This day in history, the 22nd February 1511, was a sad day for Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon as it was the day that their 52 day old son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, died suddenly. He was the second child of Henry and Catherine – his sister was born dead on the 31st January 1510, due to being 3 months premature.

Henry’s birth on the 1st January 1511 was greeted with much joy and celebration. Henry VIII had a son and heir, the Tudor line was secure, and he celebrated by naming his baby son the Duke of Cornwall. Unfortunately “Little Prince Hal” (also known as “The New Year’s Boy”), the future Prince of Wales and future king, did not even make his first birthday. We can only imagine the grief felt by his parents when he died on the 22nd February.

Princess Mary, the future Mary I, was the only child born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to survive childhood and it was Catherine’s miscarriages and stillbirths, her inability to provide Henry with a son and heir, that led to Henry believing that the marriage was cursed, breaking with Rome, getting the marriage annulled and marrying Anne Boleyn. How different things would have been if Little Prince Hal had survived!

Click here to read more about Catherine of Aragon’s pregnancies.

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