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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12 thoughts on “Henry VII and Henry VIII – The Birth of One and the Death of the Other”
  1. I didn’t realize that Henry VIII died on the same day that his father was born! Thank you for pointing that out Claire 🙂 I think Henry VII is one of the most underestimated monarchs of England and if you take into consideration the number of obstacles he had on this way I must admit he was really ingenious.

  2. Donna nobis parchem (probably not spelt right but latin for rest in peace) Henry. Ill be seeing your final resting place later X x x

  3. Astrology is an amazing thing- my ex’s birthday is Jan 28th. Strange some of the similarities in personality.

    1. Astrology is unscientific nonsense. It’s astronomy which is scientifically proven. Your character and personality are not decided by what star sign you are born under and the so called ridiculous readings in papers and these modern horoscopes don’t allow for progression. A bit of rock millions of light years away doesn’t command your life or destiny. Believe in that nonsense if you wish, but it is a foolish belief.

      Yes, hundreds of years ago people took it seriously, often mixing it with mathematical and medical science but that doesn’t mean it was right and accurate. It was more complex but it was still inaccurate.

  4. Claire,

    I did not realize (shame shame on me) until I read your article that the date of birth for Henry VII or death of Henry VIII was identical.

    Another Tudor factoid for me to remember. I love learning something Tudor every day, thanks to your enlightening,TRUTHFUL articles.

    Claire, you rock!

  5. I totally agree, Claire, they were both great kings, though I think the son’s reign cast a shadow over his father’s by the sheer splendor of his court and all the colourful charactors that filled it. It was Henry VIII that drew me into the world of Tudor times, the books, films, the fashion etc, visitng as many places associated with them as possible. I must mention something about these people every day, I probably bore friends and family stiff…
    I always feel quite sad that he is remembered more for his six marriages and the bad tempered fearsome tyrant who he became, than the tall vibrant young man he was in the beginning, and for quite a number of years to come.
    So like you I will be raising a glass also, maybe two, I think they deserve one each, don’t you…lol
    One last thing I have a 26year old son with learning difficulties who I have also got interested in Henry, though be it on a very basic level, but he will watch all the dvds for hours on end, of course he loves all the ‘bloody’ bit but its great to see his interest. If I annoy him at any time he will say ‘off with your head like Anne’ bless him. The funniest thing is though he can’t actually say Henry the 8th he calls him Henry of the Apes.. 🙂

  6. Its so wierd that Henry VII was born on the same date Henry VIII died, but also that Henry VII’s birth was 1457 and his sons death 1547, simply the numbers re-arranged, strange…….

  7. All these years of reading Tudor history and how I didn’t catch the dates is beyond me. So thanks Claire for keeping us updated on these things and keeping track of them for us.

    I was over on Natalie’s “On the Tudor Trail” site and her article on Tudor tombs, and I thought this YouTube clip featuring David Starkey was fascinating. Here was Henry, wanting a grand tomb like his father’s, and if you don’t look down at just the right moment, you’re going to miss the plaque which tells you “Here’s Henry VIII.” Now I do love the thought of who is in the sarcophagus intended for Henry — and for me, that means even more because I consider him one of the finest of English heroes. But I’m hoping someone can answer this for me — or maybe I missed something. I thought the sarcophagus was intended for Wolsey. So was that something else that Henry decided to take too?

    I just think it’s amazing that here is Henry in this nearly anonymous grave, and the daughter he bastardized and often tried to forget has a place of honor in Westminster Abbey with her grandparents and great-grandmother.

    I just hope that father and son are resting in peace.

    1. Yes, Henry VIII did take the beautiful black marble sarcophagus that Wolsey commissioned but it is actually Lord Nelson who ended up using it and it is in the vault under the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Henry VII has an amazing tomb, in fact an amazing chapel, in Westminster Abbey and yet Henry VIII’s really could be missed in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Funny!

  8. im very fascinated with the tudor history i would like some more information about them they seem to be a very complicate3d family beginning with henry viii any body want to give me some feedback id appreciate it alot maybe one day i go to london and look at the historical places i hope so thx maritza


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