I’ve read this series of articles on http://www.chanel4.com more than once since I originally stumbled across it, and I continue to find it fascinating. The site examines those British royal heirs who died before they could inherit the throne and theorizes about what might have occurred if they had lived. The introduction to these articles reads as follows:
The death of the heir to the throne has had important consequences throughout British history – sometimes immediately, sometimes obvious only in retrospect. It has twice contributed to the outbreak of civil war, led to England’s break with Rome, caused dynastic change and more than once opened the way for monarchs who were ill suited and badly trained for the role. This website examines the heirs to Henry I, Henry VII, James I, Anne, George IV and Edward VII, how they died and the consequences of these untimely deaths.
What captivates me most about this site is that despite the far-reaching consequences that the death of each heir had for England at the time, I’d wager that many of us never even knew they existed! The most well-known of the group is undoubtedly Prince Arthur Tudor (pictured above), the eldest son of Henry VII. His death, at age 15, made his brother Henry the heir to the throne and he was soon married to Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon. Whether or not their marriage was consummated provided the legal and theological basis for Henry’s divorce and his later split from the Catholic Church.
Interesting accounts of how history could have been changed are found in each of these articles and the site covers a broad span of history from the 1100’s to the late 1800’s. Articles mention such events as the sinking of the White Ship, which resulted in the drowning of Prince William (son of Henry I), to the death of Prince Henry (son of James I) after a November dip in the Thames.
I hope you enjoy speculating as much as I do about what might have been had an heir to the throne survived.
The Monarchs We Never Had can be visited here.