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Arthur, Prince of Wales (ePub)

Henry VIII’s Lost Brother

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > Royal History

By Gareth B Streeter
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 7.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781399084635
Published: 18th May 2023


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For too long, Arthur Tudor has been remembered only for what he never became. The boy who died prematurely and paved the way for the revolutionary reign of his younger brother, Henry VIII.

Yet, during his short life, Arthur was at the centre of one of the most tumultuous periods of England’s history. At the time of his birth, he represented his father’s hopes for a dynasty and England’s greatest chance of peace. As he grew, he witnessed feuds, survived rebellion and became the focal point of an international alliance.

From the threat of pretenders to West Country rebellions, the dramatic twists and turns of early Tudor England preoccupied Arthur’s thoughts. At a young age, he was dispatched to the Welsh border, becoming a figure head for a robust regional government. While never old enough to exercise full power in his dominion, he emerged as a figure of influence, beseeched by petitioners and consulted by courtiers. While the extent of his personal influence can only be guessed at, the sources that survive reveal a determined prince that came tantalisingly close to forging his future.

Finally, after years of negotiation, delay and frustration, the prince finally came face to face with his Spanish bride, Katharine of Aragon. The young couple had shared a destiny since the cradle. Securing the hand of this prestigious pride for his son had been a centre piece of Henry VII’s foreign policy. Yet, despite being 14 years in the making, the couple were to enjoy just five months together before Arthur succumbed to a mysterious illness.

Arthur’s death at the age of 15 was not just a personal tragedy for his parents. It changed the course of the future and deprived England of one of the most educated and cultivated princes in their history. Arthur would never wear the crown the of England. But few Princes of Wales had been better prepared to rule.

‘Arthur, Prince of Wales: Henry VIII’s lost brother’ shows that Arthur Tudor was more than a prince who died. He was a boy that really lived.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There has never been a book that has told the story of Arthur with as much information as this one. The detailed research that has gone into writing this book is amazing and I now feel I know much more about him. He has always been in the background but in his lifetime he was the future King and was respected as such. This book explores his short life in great detail and is a must for fans of the royal Tudor dynasty.

NetGalley, T B

Arthur Prince of Wales, is a mysterious figure in history. We know he was Henry VIII's elder brother who would have ruled - had he not died at 15. He was married to Catherine of Aragon very briefly - we know little else.

Streeter's tries to fill in some of the gaps in his book Arthur Prince of Wales: Henry VIII's Lost Brother. We learn Arthur began his journey as a royal at aged 3. He was very popular, respected by those around him, which is quite different from his father. Arthur was also determined and always took a challenge head on.

He was also quite different from his younger brother. He was much less bold, and shyer. The UK would be quite different if Arthur had ruled.

Streeter also analyzes whether or not Arthur's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was consummated. There's also a lot of information about Arthur's health throughout his life.

Overall the book flows very well. There is a lot of new information someone might learn from the book. Furthermore, we learn what Arthur may have been like as King. However, Arthur still a very mysterious figure - even after the book.

If someone wanted to take a look into Arthur's short life I would recommend the book. You might not get all the answers you are looking for. Yet, you would still gain a lot of information from it. It's a very enlightening and easy read.

Overall, I'd give the book 4.5 stars.

NetGalley, Traci Hoffman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So often, the life and death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, is reduced to the impact it had upon his bride, Katherine of Aragon, and her second husband, Arthur’s brother Henry VIII. However, Gareth Streeter succeeds in bringing Arthur to life in incredible detail.

The book starts with the most fascinating discussion about the context in which Henry VII’s first son was named, inevitably touching on the Wars of the Roses, and the mythology Henry VII was building around his claim to the throne. In the history of England that Henry VII commissioned, he and his heirs had been destined to rule England since Roman times - what other name could this king with Welsh roots give his son other than Arthur?

Every record relating to Arthur’s life is analysed minutely, revealing that a surprising amount is actually known about Arthur. From the influence of the boy’s household staff, to his apparent enjoyment of music, which was shared with and funded by his father. For anyone familiar with Henry VIII’s upbringing, it is surprising just how much autonomy Arthur was given as Prince of Wales, living in his own household and presiding over public events.

Steeter tackles the big question - whether Arthur and Katherine consummated their marriage - with finesse. Noting that most of the evidence comes from the ‘Great Matter’ some 30 years later from people who were hardly unbiased, Streeter turns his attention to the letters and reactions of the Spanish ambassador and the Spanish monarchs, Katherine’s parents.

This excellent biography helps fill in the details about the early Tudor period. The writing style is engaging and informative. Streeter is a very thorough historian who conveys his deep knowledge of the subject.

NetGalley, Jessica Carey-Bunning

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Every time I picked up, "Arthur, Prince of Wales", I learned something new about Arthur, and the life and times in which he lived.

