Though King Henry is usually the major focus of any research into the Tudor family, he was not an only child. Many people don’t know that he was one of four children born to King Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York. Neither was Henry Tudor the eldest son, destined to take the English throne upon the death of his father either, instead he was destined for a more religious, secular life in the church.
King Henry VIII Siblings: Arthur Prince of Wales
Arthur was Henry’s older brother. As the first born son of the king he inherited the title of Prince of Wales, and was tutored in the art of kingship in preparation of him succeeding to the throne. He was given a host of royal responsibilities to prepare him for the day that he was to become king, Henry on the other hand was not.
Arthur was born in 1486 and was five years older than Henry. At the age of just sixteen Arthur was married to Catherine of Aragon. That year a strange illness was sweeping the county, today the cause of the illness is still unknown.
It was called at the time ‘sweating sickness’. It struck very quickly and was incredibly deadly. Just six months after his wedding Arthur contracted this strange illness and died in April 1502. Suddenly Henry was heir to the throne.
King Henry VIII Siblings: Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor was Henry’s older sister. She was born on November 29th 1489 at the Palace of Westminster. Negotiations for her marriage started when she was only six years old and took several years to complete. She was finally married to King James IV of Scotland in Edinburgh on August 8th 1503, at only fourteen years of age.
Margaret Tudor was crowned Queen of Scotland in March 1504. Between 1507 and 1510 Margaret bore three children, two boys and a girl, all of which died in infancy. Her son James, who was to become James V of Scotland was born in 1512. A further son, Alexander was born in 1514 but died within his first year.
King Henry VIII Siblings: Mary Tudor
Mary Tudor was the younger sister of Henry VIII, she was born on March 18th 1496. She was originally betrothed to Charles, who would later become Holy Roman Emperor; the marriage was set to take place when Charles turned fourteen.
The marriage plans were cancelled by her brother Henry VIII, at which Mary was thought to be pleased as she would have been marrying a boy four years younger than herself. Instead, she was married to a man a full thirty four years older than herself, King Louis XII of France.
He was already in failing health but the marriage of Mary to the French king would signal a truce between France and England. Mary tried to refuse the marriage, wanting instead to marry the choice of her heart; Charles Brandon the Duke of Suffolk. Louis XII died within three months of their wedding.
Mary then did something very brave; she married the man that she wanted, without the approval of the king. She married Charles Brandon in a small French chapel. Henry although furious at his sister and his old friend forgave them. They went on to have three children together.