The House of Tudor

Tudor Kings and Queens

The House of Tudor took England's throne through victory over Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Its founder, the Lancastrian Henry VII laid down the foundations of his dynasty, brought an end to the civil strife of the Wars of the Roses and through his marriage to the Yorkist heiress Elizabeth of York, securely established the Tudors on England's throne.

The heraldic symbol of the dynasty, the red and white Tudor rose, combines the red rose of the House of Lancaster and the white rose of York, meant to symbolize the union of the two warring factions, whose claims were combined with the union of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

The dynasty had relatively lowly beginnings, springing from an illicit liaison between Katherine of Valois, the widow of Henry V, and Owen Tudor, her Welsh Clerk of the Wardrobe. Owen was descended from Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffydd, through his daughter Gwenllian Rhys, who married Ednyfed Fychan, seneschal of Gwynedd under Llewelyn the Great. Henry VII's claim to the English throne derived from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster through an illegitimate line.

The House of Tudor ruled England for 118 years. Henry VII's son, that best known of English monarchs, the tyrannical and bloodstained Henry VIII (1509-47), is famous for having six wives, executing two of them and bringing about the Reformation in England.

The throne of England was inherited by all of his three legitimate children in succession, the boy king, Edward VI (1547-53), Mary I (1553-58), known as 'Bloody Mary' for her burning of Protestants and last but by no means least Elizabeth I (1558-1603), highly astute and wily, survived an appalling childhood and adolescence to emerge as the greatest of her house and lead England to victory over the Spanish, the greatest power of the age. The Tudor dynasty became extinct after the death of Elizabeth without a direct heir in 1603. The crown of England then passed to Henry VII's great-grandson, James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England.


Born and Reign

Henry VII

B. 1457 Son of Edmund TudorEarl of Richmond & Margaret Beaufort R. 1485-1509

Henry VIII

B. 1491 Son of-Henry VII & Elizabeth of York R. 1509-1547

Edward VI

B. 1537 Son of-Henry VIII & Jane Seymour R. 1547-1553

Jane Grey

B. 1537 Daughter of- Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk & Frances Brandon R. 1553

Mary I

B. 1516 Daughter of-Henry VIII & Catherine of Aragon R. 1553-1558

Elizabeth I

B. 1533 Daughter of Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn R. 1558-1603



Additional Information on the era