I absolutely love learning about The Tudors, and as soon as I heard about this book about Henry VII and Elizabeth of York's elder son Arthur, I knew I simply must read it!

Gareth B. Streeter is a fantastic author! This book is incredibly well-researched, and he brings history to life in such a vibrant and detailed way.

This biography focuses a lot on the life of Arthur. In addition, this book also provides so much information about the events surrounding the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty. The author seamlessly weaves Arthur's story into everything, and explores how he affected many important historical events, as well as was effected by many. So many historical figures are mentioned, and their intertwining stories are prevalent too.

If you like biographies relating to anything dealing with The Tudor Era, I highly recommend this book! I so look forward to doing more research on on Arthur on my own time as well.

NetGalley, Ashley Maimes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Not much is known about Arthur, but the author presents a great deal of research and includes hypotheses and extrapolations that make sense and possibly fill in some of the blanks about this young man's life. The author explores the Tudor family and how they came to the throne and how those circumstances influenced Arthur's life. A thorough discussion of the historical time period and norms for royal children, marriages, etc. were all well researched and presented. The author also presented information that contradicted the common belief that Arthur was a sickly child. I found all of this very interesting.
I have read much about the Tudors, both fact and fiction, but Arthur is little more than a footnote or a point for legal argument about consummation of his marriage to Katherine. This book makes him a real person whose life had depth and meaning beyond whether he had sex with his teenaged wife.
Recommend to British and Tudor history fans and anyone who has read piles of historical fiction about Henry VIII.

NetGalley, Claudia Ratay

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book! I love anything to do with the Tudors and this didn’t disappoint! I did t really know much about Arthur before but I feel like I learnt so much from this book! Thank you!

NetGalley, Catherine O’Connor

I loved the writing style and it was easy to follow and understand. I gained a new perspective on Prince Arthur.

NetGalley, Sira Barbeito

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was drawn to this title for two reasons. The first is that the subject of this book is a member of the Tudor dynasty and the second is that it was highly recommended by several historians I follow on Instagram. After completing this book I was not disappointed by my decision to read it.

As Streeter argues throughout the work, Arthur is often overlooked by historians because he died so young. As a result of his early demise, many historians seem to see Arthur's major contribution to history as the role he played in the divorce proceedings between Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. However, Streeter's work completely negates the previous arguments about Arthur's insignificance. Over the course of this work, Streeter outlines Arthur's brief life and the extent to which he contributed to the dynasty and the King that England and Wales never had.

My favourite part of Streeter's work does not actually concern the main subject, but rather his wife, Katherine of Aragon. Often when Katherine's first marriage is mentioned in history books it does not go into the level of detail outlined in this work which examines the marital negotiations along with the role that Arthur came to play in them and the potential dynamics between Katherine and Arthur during their brief marriage. For instance, I never even thought about the fact that correspondence between Arthur and Spain must have occurred and may still exist. It was fascinating to learn about the letters Arthur wrote to Spain during their betrothal and how he may have been the deciding voice in having Katherine come to Ludlow with him after their marriage. This fact made it all the more interesting to me that Katherine was never taught English even though she was engaged to Arthur off and on from the age of three, nor did Arthur learn Spanish. They were able to communicate together in Latin, but it does seem interesting that neither tried to learn the language of the other and really demonstrated that this was a dynastic match. Furthermore, the fact that Katherine and Arthur's wedding is one of the only public marriage ceremonies to occur during this period helped to highlight that Katherine's popularity in her adoptive country began long before her Queenship.

Now, just because my favourite part of the book was about Katherine does not mean that I did not thoroughly enjoy the book's focus. Streeter did an excellent job of using historical evidence to lay out several valid arguments about Arthur's overall health throughout his life and his abilities as a ruler. There are several things I learned about Arthur's education as a future king that was for lack of a better word mindblowing. I had no idea that Henry VII had invested so many resources in helping Arthur to have a strong foundation as a ruler. Thinking back on the previous work that I have read concerning the Tudors the only thing that I can ever remember reading about Henry VII's relationship with his eldest son is that he was brokenhearted when he died. Upon reflection, the main argument given in these works was that the sadness was due in large part to Henry VII's hope for his dynasty. Streeter, however, does an excellent job of actually articulating the dynamics of the relationships that Arthur appears to have had within his family. Although some of this is reading between the lines of available evidence I walked away from this work believing that Arthur was a much more integral player within his family than I had previously realized. I in particular enjoyed the discussion of Arthur and his eldest sister Margaret's connection.

