The Tudor Dynasty; A Family History

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A family history of the 118 year Tudor dynasty of England. Featuring Henry VIII, Elisabeth I, Anne Boleyn and other British monarchs of the Tudor dynasty.

The Tudor dynasty reigned for 118 years,after the first Tudor King,Henry Tudor, defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth in August 1485.

The death of the Yorkist king and defeat of his army, saw the end of the War of the Roses, that had raged for 32 years, from 1455 to 1487.

The war of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought between the houses of York and Lancaster.The name was based on their badges, the white rose for the house of Lancaster, the red for the house of York.


Henry Tudor, first Tudor monarch.

To unite the two families, newly crowned King Henry VII,married Elisabeth of York,shortly after his coronation.

They had seven children, although only four survived into adulthood, 

                                                        Arthur born 20 September 1486. 

                                                        Henry born 28 June 1491,

                                                        Margaret born 29 November 1489 

                                                        Mary born 18 March 1496.

There were no illegitimate children of King Henry VII.

Elisabeth died in childbirth in 1503, giving birth to her seventh child, Katherine, who died shortly after her birth.

Their other two deceased children were Elisabeth, born 2nd July 1492, died 14th September 1492, 

                                                        Edmund, born 21st February 1499 died 19th June 1500.

Of their surviving daughters, the elder, Margaret, was born on the 29 November 1489.During her 52 years she married three times and gave birth to 8 children, with only two of them living into adulthood.

Her first marriage was to James IV of Scotland, in 1503, at the age of 13.

They had six children, with only their son James, surviving infancy. He was later to become James V of Scotland.This marriage ended with the death of James IV at the battle of Flodden Field in 1513.

Her second marriage was to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.

This union produced two children,a daughter Alexander, who did not survive infancy and a son James, who was later to become James VI of Scotland and James the 1st of England.

In 1527 Margaret had this union annuled.

Her third marriage, in 1528 was to Henry Stewart. There were no children from this union.

After her death from a stroke, Margaret was interred at the Carthusian Priory of St John, in Perth Scotland.

The other surviving daughter Mary, was born on the 18th March 1496

in 1514 at the age of 18 she was sent to France to marry King Louis XII.Their marriage was to last only 3 months. It is rumoured that the much older Louis, whom after three marriages was so desperate for a male heir, apparantly died from over exertion in the pursuit of this goal.

The following year, of her own choice, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk.

They went on to have 3 children, one of which, Lady Frances, went on to marry Henry Grey.

They had three daughters, the elder of which was Lady Jane Grey, who went on to be the nine days Queen in 1553.

Mary died on the 25th of June 1533 at the age of 37.She was interred in St Mary's church, Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk.

To secure better relations with Spain, Henry arranged for his eldest son and heir, Arthur Prince of wales, to marry Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Fernando V, King of Spain and Isabel, Queen of Castile.

The betrothal was made when the young princess was just three years old,and the prince only two.

Their marriage took place on the 14th November 1501. However it lasted only five months as Arthur died during an epidemic at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, on the 2 April 1502.

Arthur Prince of Wales was interred at Worcester Cathedral, and as was the custom at that time, neither his mother, Elisabeth nor his wife Catherine were in attendence.

His father the King did not attend either, it is said he was too distressed.

King Henry, still keen to develope a strong bond with Spain,arranged for his second son, Henry to marry the widowed Catherine.

The death of the Prince of wales was to herald the reign of one of Britains most imfamous monarchs, when his brother Henry took the crown in 1509, after King Henry VII died of tuberculosis in May of that year, and was later interred at Westminster Abbey. 


    King Henry VIII. 

 Henry was born on the 28 of June 1491, at Greenwich Palace, the second son of King Henry VII and Lady Elisabeth York .Imfamous as the king who had six wives and fathered three monarchs, none of which left heirs.

King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were married on the 11 June 1509, after a papal dispensation allowed the widowed, Catholic Katherine to marry the brother of her dead husband.This was granted after Katherine proclaimed her marriage to Arthur had never been consummated owing to the prince's ill health.

Catherine had many pregnancies during her 24 year marriage to the King,giving birth to six babies, with only one surviving ,Mary born on the 18 February 1516.

Although Henry was a devoted and dutiful husband to Katherine he became evermore frustrated at the lack of a male heir.

This lead to the annulment of their marriage in 1533.

Katherine was seperated from her daughter and forced to leave court. She died three years later in Kimbolton Castle Huntingdonshire, on 7 January 1536.and was buried in Peterborough Cathedral, under her new title ' The Princess Dowager '.

Henry's second wife was Anne Boleyn, former lady in waiting to Queen Katherine.

