Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir

  Richard married, on 15 January, 1478, at St Stephen’s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster:


  She was the daughter of John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury, and she was born on 10 December, 1472, at Framlingham Castle, Suffolk. She was recognised and styled as Countess of Norfolk in her own right on 16/17 January, 1476, after the death of her father. She died between 16 January, and 19 November, 1481, at Greenwich Palace, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. When Henry VII’s Chapel was under construction, her body was moved to the Minoresses’ Convent at Stepney, where her coffin was found during excavations in 1965. She was then reburied in Westminster Abbey.

  7 Anne

  She was born on 2 November, 1475, at the Palace of Westminster. She married Lord Thomas Howard (afterwards Earl of Surrey, then Duke of Norfolk) (1473–1554) on 4 February, 1495, at Greenwich Palace, and had issue:

  1 Thomas (c.1496 or 1508–1509).

  2 Son (d. young before baptism).

  3 Daughter (d. young before baptism).

  4 Daughter (d. young before baptism).

  Anne died after 22 November (23 November?), 1511, and before 1513, and was buried in Thetford Priory, Norfolk. Her remains were later removed to Framlingham Church, Suffolk.

  8 George

  He was born perhaps in March, 1477 (certainly before January, 1478), either at Windsor Castle, or at the Dominican Friary, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and was perhaps styled Duke of Bedford. He died in March, 1479, at Windsor Castle, and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

  9 Katherine

  She was born on 14 August, 1479, at Eltham Palace, Kent. She married William Courtenay, later Earl of Devon (1475–1511), in c.October, 1495, and had issue:

  1 Henry, Marquess of Exeter (1496?–executed 1538); he married firstly Elizabeth (d.1516?), daughter of John Grey, Viscount Lisle, and secondly Gertrude (d.1558), daughter of William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy, and had issue.

  2 Edward (1497?–1502).

  3 Margaret (1499?–1519?); she married William, Baron Herbert.

  Katherine took a vow of perpetual chastity upon her widowhood in 1511. She died on 15 November, 1527, at Tiverton Castle, Devon, and was buried in Tiverton Parish Church.

  10 Bridget

  She was born on 10 or 20 November, 1480, at Eltham Palace, Kent. She became a nun at Dartford Priory, Kent, in c.1487 (and certainly before 1492). She died probably before 1513. John Weaver, writing in the 17th century, states she died in 1517, but Thomas More, writing in 1513, does not say that she is alive, although he mentions that her only surviving sister, Katherine, was then still living. Bridget was buried in Dartford Priory, Kent.

  Edward IV also had the following illegitimate issue:

  By Eleanor Talbot or Butler (d.1468), to whom Edward is alleged to have been precontracted:

  1 Edward de Wigmore (d. in infancy, 1468).

  By Elizabeth Lucy (née Waite), or Elizabeth (sometimes, but erroneously, called Jane) Shore:

  2 Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle (1461/4–1542); he married firstly Elizabeth Grey, Baroness Lisle (d.1525/6), and had issue. He married secondly Honora (1493/5–1566), daughter of Sir Thomas Grenville.

  3 Elizabeth (b.c.1464); she perhaps married Thomas Lumley. It is thought that Elizabeth Lucy was her mother.

  By an unknown mother:

  4 Grace (alive in 1492).


  He died on 9 April, 1483, at the Palace of Westminster, and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

  He was succeeded by his son Edward.

  Edward V

  * * *

  FATHER: Edward IV ( see here).

  MOTHER: Elizabeth Wydville (under Edward IV, see here).

  SIBLINGS: ( see here, under Edward IV).


  He was born on 2 November, 1470, in the Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey. He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 25/26 June, 1471, and Duke of Cornwall on 17 July, 1471. He was made a Knight of the Garter on 15 May, 1475, and created Earl of March and Earl of Pembroke on 8 or 18 July, 1479. He succeeded his father as King of England on 9 April, 1483.

