The Tudors

Five hundred years ago the world was a very different place. We were only just realizing that America existed and we had no idea about Australia. England (including the Principality of Wales) and Scotland were separate kingdoms, each with their own royal family. 

King Henry VII 1485 – 1509
  • Great-great-great-grandson of Edward III
  • Born: January 28, 1457 at Pembroke Castle, Wales 
  • Parents: Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and Margaret Beaufort
  • Ascended to the throne: 22 August 1485 aged 28 years
  • Crowned: 30 October 1485 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV
  • Children: Three sons and four daughters. Only 4 of whom survived infancy; Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary
  • Succeeded by: his son Henry VIII4
1471 – Henry aged 14 fled to Brittany, France, when Lancastrian King Henry VI is murdered by Yorkist King Edward IV making Welsh Henry next in line to the throne.
1485 – Henry gained the throne when he defeated and killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. The battle ended the War of the Roses, a dispute between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.
Immediately following his victory at Bosworth he married the Yorkist heiress, Edward IV ‘s daughter, Elizabeth to consolidate the warring families.
Henry VII kept England peaceful and brought riches to the crown and country.
(1) Catherine of Aragon 1509-1533 Divorced
(2) Anne Boleyn 1533-1536 Beheaded
(3) Jane Seymour 1536-1537 Died
(4) Anne of Cleves 1540 Divorced
(5) Catherine Howard 1540-1542 Beheaded
(6) Catherine Parr 1543-1547 Survived
Henry Vlll brought religious upheaval to England. When he became king, most people belonged to the Catholic Church, which was headed by the Pope, in Rome. In 1534, Henry broke away from the Catholic Church and proclaimed himself head of the Church of England. The land and riches of the church became Henry’s property and he sold off most of this land to dukes, barons and other noblemen.

Henry had six wives because….
He had the first wife because he was betrothed to her by his father.
He had the second wife because he fell in love and also needed a legitimate male heir.
He had the third wife because he still needed a male heir.
He had the fourth wife because of diplomatic reasons.
He had the fifth wife because he fell in love again.
He had the sixth wife because he was old and sick and needed a companion and nurse who wouldn’t give him too much trouble.
Henry’s main aim was to make sure that the Tudors would keep on ruling England after he died. Henry believed that only a boy could inherit his kingdom. But his son Edward ruled only for six years.

His six wives:
1. Chaterine of Aragon

First she married Arthur, Henry’s older brother. But after six months, he died, and Catherine was engaged to Henry instead.She was 17 and Henry was only 12!They were married when he became King in 1509. She was older and wiser than him and often gave him advice on how to rule.She was a good and faithful wife for over twenty years. She had many children, but only one survived, Mary, who would later become Queen.
2. Anne BoleynHenry fell in love with Anne when she was a servant in the Queens Household in 1522. By 1526 he was trying to get divorced from Catherine so that he could marry her.The head of the Catholic church, the Pope, wouldn’t allow it, so eventually Henry broke away from the church in Rome, and declared himself the head of a new Church of England. He granted himself a divorce.He married Anne in 1533, and later that year she gave birth to a girl, Elizabeth who would grow up to be a strong Queen for England.Henry soon got fed up with Anne, (apparently she was really grumpy!) so he accused her of meeting other men. There is a letter from Anne begging Henry to believe in her innocence but he didn’t and in 1536 she was beheaded. Henry played tennis whilst she had her head chopped off!11 days later Henry married this third wife.
3. Jane SeymourJane was from an old and noble family. She was gentle and modest and not grumpy like Anne. She gave birth to a son in 1537, Edward, who would become King after his father.Sadly 12 days later she died. It is said that Henry loved Jane the best of all his wives and he waited two years before marrying again

4.Anne of ClevesHenry wanted to make a ‘good’ marriage this time and decided to look all over Europe for a bride. He sent painters to paint any eligible brides so he could see what they looked like.A picture was shown to him of Anne of Cleves and he agreed to marry her without ever having met her!When she arrived in England, Henry was very keen to meet her but she didn’t speak any english and didn’t know who he was. She was rather rude to the fat man that came to see her (Henry) and ignored him.Henry stormed out shouting ‘I like her not!’He is said to have found her repulsively ugly, and called her a horse! He couldn’t break his promise to marry her but it only lasted six months.20 days after his second divorce, Henry married his fifth wife.


5.Katherine HowardKatherine was a cousin of Anne Boleyn and was only about 16 when she came to court. No-one knows her actual birthdate, but she was still a teenager when they married. (He was 49!)She was lively, pretty,kind and a bit of a ‘bird brain’ but Henry thought she was perfect.However she was previously, secretly engaged to one man and possibly a second one too. When the King found out he 
chopped both the men’s heads off, followed by Katherine’s in 1542.The following year he married for the last time.

