A Prince is Born: Henry, Duke of Cornwall (1 January 1511)



On the New Year’s Day 1511, Queen Katherine gave birth to a son – he would be called Henry, Duke of Cornwall. His birth was greatly celebrated by his parents and the kingdom for England and Henry had an heir. Unfortunately, the Prince would only live for 52 short days. In this article we see quotes from Hall’s Chronicles and Letters and Papers that both refer to the birth, and the death, of the sweet young prince, “little Prince Hal.”

Birth of a Prince

This blurb from Hall’s Chronicles discusses the Queen (Katherine of Aragon) taking to her birthing chamber and that is why the King spent Christmas at Richmond Palace. It says that upon the new year the Queen gave birth to a Prince which caused great celebrations in the realm. It goes on to discuss the preparation for the christening as well. It mentions the godfathers as the Archbishop of Canterbury (William Warham) and the Earl of Surrey (Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk). As far as godmother it lists Katherine of York, Countess of Devon who was the daughter of Edward IV and wife of William Courteney, 1st Earl of Devon.

It is to be noted that at this tyme the Quene was great with childe, and shortly after this pastyme, she toke her chamber at Richemond, for the whiche cause the kynge kept his Christmas there. And on Newyeres day, the first day of January, the Quene was delivered of a Prince to the great gladess of the realme, for the honour of whom, fyers were made, and divers vessels with wyne, set for such as woulde take thereof in certayne streates in London, and generall processions thereupon to laude God. As touchynge the preparacion of the Prince’s christening. I overpasse, whiche was honorablie done, whose godfathers at the font were the Archbishop of Centerbury, and the erle of Surrey. Godmother the lady Katheryne Countesse of Devonsire, daughter of kynge Edward the foarth. (Hall’s Chronicle; pg 515)

cathofaragonasmarywithbabybysittow
Catherine of Aragon as the Madonna, early 1500s by Michel Sittow

Little Prince Hal’s christening was four days after his birth – why, I’m not sure. I’m assuming it took time to put together such a grand ceremony and they felt he was a healthy child so it would be okay to have a delay in the christening. This blurb was taken from Letters and Papers and in it they state King Louis XII as a godfather along with William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. Instead of Katherine of York, Countess of Devon it lists the godmother as Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy. Historian David Starkey only lists King Louis XII of France and Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy as the young prince’s godparents. So, I wonder why Hall lists names incorrectly, as well as in Letters in Papers?

“The christening of Prince Henry, first son of our sovereign lord King Henry the VIIIth.”

On New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Dominical letter E., 1 Jan., about _(blank) a.m., 1510, 2 Hen. VIII., at Richmond in Sowthrey, was born Prince Henry, whose christening was deferred till Sunday 5 Jan., when from the Hall to the Friars was made, with barriers and rails, a way 24 ft. wide strewn with rushes, after being new-gravelled. All the south side of the way was “hangen” with cloth of arras, and near the Friars both sides were so hung, as was the body of the church. Godfathers were the French King Loys de Valoys and the Abp. of Canterbury, Warham. Godmother Margaret duchess of Savoy. “At the conformacion the Earl of Arrundell.” My lord of Winchester was deputy for the French King and the Countess of Surrey for the Duchess. The French King gave a salt, 51 oz., and a cup 48 oz., of fine gold; and to the Lady Mistress a chain worth 30l. and to the midwife 10l.

(‘Henry VIII: January 1511’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1, 1509-1514, ed. J S Brewer (London, 1920), pp. 369-377.)


Death of a Prince

…After this great joy came sorowfull chaunce, for the young Prince, which was borne upon Neweyeres daye last past, upon the xxii daye of February, being then the eve of sainet Mathy, departed this world at Rychemonde, and from thense was caryed to Westmynster, and buried. (Hall’s Chronicle; pg 519)

The kyng lyke a wyse prynce, toke this dolorous chaunce wonderous wysely, and the more to comfort the Quene, he dissimuled the matter, and made no great mourning outwardely: but the Quene lyke a natural woman, made much lamentation, how be it, by the kynges good persuasion and behaviour, her sorrow was mytigated, but not shortlye. (Hall’s Chronicle; pg 519)


