28 January 1457 – The birth of a king

Jan 28, 2018 #birth of Henry VII #Henry VII

On this day in history, 28th January 1457, thirteen-year-old Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and wife of the late Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, gave birth to her first and only child at Pembroke Castle in West Wales.

She named the infant Henry after his half-uncle Henry VI and, like his half-uncle, Margaret’s son grew up to be a King of England. Henry took the throne as King Henry VII after he defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth on 22nd August 1485. He married Elizabeth of York, eldest child of the late King Edward IV in 1486, thus uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York, and the couple went on to have seven (possibly eight) children, although only four survived infancy: Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary.

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3 thoughts on “28 January 1457 – The birth of a king”
  1. So according to the chronicle there is a reference that Henry V11 was baptised Owen, interesting yet he’s known as Henry V11, his birth though endangered the life of his mother and himself was according to the people of Wales very significant, maybe likening it to that of the legendary King Arthur who was named as the hope of his kingdom after the years of unrest following the Roman occupation, certainly the young boy grew up believing himself to be the hope and only true heir of the English crown, his uncle the deposed Henry V1 was in the Tower and later murdured by some say Edward 1V and or his brothers, he was seen as a child of destiny and he fulfilled that destiny by becoming the first Tudor King, and founding a new dynasty that would end on a chilly day in March with the death of his granddaughter in 1603, his birthday was the day of his sons and heirs death, rather odd but that can happen in families, in his youth he was said to be good looking and his portrait bears that out, his fine features and chiselled cheekbones he inherited from his mother the formidable Margaret Beaufort, from her he also must have inherited a strength of will and undying ambition, had she not been his mentor throughout his childhood? an undying ambition that saw him appear on the field at Bosworth that fateful day and someone place the crown on his head, that had rolled under a hawthorn bush which ever after he used as his emblem, he had fulfilled his destiny from his uncertain upbringing at a lonely castle in Wales to Westminster the seat of England’s kings for centuries, though he was born legitimate his rather tenuous claim to the throne was derived via his mother through the illegitimate son of that fearless warrior John Of Gaunt, he had numerous offspring with his mistress Katherine Swynford and although they were made legitimate after their parents wed, they had no claim to the throne, it just goes to show that the crown could fall into different hands, by plots by battle etc, after Henry V11’s accession to the throne he still had to look out for rival claimants, I think that all his reign he was troubled by pretenders to his crown, Perkin Warbeck for example, then a young man appeared claiming to be one of the missing princes, Richard Duke Of York, his hold on the crown was never secure like many before him, William the Conqueror for one, who had also one it by conquest they always had to look over their shoulder, to win a crown by right of conquest meant you always had to fight to keep it, far easier to be King through right of lineage, many happy returns King Henry V11.

    1. Yes, it is apparently true that he was going to be called Owain as he was called y mab daragoon or Son of Prophecy as was his paternal grandfather and grand uncle, both called Owain. However, his mother insisted that the Bishop called him Henry after the King. His grand uncle was Owain Glendower of course.

  2. Henry was lucky to live and his poor mother was also because she was thirteen when she gave birth to him, a widow for five months, his father, Edmund Tudor, 26, not a dirty old man as I saw someone call him once, having died in prison, either of the plague or by poison, depending on who you read. His birth was very difficult but Margaret Beaufort showed her inner resources by coming through it all, although she was possibly internally damaged and never had any more children.

    Henry was to have a hap hazard upbringing from the age of four, living with the Yorkist supporter, Sir William Herbert, at Raglan Castle, as a noble and royal hostage. The entire upper floor of the castle was rebuilt as comfortable royal apartments to accommodate Henry, recognition of his importance and relationship to the King. When he was about twelve he was taken into battle, but Sir William was taken and killed by the Earl of Warwick. Henry was left on the battlefield and only because Lady Herbert came to look for him that he was found and with local support she took him home. His mother gained control of her son for a short time in 1470 when Henry vi was restored to the throne. Margaret took Henry to court and the story goes that his step uncle blessed young Henry as his successor by pouring water over his hands to anoint him, probably with the holy oil of chrisom. This is used in the coronation and at Easter and Confirmation and symbolism is the Holy Spirit. In 1471 Jasper Tudor had come back to his stronghold of Chepstow in South Wales, just across the Wye and was meant to help Margaret of Anjou who was marching to face the newly returned King Edward iv, but he got stuck on the Welsh side, where even now the banks are steeper than on the English side, because of our lovely weather and rain storms. The river flooded, forcing Jasper to wait and with him was young Henry, now fourteen.

