floor since the future Edward VII in 1884. [38] He spoke again in 1975. [39] Charles began to take on more public duties, founding The Prince's Trust in 1976, [40] and travelling to the United States in 1981. [41] In the mid-1970s, the prince expressed an interest in serving as Governor-General of Australia, at the suggestion of Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, but because of a lack of public enthusiasm nothing came of the proposal. [42] Charles commented: "So, what are you supposed to think when you are prepared to do something to help and you are just told you're not wanted?" [43]

Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having surpassed the record held by Edward VII on 9 September 2017. [3] He is the oldest and longest-serving British heir apparent, the longest-serving Duke of Cornwall, and the longest-serving Duke of Rothesay. [2] If he becomes monarch, he will be the oldest person to do so the current record holder being William IV, who was 64 when he became king in 1830. [44]

Official duties

In 2008, The Daily Telegraph described Charles as the "hardest-working member of the royal family." [45] He carried out 560 official engagements in 2008, [45] 499 in 2010, [46] and over 600 in 2011.

As Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes official duties on behalf of the Queen. He officiates at investitures and attends the funerals of foreign dignitaries. [47] Prince Charles makes regular tours of Wales, fulfilling a week of engagements each summer, and attending important national occasions, such as opening the Senedd. [48] The six trustees of the Royal Collection Trust meet three times a year under his chairmanship. [49] Prince Charles travels abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom. Charles has been regarded as an effective advocate of the country. In 1983, Christopher John Lewis, who had fired a shot with a .22 rifle at the Queen in 1981, attempted to escape a psychiatric hospital in order to assassinate Charles, who was visiting New Zealand with Diana and William. [50] While visiting Australia in January 1994, two shots from a starting pistol were fired at him on Australia Day by David Kang in protest of the treatment of several hundred Cambodian asylum seekers held in detention camps. [51] [52] In 1995, Charles became the first member of the royal family to visit the Republic of Ireland in an official capacity. [53] [54]

In 2000, Charles revived the tradition of the Prince of Wales having an official harpist, in order to foster Welsh talent at playing the harp, the national instrument of Wales. He and the Duchess of Cornwall also spend one week each year in Scotland, where he is patron of several Scottish organisations. [55] His service to the Canadian Armed Forces permits him to be informed of troop activities, and allows him to visit these troops while in Canada or overseas, taking part in ceremonial occasions. [56] For instance, in 2001 he placed a specially commissioned wreath, made from vegetation taken from French battlefields, at the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, [57] and in 1981 he became the patron of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. [58] At the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Charles unintentionally caused controversy when he shook hands with Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, who had been seated next to him. Charles's office subsequently released a statement saying: "The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and not in a position to avoid shaking Mr Mugabe's hand. The Prince finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent. He has supported the Zimbabwe Defence and Aid Fund, which works with those being oppressed by the regime. The Prince also recently met Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government." [59] In November 2001, Charles was struck in the face with three red carnations by teenager Alina Lebedeva, whilst he was on an official visit to Latvia. [60]

In 2010, Charles represented the Queen at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. [61] He attends official events in the United Kingdom in support of Commonwealth countries, such as the Christchurch earthquake memorial service at Westminster Abbey in 2011. [62] [63] [64] From 15 to 17 November 2013, he represented the Queen for the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. [65] [66]

Letters sent by Prince Charles to government ministers during 2004 and 2005 – the so-called black spider memos – presented potential embarrassment following a challenge by The Guardian newspaper to release the letters under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In March 2015, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom decided that the Prince's letters must be released. [67] The letters were published by the Cabinet Office on 13 May 2015. [68] [69] [70] Reaction to the memos upon their release was largely supportive of Charles, with little criticism of him. [71] The memos were variously described in the press as "underwhelming" [72] and "harmless" [73] and that their release had "backfired on those who seek to belittle him", [74] with reaction from the public also supportive. [75]

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall made their first joint trip to the Republic of Ireland in May 2015. The trip was called an important step in "promoting peace and reconciliation" by the British Embassy. [76] During the trip, Charles shook hands with Sinn Féin and supposed IRA leader Gerry Adams in Galway, which was described by the media as a "historic handshake" and a "significant moment for Anglo-Irish relations". [77] [78] [79] In the run up to the Prince's visit, two Irish republican dissidents were arrested for planning a bomb attack. Semtex and rockets were found at the Dublin home of suspect Donal O'Coisdealbha, member of a self-styled Óglaigh na hÉireann organisation, who was later jailed for five and a half years. [80] He was connected to a veteran republican, Seamus McGrane of County Louth, a member of the Real IRA, who was jailed for 11 and a half years. [81] [82] In 2015, it was revealed that Prince Charles had access to confidential UK cabinet papers. [83]

Charles has made frequent visits to Saudi Arabia in order to promote arms exports for companies such as BAE Systems. In 2013, [84] 2014, [85] and 2015, [86] he met with the commander of Saudi Arabia's National Guard Mutaib bin Abdullah. In February 2014, he took part in a traditional sword dance with members of the Saudi royal family at the Janariyah festival in Riyadh. [87] At the same festival, British arms company BAE Systems was honoured by Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. [88] Charles was criticised by Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier in 2016 over his role in the sale of Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. [89] According to Charles's biographer Catherine Mayer, a Time magazine journalist who claims to have interviewed several sources from Prince Charles's inner circle, he "doesn't like being used to market weaponry" in deals with Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states. According to Mayer, Charles has only raised his objections to being used to sell weapons abroad in private. [90] Commonwealth heads of government decided at their 2018 meeting that the Prince of Wales will be the next Head of the Commonwealth after the Queen. The head is chosen and therefore not hereditary. [91]

On 7 March 2019, the Queen hosted a Buckingham Palace event to mark the 50th anniversary of Charles's investiture as the Prince of Wales. Guests at the event included the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prime Minister Theresa May and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford. [92] The same month, at the request of the British government, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall went on an official tour to Cuba, making them the first British royalty to visit the country. The tour was seen as effort to form a closer relationship between the UK and Cuba. [93]


On 25 March 2020, Charles tested positive for coronavirus, during the COVID-19 pandemic after showing mild symptoms for days. He and Camilla subsequently self-isolated at their Birkhall residence. Camilla was also tested, but had a negative result. [94] [95] [96] Clarence House stated that he showed mild symptoms but "remains in good health". They further stated, "It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks." [95] Several newspapers were critical that Charles and Camilla were tested promptly at a time when some NHS doctors, nurses and patients had been unable to get tested expeditiously. [97] [98] On 30 March 2020, Clarence House announced that Charles had recovered from the virus, and he was out of the government-advised seven-day isolation after consulting with his doctor. [99] [100] Two days later, he stated in a video that he would continue to practice isolation and social distancing. [101] In February 2021, Charles and Camilla got their first dose of vaccine. [102]

