On the 28th January 1457, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII, was born at Pembroke Castle in Wales. Henry Tudor was the son of the late Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond (son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois), and his 13 year-old wife, Margaret Beaufort.
Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s mother, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and following the deaths of Henry VI and his son, Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1471, Henry Tudor, became the senior Lancastrian claimant to the throne. After Richard III took the throne in 1483, Henry decided to stake his claim. On Christmas Day 1483, in Rennes Cathedral, France, the exiled Henry pledged to marry Elizabeth of York, daughter of the late Yorkist King, Edward IV, and the sister of the Princes in the Tower (Edward V and his brother Richard), thus gaining more support for his claim to the English throne. His descent from Rhys ap Gruffydd, the Lord Rhys, also gave him valuable Welsh support.
On 22nd August 1485, Henry Tudor and his troops defeated Richard III’s forces at the Battle of Bosworth Field and the King was killed. Richard III’s crown was recovered and Henry was crowned King Henry VII on a nearby hill, followed by an official coronation on 30th October 1485. He married Elizabeth of York on 18th January 1486 and the couple had four children who survived childhood:
Henry VII ruled for over 23 years, dying on 21st April 1509 and being succeeded by his second son, Henry VIII.
You can read more about Henry VII in the following articles:
- Henry VII Marries Elizabeth of York
- The Battle of Bosworth 1485 Part 1 – The Wars of the Roses
- The Battle of Bosworth 1485 Part 2 – The Battle
- Lady Margaret Beaufort
- The Coronation of Henry VII
- Elizabeth of York
- A Tale of Two Henrys
If you want to read more about Henry VII, there is an excellent book on him by Thomas Penn – Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England.