    Margaret was defeated and captured at Tewkesbury Abbey and Warwick was killed at Barnet and now Jasper could only escape. He took his nephew to Tenby and went via the Tunnels to the shore and on by ship to France. However, they failed to make France and ended up in Brittany, an independent state. Here they were kept in separate strongholds as guests of the Duke for almost the next fourteen years.

    It was partly because Margaret married into the House of York, Thomas Lord Stanley and came to court to serve Queen Elizabeth Woodville and so gain future favour for her son’s claim to his inheritance of Richmond, that Henry would later find himself on the English throne. In 1483, Henry found himself with a chance to gain the crown after the sudden death of Edward iv from either food poisoning from bad fish or a bacterial fungus from contaminated Thames water as one chronicle has him swimming or fishing on the river the day he became sick. He was temporarily succeeded by his twelve year old son, Edward v, under the Lord Protectorate of his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. It came to light that Edward iv had married or contracted with another Lady before his Queen, Lady Eleanor Butler and at the same time and his marriage was therefore invalid. Evidence was given to Richard, it was investigated, the marriage made public and the young King, his brother and sisters, including Elizabeth, Henry’s future wife, declared illegitimate. Richard was then offered the throne by the three estates of the realm. After rumours began that Richard and Edward had vanished, the Duke of Buckingham, rose against Richard iii and spread lies that the boys were dead. Some people actually believe Buckingham used one as part of his rebellion but the sources are so confusing that this could be a mistake. He actually never directly accused Richard of killing his nephews either and there is ambiguity about his own motives. At some point Henry Tudor was part of this hair brained scheme and set sail with the aim of either joining Buckingham or being put on the throne himself. When the rebellion didn’t get much support and failed Henry stayed on his ship and returned to Brittany.

    With new help two years later from France, a promise to marry Elizabeth of York and with defections from the Court of Richard iii and rebels, some of whom had even been pardoned, Henry made his challenge for the crown. Landing in Wales, at Mill Bay on 7th August 1485 and with the help of locals to whom he had connections, Henry marched towards the Midlands and London. Richard met him at Bosworth with a much bigger army on 22nd August 1485. Henry had French mercenary forces, Welsh pikemen, some local support, the experience of the Earl of Oxford and a wing and a prayer. Richard had Norfolk and 5000 troops, Northumberland with 3000, his own elite knights and mounted support of up to 2,000 and Stanley had between 3,000 and 7, 000, again depending on who you read, divided between Thomas and Sir William, waiting on the sidelines, who had been in contact with Henry. Thanks to the fluke of betrayal by Sir William and his own horse getting stuck in the mud as he charged at Henry, killing his standard bearer, Richard iii was killed and Henry found himself King.

    Once accepted as the new King, Henry kept his promise made in Rennes Cathedral at Christmas 1483 to marry the daughter of the late, Edward iv, Elizabeth of York and thus through her, secured his own precarious claim to the crown. His first Parliament reversed the legislation enacted by the Parliament of Richard iii to make Elizabeth et al illegitimate and, on the arrival of the appropriate dispensation from the Pope, the couple were married in January 1486. Their marriage was a success, resulting in seven children, including two sons, Prince Arthur and the future Henry Viii and Margaret, Queen of Scotland and Mary, Queen of France and later Duchess of Suffolk.

    In spite of a decade or more of one pretender or claimant coming forth as Edward, Earl of Warwick, Edward V or Richard, Duke of York in the form of a boy called Lambert Simnel, crowned in Dublin as Edward vi or v and then the real threat of Richard of England, known officially to history as Perkin Warbeck as the younger Prince in the Tower, Henry Tudor survived and reigned for almost 24 years, passing on his crown to his male heir without any problems for the first time since 1422. Henry Viii was the first adult male to rule on ascension since Henry V in 1413, almost 100 years earlier.

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