Charles served in the Royal Air Force and, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and two of his great-grandfathers, in the Royal Navy. During his second year at Cambridge, he requested and received Royal Air Force training. On 8 March 1971, he flew himself to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to train as a jet pilot. [103] After the passing-out parade that September, he embarked on a naval career and enrolled in a six-week course at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth. He then served on the guided-missile destroyer HMS Norfolk (1971–1972) and the frigates HMS Minerva (1972–1973) and HMS Jupiter (1974). In 1974, he qualified as a helicopter pilot at RNAS Yeovilton, and then joined 845 Naval Air Squadron, operating from HMS Hermes. [104]

On 9 February 1976, Charles took command of the coastal minehunter HMS Bronington for his last ten months of active service in the navy. [104] He learned to fly on a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a BAC Jet Provost jet trainer, and a Beagle Basset multi-engine trainer he then regularly flew the Hawker Siddeley Andover, Westland Wessex and BAe 146 aircraft of The Queen's Flight [105] until he gave up flying after crashing the BAe 146 in the Hebrides in 1994. [106] [107]

Philanthropy and charity

Since founding The Prince's Trust in 1976, Charles has established 16 more charitable organisations, and now serves as president of all of those. [108] Together, these form a loose alliance called The Prince's Charities, which describes itself as "the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £100 million annually . [and is] active across a broad range of areas including education and young people, environmental sustainability, the built environment, responsible business and enterprise and international." [108]

In 2010, The Prince's Charities Canada was established in a similar fashion to its namesake in the UK. [109] Charles is also patron of over 400 other charities and organisations. [110] He uses his tours of Canada as a way to help draw attention to youth, the disabled, the environment, the arts, medicine, the elderly, heritage conservation, and education. [111] In Canada, Charles has supported humanitarian projects. Along with his two sons, he took part in ceremonies that marked the 1998 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. [111] Charles has also set up The Prince's Charities Australia, which is based in Melbourne, Victoria. The Prince's Charities Australia is to provide a coordinating presence for the Prince of Wales's Australian and international charitable endeavours [112]

Charles was one of the first world leaders to express strong concerns about the human rights record of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, initiating objections in the international arena, [113] and subsequently supported the FARA Foundation, [110] a charity for Romanian orphans and abandoned children. [114] In 2013, Charles donated an unspecified sum of money to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis appeal and DEC Syria appeal, which is run by 14 British charities to help victims of the Syrian civil war. [115] [116] According to The Guardian, It is believed that after turning 65 years old in 2013, Charles donated his state pension to an unnamed charity that supports elderly people. [117] In March 2014, Charles arranged for five million measles-rubella vaccinations for children in the Philippines on the outbreak of measles in South-East Asia. According to Clarence House, Charles was affected by news of the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. International Health Partners, of which he has been Patron since 2004, sent the vaccines, which are believed to protect five million children below the age of five from measles. [118] [119]

In January 2020, the Prince of Wales became the first British patron of the International Rescue Committee, a charity which aims to help refugees and those displaced by war, persecution, or natural disaster. [120] In May 2020, the Prince of Wales's Sustainable Markets Initiative and the World Economic Forum launched the Great Reset project, a five-point plan concerned with enhancing sustainable economic growth following the global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. [121] In April 2021 and following a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, Charles issued a statement, announcing the launch of an emergency appeal for India by the British Asian Trust, of which he is the founder. The appeal, called Oxygen for India, helped with buying oxygen concentrators for hospitals in need. [122]

Built environment

The Prince of Wales has openly expressed his views on architecture and urban planning he fostered the advancement of New Classical Architecture and asserted that he "care[s] deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life." [123] [124] In a speech given for the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on 30 May 1984, he memorably described a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved friend" and deplored the "glass stumps and concrete towers" of modern architecture. [125] He asserted that "it is possible, and important in human terms, to respect old buildings, street plans and traditional scales and at the same time not to feel guilty about a preference for facades, ornaments and soft materials," [125] called for local community involvement in architectural choices, and asked:

Why can't we have those curves and arches that express feeling in design? What is wrong with them? Why has everything got to be vertical, straight, unbending, only at right angles – and functional? [125]

His book and BBC documentary A Vision of Britain (1987) was also critical of modern architecture, and he has continued to campaign for traditional urbanism, human scale, restoration of historic buildings, and sustainable design, [126] despite criticism in the press. Two of his charities (The Prince's Regeneration Trust and The Prince's Foundation for Building Community) promote his views, and the village of Poundbury was built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall to a master plan by Léon Krier under the guidance of Prince Charles and in line with his philosophy. [123]

Charles helped establish a national trust for the built environment in Canada after lamenting, in 1996, the unbridled destruction of many of the country's historic urban cores. He offered his assistance to the Department of Canadian Heritage in creating a trust modelled on Britain's National Trust, a plan that was implemented with the passage of the 2007 Canadian federal budget. [127] In 1999, the Prince agreed to the use of his title for the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership, awarded by the Heritage Canada Foundation to municipal governments that have shown sustained commitment to the conservation of historic places. [128] While visiting the United States and surveying the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Charles received the National Building Museum's Vincent Scully Prize in 2005, for his efforts in regard to architecture he donated $25,000 of the prize money towards restoring storm-damaged communities. [129] [130]

From 1997, the Prince of Wales has visited Romania to view and highlight the destruction of Orthodox monasteries and Transylvanian Saxon villages during the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. [131] [132] [133] Charles is patron of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, a Romanian conservation and regeneration organisation, [134] and has purchased a house in Romania. [135] Historian Tom Gallagher wrote in the Romanian newspaper România Liberă in 2006 that Charles had been offered the Romanian throne by monarchists in that country an offer that was reportedly turned down, [136] but Buckingham Palace denied the reports. [137] Charles also has "a deep understanding of Islamic art and architecture", and has been involved in the construction of a building and garden at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies that combine Islamic and Oxford architectural styles. [138]

