House of Tudor
Henry VII (1485 - 1509 AD)
Henry Tudor came to the throne of England after deposing Richard III, thus ending the conflicts of the Wars of the Roses. His grandfather had served Henry V with distinction at Agincourt and rose to become a member of the minor nobility, allegedly marrying Henry V’s widow, Catherine of Valois, in secret. His mother, Margaret Beaufort, was also descended from John of Gaunt. Henry’s legal entitlement to the throne was tenuous, but at the time of his victory over Richard III there was no other claimant with sufficient support to sustain his claim; there would be several more attempts to raise support for ‘pretenders’ during his reign.
Henry’s reign was characterized by fiscal prudence, maintenance of peace and support for economic growth. In contrast to the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses, Henry had no military ambitions and used the threat of force only as a means of securing favourable peace terms. He promoted shipbuilding and strengthened commercial links with the continent.
King Henry’s eldest son, Arthur, died in 1502 leaving his younger brother, Henry, as heir apparent; having already begun negotiations for Prince Arthur to marry Catherine of Aragon, the king substituted Prince Henry for his late brother.
Henry’s coronation ushered in the Tudor dynasty. His death in 1509 was probably due to progressive illness; he was succeeded by his son Henry VIII.
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