Monday, February 13, 2012

Question from Tudor Fan - Henry's potential career in the Church if Arthur had lived

For the past few weeks one matter has been on my mind. Many people claim that Henry VII Tudor wanted his son Henry (later Henry VIII) to become a member of the Church. However Arthur Tudor's death meant that Henry became heir to the throne.

My questions is - if Arthur had lived, and Henry wanted to join the Church - how his career would have looked like? Could he had start from being a simple priest? I assume that Henry would have probably became Archbishop of Canterbury (the highest rank in Church) and Cardinal (appointed by Pope) and perhaps also Lord Chancellor. But as the king's brother (still assuming that Arthur had lived) would he had retained the title of Duke of York?

And also - if Katherine of Aragon bore a son by Arthur while Arthur was still alive, what title this boy would have had? Arthur was a Prince of Wales (usually first son has this title) and Henry was a Duke of York. Would that mean that this child as an heir presumptive also held the title of Prince of Wales?

Thank you for your time :-)


Mary R said...

I believe Henry was slated to become Archbishop of York upon his ordination-no starting in the mailroom for a Tudor!

The fact that Henry VII wanted his younger son to go into the church surprises me, because if Arthur didn't have sons, the Tudor dynasty would have come to an end, at least through the male line.

As far as a aon of Arthur's, he would have been Prince (whatever his name was) just as Prince William was Princ William before he married and the Queen made him the Duke of Cambidge.

Laura said...

Any son of Arthur would likely have been given his own title...there were certainly enough titles owned by the crown to have allowed for this.

While he would not have held the title "Prince of Wales" concurrently with Arthur, if Katherine had given birth to a son after Arthur had died, he certainly would have been next in line for the throne when Henry VII died, rather than Henry. Though, English history being what it was, it is unlikely that any potential child heir could have held the throne at the time. The Tudor dynasty gained legitimacy mostly through H VIII's long reign, which is why his so, though still a child was able to inherit the throne. I suspect that if Katherine had given birth to a son following the death of her first husband, the fate of the child would likely have been the same as the fate of the Two Princes (the sons of Edward of York) who both perished while under "protection" in the Tower of London.

Mary R said...

Good call, Laura! I, too, doubt that a son of Arthur's would have lived to take the crown.

There is a great deal of debate about whether Richard III was guilty of the murder of his nephews. It does seem a bit out of character for him. He forbade his troops, during the War of the Roses, to rape and pillage. This was very unusual for the time period, and much resented by the soldiers.

Before Richard actually governed them, (prior to the time he became king) the people of York were not pro-Yorkist. Richard, during his tenure there under Edward IV, became a much loved leader. In a nutshell, Richard had this totally bizarre idea (for the times) that the common people should have rights, too.

I honestly think that for his time, Richard was a good man. This being said, I'm not ready to run out and join the Richard III society. Richard saw firsthand as a child what civil war could do to a country, especially when the House of Lancaster was "ruled" by a child king, or a mad king, (take your pick) surrounded by ambitious men.

Had he tried to hold the throne for his nephew, Edward, there would have been civil wars to control him,(The Woodvilles vs. Plantagenet) as well as the Lancastrian threat presented by Henry Tudor. Can I see Richard, very regretfully, ordering the murders of his nephews to avoid the deaths of thousands? Possibly.

That being said, can I imagine Henry VIII doing this to a son of Arthur? Absolutely.