Henry VII

Early Life

In 1455, a young nobleman named Edward Tudor married Maragaret Beaufort. She was of marriageable age for that time -- twelve years old. By the time she was thirteen, she was a widow. Soon she was also a mother -- her son, Henry, was born on 28 January 1457, never to meet his father who died before his time. Henry was a 'puny' baby, and certainly not all that impressive, but what a future he would have! (Plowden 8).

Trouble in England

Henry was twenty-eight when King Edward died at Easter of 1483. The king left his thirteen-year-old son, Edward, to succeed him. But within weeks the boy's uncle, Richard, had taken power in England. He declared the sons of his late brother illegitimate, and locked both the young king and his little brother, the Duke of York, up in the Tower of London. By June, Richard had been crowned King. After that summer, the little boys were never heard of again, rumored to have been assasinated by their own uncle.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King!


Henry spent all of his early life in Wales, but he was sent to France to live after the War of the Roses because of he was a political threat to the Richard III. There were few English people who wanted Richard III as king after the disappearance of his nephews, and it was obvious that Henry was the man many desired as king. For his safety, Henry went to France to bide his time and build his armies.
On 7 August 1485, the armies of Richard III and the armies of Henry Tudor met at Bosworth Field. Henry and Richard found themselves locked in hand to hand combat. This was bad news for Henry, who was no where near the fighter that Richard was. But Lord Stanley, one of Henry's men, came to his leader's aid and killed Richard. Stanley then took the crown from where it had fallen under a hawthorn bush and put it on Henry's own head.
On 18 January 1486, Henry married King Edward's daughter, Elizabeth of York. Elizabeth's lineage helped to solidify Henry's claim to the throne (which was much weaker, by the way, than Elizabeth's -- as eldest surviving heir of a king, she certainly had more of a right to the crown than Henry did).
After thirty years of the civil war that was the War of the Roses, Henry reunited the country and helped build England back to greatness. His reign is sometimes refered to as the beginning of modern history.

Links

King and Queens of England, Scotland and Wales.
Cool site on Henry VII plus lots of other monarchs.
Richard III Society, American Chapter
All about Richard III, his battle with Henry VII, and whether or not he really killed his nephews!
Play with Henry VII's face!
If you have a computer that supports Java, you'd be a goof to pass up this opportunity to mess with Henry VII's head -- or at least his face.


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