After reading this book I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about the dynamics of the Tudor dynasty in a way that I had never done before. In particular, I was reflecting on the final chapter of this book which focused on the kind of King Arthur might have been. Streeter does a nice job of discussing that Arthur may not have been a less tyrannical king than his brother, but does highlight that the events that resulted in the break with Rome would not have occurred. It also made me consider if Katherine and Arthur would have been better matched as King and Queen since they both seem to have been well prepared for these roles and it has always been my opinion that Katherine was far more qualified for the role of ruler than Henry VIII. Why exactly Henry VIII's education was not as rigorous in nature as his brother's education is another thing Streeter's work left me pondering. I understand that Arthur and Henry VIII were destined for different roles, King and (likely) a career in the church respectively, it does seem odd that Henry VIII was not given any responsibilities in his youth, especially since Arthur became Prince of Wales at three years old.

Any lover of history or the Tudors needs to get their hands on a copy of this book.

NetGalley, Shana Needham

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the few biographies to tell the story of the Prince who was at the center of Henry VIII’s ‘Great Matter’. Arthur is an interesting historical figure in his own right and it is great to see his story come to life in BBC a well written biography.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Love the cover first off. I really enjoyed this book a lot. The author did a great job with he research and there was a lot of historical events that happened with Arthur that I didn't know about. I love everything to do with the Tudor history and there are not a lot of books out there that is directly focuses on Arthur alone. I honestly didn't really know a lot about him just the basic facts. So perfect read for all those Tudor history buffs out there.

NetGalley, Heather Michael

Prince Arthur is mostly remembered for two things: his boasting about 'having spent the night in Spain' after his first night in the marital bed with Catherine of Aragon, and his early untimely death. This is extremely unfortunate, and Streeter brings the young and handsome prince to life in this book. Apparently, Arthur formed a regional government on the Welsh borders by the age of six (although he was not old enough to be in charge, of course). While his younger brother Henry spent a relatively carefree life, Arthur had to grow up quickly, studying the men in his charge, trying to assert himself against his councillors as he grew older, and 'even dispatching men to put down armed rebellion'. He also took an interest in the tortuous negotiations concerning his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, arguing against delays, and when they were married, he insisted on her joining him at Ludlow.

Streeter examines the negotiations concerning the marriage forensically, and has an extremely interesting and convincing theory about whether it was consummated. He also studies the possible reasons for Arthur's early death. I also found the chapter on how Arthur may have reigned as King very well-done.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in Tudor history, or Royal history.

NetGalley, Lisa Houston

I have always viewed Arthur as a footnote in the Tudor dynasty story and this book changed that completely. He was a boy meant to be a king. He was active in his court and social groups. He also played a role in his engagement with the Spanish princess. Arthur is so much more than his impact on his brother’s marriage and I loved the way everything was explored. This is a fantastic book for a Tudor fan!

NetGalley, Naomi Sutherland

Streeter has done a great job presenting how he views Prince Arthur's life and showing new information that Tudor fans alike will find fascinating. As Streeter has said in this book, Prince Arthur was more than just a prince who died. He did live, and his life as the first Tudor prince set the standard for King Henry VIII and Edward VI after him. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Prince Arthur and look forward to reading the next book Gareth Streeter writes. If you want to learn more about the Tudor prince who never became king, I recommend reading "Arthur, Prince of Wales: Henry VIII's Lost Brother" by Gareth Streeter.

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating biography of the king-who-never-was. Streeter admits to how difficult it is to find information on the prince before his marriage, but does manage to show a lot of possibilities of how young Arthur's life probably played out, as well as reminding us how close he was to big events of his father's reign.

Arthur's young death was a loss of so much potential - but he played a part as well in Tudor politics and Streeter shows how he deserves to be more than just as a footnote.

NetGalley, Kara Race-Moore

Having finished it, to me poor Arthur is now more a person in his own right rather than just a footnote of his brother's life.

NetGalley, Jayne Sims

With interest in the monarchy running high, especially after the pomp of King Charles III's coronation, this book is a great read for fans of the Tudor era. Streeter begins with a serviceable review of the War of the Roses, essential for understanding the reign of Henry VII and the political dynamics of his dynastic marriage to Elizabeth of York. Henry VIII, his father's successor, is still the central figure of the Tudor dynasty, the larger than life ruler who combined the houses of Lancaster and York and changed history.

What many people forget or underestimate was that this was not supposed to be Henry VIII. It was supposed to be King Arthur I, who would also remind all his subjects that this is the first rightful dynasty on the throne since Cadwallader. The Tudors saw themselves as the very real descendants of King Arthur, and the first-born son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York was named Arthur and born on the site of Camelot. He was raised for 15 years with the finest education. He may not have been frequently living with his parents, but Henry VII and Elizabeth's hopes were focused on Arthur. He was raised to rule. He was married to a Spanish princess. His father had to overcome many threats to his rule to ensure the stability to make the Spanish marriage happen. With Arthur's sudden death a mere 5 months after the marriage that his father had thought would secure his reign and that of Arthur as well, many more "what ifs" arise than did Arthur do the deed with Catherine before he died. What if Arthur hadn't died? What kind of king would he be? Streeter details much of how Arthur was groomed to rule and beginning to assume responsibilities in his own right. You don't realize how much Henry VIII was not prepared for his role as heir presumptive and king until you contrast that with how well Arthur was. How much of a difference did that make in Henry VIII's reign? Henry spent much more time in the presence of his family, forming emotional bonds and preparing for a career in the church. Streeter also looks at Arthur's health, the perception of which has tended to swing from his always being a sickly child to a strong youth shockingly succumbing to a plague-like illness. Streeter suspects the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but he does effectively contextualize this death, making it again the shattering event that it was. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the nuances of the Tudor reigns and put Henry VIII in a more detailed tapestry.

