Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon

This letter from Arthur Tudor was dated 1499, nearly two years prior to Katherine arriving in England and wedding her prince, however they were just married by proxy. At the time this letter was written, Arthur was only thirteen years old.

In her new book, Katherine of Aragon – The True Queen, Alison Weir stated that Arthur did not write the letter himself and that someone else assisted him or wrote it for him. After reading the letter I have to agree – I believe he was merely coached on how to write the letter.

The by proxy marriage of Arthur and Katherine took place in May 1499. Some time after the ceremony it appeared to have been a concern of English dignitaries that the Spanish monarchs would not send their daughter. Found within the Spanish Letters and Papers a statement that insinuates that the King of England is concerned:

RE: Time of sending the Princess Katharine to England.
He is mistaken if he believes that they intend to delay the sending of the Princess to England. That is not their intention. On the contrary, they are prepared to send her as soon as the Prince of Wales shall have completed the fourteenth year of his age, a time which is not far distant.

England was in great peril in late 1499, Perkin Warbeck (the Pretender) and Edward, Earl of Warwick (son of Duke of Clarence) were both threatening the stability of the English throne. Katherine’s parents Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile apparently kept their daughter in Spain until the threats were neutralized. Warbeck and Warwick were executed the month after this letter was written. England was stable and Katherine could now be trusted in the hands of the English king and queen.

On the 17th of August 1501, Katherine set sail for England but was turned back due to strong storms that forced them back. On the 27th of September they tried again and were successful in their journey to England.

Arthur wrote several letters to Katherine, of which this is the only one to survive. It was originally written in Latin – the only language they both understood.

Arthur, Prince of Wales & Katherine of Aragon

To the most illustrious and excellent princess, the Lady Catherine, princess of Wales, duchess of Cornwall, &c., my most entirely beloved spouse. (5 October 1499):

Most illustrious and most excellent lady, my dearest spouse, I wish you very much health, with my hearty recommendation.

I have read the most sweet letters of your highness lately given to me, from which I have easily perceived your most entire love to me. Truly those your letters, traced by your own hand, have so delighted me, and have rendered me so cheerful and jocund, that I fancied I beheld your highness and conversed with and embraced my dearest wife. 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. I owe eternal thanks to your excellence that you so lovingly correspond to this my so ardent love. Let it continue, I entreat, as it has begun; and, like as I cherish your sweet remembrance night and day, so do you preserve my name ever fresh in your breast. And let your coming to me be hastened, that instead of being absent we may be present with each other, and the love conceived between us and the wished-for joys may reap their proper fruit.

Moreover I have done as your illustrious highness enjoined me, that is to say, in commending you to the most serene lord and lady the king and queen my parents, and in declaring your filial regard towards them, which to them was most pleasing to hear, especially from my lips. I also beseech your highness that it may please you to exercise a similar good office for me, and to commend me with hearty good will to my most serene lord and lady your parents; for I greatly value, venerate, and esteem them, even as though they were my own, and wish them all happiness and prosperity.

May your highness be ever fortunate and happy, and be kept safe and joyful, and let me know it often and speedily by your letters, which will be to me most joyous. From our castle of Ludlow. 5th of October, 1499.

Your highness’ most loving spouse,

Arthur, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, etc.

Eldest son of the King.


Letters of royal and illustrious ladies of Great Britain, from the commencement of the twelfth century to the close of the reign of Queen Mary;

by [Green], Mary Anne Everett (Wood), Mrs., 1818-1895, [from old catalog] ed -Published 1846

Find on web: pages,121-122

The Anne Boleyn Files – Catherine of Aragon Sets Sail for England

Katherine of Aragon – The True Queen; by Alison Weir


3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I agree with the other posters I have read letters by King Henry the eigth to Anne Boleyn and also a letter by Mary Boleyn, they wrote in a flowery kind of way and the education of young princes and princesses was very extensive they had the best tutors and were very smart it wouldnt surprise me if he did write it himself the Tudors were all very clever

  2. I don’t believe he (HRM Arthur) was “coached” in writing this letter as was suggested. His education would have been very intense as he was intetended to be King. Also, during that particular time period, their letters were known to be very superfluous with complimentary phrases and flowery sentences.

    • I agree. It’s not the language to consider but the concepts in the letter. I don’t read anything in the letter that would lead me to believe that it was concocted by a more mature mind.

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