Henry VIII was born on the 28th of June, 1491 in the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich. He was the second son of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, by his wife, Elizabeth of York. His older brother, Arthur, was expected to succeed his father but died before he came of age. The younger Henry VIII became the heir to the English crown in 1502. These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline Poster with World History during that time.
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The War of the Roses and the Rise of the House of Tudor
In 1399, the rightful heir to the English throne, Richard II, was deposed by his uncle Henry V of the House of Lancaster. Henry V reigned as the king of England until his death 1422. His son, Henry VI, succeeded him on the throne. He was known to be a mentally unstable ruler who placed too much trust in his advisers. These advisers convinced him to marry the ambitious and cunning Margaret of Anjou, and their marriage produced Prince Edward of Westminster.
Margaret was unpopular among the English people and the royal court. Her enemy was Richard, the Duke of York, who also worked as an adviser to the king. She, however, was backed by her favorites, the Earl of Suffolk and the Earl of Somerset. Because of the conflict between Margaret of Anjou and Richard, she had the Duke of York banished from England. Margaret and her allies dominated the court briefly, but her favoritism made her more unpopular among the English.
Richard was able to return to England some time later. He managed to remove King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, and their allies for a year to implement reforms in England. But a year later, Margaret became powerful once again which forced Richard of York to flee. The armies of Margaret and Richard met in battle, but the Duke of York was killed in his final campaign against the Queen.
Richard’s son, Edward IV, was proclaimed as the first Yorkist king of England after his father’s death. He later defeated and captured Henry VI, while Margaret of Anjou and her son, Edward of Westminster, were forced to flee to France. Edward IV, however, angered his principal ally, the Earl of Warwick, after he secretly married a local noblewoman while the earl was negotiating with the king of France for Edward to marry the French princess.
The Earl of Warwick changed alliances from the Yorks to the Lancasters and supported the restoration of Henry VI to the throne. Henry VI was able to return as king until Edward IV recaptured the throne. The rest of Edward IV’s rule was peaceful until his death, and he was succeeded by his son Edward V. War returned when Richard III, the Duke of York, declared his nephew’s succession as invalid because of Edward IV’s secret marriage to his mother.
The House of Tudor: Henry VII and the Birth of Henry VIII
Richard III imprisoned Edward V and his brother and then seized the throne for himself. It was rumored that Richard III had both brothers killed after this event. The new Yorkist king, however, died in the Battle of Bosworth Field two years later. He was defeated by Henry VII who was directly descended from John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of Lancaster through his mother, Margaret Beaufort. Before Henry VII became king, he promised to marry Elizabeth of York. His marriage to Elizabeth united the two royal houses and ended the Wars of the Roses.
Henry VII was the first English king from the House of Tudor. The Tudors originally came from Wales, but the family rose to prominence when Henry VII’s grandfather, Owen Tudor, married the widow of the Lancaster king Henry V, Catherine of Valois.Their son, Edmund Tudor, linked the House of Lancaster by marrying Margaret Beaufort, the great granddaughter of the 1st Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt. Edmund died in November of 1456, and Margaret Beaufort later gave birth to their son, Henry VII, in 1457.
Henry VII became engaged to Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and older sister of the deposed King Edward V. They married in the Westminster Abbey on January 18, 1486. The royal couple’s first son, Arthur, was born on September 1486. Arthur’s birth was followed by seven more children, but four did not survive infancy. Those who survived into adulthood included Margaret, Mary, and the controversial king of England, Henry VIII.
Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491. As Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s second son, Henry VIII was not destined to reign as king. However, his older brother, Arthur, died of sweating sickness in 1502 so young Henry VIII was elevated to the position of the crown prince. Henry VIII was crowned as king of England when his father died on the 21st of April, 1509.
Carpenter, Christine. The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, c. 1437-1509. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Guy, J. A. The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Jones, Dan. The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors. New York: Viking, 2014.
Roberts, J. M., and Odd Arne. Westad. The History of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
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