Friday, 13 September 2013

Henry VII & Elizabeth of York - a Happy Marriage?

Considering Henry VIII's "difficulties" in finding happiness in marriage it is worth to take a look at that of his parents. That Henry VII married Elizabeth of York to end the War of the Roses is a well-known fact but how did the two of them actually get along?

One of the best way to tell true affection is when you lose something. Henry VII was a very reserved man but there were two cases in particular were he could not hide his feelings: at the death of his son Arthur and that of his wife.
Arthur, Prince of Wales died in 1502 at Ludlow Castle. This threw both his parents into great mourning and it would seem that the couple relied on each other in this time of crisis. Henry is reported to have publicly shown great concern towards his Queen during this particular period. Elizabeth of York also attempted to help her husband through this. When Henry VII had gotten the news of Arthur's death he is said to have much struck by grief. Allegedly, Elizabeth tried to comfort her husband by reminding him that having only one son was no sign that their dynasty should not survive. After all he had been the only son of Margaret Beaufort but he had still survived to become King of England. And God had still left them with a very healthy son and two equally strong daughters.

When Elizabeth of York died in 1503 Henry was more inconsolable than ever. He is reported to have "privily departed to a solitary place and would no man should resort unto him". Elizabeth was given a magnificent funeral with no expense spared - considering Henry VII's great dislike of spending money on anything this is yet another sign of his affection for his Queen. Henry had her buried in the part of Westminster Abbey that he himself had had built (the Lady Chapel). In due time Henry would lie next to her again.
Despite having only one son and being now a widower Henry VII refused to marry again. Of course some inquiries were made including to the Dowager Queen of Naples but in the end Henry would not have Elizabeth replaced and he died a widower. Apparently, Elizabeth had been a calming factor on Henry's temper because after her death he grew more and more prone to depression and paranoia - something his surviving son, Henry VIII, would inherit.

The tomb of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

No comments:

Post a Comment