Charles has occasionally intervened in projects that employ architectural styles such as modernism and functionalism. [139] [140] [141] In 2009, Charles wrote to the Qatari royal family, the developers of the Chelsea Barracks site, labelling Lord Rogers's design for the site "unsuitable". Subsequently, Rogers was removed from the project and The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment was appointed to propose an alternative. [142] Rogers claimed the Prince had also intervened to block his designs for the Royal Opera House and Paternoster Square, and condemned Charles's actions as "an abuse of power" and "unconstitutional". [142] Lord Foster, Zaha Hadid, Jacques Herzog, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, and Frank Gehry, among others, wrote a letter to The Sunday Times complaining that the Prince's "private comments" and "behind-the-scenes lobbying" subverted the "open and democratic planning process". [143] Piers Gough and other architects condemned Charles's views as "elitist" in a letter encouraging colleagues to boycott a speech given by Charles to RIBA in 2009. [139] [141]

In 2010, The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment decided to help reconstruct and redesign buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the capital was destroyed by the 2010 Haiti earthquake. [144] The foundation is known for refurbishing historic buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan and in Kingston, Jamaica. The project has been called the "biggest challenge yet" for the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment. [145] For his work as patron of New Classical Architecture, in 2012 he was awarded the Driehaus Architecture Prize for patronage. The prize, awarded by the University of Notre Dame, is considered the highest architecture award for New Classical Architecture and urban planning. [146]

Livery company commitments

The Worshipful Company of Carpenters installed Charles as an Honorary Liveryman "in recognition of his interest in London's architecture." [147] The Prince of Wales is also Permanent Master of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Drapers, an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, an Honorary Member of the Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and a Royal Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. [148]

Natural environment

Since the early 1980s, Charles has promoted environmental awareness. [149] Upon moving into Highgrove House, he developed an interest in organic farming, which culminated in the 1990 launch of his own organic brand, Duchy Originals, [150] which now sells more than 200 different sustainably produced products, from food to garden furniture the profits (over £6 million by 2010) are donated to The Prince's Charities. [150] [151] Documenting work on his estate, Charles co-authored (with Charles Clover, environment editor of The Daily Telegraph) Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, published in 1993, and offers his patronage to Garden Organic. Along similar lines, the Prince of Wales became involved with farming and various industries within it, regularly meeting with farmers to discuss their trade. Although the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic in England prevented Charles from visiting organic farms in Saskatchewan, he met the farmers at Assiniboia town hall. [152] [153] In 2004, he founded the Mutton Renaissance Campaign, which aims to support British sheep farmers and make mutton more attractive to Britons. [154] His organic farming has attracted media criticism: According to The Independent in October 2006, "the story of Duchy Originals has involved compromises and ethical blips, wedded to a determined merchandising programme." [155]

In 2007, he received the 10th annual Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, the director of which, Eric Chivian, stated: "For decades the Prince of Wales has been a champion of the natural world . He has been a world leader in efforts to improve energy efficiency and in reducing the discharge of toxic substances on land, and into the air and the oceans". [156] Charles's travels by private jet drew criticism from Plane Stupid's Joss Garman. [157] [158] In 2007, Charles launched The Prince's May Day Network, which encourages businesses to take action on climate change. Speaking to the European Parliament on 14 February 2008, he called for European Union leadership in the war against climate change. During the standing ovation that followed, Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), remained seated and went on to describe Charles's advisers as "naive and foolish at best." [159] In a speech to the Low Carbon Prosperity Summit in a European Parliament chamber on 9 February 2011, Charles said that climate change sceptics are playing "a reckless game of roulette" with the planet's future and are having a "corrosive effect" on public opinion. He also articulated the need to protect fisheries and the Amazon rain forest, and to make low-carbon emissions affordable and competitive. [160] In 2011, Charles received the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal for his engagement with the environment, such as the conservation of rainforests. [161]

On 27 August 2012, the Prince of Wales addressed the International Union for Conservation of Nature – World Conservation Congress, supporting the view that grazing animals are needed to keep soils and grassland productive:

I have been particularly fascinated, for example, by the work of a remarkable man called Allan Savory, in Zimbabwe and other semi arid areas, who has argued for years against the prevailing expert view that is the simple numbers of cattle that drive overgrazing and cause fertile land to become desert. On the contrary, as he has since shown so graphically, the land needs the presence of feeding animals and their droppings for the cycle to be complete, so that soils and grassland areas stay productive. Such that, if you take grazers off the land and lock them away in vast feedlots, the land dies. [162]

In February 2014, Charles visited the Somerset levels to meet residents affected by winter flooding. During his visit, Charles remarked that "There's nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something. The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long." He pledged a £50,000 donation, provided by the Prince's Countryside Fund, to help families and businesses. [163] [164] [165] In August 2019, it was announced that the Prince of Wales had collaborated with British fashion designers Vin and Omi to produce a line of clothing made out of nettles found in his Highgrove estate. Nettles are a type of plants which are usually "perceived to have no value". The Highgrove plant waste was also used to create the jewellery worn with the dresses. [166] In September 2020, the Prince of Wales launched RE:TV, an online platform featuring short films and articles on issues such as climate change and sustainability. He serves as the platform's editor-in-chief. [167] In January 2021, Charles launched Terra Carta ("Earth Charter"), a sustainable finance charter that would ask its signatories to follow a set of rules towards becoming more sustainable and make investments in projects and causes that help with preserving the environment. [168] [169] In June 2021, he attended a reception hosted by the Queen during the 47th G7 summit, and a meeting beween G7 leaders and sustainable industry CEOs to discuss governmental and corporate solutions to environmental problems. [170]

Alternative medicine

Charles has controversially championed alternative medicine. [171] The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health attracted opposition from the scientific and medical community over its campaign encouraging general practitioners to offer herbal and other alternative treatments to National Health Service patients, [172] [173] and in May 2006, Charles made a speech at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, urging the integration of conventional and alternative medicine and arguing for homeopathy. [174] [9]

In April 2008, The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, which asked the Prince's Foundation to recall two guides promoting alternative medicine, saying "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous." A speaker for the foundation countered the criticism by stating: "We entirely reject the accusation that our online publication Complementary Healthcare: A Guide contains any misleading or inaccurate claims about the benefits of complementary therapies. On the contrary, it treats people as adults and takes a responsible approach by encouraging people to look at reliable sources of information . so that they can make informed decisions. The foundation does not promote complementary therapies." [175] That year, Ernst published a book with Simon Singh, mockingly dedicated to "HRH the Prince of Wales", called Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. The last chapter is highly critical of Charles's advocacy of complementary and alternative treatments. [176]

