KING HENRY VII.1). The house of Tudor was founded by Owen Tudor, a well-born Welsh man who served as a squire of the body to England's King Henry V. The king died in 1422 and some years later his widow, Catherine of Valois, is said to have married the handsome Tudor. The middle of the XV century- the time of so-called Wars of the Roses, a series of power struggles between the ruling House of Lancaster and the rival House of York. Owen Tudor was a staunch supporter of the king. In 1461 Tudor led an army into battle against Yorkists forces at Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire. The Yorkist side won; Tudor was killed; Henry VI lost his throne and the Yorkist claimant, Edward IV, became king. Owen's son Edmund had married Margaret Beaufort, who was descended from King Edward III's son John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. Edmund died while Margaret was pregnant with their first child, Henry, who was born on January 28, 1457 in Wales. At first Henry was kept hidden in Wales by his uncle, Jasper Tudor. In 1471 Henry VI died - he may have been murdered - in the Tower of London, and Henry Tudor became the Lancastrian claimant to the throne. Fearing for his nephew's safety, Jasper Tudor smuggled him to Brittany (in France).In 1483 Edward IV died suddenly and his young sons, Edward V and Richard, "disappeared" in the Tower of London. Their uncle, who had imprisoned the boys, swiftly crowned himself Richard III. Not surprisingly, he was an unpopular king. In 1485 Henry Tudor returned to Wales, raised an army, invaded England, and defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field. Richard died in the battle, and Henry Tudor became Henry VII, the first Tudor king. 2). In 1486 Henry married Richard's niece, Elizabeth of York, uniting the houses of Lancaster and York and ending the Wars of the Roses (although Henry did have to deal with Yorkist uprisings early in his reign). Henry VII was left with just three offspring: Margaret, who was already the queen of Scotland; Henry, the future king of England; and Mary, a future queen of France. In 1509 Henry VII died of tuberculosis. He had brought law and order to England after years of chaos, and made the country important in the eyes of the world.
KING HENRY VIII. 1). Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491. His father and mother, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, were loving parents, although they saw little of their children. Henry, their second son, was styled the Duke of York. He had his own servants and minstrels, and a fool named John Goose. He even had a whipping boy who was punished when Henry did something wrong. Henry VII loved entertainers, and the court attracted acrobats, jesters, magicians and musicians. Prince Henry enjoyed music and grew up to be an accomplished musician. 2). He became a king, when he was 17 years old. Although most people today think of Henry VIII as a fat tyrant, in his youth he was admired for his intelligence, good looks, good nature and athletic ability. One of his contemporaries wrote that he was "one of the best men that lived in his time, in manners more than a man, most amiable, courteous and benign in gesture unto all persons. "But of course, Henry is remembered today for just one thing - well, six things. Six wives, to be exact. He was married to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr.
KING EDWARD VI. 1). Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son became King Edward VI. A council was appointed to rule during Edward's minority, with Edward's uncle, the duke of Somerset (Jane Seymour's brother), as Protector of the country and the king. Somerset's brother, Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour, was jealous of Somerset and schemed to put himself in power. Somerset himself later fell from the king's favour and lost his role as Protector. The duke of Northumberland took control of the king and council, and eventually Somerset, like his brother, was arrested and charged with treason. Under pressure from Northumberland, fourteen-year-old Edward signed Somerset's death warrant. Somerset was executed in 1552. 2). By this time Edward had completed his education and was participating in council meetings. It was decided that the king would take charge of the country at age sixteen. This was bad news for his sister Mary an ardent Catholic who refused to cooperate with Edward's religious reforms. However, Edward got along well with his other sister, Elizabeth, a moderate Protestant. Edward suffered bouts of measles and smallpox in April 1552, and from that time his health declined. His father's will had specified that Mary should become queen if Edward died without children, but Northumberland had different ideas. He persuaded Edward to name the Protestant Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Lady Jane was the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary; she was also Northumberland's daughter-in-law, and through her Northumberland hoped to rule England. On July 6, 1553 Edward died. He was fifteen years old. He would be succeeded -- briefly -- by the unfortunate Lady Jane.
LADY JANE GREY. 1). Lady Jane Grey was born in 1537, just two days before King Edward VI, and may have been his friend in childhood. Her father was Henry Grey, the marquis of Dorset (later the duke of Suffolk). Her mother was Frances Brandon, a niece of Henry VIII. At that time, Frances Brandon was third in the line of succession to the throne. Jane had two younger sisters, Katherine and Mary. Jane's parents were, in her words, "sharp and severe" to her. She found refuge in her studies. Jane's parents had big dreams for their intellectual eldest daughter. They hoped she would marry her cousin Edward and thus become queen of England. When Jane was nine, her parents sent her to live with Henry VIII's widow, Katherine Parr, and Katherine's new husband, Thomas Seymour. Jane was happy with the Seymours, but Katherine soon died and Thomas Seymour was arrested, forcing Jane to return to her parents. By the time Jane was 15, her parents had abandoned their dream of marrying her to King Edward, but he wanted to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, or some other foreign princess. Jane wanted to marry to the duke of Somerset's son, Lord Hertford. She was stunned when her parents informed her that she was instead to marry Guildford Dudley, the youngest son of the duke of Northumberland. Guildford was a handsome young man, one year Jane's senior, but it seems Jane didn't like him very much. 2). Jane married Guildford Dudley in May of 1553. Three days later the king died. Northumberland kept the death secret for several days to prevent Edward's sister Mary from claiming the crown. But on July 9 Mary, who was in Norfolk, heard the news and proclaimed herself queen. On the same day Jane was taken to Northumberland's house and led to a throne. Everyone bowed or curtsied to her. Realizing what was happening, Jane began to shake. Northumberland made a speech announcing that Jane was the new queen, at which Jane fell on the floor in a brief faint. The next day Jane made her state entry into London. Most people felt that Mary was the rightful heir to the throne, and very few cheers greeted Jane. She was taken to the Tower of London, as was traditional. For a few days Northumberland stayed close to Jane, bringing her documents to sign and generally telling her what to do. Despite Jane's objection to making Guildford king, Northumberland announced that both she and her husband would be crowned in two weeks. Then Northumberland left with an army to capture Mary, who was marching toward London with an army of her own. While he was gone the nervous royal council decided to proclaim Mary the rightful queen. The proclamation was made on July 19. The people of London were jubilant. Determined to save himself, Jane's father signed the proclamation making Mary queen, then went to his daughter's apartments and tore down her canopy of estate, telling her she was no longer queen. 3). Jane remained in the Tower, where she and Guildford soon became prisoners. Her father and Northumberland were also arrested and brought back to the tower. Henry Grey was released after a few days. He and Frances did not write to Jane or try to save her life. Although Northumberland hastily converted to Catholicism and spoke of his desire to live and kiss Mary's feet, he was executed in August. On November 13 Jane and Guildford were tried and sentenced to death. Jane wasn't worried, however, because she had been told that the queen would pardon her. Then, in February of 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt raised a revolt against Mary. He was quickly arrested, but his rebellion hardened Mary's heart against her enemies. She signed Jane and Guildford's death warrants. When Jane heard the news she said, "I am ready and glad to end my woeful days." The queen offered to reprieve Jane if she would convert to the Catholic faith, but Jane refused. Jane's father had supported the rebels, and he too was sentenced to death. They were executed on February, 11.