Henry VII of England
Henry Tudor also known as Henry VII was born in 1457 in Wales. By the time of his birth, his father Edmund Tudor had passed on, two months earlier, leaving a thirteen-year old expectant window, Margaret Beaufort. During this time, there were conflicts, which meant that the country was divided. Henry VII belonged to the House of Lancaster, which were engaged in Wars of Roses with the House of York over the control of the kingship. Since Margaret was in the lineage of Edward III, Henry had a claim to the throne even though it was a weak one.
Because of Henry’s vulnerability, he grew up in the hands of his uncle, Jasper Tudor. At the age of 14, they fled to France after Edward IV in the House of York as he fought over Tewkesbury. The battle left many Lancastrians dead. In 1483, Edward IV died and his brother Richard seized power from 12-year old Edward V, who was his nephew. At this point, Henry VII was the next claimant of the English throne. He received massive support and promised to marry Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York to end the Wards of the Roses.
The Battle of Bosworth was important. In 1485, Henry fought Richard III’s forces, an encounter that left Richard III dead. This paved way for the crowning of King Henry VII at Crown Hill. The King kept his promise of marrying Elizabeth of York. This united the two warring houses. He also took up the Tudor rose, making it England’s Emblem. By combing white and red roses, the King put to rest the dynastic war.
However, Henry VII was not to enjoy a smooth sail at the throne. He confronted plots to topple him. To consolidate his power, he created trade ties with France. He also signed his greatest deal with Netherlands, allowing England to export her textile. To secure more power, Henry arranged a marriage between his daughter Margaret Tudor and James IV of Scotland in 1503. According to King Henry, this was necessary to ensure unity between the two nations. With this, James IV’s descendants became claimants of the English throne. In 1501, he further organized a marriage for his elder son, with Catherine, a Spanish Princess. Unfortunately, Arthur died in 1502 at the age of 15. This meant that his younger brother, Henry was the immediate heir of the throne. Even though it was suggested that Catherine marries the young Henry, dowry wrangles could not permit the union.
Henry VII performed excellently, by strengthening the royal finance base by shunning wars. He encouraged trade with other countries, though he imposed ruthless levies on people. This was to ensure a stable system for his successor Henry VIII. He had a wide range of reforms, leading to the rebirth of the Royal Council, which was to be known as the Court of Star Chamber. This strengthened the power and influence of the King. A more Tudor estate was established as the medieval rule took root and faced out local law and customs. Henry VII died on 21 April 1509 and was succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.
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