The Prince's Duchy Originals produce a variety of complementary medicinal products including a "Detox Tincture" that Edzard Ernst has denounced as "financially exploiting the vulnerable" and "outright quackery". [177] In 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority criticised an email that Duchy Originals had sent out to advertise its Echina-Relief, Hyperi-Lift and Detox Tinctures products saying that it was misleading. [177] The Prince personally wrote at least seven letters [178] to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shortly before they relaxed the rules governing labelling of such herbal products, a move that has been widely condemned by scientists and medical bodies. [179] In October 2009, it was reported that Charles had personally lobbied the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, regarding greater provision of alternative treatments in the NHS. [177] In 2016, Charles said in a speech that he used homeopathic veterinary medicines to reduce antibiotic use at his farm. [180]

In Ernst's book More Good Than Harm? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, he and ethicist Kevin Smith call Charles "foolish and immoral", and "conclude that it is not possible to practice alternative medicine ethically". Ernst further claims that the private secretary of the Prince contacted the vice chancellor of Exeter University to investigate Ernst's complaints against the "Smallwood Report", which the Prince had commissioned in 2005. While Ernst was "found not to be guilty of any wrong-doing, all local support at Exeter stopped, which eventually led to my early retirement." [181]

In April 2010, following accounting irregularities, a former official at the Prince's Foundation and his wife were arrested for fraud believed to total £300,000. [182] Four days later, the foundation announced its closure, claiming that it "has achieved its key objective of promoting the use of integrated health." [183] The charity's finance director, accountant George Gray, was convicted of theft totalling £253,000 and sentenced to three years in prison. [184] The Prince's Foundation was re-branded and re-launched later in 2010 as The College of Medicine. [184] [185] [186]

Religious and philosophical interests

Prince Charles was confirmed at age 16 by Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey at Easter 1965, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. [187] He attends services at various Anglican churches close to Highgrove, [188] and attends the Church of Scotland's Crathie Kirk with the rest of the royal family when staying at Balmoral Castle. In 2000, he was appointed as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Charles has visited (amid some secrecy) Orthodox monasteries several times on Mount Athos [189] as well as in Romania. [131] Charles is also patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford, and in the 2000s, he inaugurated the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, which is dedicated to Islamic studies in a plural multicultural context. [138] [190] [191]

Sir Laurens van der Post became a friend of Charles in 1977 he was dubbed his "spiritual guru" and was godfather to Charles's son, Prince William. [192] From van der Post, Prince Charles developed a focus on philosophy and interest in other religions. [193] Charles expressed his philosophical views in his 2010 book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, [194] [195] [196] which won a Nautilus Book Award. [197] In November 2016, he attended the consecration of St Thomas Cathedral, Acton, to be Britain's first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. [198] In October 2019, he attended the canonisation of Cardinal Newman. [199] Charles visited Eastern Church leaders in Jerusalem in January 2020 culminating in an ecumenical service in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, after which he walked through that city accompanied by Christian and Muslim dignitaries. [200] [201]

Although it had been rumoured that Charles would vow to be "Defender of the Faiths" or "Defender of Faith" as king, he stated in 2015 that he would retain the monarch's traditional title of "Defender of the Faith", whilst "ensuring that other people's faiths can also be practised", which he sees as a duty of the Church of England. [202]


In his youth, Charles was amorously linked to a number of women. His great-uncle Lord Mountbatten advised him:

In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitable, attractive, and sweet-charactered girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for . It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage. [203]

Charles's girlfriends included Georgiana Russell, the daughter of Sir John Russell, who was British ambassador to Spain [204] Lady Jane Wellesley, the daughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington [205] Davina Sheffield [206] Lady Sarah Spencer [207] and Camilla Shand, [208] who later became his second wife and Duchess of Cornwall. [209]

Early in 1974, Mountbatten began corresponding with Charles about a potential marriage to Amanda Knatchbull, who was Mountbatten's granddaughter. [210] [211] Charles wrote to Amanda's mother—Lady Brabourne, who was also his godmother—expressing interest in her daughter, to which she replied approvingly, though she suggested that a courtship with the not yet 17-year-old girl was premature. [212] Four years later, Mountbatten arranged for Amanda and himself to accompany Charles on his 1980 tour of India. Both fathers, however, objected Philip feared that Charles would be eclipsed by his famous uncle (who had served as the last British Viceroy and first Governor-General of India), while Lord Brabourne warned that a joint visit would concentrate media attention on the cousins before they could decide on becoming a couple. [213] However, in August 1979, before Charles would depart alone for India, Mountbatten was killed by the IRA. When Charles returned, he proposed to Amanda, but in addition to her grandfather, she had lost her paternal grandmother and youngest brother Nicholas in the bomb attack and was now reluctant to join the royal family. [213] In June 1980, Charles officially turned down Chevening House, placed at his disposal since 1974, as his future residence. Chevening, a stately home in Kent, was bequeathed, along with an endowment, to the Crown by the last Earl Stanhope, Amanda's childless great-uncle, in the hope that Charles would eventually occupy it. [214] In 1977, a newspaper report mistakenly announced his engagement to Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg. [215]


Marriage to Lady Diana Spencer

Charles first met Lady Diana Spencer in 1977 while he was visiting her home, Althorp. He was the companion of her elder sister, Sarah, and did not consider Diana romantically until mid-1980. While Charles and Diana were sitting together on a bale of hay at a friend's barbecue in July, she mentioned that he had looked forlorn and in need of care at the funeral of his granduncle Lord Mountbatten. Soon, according to Charles's chosen biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, "without any apparent surge in feeling, he began to think seriously of her as a potential bride", and she accompanied Charles on visits to Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House. [216]

Charles's cousin Norton Knatchbull and his wife told Charles that Diana appeared awestruck by his position and that he did not seem to be in love with her. [217] Meanwhile, the couple's continuing courtship attracted intense attention from the press and paparazzi. When Prince Philip told him that the media speculation would injure Diana's reputation if Charles did not come to a decision about marrying her soon, and realising that she was a suitable royal bride (according to Mountbatten's criteria), Charles construed his father's advice as a warning to proceed without further delay. [218]

Prince Charles proposed to Diana in February 1981 she accepted and they married in St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July of that year. Upon his marriage, Charles reduced his voluntary tax contribution from the profits generated by the Duchy of Cornwall from 50% to 25%. [219] The couple lived at Kensington Palace and at Highgrove House, near Tetbury, and had two children: Princes William (b. 1982) and Henry (known as "Harry") (b. 1984). Charles set a precedent by being the first royal father to be present at his children's births. [19]