  Edward V was deposed on 25 June, 1483, and declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament in 1484 ( under Edward IV). He was probably murdered with his brother, Richard, Duke of York, on the night of 3 September, 1483, in the Tower of London, on the orders of Richard III. In 1674, bones discovered in the Tower were thought to be those of the two Princes, and were reburied in 1678 in Westminster Abbey, by order of Charles II. Edward V was succeeded by his uncle, Richard of Gloucester.

  Richard III

  * * *

  FATHER: Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York ( see here, under Edward IV)

  MOTHER: Cecily Neville ( see here, under Edward IV)

  SIBLINGS: ( see here, under Edward IV)


  He was born on 2 October, 1452, at Fotheringhay Castle, Northants. He was created Duke of Gloucester on 1 November, 1461, and made a Knight of the Garter before 4 February, 1466. He acceded to the throne of England on 26 June, 1483, after the deposition of his nephew, Edward V, and was crowned on 6 July, 1483, in Westminster Abbey.

  Richard III married, on 12 July, 1472, in Westminster Abbey or St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster:


  She was the daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, by Anne, daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and she was born on 11 June, 1456, at Warwick Castle. She married firstly Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI, probably on 13 December, 1470, at the Château of Amboise, France. She was crowned Queen Consort on 6 July, 1483, at Westminster Abbey. She died on 16 March, 1485, at the Palace of Westminster, probably of tuberculosis, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

  Issue of marriage:

  1 Edward

  He was born in Spring, 1476, at Middleham Castle, Yorkshire, and was created Earl of Salisbury on 15 February, 1478. He became Duke of Cornwall upon his father’s accession to the throne on 26 June, 1483, and was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 24 August, 1483, being invested as such on 8 September, 1483, at York Minster. He died on 9 April, 1484, at Middleham Castle, Yorkshire, and was perhaps buried in Sheriff Hutton Church, Yorkshire.

  Richard III also had the following illegitimate issue:

  By unknown mothers:

  1 John of Gloucester, or of Pontefract, Captain of Calais (c.1470–murdered? 1499?).

  2 Richard Plantagenet of Eastwell, Kent (1469–1550).

  3 Katherine; she married William Herbert, Earl of Huntingdon (1455?–1491).

  4 Stephen Hawes (?).

  5 Unnamed child (?).

  6 Unnamed child (?).

  7 Unnamed child (?).


  He was killed on 22 August, 1485, defending his crown and his kingdom against the forces of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. He was buried in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Leicester. His grave was despoiled during the Reformation. Richard was the last Plantagenet King of England. He was succeeded by his distant cousin Henry Tudor.


  The Tudors

  The Tudors came from bastard stock. Henry VII’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, was a descendant of John Beaufort, the first of the natural children born to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress, Katherine Swynford. Henry’s father, Edmund Tudor, was the offspring of the liaison between Henry V’s widow, Katherine of France, and the Welsh squire, Owen Tudor. Possibly these two married in secret, but no proof of this has ever been discovered; in the 15th century, their children were looked upon as bastards, with all the handicaps that imposed upon inheritance. Not for them a Statute conferring legitimacy, as had been the good fortune of the Beaufort bastards of Katherine Swynford when her lover Gaunt at long last made her his wife. Yet even to this there was a sting in the tail: for while the Beauforts were recognised as legitimate by a Statute of Richard II, they we
re soon afterwards debarred by Henry IV from ever inheriting the throne.

  Henry VII was the only child of his parents; his father died before his birth and his mother remarried (she had been but 13 years old at the time of his birth, and never bore another child). Henry was exiled from England by Edward IV, while still a child, and spent his youth in the courts of France and Brittany with his uncle and staunch supporter, Jaspar Tudor. Both were loyal to Henry VI and the House of Lancaster, and after the death of Henry VI and his son Edward, Henry Tudor was seen by many as the natural heir to the Lancastrian claim to the throne of England, despite his legal ineligibility to fulfil such a role. There were no other heirs of the blood of Lancaster. And it was the crown of England that Henry meant to have. On Christmas Day, 1483, in the Cathedral of Rennes in Brittany, he vowed to marry Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, and thus unite the red and white roses of Lancaster and York. Henry must have known at this date that Edward V and his brother were dead; Elizabeth had been declared a bastard, and if Henry was to claim the throne through marrying her, this could only be accomplished if her brothers had predeceased her. Two years later, in August, 1485, Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and became King of England. In January, 1486, he kept his vow and married Elizabeth, who had been legitimated in his first Parliament; the slight delay between Henry’s accession and his marriage served only to emphasise that Henry’s crown was his by right of conquest and of descent (significantly, he dated his reign from the day before Bosworth), and not through union with Elizabeth of York.