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16 thoughts on “A Prince is Born: Henry, Duke of Cornwall (1 January 1511)

  1. Cathy Gouker: are you on file at GENI? If so it is easy to see where we are connected….My line is so obscure but potent that nearly all my family are dopplegangers for Tudor’s and French Kings Henry II and Louis XI. DCR

  2. I am grateful for this site. There are few places where I can be heard and understood, by persons of vastly superior knowledge that I simply did not . Your articles are MUST READ information to me and is part of my daily research. I thank you for your great diligence and research into the Tudors. Having only discovered the relationships over the past 5 years it has been a stunning revelation. DCR 1948

    1. I feel we must be related as I too have my lineage traced as far back as John of Gaunt and Margaret Beaufort. Small world

  3. I am working on the story told to me by my 92 year old father in 1978 just before he passed in Feb. 1979. He so started me: a nebraska bred and Oregon Farm boy that I really could not think about or imagine who the people were that he said were our known and proved relatives. I am still dumfounded that the World thinks that Sir John Perrot 1528 whom everyone then believed was Elizabeth’s 1/2 brother born to Mary Berkley Pughe was an imposter. The entire court including Edward VI, Mary I , and Elizabeth I treated him as family. He raised my 8th great grandfather John Perratt II 1565 from infantcy to his being declared dead in 1582 when Perratt II got sir John Daugher Anne Perrot Picton pregnant and delivered a son Robert Phillips 8 years prior to birth of the heir to Picton Castle. This insider information is confirmed in that Robert had I-1 Haplogroup DNA and therefore matches mine. That particular family emigrated to America and we know them as tested I-1 Haplogroup…..descended from Sutton Dudley and Baldwin II of Flanders, also named by my father. It’s simply not possible for a man born in 1887 with an 8th grade education to have this information now confrimed by DNA. As you might imagine: Certain critical minds dismissed my story early on before the DNA results were known and compared. My father’s line connects to Ethelralda Maults’ Daugher Anne Steubbs daughter of Hester Herrington to my ancestor of my Grandmother one Whitehall Marsh at Ralph Marsh married to the heiress of Watchfield Manor one Anne Codrington. Further, my father chose for his bride a woman who is descended from both sides Sutton-Dudley John Of Gaunt/Beaufort and Chalfant servants of Windsor Castle. WE American Rice-Dudley’s bare the faces of the European Monarch of that day and time by his selection and the process called breeding back in Husbandry circles. Just food for thought as you write about my ancestors I am learning what I was never told until age 30. The fact is I was gob smacked and much of my FARMER Roots family won’t even entertain the thoughts that we have this connection. We are Proved descendant to 6th great Grand Father JOhn Rice of Dedham Ma. 1624. I have 60/67 DNA match to the Sutton Line: Cousins to Robert Dudley….his sons all died in Italy or England/Wales with no genetic trail other than 2nd cousin and 6th cousin. DCR 1948 Nebraska Rice’s

  4. The statement was merely to let any person interested in Deep Family connections know that we American Tudors are here, alive, in the 21st century, as descendants ancestors of The Tudor Monarchs. No status, no property, no reward expected. Most of the world thinks the Tudor’s died out with Elizabeth, but that is not so. You
    are A site devoted to all things Tudor, about my great aunt Anne Bolyne her husband my 13th great grandmother Mary Bolyne would
    would be of interest to some here.

  5. Henry VII is my 2nd cousin by his mother Margaret Beaufort grand daughter of John of Gaunt who is my maternal 14th great grandfather. This child of Henry VIII is my 4th cousin. But Elizabeth I is my first cousin by her mother and my Great Aunt Anne. Her sister is my 11th great grandmother Mary Bolyne via the Howard family. They link to Wingfield, Woodward, Thomas, Chalfant,Chandler, Collins, and Cookston. DCR Blood Cousin of Henry VIII

    1. I can not tell what your point is or how it relates to the article. Can you explain how this further explains the article?

      1. 2nd. Cousin X 14 generations back. My Maternal line is both Howard and Tudor via Catherine Carey daughter of Mary Boleyn and the Woodward, West, De LaWare famlies. Yes, I am on GENI….They are the source of the information here. DCR

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