6.Kathryn ParrKathryn had already been married twice before, but both her husbands had died. She was really in love with Thomas Seymour (Jane Seymour’s brother) but she was too scared to refuse the King (which was probably wise!).Henry was very very fat and ill by now and Kathryn was as much a nurse as a wife. She was a kind woman and was the first wife to bring all three of his children to live together under one roof.When Henry died in 1547, Kathryn quickly married Thomas Seymour (her fourth husband). Sadly he didn’t love her as much as she did him and she was very unhappy. She died in childbirth a year later in 1548
King Edward VI 1547 – 1553
  • Age 9-15
  • Born: 12 October 1537 at Hampton Court 
  • Parents: Henry VIII and Jane Seymour
  • Ascended to the throne: 28 January 1547 aged 9 years
  • Crowned: 19 February 1547 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: Never Married
  • Children: None
  • Died: 6 July 1553 at Greenwich Palace
  • Buried at: Westminster
  • Succeeded by: his half sister Mary
Edward reigned under the protection of his uncle, the Duke of Somerset.
Edward was never a healthy King and died aged only 15 years.
Edward VI became king at the age of nine upon the death of his father, Henry Vlll. He was known as ‘The Boy King’. His mother was Jane Seymour, Henry Vlll’s third wife.
Edward was a sickly child and the country was run by his protectors: firstly, the Duke of Somerset, his mother’s brother, then by the Duke of Northumberland.
Edward enjoyed reading about battles and writing Greek.
Edward died at the age of 16 in 1553.
Lady Jane Grey
Jane Grey granddaughter of Henry 8th younger sister Mary whose daughter Francis married Henry Grey.
Henry 8th had specified that in the event of Edward dying early that firstly his  daughter Mary should reign and secondly is daughter Elizabeth, but Edward changed it on his deathbed.
While Edward was still alive his ministers persuaded him to make a will naming Lady Jane Grey his successor to the throne. She was a Protestant unlike Edward’s half sister Mary (Henry VIII’s eldest daughter) who was Catholic. The ministers wanted to keep England a Protestant country. Lady Jane Grey ruled for only 9 days before Mary had her arrested and later executed.
Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) 1553 – 1558
  • Age 37-42
  • Born: 8 February 1516 at Greenwich Palace 
  • Parents: Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
  • Ascended to the throne: 19 July 1553 aged 37 years
  • Crowned: 1 October 1553 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: Philip II of Spain
  • Children: None
  • Died: November 17, 1558 at St James Palace, London, aged 42 years
  • Buried at: Westminster
  • Succeeded by: her half sister Elizabeth
Her nickname was Bloody Mary because of the huge numbers of people she murdered to return England from its Protestant regime back to the Catholic faith.
Why is Mary l called Bloody Mary?
She is known as Bloody Mary because of the numbers of people who were executed for being Protestants. Mary burned nearly three hundred Protestants at the stake when they refused to give up their religion.
Mary made herself even more unpopular by marrying Philip of Spain and losing Calais, England’s last possession in France. They had no children.
Queen Elizabeth I 1558 – 1603
  • Age 25-69
  • Born: 7 September 1533 at Greenwich Palace 
  • Parents: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
  • Ascended to the throne: 17 November 1558 aged 25 years
  • Crowned: 15 January 1559 at Westminster Abbey
  • Married: Never Married
  • Children: None
  • Died: 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace, Surrey, aged 69 years
  • Buried at: Westminster
  • Succeeded by: her 3rd cousin James of Scotland
Elizabeth liked hunting and enjoyed court masques (entertainment of poetry, songs and dancing). She was very well-educated and was fluent in six languages.Elizabeth made England Protestant again and her will was the law.
She did not marry and was known as the Virgin Queen.During her reign, England became enemy of Catholic Spain, and Elizabeth fought against Philip II’s navy.The Tudor period ended with the death of Queen Elizabeth I on 24th March 1603 after 45 years on the throne. She had no husband or children to succeed her.
Golden Age of English History
Elizabeth I’s rule is remembered as the Golden Age of English history. Under her rule, England advanced in such areas as foreign trade, exploration, literature, and the arts.
During Elizabeth’s reign the age of exploration began with explorers such as Francis Drake claiming new lands for England and introducing new materials and foods. The American State, Virginia, is named after her.
During her reign great adventurers discovered many new lands. Fought off the Spanish Armada.
Named James VI of Scotland her heir, uniting the two countries Scotland and England.



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