Within five years, the marriage was in trouble due to the couple's incompatibility and near 13-year age difference. [220] [221] In a videotape recorded by Peter Settelen in 1992, Diana admitted that by 1986, she had been "deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment." [222] [223] It is thought she was referring to Barry Mannakee, [224] who was transferred to the Diplomatic Protection Squad in 1986 after his managers had determined that his relationship with Diana had been inappropriate. [223] [225] Diana later commenced a relationship with Major James Hewitt, the family's former riding instructor. [226] Charles and Diana's evident discomfort in each other's company led to them being dubbed "The Glums" by the press. [227] Diana exposed Charles's affair with Camilla in a book by Andrew Morton, Diana, Her True Story. Audio tapes of her own extramarital flirtations also surfaced. [227] Persistent suggestions that Hewitt is Prince Harry's father have been based on a physical similarity between Hewitt and Harry. However, Harry had already been born by the time Diana's affair with Hewitt began. [228] [229]

Legal separation and divorce

In December 1992, British Prime Minister John Major announced the couple's legal separation in Parliament. Earlier that year, the British press had published transcripts of a passionate bugged telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla from 1989. [230] [231] Prince Charles sought public understanding in a television film, Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role, with Jonathan Dimbleby that was broadcast on 29 June 1994. In an interview in the film, he confirmed his own extramarital affair with Camilla, saying that he had rekindled their association in 1986 only after his marriage to Diana had "irretrievably broken down". [232] [233] [234] Charles and Diana divorced on 28 August 1996. [235] Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August of the following year Charles flew to Paris with Diana's sisters to accompany her body back to Britain. [236]

Marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles

The engagement of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was announced on 10 February 2005 he presented her with an engagement ring that had belonged to his grandmother. [237] The Queen's consent to the marriage (as required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772) was recorded in a Privy Council meeting on 2 March. [238] In Canada, the Department of Justice announced its decision that the Queen's Privy Council for Canada was not required to meet to give its consent to the marriage, as the union would not result in offspring and would have no impact on the succession to the Canadian throne. [239]

Charles was the only member of the royal family to have a civil rather than a church wedding in England. Government documents from the 1950s and 1960s, published by the BBC, stated that such a marriage was illegal, [240] though these were dismissed by Charles's spokesman, [241] and explained to be obsolete by the sitting government. [242]

The marriage was scheduled to take place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle, with a subsequent religious blessing at St George's Chapel. The venue was subsequently changed to Windsor Guildhall, because a civil marriage at Windsor Castle would oblige the venue to be available to anyone who wished to be married there. Four days before the wedding, it was postponed from the originally scheduled date of 8 April until the following day in order to allow Charles and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II. [243]

Charles's parents did not attend the civil marriage ceremony the Queen's reluctance to attend possibly arose from her position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. [244] The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did attend the service of blessing and later held a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle. [245] The blessing, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, was televised. [246]


From his youth until 1992, Prince Charles was an avid player of competitive polo. He continued to play informally, including for charity, until 2005. [247] Charles also frequently took part in fox hunting until the sport was banned in the United Kingdom in 2005. By the late 1990s, opposition to the activity was growing when Charles's participation was viewed as a "political statement" by those who were opposed to it. The League Against Cruel Sports launched an attack against Charles after he took his sons on the Beaufort Hunt in 1999. At that time, the government was trying to ban hunting with hounds. [248] [249]

Charles has been a keen salmon angler since youth and supports Orri Vigfússon's efforts to protect the North Atlantic salmon. He frequently fishes the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, while he claims his most special angling memories are from his time in Vopnafjörður, Iceland. [250] Charles is a supporter of Burnley Football Club. [251]

Visual, performing and contemporary arts

Prince Charles is president or patron of more than 20 performing arts organisations, which include the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, and the Purcell School. In 2000, he revived the tradition of appointing harpists to the Royal Court, by appointing an Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales. As an undergraduate at Cambridge he played cello, and has sung with the Bach Choir twice. [252] Charles founded The Prince's Foundation for Children and The Arts in 2002, to help more children experience the arts first-hand. He is president of the Royal Shakespeare Company and attends performances in Stratford-Upon-Avon, supports fundraising events and attends the company's annual general meeting. [252] He enjoys comedy, [253] and is interested in illusionism, becoming a member of The Magic Circle after passing his audition in 1975 by performing the "cups and balls" effect. [254]

Charles is a keen and accomplished watercolourist who has exhibited and sold a number of his works and also published books on the subject. In 2001, 20 lithographs of his watercolour paintings illustrating his country estates were exhibited at the Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art. [255] He is Honorary President of the Royal Academy of Arts Development Trust. [256]

Charles was awarded the 2011 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award by the Montblanc Cultural Foundation for his support and commitment to the arts, particularly in regard to young people. [257] On 23 April 2016, Charles appeared in a comedy sketch for the Royal Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare Live! at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death in 1616. The event was televised live by the BBC. Charles made a surprise entrance to settle the disputed delivery of Hamlet's celebrated line, "To be or not to be, that is the question". [258]


Prince Charles is an author of several books that reflect his own interests. He has also contributed a foreword or preface to books by other writers and has also written, presented and has been featured in documentary films. [259] [260] [261] [262]

Since his birth, Prince Charles has received close media attention, which increased as he matured. It has been an ambivalent relationship, largely impacted by his marriages to Diana and Camilla and its aftermath, but also centred on his future conduct as king, such as the 2014 play King Charles III. [263]

Described as the "world's most eligible bachelor" in the late 1970s, [264] Prince Charles was subsequently overshadowed by Diana. [265] After her death, the media regularly breached Charles's privacy and printed exposés.

In 2006, the prince filed a court case against the Mail on Sunday, after excerpts of his personal journals were published, revealing his opinions on matters such as the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997, in which Charles described the Chinese government officials as "appalling old waxworks". [266] Mark Bolland, his ex-private secretary, declared in a statement to the High Court that Charles "would readily embrace the political aspects of any contentious issue he was interested in . He carried it out in a very considered, thoughtful and researched way. He often referred to himself as a 'dissident' working against the prevailing political consensus." [266] Jonathan Dimbleby reported that the prince "has accumulated a number of certainties about the state of the world and does not relish contradiction." [267]

Other people who were formerly connected with the prince have betrayed his confidence. An ex-member of his household handed the press an internal memo in which Charles commented on ambition and opportunity, and which was widely interpreted as blaming meritocracy for creating a combative atmosphere in society. Charles responded: "In my view, it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor". [268]

