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31 January 2011

Henry VII: r. 1485-1509

Henry VII was born the sole son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort.  Henry had a most extraordinary background, his father dying at Carmarthen Castle in 1456, while held captive by Yorkists. The widow was a child bride, and she gave birth to her son on 28 January, 1457.

Henry's claim to the throne was not a strong one.  Weak claim or not in 1485 , Henry rose to a challenge put forth by some of the feistier subjects of Richard III,  via trial of battle.  Henry slew the reigning king and immediately became the de facto sovereign and was subsequently was crowned in Westminster Abbey.  The matter became an essentially sealed deal, when 8 days later Parliament assembled and an Act was passed which declared the inheritance of the Crown as a right to Henry and of the heirs of his body.

Henry was anything if not shrewd, and in 1486 he married Elizabeth, thereby uniting two rival houses.

It may have seemed all those years ago, in 1457 that the child who would be known as Henry VII, would be a vulnerable individual, having lost his father prior to his own birth, and left with a mother who was still a child herself. But Henry had proven himself to be anything but weak. The intervention of relatives, and his own  strong will had eventually resulted in his actually taking the throne without, according to some, even a legitimate claim.

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