Last week I examined how Henry VIII justified his divorce from Catherine of Aragon from a Scriptural point of view. One of the issues hinging on that Scriptural point of view was whether or not Catherine’s marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales was consummated or not. For her entire life Catherine maintained that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated. I really do not doubt her much…however there are some questions I want to examine.
Arthur was 15 at the time of his marriage to Catherine in November of 1501. Catherine was one month shy of turning 16. After a 5 day wedding feast the couple were bedded together in which most of the court put the young couple to bed in an elaborate ceremony. The next morning Arthur is alleged to have said that he was “in Spain” that night suggesting that the marriage had indeed been consummated. However the marriage did not last long. Arthur died the next spring on April 2, 1502. The cause of his death is unknown but it has been theorized that he may have had consumption, diabetes, or the mysterious sweating sickness, which some modern theorists tie to a hantavirus a virus that has entirely been linked to human contact with rodent excrement.
Was Arthur too sick at the time to consummate his marriage? If not that first night than any of the nights over the next 5 months they were together? (Arthur’s illness)
Another question, and I apologize if this seems crass, wouldn’t Henry VIII himself know that his wife was a virgin when he married her? That is a difficult question to answer. Only Catherine and Henry truly knew. However, if Henry knew that his was, Catherine, was indeed a virgin, then that really paints a picture of his character. For if he knew, through personal experience, that Catherine was indeed a virgin then his lies and attempts to paint her as a liar are cruel and heartless.