They married secretly on the 25 January 1533.

Anne gave birth to one child during their three year marriage, Elisabeth, born on the 7 September 1533.

Their marriage ended after Anne, rightly or wrongly was accused of adultery. She was executed privately, on the 19 May 1536.

She was interred in an unmarked site in the Chapel Royal of St Peter Ad Vincula, in the Tower of london/.

Henry's third wife was Jane Seymour, whom he had been conducting an affair with for some time.and like Anne before her, had been a lady in waiting to Queen Catherine.

Their formal betrothal of marriage was made just 24 hours after the execution of Anne Boleyn, and they married ten days later on the 30 of May 1536.

Jane produced Henry with his long awaited male heir, when Prince Edward VI was born on the 12th October 1537.

Sadly Jane died twelve days after the birth, and after only five months of marriage, on the 24th of October. She was interred in St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle, and is the only one of Henry's six wives to be buried along side him.


 The Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Henry's fourth marriage was a marrriage of convenience with Anne of Cleeves, born 22nd of September 1515.

They were married on the 6th January 1540, two years after the death of Jane Seymour and the birth of his heir Prince Edward.

But Henry was not happy with the union. It would appear that Henry found his new bride wholly unattractive, even going as far as calling her 'The Flanders Mare'.

Their marriage was annulled after just seven months.

Anne was given the title 'King's Sister' and Hever Castle in her divorce settlement, where she apparantly lived quite happilly until her death on 16th July 1557.

She is interred in Westminster Abbey.

Henry's fifth wife was Kathryn Howard, born in 1521, making her just nineteen years old, and Henry forty nine.

As with previous wives Kathryn had been a lady in waiting,but this time to Anne of Cleeves.

Within a year of this union, rumours were rife over Kathryns promiscuity and infidelity.

As these findings were deemed correct Kathryn was executed at Tower Green on the 13th of February 1542, and laid to rest beside her cousin Anne Boleyn, in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, in the Tower of london.

Henry's sixth wife was Katherine Parr, born in 1512 who was named after Henry's first wife, Katherine of Aragon.

The twice widowed Katherine married Henry on the 12th July 1543.

The union was to last just two and a half years, when Ketherine was widowed on the 28th of January 1547.

Within months of Henry's death Katherine was to marry Thomas Seymour.

At the age of 37 and on her fourth marriage, Katherine became pregnant for the first time in her life.

She gave birth to a girl, Mary, on August 30th 1548.

Katherine was to fall ill with puerperal fever *, which claimed her life on the 5th of September 1548.

She was interred at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire.


   Henry Fitzroy Blount.

Henry also had one recognised illigitimate son, by his teenage mistress, Elisabeth Blount.

Henry Fitzroy Blount,who was given the title of first Duke of Richmond and Somerset, was born on the 1st June 1519, and died at the age of only 17 on the 23rd of July 1536, apparantly from tuberculosis.

Henry was left disconsolate by his death.

As a young man Henry was sporty and athletic, but was to become obese through a leg injury in his later years. He also suffered from gout,leg ulcers, and what is now know to be,grade II diabetes.

This brought on his premature death at the age of 55, after a 38 year rule.

He died on the 28th of January 1547, the day which would have been his father's 90th birthday had he been alive, at the Palace of Whitehall.

He was interred at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, alongside his third wife, Jane Seymour.


   King Edward VI.

Edward VI was born on the 12th of October 1537.Son of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.

The King's jubilance in securing his first male heir however was shortlived,with the death of Jane from Puerperal Fever * twelve days after the birth.

Edward came to the throne on the death of his father in January 1547, at the age of nine.He was crowned on the 20th of February of that year, becoming King of England and Ireland, and Englands first Protestant King.

Edward became terminally ill in 1553,at the age of fifteen, thus spurring his council to draw up a 'Devise for succession', in an attempt to prevent Catholic backlash against Protestant reform.

Edward named his cousin Lady Jane Grey as his successor and heir, excluding both his half sisters, Catholic Mary and Protestant Elisabeth.

Edward died on the 6th July 1553, from tuberculosis, at greenwich Palace.

He was buried alongside his grandfather, Henry VII in Westminster Abbey on the 8th of August.


      Lady Jane Grey, the nine days queen.

Edward VI's decision to name as his successor the Lady Jane Grey,culminated into one of the most tragic tales of the British monarchy.

Lady Jane Grey was born in Bradgate Park, Leicestershire, eldest daughter of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset and Lady Frances Brandon, in October 1537.

Through her mother she was the grand-daughter of King Henry VII and grand neice of Henry VIII.

She had two sisters, Lady Catherine Grey and Lady Mary Grey.

