Friday, 8 February 2013

Henry VII

The founder of a dynasty - the Tudor King that started it all

The first Tudor-king, Henry VII, was born in 1457 on 28th January. He took over the crown of England by defeating Richard III at Bosworth Field - this makes him the last English king who took his throne through battle.
Before Henry VII ascended to the throne of England there had been bitter rivalries between the families of York and Lancaster who bought competed for the throne. To put an end to the fighting, Henry VII married Elizabeth of York and united the two families - making it useless to continue fighting.

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had eight children in total:
Arthur (Prince of Wales), Margaret (Queen of Scots), Henry (VIII of England), Elizabeth Tudor, Mary (Queen of France), Edmund (Duke of Somerset), Edward Tudor and Katherine Tudor.

Now that Henry had his crown he had to secure it. After his marriage Henry declared that he was king retroactively from the day prior to the Battle of Bosworth field. This meant that everyone who had fought on Richard III's side was now guilty of treason and Henry could seize their property and lands.
This new Tudor-king knew how to play the nobility. In order to minimize the power of the leading men, mainly through promising the noblemen that if they swore loyalty to Henry as King, they would be secured a position - and position was power. Furthermore Henry VII banned the noblemen's right to have so-called "retainers" (employees of the noblemen) wearing the livery and badge that belonged to his master. In this way Henry removed the threat of potential armies.
The most powerful weapon to keep the nobility in check was the Court of Star Chamber which acted like a Privy Council and mayor issues were solved here.

When it comes to finances Henry VII was very successful. He managed to refill the royal treasury (that was completely empty) and when he died he left what amounts to 648 million pounds - mainly because he hated spending money. He had no desire to retake the lost English territories in France.

When his eldest son and heir, Arthur, died Henry mourned intensely which surprised all of his courtiers. His marriage to Elizabeth of York is considered a happy one which is reflected in Henry's great concern for his wife who died in childbirth. For a while the ageing King thought about marrying Catherine of Aragon, the widow of his son.
Henry VII died at Richmond Palace of tuberculosis on April 21st 1509.

No comments:

Post a Comment