In 2012, Charles met backlash for his long-standing association with sex offender Jimmy Savile. He met Savile through mutual charity interests, and later consulted him as a confidant and adviser. [269] His work with Stoke Mandeville Hospital also made Savile a suitable figure to whom the Prince could turn "for advice on navigating Britain's health authorities". [270] Dickie Arbiter, the spokesman for the Queen between 1988 and 2000, said that during his regular visits to Charles's office at St James's Palace, Savile would "do the rounds of the young ladies taking their hands and rubbing his lips all the way up their arms", though no record of any assistants making a complaint exists. [269] Charles met Savile on several occasions. In 1999 he visited Savile's Glen Coe home for a private meal. [269] He reportedly sent him gifts on his 80th birthday and a note reading: "Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country, Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that". [269]

Reaction to press treatment

Charles's anguish was recorded in his private comments to Prince William, caught on a microphone during a press photo-call in 2005 and published in the national press. After a question from the BBC's royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, Charles muttered: "These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is." [271]

In 2002, Charles, "so often a target of the press, got his chance to return fire" when addressing "scores of editors, publishers and other media executives" gathered at St Bride's Fleet Street to celebrate 300 years of journalism. [272] [273] Defending public servants from "the corrosive drip of constant criticism", he noted that the press had been "awkward, cantankerous, cynical, bloody-minded, at times intrusive, at times inaccurate and at times deeply unfair and harmful to individuals and to institutions." [273] But, he concluded, regarding his own relations with the press, "from time to time we are probably both a bit hard on each other, exaggerating the downsides and ignoring the good points in each." [273]

Guest appearances on television

The Prince of Wales has occasionally appeared on television. In 1984, he read his children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar for the BBC's Jackanory series. The UK soap opera Coronation Street featured an appearance by Charles during the show's 40th anniversary in 2000, [274] as did the New Zealand young adult cartoon series bro'Town (2005), after he attended a performance by the show's creators during a tour of the country. [275] [276] Charles was interviewed with Princes William and Harry by Ant & Dec to mark the 30th anniversary of The Prince's Trust in 2006 [277] and in 2016 was interviewed by them again along with his sons and the Duchess of Cornwall to mark the 40th anniversary. [278]

His saving of the Scottish stately home Dumfries House was the subject of Alan Titchmarsh's documentary Royal Restoration, which aired on TV in May 2012. [279] Also in May 2012, Charles tried his hand at being a weather presenter for the BBC, reporting the forecast for Scotland as part of their annual week at Holyrood Palace alongside Christopher Blanchett. He injected humour in his report, asking, "Who the hell wrote this script?" as references were made to royal residences. [280] In December 2015, Channel 4 News revealed that interviews with Charles were subject to a contract that restricts questions to those previously approved, and gives his staff oversight of editing and the right to "remove the contribution in its entirety from the programme". Channel 4 News decided not to proceed with an interview on this basis, which some journalists believed would put them at risk of breaching the Ofcom Broadcasting Code on editorial independence and transparency. [281]

Clarence House, previously the residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, is Charles's official London residence. [282] His primary source of income is generated from the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns 133,658 acres of land (around 54,090 hectares), including farming, residential, and commercial properties, as well as an investment portfolio. Highgrove House in Gloucestershire is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, having been purchased for his use in 1980, and which Prince Charles rents for £336,000 per annum. [283] The Public Accounts Committee published its 25th report into the Duchy of Cornwall accounts in November 2013 noting that the duchy performed well in 2012–13, increasing its total income and producing an overall surplus of £19.1 million. [284]

In 2007, the prince purchased a 192-acre property (150 acres of grazing and parkland, and 40 acres of woodland) in Carmarthenshire, and applied for permission to convert the farm into a Welsh home for him and the Duchess of Cornwall, to be rented out as holiday flats when the couple is not in residence. [285] A neighbouring family said the proposals flouted local planning regulations, and the application was put on hold temporarily while a report was drafted on how the alterations would affect the local bat population. [286] Charles and Camilla first stayed at the new property, called Llwynywermod, in June 2008. [287] They also stay at Birkhall for some holidays, which is a private residence on the Balmoral Castle estate in Scotland, and was previously used by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. [288] [289] [290]

In 2016, it was reported that his estates receive £100,000 a year in European Union agricultural subsidies. [291] Starting in 1993, the Prince of Wales has paid tax voluntarily under the Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, updated 2013. [292] In December 2012, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs were asked to investigate alleged tax avoidance by the Duchy of Cornwall. [293] The Duchy of Cornwall is named in the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment that were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The papers show that the Duchy invested in a Bermuda-based carbon credits trading company run by one of Charles's Cambridge contemporaries. The investment was kept secret but there is no suggestion that Charles or the estate avoided UK tax. [294]

Titles and styles

Charles has held titles throughout his life: the grandson of the monarch, the son of the monarch and in his own right. He has been a British prince since birth and was created Prince of Wales in 1958. [fn 4]

There has been speculation as to what regnal name the prince would choose upon his succession to the throne. If he uses his first name, he would be known as Charles III. However, it was reported in 2005 that Charles has suggested he may choose to reign as George VII in honour of his maternal grandfather, and to avoid association with the Stuart kings Charles I (who was beheaded) and Charles II (who was known for his promiscuous lifestyle), [296] as well as to be sensitive to the memory of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was called "Charles III" by his supporters. [296] Charles's office responded that "no decision has been made". [297]

Honours and military appointments

Charles has held substantive ranks in the armed forces of a number of countries since he was made a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force in 1972. Charles's first honorary appointment in the armed forces was as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales in 1969 since then, the prince has also been installed as Colonel-in-Chief, Colonel, Honorary Air Commodore, Air Commodore-in-Chief, Deputy Colonel-in-Chief, Royal Honorary Colonel, Royal Colonel, and Honorary Commodore of at least 32 military formations throughout the Commonwealth, including the Royal Gurkha Rifles, which is the only foreign regiment in the British army. [298] Since 2009, Charles holds the second-highest ranks in all three branches of the Canadian Forces and, on 16 June 2012, the Queen awarded the Prince of Wales honorary five-star rank in all three branches of the British Armed Forces, "to acknowledge his support in her role as Commander-in-Chief", installing him as Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. [299] [300] [301]

He has been inducted into seven orders and received eight decorations from the Commonwealth realms, and has been the recipient of 20 different honours from foreign states, as well as nine honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Coat of arms of the Prince of Wales
Notes The coat of arms of the Prince of Wales, as used outside Scotland, is the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with the addition a three-pointed label and an inescutcheon bearing the arms of Wales. For the arms of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, see royal coat of arms of Scotland. Crest Upon the royal helm the coronet of the Prince of Wales, thereon a lion statant guardant Or crowned with the coronet of the Prince of Wales Escutcheon Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langed Azure 2nd Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory counterflory 3rd Azure a harp Or stringed Argent overall an inescutcheon quarterly Or and Gules four lions passant guardant counterchanged, ensigned by the coronet of his degree. Supporters Dexter a lion rampant guardant Or imperially crowned proper, sinister a unicorn Argent, armed, crined and unguled Or, gorged with a coronet Or composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lys a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or Motto ICH DIEN
(German for I serve) Orders Garter ribbon.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
(French for Shame be to him who thinks evil of it) Other elements The whole differenced by a plain label of three points Argent, as the eldest child of the sovereign Symbolism As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the third of Ireland.

