On the 18th January 1486 Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York and establishing a new royal house: The House of Tudor.

Henry Tudor had become King on the 22nd August 1485 when he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. He was crowned King on the 30th October and on the 7th November the English parliament asserted the legitimacy of his claim to the throne and overturned that of Richard III, who had claimed that Edward IV’s children were illegitimate on the grounds that Edward had been pre-contracted to Eleanor Talbot before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. By overturning Richard’s claim, parliament made Elizabeth of York, Edward’s daughter, legitimate again.

On the 10th December, the House of Commons petitioned Henry VII to marry Elizabeth of York through their speaker Thomas Lovell, who declared: “Which marriage, they hoped God would bless with a progeny of the race of kings, to the great satisfaction of the whole realm”1. The Lords agreed with the Commons and it was clear that “for all Henry’s efforts to establish himself on the throne before his marriage, popular feeling still regarded marriage to Elizabeth as a crucial element in his title”2 .

The marriage was authorized by a papal legate on the 16th January and two days later the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York took place.

You can read more about the bride and groom in my article “Henry VII Marries Elizabeth of York”.

Notes and Sources

  1. Henry: Virtuous Prince, David Starkey, p38
  2. Rosemary Horrox, ‘Elizabeth (1466–1503)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

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9 thoughts on “18 January 1486 – Marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York”
  1. I love Elizabeth of York! Born a princess, bastardized by her uncle for whom she may have had a penchant, married to a man she did not love but learned to love, over-shadowed by a domineering mother-in-law and losing her beloved eldest son and then her life in an attempt to provide a “spare” – what a sad life she had and the few clues left about her make her seen gentle and lovable. Certainly she was loved in throughout the country and Henry sincerely mourned her.

  2. I believe that Elizabeth of York is on every deck of cards as either all the Queens, or two of them, I am not quite sure, but it’s nice to know that this portrait is being seen every day all over the world! Thank you, WilesWales

  3. Well, I wasn’t sure about the number of cards on which Elizabeth of York is seen, it turns out that I read another very great report of Claire’s that basically confirms it is only one! Nice to learn knew things, and put old rumors to rest! Thank you, WilesWales

  4. One thing I’ve wondered lately: is there any evidence of Henry VII straying from his marriage? Edward IV certainly did, and we all know Henry VIII was certainly guilty of this charge, but I’ve never heard anything to connect the first Henry Tudor to that behavior, though I’m sure it would have been expected and purposefully overlooked by Elizabeth. What say you, Claire?

  5. I live in Winchester, Hampshire. In the Cathedral, on the far east side, there is the Lady Chapel, named for Elizabeth of york, where her son Arthur was christened. There are beautiful 14th century frescos on the walls. Go and visit it if you get a chance.

    1. I can’t express to you Julz….how incredibly fortunate you are to just simply be able to live in Winchester, Hampshire and are able to visit or be a paritioner of Lady Chapel….if only. I live in Texas…and although, there is alot of history here and very intersting history at that, it does not begin to touch what you are or have been exposed to…..I do envy you…..It sounds wonderful!! S-

  6. The beginning of one of the most fascinating periods of British history, to me anyway. It is such a shame the Tudor Dynasty did carry on for a longer period…

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