  Thus was founded the Tudor dynasty, a dynasty that, as if to compensate for its precarious claim to the throne, was to be the most splendid and successful of all the English Royal Houses. During the 118 years of Tudor rule, England emerged from the mediaeval world as a modern state, prosperous and proud of itself. It was, however, a revolutionary age and a brutal one. Henry VIII declared himself Head of the Church of England and severed for ever all links with the Church of Rome. Under Elizabeth, the Protestant Anglican Church became firmly established. Voyages of discovery were opening up the wider world and trade flourished. The old nobility found themselves being replaced by ‘new men’, who had risen through ability or wealth rather than noble lineage. Yet in this same age that witnessed the spread of the humanist ‘new learning’ and the flowering of the English Renaissance, thousands were executed for heresy or treason, often with appalling barbarity. There was no ‘niceness’ about the Tudor monarchs: they did what they saw as necessary thoroughly and ruthlessly, although by 1603, when Elizabeth I died, some of the power of government had devolved upon Parliament, so often consulted by successive Tudor monarchs to lend support and legality to revolutionary measures, and eventually insisting upon being consulted and giving approval as a right. The Tudors’ parliamentary legacy to their successors was no easy one, and would in time, given the ineptitude and obstinacy of Charles I, lead to civil war.

  Yet while they were powerful and capable monarchs, the Tudors were never quite secure on the throne. During the first fifty years of their rule, too many members of the House of York remained alive for the new dynasty to feel secure. Later, threats to the succession would be posed by the Grey family and by Mary, Queen of Scots. But it was the surviving members of the House of York who constituted the worst threat, as there was no doubt in the minds of many that their title to the throne was far more valid than that of the Tudors. In fact, in 1485, when Henry VII acceded to the throne, there were then living 18 people with a better right to it than he, including his own wife and mother. By 1510, this figure had increased by about 16 more persons, born with Yorkist blood in their veins.

  Of course, many of these heirs of York were women. Although the Salic Law had no validity in England (unlike in France, where women were debarred from inheriting the throne), memories of the Empress Matilda, whose attempt in the 12th century to rule England had resulted in bloody civil war, had led to an enduring prejudice against the notion of a female sovereign. Women were considered unfit to rule over men, and no one seriously thought of espousing the cause of any of the Yorkist women. Ironically, it would be left to the Tudors themselves to demonstrate that a female sovereign could rule very successfully.

  It was the male members of the House of York who were the thorn in the side of the Tudors. Some died young, and of the eight who survived to be serious contenders for the throne, two chose a life of retirement away from public life, and were not molested. Two died in battle, one of them an exile fighting under a foreign banner. Four were executed. Both Henry VII and Henry VIII were cognisant of the weakness of their claim to the throne, and dealt ruthlessly with any would-be rivals. Mention should be made of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, niece of Edward IV and Richard III, who, at the age of nearly 68, was beheaded in an horrific manner on the orders of Henry VIII, on a trumped-up charge of treason. Lesser members of her family were imprisoned by that monarch, and left to rot in the Tower. By then, the danger from the House of York had been virtually eliminated, although junior sprigs of the Plantagenet tree were being sent to the Tower as late as the reign of Elizabeth I.

  To give his dynasty a sound title to the throne, Henry VII had to go back beyond the Plantagenets, the Normans, and the Saxon Kings, to the legendary Arthur, the ancient British kings, and the Welsh Prince Cadwaladr, whose red dragon appeared on Henry’s standard. He claimed descent from all these, through Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of Deheubarth in Wales, who died in 1093. Henry even named his eldest son after King Arthur to emphasise the link between the Tudors and ancient royalty. The message was clear: he was the true successor to Arthur and Cadwaladr and their ilk; all those who had come since were the real usurpers.