NetGalley, Laura Dimmett

4 stars

I haven’t read much about the life of Prince Arthur, so I was excited to receive this book.

Mr. Streeter writes a detailed biography of the short life of Arthur. He includes a brief synopsis of the end of the War of the Roses, as it is now called. He briefly touches on Edward IV and Richard III. With Henry VII’s accession to the throne of England, and his marriage to Edward IV’s eldest daughter, the stage is set for the Tudor dynasty to commence.

The author also details the extensive negotiations between Henry VII and King Ferdinand and his wife, Queen Isabella for the hand for Katherine of Aragon.

Mr. Streeter begins Arthur’s story at his birth. He describes his early years and his education. Even though he thoroughly researched Arthur’s life, the historical record is thin. When it came to Arthur’s marriage, the focus was on Katherine of Aragon. There is sadly very little about Arthur.

I found the book interesting and informative. Although the literature is scant, the author was able to impart some new tidbits for me to consider.

The book is well written in a casual, conversational style. It is not at all dry or preachy. It also contains footnotes and a bibliography for those who would like to further explore Arthur’s life.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Interesting and well written history book about a person not covered frequently. From the available source material a coherent and feasible timeline was used. Recommended.

NetGalley, Ian Sims

I think for many people that are fascinated by the Tudor dynasty and for amateur historians and historians alike, the death of Arthur Tudor is where the Tudor Dynasty truly begins. We began our fascination with the marriage between Arthur, Prince of Wales, Henry VII's oldest brother, where Arthur is reduced to just a footnote in history and becomes a shadow of his younger brother Henry VIII's story and history.

For so many of us, Prince Arthur is a mystery and I was looking forward to reading this book because I'm interested to learn more about the heir of Henry the VII and Elizabeth of York. I've spent most of my adult life wondering what England and it's monarchy would have been like if Arthur had lived and Henry had not.

I did enjoy that I got to know more about Catherine of Aragon and it's difficult not to feel sorry for her throughout the reading of this book, and through history. This is an excellent read for both Tudor fans and historical fans. You can see the research that the author put into this book and I can appreciate that fact. I really enjoyed the read.

NetGalley, Sheri O'Neill

I was excited to finally read a book that was described as being completely dedicated to the born to be king, Arthur. He is always briefly mentioned in books about Henry VIII, but as a weak individual that died young. He was the first born son and I often wonder how England would have turned out if Arthur did not die allowing Henry to rule. Things could have been so much different.

This book is well researched.

NetGalley, Stephanie Peterson

‘Too often, the death of Arthur is where the Tudor story begins. Given our centuries-old fascination with the marital antic of Henry VIII, Arthur is reduced to little more than a footnote in his younger brother’s origin story.’

For many people, Arthur is somewhat of a mystery and I was intrigued to learn more about him.

I enjoyed this read, you can’t help but wonder, what if Arthur had survived?

I also got to know more on Catharine of Aragon and it is hard not to feel sorry for her throughout this read.

A must read for Tudor and history fans.

‘The forgotten elder brother, whose untimely death pave the way for the reign of Henry VIII and the revolution that would take place across four decades, and six wives, of his reign.’

NetGalley, georgi_lvs_books .

A very interesting and thoroughly researched book about Prince Arthur. So little is known about Arthur, however, the author does a good job looking at all sides. He accomplishes this by presenting several theories based on either references or what was the practice at the time.

NetGalley, Christine Cazeneuve

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About Gareth B Streeter

Gareth Streeter is a Royal history researcher and writer with a specialist interest in the wars of the roses and the early Tudor period. He is the creator of “Royal History Geeks”, a blog and social media experience that engages with 50,000 history lovers across facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Gareth is passionate about telling the stories of the people that helped forged the United Kingdom. He is driven by a belief that by a profound understanding of our own history – as a nation and as people – we can more adequately address the challenges of the future.
As well as his interest in factual writing, Gareth is the author of several short stories about figures from history which are available online.

Heir to the English throne Prince Arthur marries Catherine of Aragon

15th October 1501

Heir to the English throne Prince Arthur marries Catherine of Aragon

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