Do you think that Arthur Tudor and Catherine did consummate?

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
#3
Catherine of Aragon said not, and it seems unlikely a pious woman like she was would lie about such a serious matter. she and Arthur were both very young, and it is quite likely that their marriage had not been consummated.
 
Jun 2010
401
Rhondda, South Wales
#4
On the other hand you do have reports of Arthur the morning after his wedding night boasting that he had been "in the midst of Spain" and how marriage is "thirsty work". Granted we all know that teenage boys today aren't exactly going to be honest about if they didn't get any, but the implication is certainly there that he and Catherine did the deed. Certainly Catherine would have known that both her father and England would have "expected her to do her duty" and provide Arthur with an heir. In my opinion they consummated the marriage, and politics made everyone gloss over this fact when Arthur died.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,889
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#5
As for I know a woman [a company damsel, if I remember well], Elvira Manuel, has always sustained that they didn't consume.

But her version is not considered totally reliable because wasn't that closed to Catherina as she claimed.

On the other hand, Arthur talked big about some nights spent with the wife, but may be it was a way to generate a kind of "cover up". Not to make it public that he didn't consume.

Catherina said, with force, that they didn't consume.

My opinion?

At that young age, sexual curiosity is enormous and hormones boil easy and quick. I guess they did some erotic activity, but I cannot be sure they had complete sexual acts.

If you want a percentage of probability, I would say:

100% something erotic, with sexual pleasure
50% sexual act.
 

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
#6
On the other hand you do have reports of Arthur the morning after his wedding night boasting that he had been "in the midst of Spain" and how marriage is "thirsty work". Granted we all know that teenage boys today aren't exactly going to be honest about if they didn't get any, but the implication is certainly there that he and Catherine did the deed. Certainly Catherine would have known that both her father and England would have "expected her to do her duty" and provide Arthur with an heir. In my opinion they consummated the marriage, and politics made everyone gloss over this fact when Arthur died.
That story was told many years later by someone trying to ingratiate himself with Henry, who was trying to get his marriage to Catherine annulled. moreover, Arthur was not well developed for his age. in 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' Antonia Fraser writes:

"Arthur Prince of Wales was now fifteen, but he was so small and undeveloped that he seemed much younger. he had been born prematurely - by at least a month, probably two - and had never recovered from that debilitating start. When it came to height, Catherine might be short, but Arthur was half a head shorter still, the longed-for male heir to the houses of both York and Lancaster gave the impression of being a mere child - and a delicate child at that. he too was fair skinned like his bride, but without her healthy pink cheeks the result was a worrying pallor."

As far as the consummation goes, Antonia Fraser writes:

"Thus at the end of the banquet, the Princess of Wales was formally bedded with her husband by a host of courtiers, English and Spanish, the attendants then withdrew and they were left to lie there together. By an ironic twist of fate, the question of the sexual relationship - if any - between these two innocent adolescents would become of paramount importance nearly thirty years later. By then one of the two had been dead almost as long; the other was facing the most desperate crisis of her life. There is no contemporary record of prince Arthur's views and one must surely leave aside the vulgar gossip produced so conveniently years later by courtiers hoping to serve the interests of their master. One is therefore left with Catherine's unwavering assertions, dating from 1502 onwards (not from the late 1520s like the courtiers' tales), that the marriage was unconsummated.

There was however a third person ready to express a first hand view on this delicate if vital point; Catherine's second husband, Henry VIII. he, after all, had either found her to be a virgin on their wedding night (as he used to boast in his youth) or had not. it can be argued that Catherine herself, like Henry's courtiers, was not an unbiased witness. in that case most convincing evidence of non-consummation is provided by the fact that Henry VIII himself in later life never gave Catherine the Luke in the subject when publicly challenged to deny that he had found her 'a maid'."
 
Jun 2010
401
Rhondda, South Wales
#7
The whole problem is, though, that following their wedding night, blood-stained sheets were sent to Catherine's parents in Spain to show that the deed had been done. Wolsey even cited the bloody sheets years later. Granted it's circumstantial, but you've surely got either got Katherine lying about being a virgin or bloodied sheets being sent to Spain as a subterfuge. Both are plausible, but personally I'd rather believe in teenagers being teenagers...Occam's razor, after all.

Catherine was unlikely to admit to having consummated her marriage to Arthur. What choice did Catherine have but to lie? Her whole raison d'etre for being in England was to solidify an alliance between England and Spain, and to produce an heir. It would have been playing into Henry's hands to admit to having consummated the marriage, and would have condemned her daughter to illegitimacy.
 

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
#8
The whole problem is, though, that following their wedding night, blood-stained sheets were sent to Catherine's parents in Spain to show that the deed had been done. Wolsey even cited the bloody sheets years later. Granted it's circumstantial, but you've surely got either got Katherine lying about being a virgin or bloodied sheets being sent to Spain as a subterfuge. Both are plausible, but personally I'd rather believe in teenagers being teenagers...Occam's razor, after all.

Catherine was unlikely to admit to having consummated her marriage to Arthur. What choice did Catherine have but to lie? Her whole raison d'etre for being in England was to solidify an alliance between England and Spain, and to produce an heir. It would have been playing into Henry's hands to admit to having consummated the marriage, and would have condemned her daughter to illegitimacy.
But as Antonia Fraser points out, Henry himself boasted of having found Catherine a virgin when they married. And in later years, he never was able to deny having found her so.

Besides, even if the marriage with Arthur had been consummated, that would not have invalidated her marriage, since the Pope's dispensation was just as valid whether she was a virgin or not. So she had no reason to lie about it.
 
Feb 2011
9,998
Cumbernauld Scotland
#9
Catherine had always stated she came to henrys wedding night a virgin. Even when henry was divorcing her on the grounds that his brother had uncovered his wife's flesh. It was something that henry found in a bible somewhere. I agree with you Louise henry boasted when he first got married when Catherine could not bare anymore children he changed his mind.

One thing I feel that I might point out about Arthur he might have been gay, it could explain a lot reason why Catherine was a virgin widow.
 

Toltec

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
7,923
Hyperborea
#10
In those days the consummation was the marriage not the ceremony, a good deal of effort went not only to make sure it happened but that all the political parties knew it happened. For Spain the deal wasn't done till the consummation happened, had Catherine in the morning have reported to her camp it not have been done they would quickly have started complaining.
 

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