Henry VII
Henry VII was King of England after seizing the crown from Richard III in 1485 until his death in 1509. He was the first in the line of Tudor monarchs, and is also credited with joining the formerly warring houses of Tudor and Plantagenet by marrying Elizabeth of York.

Full Name Henry Tudor VII
Who King of England
Birth Date January 28, 1457
Death Date April 21, 1509
Country England
Born Pembroke, Wales, UK
Died London, England, UK
Cause of Death unknown
Education n/a
Father Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond
Mother Margaret Beaufort
Spouse Elizabeth of York

Arthur, Prince of Wales

Margaret Tudor of Scots

Henry VIII

Mary Tudor, Queen of France

Elizabeth Tudor

Siblings none


Henry was the great-great-great grandson of Edward III and Katherine Swynford, through his mother. He was the son of Margaret Beaufort, who was only thirteen years old when she gave birth to him. He would later become the father of Henry VIII, and thus the grandfather of Mary I of England and Elizabeth I.

Through his father, Henry was a descendant of Rhys ap Gruffydd, making him a candidate for being the legendary Welsh "Y Moab Darogan," meaning, "the son of prophecy," who would free the Welsh people from oppression. This lineage also greatly helped him to gain the support of the Welsh people when taking the throne of England.

Henry was close to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, while growing up. He was a major father figure to the young Henry, having promised his dying brother, Henry's father, to protect his widow and child. In 1471, when Henry's claim to the Tudor throne became more solid due to the deaths of other contendors, Jasper recognized the threat to the 14 year old Henry and personally had him taken to France.

After being taken to the safety of the Duchy of Brittany in 1471, Henry was welcomed as the honored guest of Louis II, Duke of Brittany, who became his supporter and ally. Back in England, the king Edward VII was eager to be rid of Henry, as he was the last Tudor threat to the throne. He offered large rewards for anyone that could capture Henry, but Louis' protection over his guest was strong. Louis even offered sanctuary to Henry's uncle Jasper, and sent back English servants of Henry's, replacing them with Breton ones. Louis supported and protected Henry for years, until 1483, when a powerful and adamant Richard III pressured Louis to give Henry up, issuing strong threats. As Louis was ill and advanced in age by that time, and his advisors were in favor of giving Richard III what he wanted, it was in the end agreed that Henry would be given back to the English. Henry, however, was warned of this, and fled to Paris in 1483.

In the days leading up to his ascension as king, one of Henry's primary supporters and allies was Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. When Henry launched a campaign to land in England in 1483, Stafford was his second-in-command man. The landing ended in failure when Stafford was captured and executed.

As the last Tudor claimant to the throne, Henry was a known villain in the eyes of the Plantagenet family. The king Edward VII referred to him as "the imp," and "the last of the Tudor brood," and made many efforts to send spies and men to capture him. After Richard III took the throne, he became focused on crushing Henry, the strongest threat to his reign, and made many attempts to capture him. After all was settled, however, Henry would become the son-in-law of Edward VII and the nephew-in-law of Richard III, through marriage.

During his struggle for power in 1483, Henry gained the powerful support of the Woodville family, most notably Elizabeth Woodville, Edward VII's widow. Woodville approved of Henry's plan to marry her daughter, Elizabeth of York, and make her his queen.

From about 1483, Henry began a correspondance with Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, a confidante of Richard III. As events drew to a close in 1485, Stanley had decidedly betrayed Richard and sided with Henry, though he attempted to keep the secret hidden from the king for as long as possible. He provided Henry with information on the best place to land in Wales. When it became evident that the forces of Henry and Richard would meet in battle, in what would become the Battle of Bosworth Field, Richard ordered Stanley to come fight beside him, but Stanley pleaded ill, saying he had the sweating sickness. Richard, who had already had his suspicions, realized that Stanley had switched sides, and held the man's son hostage, threatening to execute him. Stanley coldly replied "Sire, I have other sons." His son, in the end, was not harmed. After Henry became king, he was always thankful to Stanley, and affectionately referred to him as his "right dearly beloved father." Stanley became a close confidante of Henry during his reign, and was given many titles and lands. He was also named godfather to Arthur, Prince of Wales.

Henry first formed the idea of eventually marrying Elizabeth of York in 1483, which would be an advantageous political move, uniting and creating peace between the Tudors and the Plantagenets. However, he did not meet her until 1485. The two were actually third-cousins, both being descendants of John of Gaunt. They were married at Westminster Abbey in January of 1486. Henry had a happy and loving relationship with his wife, and they had four healthy children. When Elizabeth died in 1503, Henry was absolutely devastated, and fell ill, reaching criticial condition, literally of a broken heart. His noblemen urged him to remarry, and a few halfhearted attempts were made. When the men asked Henry what type of woman he would be interested in, Henry wrote out a description that exactly matched Elizabeth. He never ended up marrying again. When he died in 1509, he was buried beside her.

Of the three pretenders that rose up in rebellion against Henry during the early years of his reign, the most notable was Perkin Warbeck, who was masquerading as Edward IV's son, Richard of Shrewsbury. Warbeck attempted to invade Ireland in 1491, and England in 1495. He also persuaded James IV of Scotland to invade England in 1496. Warbeck was captured during an invasion in 1497, and Henry ordered him executed.

Margaret of York, the sister of Edward VII and Richard III, and Henry's aunt-in-law, treasonously sided with the rebel Perkin Warbeck in 1495. However, after Warbeck's execution, Henry pardoned her, and she remained peaceably at his court for the rest of his life. 

Far more of a diplomat than a warrior, Henry preferred to make peace rather than war. He formed strong alliances and friendships with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, Louis XII of France, and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Henry kept Philip I of Castile as a guest in 1506, along with his wife Joanna of Castile. Philip had been shipwrecked on the English coast, and had been invited to Henry's court. However, as guests, they were actually more like hostages. Henry refused to release Philip until he signed a treaty. Philip eventually did so, but it was so ridiculously leaned in England's favor that the Pope and the rest of Europe ended up rejecting it.


Pembroke, Wales, UK - Born here, 1457. Grew up here, 1457 - 1471.

Nantes, France - Lived here, 1471 - 1483.

Rennes, France - Gathered supporters here, 1483.

Milford Haven, Wales, UK - Landed here to begin invasion of England, 1485.

Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, England, UK - Won a battle here, 1485.

London, England, UK - Lived here, 1485 - 1509. Died here, 1509.

How Added - Through his son, Henry VIII.

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