HENRY VII

Henry VII

b. 28 Jan 1457, Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales
d. 21 Apr 1509, Richmond Palace, Surrey, England [1]

Title: Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie Dominus Hibernie (By the Grace of God, King of England and France and Lord of Ireland)
Term: 22 Aug 1485 - 21 Apr 1509
Chronology: 22 Aug 1485, acclaimed as king after the Battle of Bosworth Field (proclaimed in York on 23 Aug 1485; regnal years counted from 22 Aug 1485)
  30 Oct 1485, crowned, Westminster Abbey
  between 9 Nov 1485 and 10 Dec 1485, recognized king by an act of Parliament (Titulus regius)
  21 Apr 1509, died
Names/titles: Original name: Henry Tudor; 2nd Earl of Richmond [from 28 Jan 1457]
Biography:

Henry was the posthumous son of Edmund Tudor Earl of Richmond and Margaret Beaufort. Through his mother he descended from John of Gaunt, one of the sons of King Edward III. As a boy he was taken to Brittany to escape the capture by Yorkists and became the sole surviving male with any ancestral claim to the House of Lancaster after the deaths of King Henry VI and Prince Edward in 1471. The Yorkist party was split as a result of the usurpation of Richard III (1483) and Henry Tudor found himself a major figure in uniting the king's opponents. He was attainted in early 1484 by an act of Parliament [2]. Henry enlisted support of many Yorkists by his promise to marry Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV. In 1485 Henry led an invasion and defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field (22 Aug 1485). As Richard was slain at the battlefield, Henry was acclaimed king and crowned on 30 Oct 1485. The Parliament, which was opened on 7 Nov 1485, passed an act to settle the king's title and finalized the accession of the House of Tudor (assented between 9 Nov 1485 and 10 Dec 1485). [3]

Although Henry fulfilled his promise and married Elizabeth (18 Jan 1486) to unite the Houses of Lancaster and York, the Yorkist plots marred most of his reign. The Yorkists used the young impostor Lambert Simnel, who was crowned in Dublin as Edward VI (24 May 1487) and invaded England in June 1487. The invaders were defeated in the Battle of Stoke (16 Jun 1487), but four years later another impostor, Perkin Warbeck, claimed the English throne under the name of Richard IV impersonating the younger brother of the deposed Edward V. Supported by France, Netherlands and Scotland, Warbeck three times invaded England, but finally was defeated and captured in 1497. As France attempted to incorporate the Duchy of Brittany, the English army crossed the Channel to prevent it (1492), but Henry conceded to Treaty of Étaples, which fixed an indemnity amount at £159,000. Henry also succeeded in concluding a peace treaty with Scotland (1499), followed by a treaty for the marriage of James IV, King of Scots, to Henry's daughter Margaret (1502). In home affairs Henry VII efficiently supervised the process of increasing the royal revenue by assertion of royal fiscal rights and protection of industries. The reorganization in 1487 of the Star Chamber was one of several means by which Henry strengthened the royal power over the nobles. Biography sources: [4; 5]


[1] According to Thomas Wriothesley (or Writhe), Garter King of Arms (1505-1534), Henry VII died at 11 p.m. on Saturday 21 Apr 1509 ("On the xxii [the last "i" scratched out] day of Aprill the yere of our lord a mlvc and ix on a Saturday at xi of the clocke in the night departed out of this transytory lyff the famous prince nayd in his tyme for his wisdome le doyen des roys."). His death was not revealed until 23 Apr 1509. (see S.J. Gunn, "The Accession of Henry VIII", Historical Research 64 (1991) pp. 278-288).
[2] The act of attainder was considered extinct upon the accession of Henry VII.
[3] "To the pleasure of Almighty God, the wealth, prosperity and surety of this realm of England, to the singular comfort of all the king's subjects of the same, and in avoiding of all ambiguities and questions, be it ordained, established and enacted, by authority of this present Parliament, that the inheritance of the crowns of the realms of England and of France, with all the preeminence and dignity royal to the same pertaining, and all other seigniries [lordships] to the king belonging beyond the sea, with the appurtenances thereto in any wise due or pertaining, be, rest, remain, and abide in the most royal person of our now sovereign lord king Harry the viith and in the heirs of his body lawfully come, perpetually with the grace of God so to endure, and in none other."
[4] Handbook of British Chronology (1986)
[5] "Henry VII", by S.B. Chrimes (University of California Press, 1972).
  Image: portrait of Henry VII attributed to Michael Sittow, 1505.
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:57:03