The Tudor Family Tree, can trace it's origins back to King Edward III, of the House of Plantagenet, through Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of the first Tudor monarch, King Henry VII.
She was a great granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son (third surviving son)of King Edward III, and John's third wife Katherine Swynford.
The Tudor claim to the throne however, was very slim for two reasons. First of all, his family tree came from the ancestral line of a woman, and secondly it was from an illegitimate line.
Katherine Swynford, had been John of Gaunt's mistress for about twenty five years before they got married in 1396. Whilst out of wedlock they had four children, which included Lady Margaret's grandfather, John Beaufort.
The descendants of an illegitimate child of the English Royal Family had no claim to the throne. However, when John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford eventually did get married, the Church retroactively announced officially, by Papal Bull in the same year, the Beauforts to be legitimate.
ABOVE: JOHN OF GAUNT THE GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER OF KING HENRY VII.
The ruling of the Church was confirmed the following year, when the Beaufort children were legitimized by Act of Parliament.
This legitimacy was reaffirmed by King Henry IV, John of Gaunt's legitimate son by his first wife, upon his accession to the throne in 1399, but he also declared them to be ineligible to ever accede to the throne.
ABOVE: KING HENRY IV OF ENGLAND ALSO KNOWN AS HENRY BOLINGBROKE.
Known also as Henry Bolingbroke, before being crowned King Henry IV, he had been exiled by his first cousin, King Richard II, in 1398, but returned the following year, while Richard was on a military campaign in Ireland, to sieze the throne.
King Richard was then imprisoned and died under mysterious circumstances, more than likely the cause of death was murder.
On the other side of the Tudor Family Tree, his father's side, Henry Tudor was descended from the rulers of the Welsh Principality of Deheubarth. His father was Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, and his grandfather, was Owen Tudor, who had been a page in the Court of King Henry V, a Lancastrian.
After seeing military service at the Battle of Agincourt, he quickly rose to become a Squire to the King. After King Henry V's sudden death on 22nd August 1422, thought to have been due to dysentry, he entered the service of the late King's widow, Queen Catherine of Valois, as keeper of the Queen's wardrobe.
ABOVE: KING HENRY V OF ENGLAND.
It is thought that they secretly married, but Catherine and Owen had at least six children, Edmund Tudor, the father of the future King Henry VII being one of them.
King Henry VI, Catherine's son by her former husband King Henry V, later knighted his stepfather, appointing him a Deputy Lord Lieutenant and making him Warden of Forestries. The King also created the two eldest of his half brothers Earls, issuing an edict that their legitimization was not necessary.
King Henry VI was not a strong monarch and suffered from mental illness. In 1461, his cousin, Edward of York, seized the crown from him, proclaiming himself King Edward IV of England.
Briefly being given back the crown in 1470, Henry lasted one year before Edward IV forced him once again from the throne. He was captured and died while being held prisoner in 1471, barely fourteen days after his son and heir to the throne, Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury.
ABOVE: CATHERINE OF VALOIS. KING HENRY V's WIDOW AND KING HENRY VII's GRANDMOTHER ON HIS FATHER's SIDE.
Margaret Beaufort: Great Grand Daughter Of John Of Gaunt Aand Mother Of The First Tudor King.
It is widely believed that King Edward IV had ordered King Henry VI to be murdered, thereby completely removing all the Lancastrian opposition, although contemporary reports claimed that his death was due to melancholy.
There were now no Legitimate Lancastrian descendants of John of Gaunt left alive to become heirs to the throne. The only rival left, was Henry Tudor, who was living in exile in France.
ABOVE:YOUNG KING HENRY VII. THE FIRST TUDOR MONARCH.BY A FRENCH ARTIST.
Henry Tudor's mother, Margaret Beaufort though, was a truly remarkable woman in every sense of the word. Although the Tudor Family Tree shows them to be descended from King Edward III through his son John of Gaunt and Gaunt's mistress Katherine Swynford, it is Margaret who must be considered the true matriarch of both the House of Tudor and the Tudor Family Tree.
ABOVE: MARGARET BEAUFORT, THE MOTHER OF KING HENRY VII.
At twelve years of age, she had already been married twice and conceived her only child Henry, who would grow up to defeat, at the Battle of Bosworth Field the forces of King Richard III, the fifteenth and last monarch from the House of Plantagenet. He would claim the crown for his own, to become King Henry VII.
King Henry VII, was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from the moment he seized the crown on 22nd August 1485, until his death on 21st April 1509, becoming the first of the English Monarchs from the House of Tudor.
ABOVE:KING HENRY VII.
Known previously as Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, he won the throne by defeating King Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, at the Battle of Bosworth Field, thus putting an end to the Plantagenet Dynasty, which had ruled England since 1154, when Henry II was King.
King Henry VII's Early Life was spent in Wales, where on 28th January 1457 he was born to Margaret Beaufort, the wife of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, at Pembroke Castle.
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King Henry VIII, was the second son and third child of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, to be born into the House of Tudor.
With the sudden death from the mysterious Sweating Sickness of Prince Arthur, Henry's older brother and heir to the throne, Henry suddenly found himself to be the new Prince of Wales and heir.
Henry, became King of England on 21 April 1509 and ruled until his death, thirty eight years later in 1547. He was also Lord of Ireland (later King of Ireland) and claimant to the Kingdom of France.
Henry VIII Of England had ambitions, one was to attain military glory, with the possibility of reclaiming territory once held by the House of Plantagenet in France, but which was lost during the Hundred Years War. He had a most willing accomplice in this, with the previously pacifist Cardinal Wolsey.
As his reign progressed and he and his first wife Katherine of Aragon grew older, he developed one overriding ambition, which grew into an uncontrollable obssession and became the King's Great Matter.
This was to produce a male heir to the throne, thus continuing the Tudor Family Tree, from which an enlarged House of Tudor would continue to ensure the line of succession.
This obssession was to lead him to marry six times, (two of whom were executed). Click on Henry VIII Wives, for the biography of each one. These marriages produced one surviving son, the future King Edward VI and two surviving daughters, the future Queen Mary I of England and the future Queen Elizabeth 1.
For More On King Henry VIII Follow These Links:
ABOVE:KING EDWARD VI.
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King Edward VI was the only child of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour who died days after he was born. Edward was the third surviving child of King Henry VIII. However, he was Henry's first and longed for son, the heir to the throne of England.
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The Tudor Family Tree