Henry VII and Henry VIII – The Birth of One and the Death of the Other

Today I will be remembering two Tudor monarchs: Henry VII and Henry VIII – one who is famed for starting the Tudor dynasty and the other for the number of wives he had. Two very different men, but father and son, and two great kings. One was born on this day in history, the other died.


On this day in history, 28th January 1457, Henry VII or Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in Wales. His parents were Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond and son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois, and his 13 year old wife, Margaret Beaufort, great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress (and later wife) Katherine Swynford. It was through this Beaufort side, going back to John of Gaunt, that Henry VII derived his claim to the throne of England and he became King after defeating Richard III and his troops at the Battle of Bosworth on the 22nd August 1485. He ruled for over 23 years.

Also, on this day in history, 90 years later in the early hours of the 28th January 1547, Henry VIII died. He had been ill for some time and had made amendments to his will at the end of December. In early January, De Selve and La Garde, the French ambassadors, had reported to Francis I that Henry was ill but he was well enough to meet with ambassadors on the 16th January. However, on the 27th January, the King was too ill to attend the commission which agreed on the Duke of Norfolk’s attender and it became clear that he was dying. His doctors were afraid to tell the King that the end was near, for fear that they’d be accused of treason, so Henry’s good friend Sir Anthony Denny broke the news to the King. Henry asked for Archbishop Cranmer and then slept for a few hours. By the time Cranmer arrived, the King was unable to speak but when the Archbishop asked him to give a sign that he trusted in God the King was able to squeeze his hand. He lapsed into unconsciousness and died in the early hours. He had been King for over 37 years and his iconic portrait is recognised by people all over the world, who either love him or hate him.

Today I will be raising a glass to the Tudor dynasty, to the King who started it all off and to his son who completely fascinates me. To the Tudors!

You can read more about these Kings in the following articles:-

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