The literary life of EDWARD JAMES, author,reviewer, occasional poet and former pension adviser to the government of Kyrgyzstan
The website English Historical Fiction Authors is organising a blog hop on a castles theme to publicise their new book ‘Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors’.
I have offered a piece on Ludlow Castle in Shropshire which I visited recently. The castle is a ruin, but a large romantic ruin and the town is charming, with a wealth of half-timbered Tudor buildings that puts Stratford-on-Avon to shame.
Ludlow’s claim to fame is that although in England it was at one time effectively the capital of Wales and the castle was the seat of the Council of Wales. How natural therefore for the Prince of Wales to come here for his honeymoon.
The Prince concerned was Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII, and he came to Ludlow in 1503 with his teenage Spanish bride, princess Catherine of Aragon. Both newly-weds fell ill, probably with a form of influenza. Arthur did not survive the honeymoon. He died within weeks, leaving his younger brother Henry not only to inherit the kingdom but also to marry his young widow.
Catherine maintained that the marriage was never consummated, which meant that her marriage to Arthur’s brother was legal in the eyes of the Church. Henry went along with this for 15 years and then changed his mind after meeting Anne Boleyn. He asked the pope for an annulment, which was refused, and the rest is history, momentous history for England and the world.
So did they or didn’t they? I went to Ludlow castle to look into the matter.
As you can see I found the castle in ruins. The Tudor apartments where they lodged are still there, roofless and floorless, and the great Tudor fireplaces are still visible. I think they did, it is such a romantic setting.