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King Henry VII (1485 - 1509)

Name: King Henry VII
Born: January 28, 1457 at Pembroke Castle
Parents: Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and Margaret Beaufort
Relation to Charles III: 14th great-grandfather
House of: Tudor
Ascended to the throne: August 22, 1485 aged 28 years
Crowned: October 30, 1485 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV
Children: Three sons and four daughters. Only 4 of whom survived infancy; Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary
Died: April 21, 1509 at Richmond Palace, Surrey, aged 52 years, 2 months, and 21 days
Buried at: Westminster
Reigned for: 23 years, 7 months, 28 days
Succeeded by: his son Henry VIII

Henry was the son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who died before Henry was born, and Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III through John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Although the Beaufort line, which was originally illegitimate, had been specifically excluded (1407) from all claim to the throne, the death of the imprisoned Henry VI (1471) made Henry Tudor head of the house of Lancaster. At this point, however, the Yorkist Edward IV had established himself securely on the throne, and Henry, who had been brought up in Wales, fled to Brittany for safety.

The death of Edward IV (1483) and accession of Richard III, left Henry the natural leader of the party opposing Richard, whose rule was very unpopular. Henry made an unsuccessful attempt to land in England during the abortive revolt (1483) of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Thereafter he bided his time in France until 1485 when, aided by other English refugees, he landed in Wales. At the battle of Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, he defeated the royal forces of Richard, who was killed. Henry advanced to London, was crowned, and in 1486 fulfilled a promise made earlier to Yorkist dissidents to marry Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York. He thus united the houses of York and Lancaster, founding the Tudor royal dynasty.

Although Henry's accession marked the end of the Wars of the Roses, the early years of his reign were disturbed by Yorkist attempts to regain the throne. The first serious attempt, an uprising in favour of the imposter Lambert Simnel, was easily crushed (1487). In 1494, Henry sent Sir Edward Poynings to Ireland to consolidate English rule there. Poynings drove out of Ireland the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck, who then sought support from the Scottish king, James IV. James attempted (1496) to invade England, but the next year, under pressure from Spain, he expelled Warbeck. The latter was defeated shortly thereafter in an attempted invasion of Cornwall. A truce (1497) between England and Scotland was followed by the marriage (1503) of Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor to James a marriage that led ultimately to the union of the monarchies of England and Scotland.

Henry succeeded in crushing the independence of the nobility by means of a policy of forced loans and fines. His chancellor, Cardinal Morton, was made responsible for the collection of these fines, and they were enforced by the privy councillors Empson and Dudley. Henry married his son Arthur to Catharine of Aragón, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella of Castile, his daughter Margaret to James IV of Scotland, and his youngest daughter Mary to Louis XII of France. After Arthur died in 1502, an agreement was reached by which Catharine married Arthur's brother Henry (later Henry VIII).

King Henry VII's Signature

Timeline for King Henry VII

Year Event
1485Henry becomes King after defeating Richard III of York at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Wars of the Roses are ended.
1486Henry marries Elizabeth of York, thereby uniting the houses of York and Lancaster.
1487Henry crushes a revolt by the Earl of Lincoln on behalf of Lambert Simnel, a claimant to the throne, at Stoke.
1491Henry invades France but at the Treaty of Etaples agrees to withdraw English forces in return for a large sum of money
1492Perkin Warbeck an impersonator who claims he is Richard the younger of the Princes in the Tower attempts to overthrow Henry, but is defeated and put to death in 1499.
1492Christopher Columbus crosses Atlantic and lands in San Salvador, Cuba and Haiti which he calls the 'West Indies' in the belief that he has sailed around the World to India.
1497John Cabot sails west from Bristol on the Matthew and discovers New-found-land. He believed it was Asia and claimed it for England.
1499Perkin Warbeck is hanged in the Tower of London. The Earl of Warwick is also executed.
1501Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, marries Prince Arthur, Henry’s eldest son.
1502Prince Arthur dies, and Prince Henry (the future Henry VIII) becomes heir to the throne, later marrying Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon.
1503Margaret, Henry's daughter marries James IV of Scotland. The marriage gives James' descendants a claim to the English throne.
1503Death of Elizabeth of York, Henry’s wife.
1509Henry VII dies at Richmond Palace, at the age of 52.