  The dynasty survived, but it did not flourish. The succession was an ongoing problem, because the Tudors were not a fruitful family: many of its members were sickly, or died young. Henry VIII took drastic measures to get a male heir, taking six wives in the process, divorcing two, and beheading two more, as well as creating a schism in the Church. He was not just a man of lusts: nobody wanted a return to the dynastic warfare of the previous century, and Tudor prosperity had done much to make the new dynasty popular. Henry’s only surviving son Edward VI did not live to marry, and there was then no alternative but for the country to turn to a female as its ruler. But Mary I, after suffering two tragic phantom pregnancies, did not live long. Her sister Elizabeth I had a long and glorious reign, but her solution to the succession problem was to remain unmarried, a choice she seems to have made for both political and personal reasons. For fear of factions forming around a designated successor, she kept her subjects guessing to the last whom she would name as her heir. It was, of course, her cousin, James VI of Scotland, a descendant of Henry VII, and founder of the House of Stuart in 1603.

  Henry VII

  * * *

  FATHER: Edmund

  He was the son of Owen Tudor by Katherine of France, widow of Henry V, and he was born in c.1430, either at Much Hadham Palace, Herts., or at Hadham, Beds. He was created Earl of Richmond on 23 November, 1452. He married Margaret Beaufort in October, 1455, at Bletsoe Castle, Beds. He died on 1 November, 1456, at Carmarthen Castle, Wales, and was buried in the Church of the Grey Friars, Carmarthen. His remains were later transferred to St David’s Cathedral, Wales.

  MOTHER: Margaret

  She was the daughter of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset ( see here, under Edward III), by Margaret de Beauchamp, and she was born on 31 May, 1443, at Bletsoe Castle, Beds. She married firstly John de la Pole, later Duke of Suffolk (d.1491), between 28 January, 1449, and 18 August, 1450, but the marriage was annulled before 24 March, 1453, and de la Pole later married Elizabeth, sister of Edward IV. Margaret married secondly Edmund Tudor. After his death, she married thirdly Sir Henry Stafford (d.1471) between c.1459 and 1464. She married fourthly Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby (1435?–1504), before October, 1473 (or October, 1482?), although she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity. She was made a Lady of the Gar
ter in 1488. She died on 29 June, 1509, at the Abbot’s House, Cheyney Gates, Westminster Abbey, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

  SIBLINGS: Henry VII did not have any siblings.


  He was born on 28 January, 1457, at Pembroke Castle in Wales, and was Earl of Richmond from birth, being his father’s posthumous child. He was deprived of the earldom of Richmond before 12 August, 1462. He succeeded Richard III as King of England on 22 August, 1485, after the Battle of Bosworth (he dated his reign from 21 August, the day before Bosworth), and was crowned on 30 October, 1485, in Westminster Abbey.

  Henry VII married, on 18 January, 1486, at Westminster Abbey:


  She was the daughter of Edward IV by Elizabeth Wydville, and she was born on 11 February, 1466, at the Palace of Westminster. She was crowned Queen Consort on 25 November, 1487, in Westminster Abbey. She died on 11 February, 1503, in the Tower of London, in childbed, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

  Issue of marriage:

  1 Arthur

  Called Arthur to emphasise the new dynasty’s links with the Kings of ancient Britain, he was born on 19/20 September, 1486, at St Swithun’s Priory, Winchester. He was Duke of Cornwall from birth. He was made a Knight of the Bath on 29 November, 1489. He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 29 November, 1489, and was invested as such on 27 February, 1490, at the Palace of Westminster. He was made a Knight of the Garter on 8 May, 1491. He died on 2 April, 1502, at Ludlow Castle, Shropshire, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. Arthur married, by proxy on Whitsunday, 1499, at the manor of Bewdley, Worcs., again by proxy on 19 May, 1501, at Bewdley, and in person on 14 November, 1501, at St Paul’s Cathedral, London:

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