Banners, flags, and standards

The banners used by the prince vary depending upon location. His Personal Standard is the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom differenced as in his arms with a label of three points Argent, and the escutcheon of the arms of the Principality of Wales in the centre. It is used outside Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, and Canada, and throughout the entire United Kingdom when the prince is acting in an official capacity associated with the UK Armed Forces. [302]

The personal flag for use in Wales is based upon the Royal Badge of Wales (the historic arms of the Kingdom of Gwynedd), which consist of four quadrants, the first and fourth with a red lion on a gold field, and the second and third with a gold lion on a red field. Superimposed is an escutcheon Vert bearing the single-arched coronet of the Prince of Wales. [302]

In Scotland the personal banner used since 1974 is based upon three ancient Scottish titles: Duke of Rothesay (heir apparent to the King of Scots), High Steward of Scotland and Lord of the Isles. The flag is divided into four quadrants like the arms of the Chief of Clan Stewart of Appin the first and fourth quadrants comprise a gold field with a blue and silver checkered band in the centre the second and third quadrants display a black galley on a silver field. The arms are differenced from those of Appin by the addition of an inescutcheon bearing the tressured lion rampant of Scotland defaced by a plain label of three points Azure to indicate the heir apparent. [302]

In Cornwall, the banner is the arms of the Duke of Cornwall: "Sable 15 bezants Or", that is, a black field bearing 15 gold coins. [302]

In 2011, the Canadian Heraldic Authority introduced a personal heraldic banner for the Prince of Wales for use in Canada, consisting of the shield of the Arms of Canada defaced with both a blue roundel of the Prince of Wales's feathers surrounded by a wreath of gold maple leaves, and a white label of three points. [303]

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn is Born

Today in Masonic History Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn is born in 1850.

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal family.

Arthur was born on May 1st, 1850 at Buckingham Palace. He was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Like his siblings he was educated in his younger life by tutors. It is claimed that Arthur became the favorite child of Queen Victoria. In 1866 he enrolled at the Royal Military College at Woolwich. After graduating he went on to serve in the Corps of Royal Engineers, Royal Regiment Artillery and Rifle Brigade. He served in South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Egypt and India.

Arthur's most notable service was when he served in Canada. In Canada he served defending the interests of the British Empire against the Fenian Raids. The Fenian Raids were led by the Fenian Brotherhood, a group based in the United States who sought to apply pressure to the British to leave Ireland. This was done by attacking British outposts in Canada. While he was serving in Canada he traveled to the United States and met with President Ulysses S. Grant to discuss the raids.

While serving in Canada, the Canadian people became enamored with Arthur. He was given the title of Chief of the Six Nations by Iroquois in Ontario. He was given the name Kavakoudge which means the sun flying from east to west under the guidance of the Great Spirit. With this he became the 51st chief of six nations, he was allowed to vote in the council meetings in matters associated with the tribe. This broke a long standing tradition that only 50 chiefs of the Six Nations were in council. The wife of the then Governor General wrote to Queen Victoria that the people of Canada hoped that Arthur would one day return as Governor General.

In 1911, Arthur returned to Canada as Governor General and the first Governor General of Royal descent. While Arthur, his wife and youngest daughter lived in Canada they became interested in the outdoor activities of the country. They took up camping, the Prince learned how to skate and the traveled throughout the country. He also traveled to the United States and met with President William Howard Taft.

Arthur was Governor General when World War I broke out. When Canadian troops were called to serve in the war, Arthur put on his uniform and went to the training grounds and barracks to see the troops off. He also pushed for better readiness of the troops and the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, which he sponsored a cup, the Connaught Cup, to reward the best marksmanship. All of this caused the sitting Prime Minister of Canada, Robert Borden to state that he felt Arthur was overstepping his constitutional conventions as Governor General. Borden stated that Arthur "labored under the handicap of his position as a member of the Royal Family and never realized his limitations as Governor General."

After returning to Britain, Arthur began to limit his public appearances after his wife passed away. One of his last public appearances was in his role as president of the Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom. He was a friend and admirer of Lord Baden-Powell who founded the organization. Arthur opened the 3rd World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Park in England.

When World War II, broke out, Arthur who was in his nineties put his uniform back on and served as an inspiration to troops in the British Army. Many saw him as a grandfather figure.

Arthur passed away on January 16th, 1942.

Arthur was raised in Prince of Wales Lodge in England. In 1901, his brother resigned from the position of Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England to assume the throne as King Edward VII. Arthur was then elected as the new Grand Master and was reelected 37 more times.

What if… King Henry VIII had not become King of England? The untimely death of Arthur, Prince of Wales

King Henry VII of England’s eldest son and first in line to the English throne was Arthur, Prince of Wales (1486-1502). However, he suffered an untimely death at the age of 15 and this led Henry to become first in line to the throne - and later King Henry VIII of England. But what would have happened had Arthur survived and become King of England? We explain here (and follows the author’s past Tudor article on King Edward VI here ).

Arthur, Prince of Wales. Painting c. 1500.

The Tudors are one of the most renowned and notorious English royal families in history with countless books, movies, articles, and research devoted to understanding them. No doubt King Henry VIII is the center of historical interest in the Tudors, with particular emphasis on his six wives and the reigns of his three children. Henry VIII of England presided over sweeping political and religious changes that brought the nation into the Protestant Reformation and radically altered the fabric of English life.

But Henry was only second in line to the English throne after his elder brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, who died in April 1502, most likely of tuberculosis. The short life of Prince Arthur Tudor is overshadowed and largely forgotten from Tudor history, only to be recounted in “The King’s Great Matter” nearly thirty years after his death. Had Arthur lived and ascended to the English throne instead of Henry VIII, what course would English history have taken?

