Henry VII of England
|Henry VII Tudor|
|King of England; Lord of Ireland|
|Portrait of Henry, holding a red Lancastrian rose, attributed to Michel Sittow|
|Reign||22 August 1485 – 21 April 1509|
|Coronation||30 October 1485|
|Predecessor||Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl|
|Spouse||Elizabeth of York|
|Arthur, Prince of Wales
Margaret, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of France
|House||House of Tudor|
|Father||Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond|
|Mother||Lady Margaret Beaufort|
|Born||28 January 1457
Pembroke Castle, Wales
|Died||21 April 1509 (aged 52)
Richmond Palace, England
|Burial||Westminster Abbey, London|
Henry VII was born in 1457 to Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. His father died two months before he was born, leaving his 13-year-old mother as his only parent. After Henry's birth, he spent a lot of time with his uncle Jasper Tudor. Jasper took Henry to France, where he spent most of his youth. Henry had a claim to the throne of England, but it was not a very good one, and he had to wait a long time for a chance to take the throne. In 1483, a new king came to the throne in England, called Richard III. King Richard was not popular with everyone, because it was thought that he had stolen the throne from his young nephews and had killed them. This gave Henry the chance he had been waiting for. With help from the French, he raised an army. They landed at Dale in Pembrokeshire, close to where Henry had been born, so he was able to gather more supporters on the way. The Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485) was a series of civil wars fought over the throne of England between supporters of the House of Lancaster and supporters of the House of York. Both houses were branches of the Plantagenet royal house, tracing their descent from King Edward III.
The main reason for the war was that King Edward III had many sons, as shown in the family tree below. His oldest son, who is known by the nickname, "The Black Prince", died first, and the throne passed to the Black Prince's son, Richard, who became King Richard II of England in 1377 at the age of only ten. He grew up to be a weak and unpopular king, and one of his actions was to send his cousin Henry into exile. Henry later returned, while Richard was away in Ireland, and took over the country. When Richard returned, Henry tricked him into giving himself up. Richard was put in prison, where he died, and Henry became King Henry IV of England.
Although Henry IV reigned until his death, and was followed by his son, King Henry V, the next king in line, King Henry VI was only a baby. While he was still growing up, the most powerful men in the kingdom started quarrelling over how to run the country, and some of them raised an army to try to take the throne. Henry VI and his family fought back, and the war between his supporters and their enemies lasted for many years, finally coming to an end when King Henry VII of England came to the throne in 1485
On 22 August 1485, Henry's army defeated Richard III's army at the Battle of Bosworth Field. When Richard III died in this battle, Henry VII became king. There were other people who had a claim on the throne, and Henry did his best to stop them from taking it from him, either by executing them, putting them in prison, or trying to make friends of them, as he did with the Earl of Lincoln. Another step he took was to marry Elizabeth of York, the niece of King Richard III, who would herself have been the heir to the throne if she had not been a girl.
There were also people who pretended to be long-lost members of the royal family, so that they could try to take the throne. One of these was a little boy called Lambert Simnel, who looked very like Edward, Earl of Warwick. The real Earl of Warwick was Henry's prisoner, but this did not stop other people from believing that Lambert was him. The Earl of Lincoln rebelled against King Henry and raised an army to make Lambert king, thinking that he himself could rule the country. There was a battle, and the Earl of Lincoln was killed. Lambert Simnel was captured, but, because he was only a child, Henry spared his life and he became a royal servant.
Henry married Elizabeth of York, and by this action put an end to the Wars of the Roses. They had six children, but only four survived infancy:
- Arthur Tudor (September 1486- April 1502)
- Margaret Tudor (November 1489- October 1541)
- Henry VIII (June 1491- January 1547)
- Mary Tudor (March 1496- June 1533)
- Edmund Tudor (Died young)
- Catherine Tudor (Died young)