After a sad and lonely childhood at the hands of her abusive mother,Jane was sent to be the ward of Catherine Seymour, Henry VIII's widow, at the age ot ten.

Whilst there she was betrothed to Guildford Dudley the fourth son of John Dudley the 1st Duke of Northumberland.

The Duke was the most poweful political figure in the country and staunch Protestant.

Jane married Guildford on the 21st of May 1553, at Durham House, in a triple wedding along with her sister Catherine, who married the Earl of Pembroke, and Catherine Guildford who married Henry Hastings.

The true and rightful heir to the throne, Mary Tudor, chose Jane to be one of her first victims of the suppression of Protestantism, by using Jane's father's involvement in the Wyatt Rebellion,to have Jane and her husband wrongfully charged with high treason.

Their trial was on the 13th of November 1553 at the Guildhall in london.They were both tried and found guilty, and put to death, and held in the Tower of London.

On the 12th of February 1554,Dudley was executed at a public execution, followed by Jane at a private execution.

They were both buried together in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London.

She has been posthumously regarded as a political martyr.


   Queen Mary I

Queen Mary 1st was the fourth Tudor monarch, and first Queen Regnant of England.

She was the first child of King Henry VIII and only surviving child of Catherine of Aragon.

She was born on the 18th of February 1516.

She is remembered mostly for restoring England back to Catholocism,after the two short reigns of her half brother King Edward VI and her cousin Lady Jane Grey.

During her reign she had over 300 religious dissidents burned at the stake in the Marian Persecutions, earning her the title,' Bloody Mary'

At the age of 37, she married Prince Phillip of Spain, their marriage took place at Winchester Cathedral on the 25th of July 1554.

Upon the abdication of her father-in-law in 1556, Mary became Queen of Spain, Naples and Jerusalem, as well as Queen of England.

During her marriage she was to suffer two phantom pregnancies, because of the disgrace that this caused at that time, Mary's mental health began to suffer, leading in turn to physical health problems.

Mary died aged 42 from a supposed pituatury tumour, at St James's Palace, on the 17th of November 1558.

She died childless leaving no heirs.

She was interred at Westminster Abbey.


    Queen Elisabeth I at her coronation.

Princess Elisabeth was born on the 7th of September 1533, at greenwich Palace.She was the second daughter to King Henry VIII and the only child of his second wife Anne Boleyn.

At the age of 2 1/2 Elisabeth was declared illegitimate after her father had his marriage to Queen Anne annulled, just before her execution.

Her father died when she was 13, in 1547. The king's widow, Catherine, upon marrying Thomas Seymour, took the young princess into their household.

It was whilst Elisabeth was there, that it is thought that she was sexually abused by Seymour, leading to Elisabeth's dislike of men, sex and marriage.

Becouse of her half sister Mary's determination to crush the Protestant faith, of which Elisabeth had been schooled, Mary had Elisabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London.After her interrogation, where she was wrongfully accused of playing a part in the Wyatt Rebellion, Elisabeth was put under house arrest for a year, under the wardship of Henry Bedingfield, of Woodstock.

On the 17th of April 1555 Elisabeth was recalled to court, by Mary's husband Prince Philip of Spain.

Mary was apparantly pregnant, and Philip feared the outcome should Mary and her child die, leaving the British throne without an heir.

This time Mary was to recover, but in 1558 Mary was to fall ill for the last time.The now King Philip of Spain, sent advisors to Elisabeth to organise her government and talked Mary into recognising Elisabeth as her heir and successor.

On the 15th of January 1559, at the age of 25, Elisabeth was crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey.

As England's second Protestant monarch, she was received rapturously by the people, and given the title, ' Good Queen Bess'.

Elisabeth was robust of health and a dutiful queen,however she remained unmarried without any heirs, giving her yet another title, that of the ' Virgin Queen'.

Her health remained good until the Autumn of 1602 when she lost a number of good friends, and lapsed into a deep depression.Her meloncholy was to affect her physical health, and she eventually died on the 24th of March 1603, at Richmond Palace, after having been queen of England and Ireland for 45 years.

Her funeral at Westminster Abbey on the 28th of April was to end the 118 year Tudor Royal Dynasty, which had consisted of six monarchs,and paved the way for her successor, King James I , first Stuart monarch.

* Puerperal Fever otherwise known as Childbed Fever is an infection that goes on to cause septaceamia and is contracted by women after childbirth.It claimed the lives of thousands of women in olden times, but is successfully treated with the use of antibiotics today.

FOR ALL OTHER BRITISH MONARCHY TIMELINES, VISIT -  timelines-of-the-british-monarchy-1066-2010




                                                       © D.B.Bellamy. April 2010. 

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