The Birth of Arthur

When Arthur was born in Saint Swithun’s Priory (now Winchester Cathedral Priory) on September 19/20 1486, not only was he heir to the English throne but the result of two unified royal houses, York and Lancaster. His place of birth was believed to have been the capital of the legendary Camelot and the site of King Arthur’s castle. Hence, the infant boy was given the name Arthur, to induce memorable sentiments of the legendary King Arthur, who led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5thand early 6thcenturies.

With the Tudor dynasty off to a successful start, Henry VII was convinced his son’s birth would bring about a golden age. Arthur was given a magnificent christening on September 24th, noted by David Starkey as “the first of many spectacular ceremonies that Henry used to mark each stage of the advance and consolidation of the Tudor dynasty.” At two years of age, Arthur was betrothed to Katherine of Aragon, the youngest daughter of the joint Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The following year, in November 1489, Arthur was became Prince of Wales. In 1492, in a traditional precedent set by the grandfather, Edward IV, the heir to England was sent to reside at Ludlow Castle in the Welsh Marches to begin his education as the future king.

Starkey writes of Arthur growing up to be “a model prince” who “displayed the exaggerated sense of responsibility of the eldest child.” Personality wise, he was “intellectually precocious” and presented a stiff public manner. Historians Steve Gunn and Linda Monckton describe Arthur as “amiable and gentle” and a “delicate lad.”

Meeting his future wife – And Tragedy…

In the autumn of 1501, Katherine of Aragon landed in England and met her husband-to-be at Dogmersfield in Hampshire. They were married on November 14th, 1501. Arthur’s 10-year old brother Henry escorted the bride to the cathedral. Arthur wrote to Katherine’s parents that he would be “a true and loving husband.” We do not know exactly what followed after the traditional bedding ceremony, which was the only public bedding of a royal couple recorded in Britain in the 16thcentury. Yet, the next morning Arthur boasted: “bring me a cup of ale for I have been this night in the midst of Spain!”

His sincere affection and longing for Catherine is noted in a letter from October 1499 in which Arthur refers to Katherine as “my dearest spouse,” and writes:

I cannot tell you what an earnest desire I feel to see your Highness, and how vexatious to me is this procrastination about your coming. Let [it] be hastened, [that] the love conceived between us and the wished-for joys may reap their proper fruit.

After living at Tickenhill Manor for a month, Arthur and his new bride traveled to the Welsh Marches where they established their household at Ludlow Castle. Plague and illness had been lingering around this area, though the young prince disregarded it and carried on with his duties. In late March 1502, he and Catherine were suddenly struck by “a malign vapour which proceeded from the air.” Catherine recovered but not before her husband and heir to the English throne died on April 2nd- just six months short of his sixteenth birthday. Fifty-one years later, Arthur’s nephew, the last male heir of the Tudor dynasty, would die at the same age.

Theories on the cause of Arthur’s death range from cancer to possible consumption. A commonly suggested cause that is consistent with Katherine of Aragon’s illness is the deadly sweating sickness. This disease first made its way to England in the fifteenth century when Henry VII first took the throne and occurred sporadically, with one of the worst epidemics being in 1528.

The heavy responsibility as new heir to the throne would fall on the young Henry VIII who married his brother’s widow in 1509. When his marriage to Catherine of Aragon failed to produce any surviving male heirs, King Henry desired to have it annulled on the grounds that Catherine had been previously married to his brother, something that was forbidden according to Scripture. Catherine argued in defense that her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated. Henry would take matters in to his own hands and break from the Roman Catholic Church to marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn, establish the Church of England, and catapult along the Protestant Reformation in England.

What if… Arthur had become King?

But had Arthur survived and remained married to Catherine, how would history be different? Specifically, what would be the role of reformation in England and would he have lived up to the great legend and “golden age” his parents hoped for?

By all accounts, Arthur’s nature most resembled his father. Italian visitors in 1497 reported that Henry VII “evidently has a most quiet spirit.” In 1504, a Spanish visitor reported back to the Catholic Monarchs that “… He is so wise and attentive to everything nothing escapes his attention.” It seems the late prince would have been less argumentative and more faithful to his wife like his father and unlike his brother. With his understanding of duty to his country and the likely happy marriage Arthur Tudor and his Spanish bride would have had, Arthur would have had little reason or temptation to relinquish the alliance with Spain. He would have had much less reason to break away from Rome and catapult the English Reformation, especially if Arthur and Catherine managed to produce male heirs. The Reformation had already sprouted in German states.

Much unlike Henry, who would have been trained in the workings of the church as the younger son, Arthur would not have involved or interested in the English church and the strict devotion to Catholicism of Catherine would further deter him from risking excommunication. If, by any far-stretched chance, Arthur was faced with the same succession crisis as Henry, would he have divorced Catherine and remarried? Being the staid boy he was, Arthur would have made some foreign alliance with another European power through a second marriage.

All of this is simply speculation though. If Arthur had indeed fulfilled his parents’ hopes, it would likely have been in the image of his father, which would represent a more careful and consolidated reign that would both avoid war and replace medieval rule with a centralized and united Tudor state. The court would have remained very similar and there would likely have been a distant and occasionally absent king.

And the Tudor Dynasty?

On the question of the continuation of the Tudor dynasty, Arthur and Catherine’s surviving children could have accomplished this for multiple generations. Yet, where would the union of the crowns of England and Scotland come into place? Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I, without an heir, the English throne was passed to her cousin, King James VI of Scotland, uniting the crowns of both countries. It is unlikely this would have taken place under the continuation of the Tudor dynasty.

Especially under Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, England saw a golden age of literature, music, and visual arts in the midst of the English Renaissance. Would the same have occurred under King Arthur and his descendants? As a child, he was a skilled pupil and educated in poetry and ethics and studied the works of Cicero, Homer, Ovid, and Virgil. By 1501, he had even learned to dance “right pleasant and honourably.”

As for the economic might of England, Henry VII’s hopes for his eldest son would have undoubtedly included lessons on wisdoms and parsimony. Combined with Arthur’s temperate nature and disinterest in fighting wars with other countries, this could have produced a more flourishing economy during Arthur’s reign.

At the time of Arthur’s birth, the fate and hopes of England and that of his father rested on him with the expectation of ushering in a new era. Now, five centuries after his untimely death, he has been easily forgotten and overshadowed by his younger brother, the infamous Henry VIII, and his nephews and nieces. If the 15-year old prince had survived his deadly affliction in 1502, no doubt history would have been drastically different.

What do you think? How would English history have been different if Arthur had become King instead of Henry VIII?

Watch the video: Arthur Tudor Prince Of Wales: His life and death