If we didn´t care about such things as time – which many of us history nerds don´t – then it would be time to celebrate a wedding anniversary today. The 529th
Today it´s 529 years since Henry Tudor – only 5 months earlier the victor at the battle of Bosworth Field and now king Henry VII married Elizabeth of York; the daughter of one king and the niece of another was now to become the wife and queen of a third king.
Elizabeth was to a very large extent the premise for Henry´s claim to the throne, and in any event she strengthened it as a princess of the House of York.
Henry´s own royal blood didn´t come from the fact that his paternal grandmother once had been a queen or in her own right had been a French princess, but from his mother Margaret Beaufort lineage from Edward III through his son John of Gaunt and his third marriage to his mistress Kathryn Swynford. Their children had been born out of wedlock, but were all declared legitimate after the marriage, and Henry was a descendant through their son John Beaufort. All though their children had not been excluded from inheriting the throne from the beginning, they were barred from doing so in 1406 by their half-brother who had been crowned Henry IV in 1399.
By the time Henry Tudor took the throne by conquest, all male descendants from John of Gaunt by his two previous wives were gone, which set the exclusion of the Beaufort line aside.
And here he was, Henry Tudor, anointed king and with a real princess as a consort. So how did the marriage turn out. It is often claimed that Henry VII was a cold and tight fisted person but there is in reality no evidence that supports that their marriage was unhappy. On the contrary, there are stories of how they together mourned the children they lost, and how Henry grieved when Elizabeth passed away.
Henry had however spent a substantial part of his life in exile, far away from the riches and the overflowing dinner tables his devoted mother no doubt thought was his right as she struggles to have his title as the Earl of Richmond restored to him (there is no actual evidence that she fought to have him declared king in the way that has been portrayed in certain novels). Point is that Henry spent a large part of his life in relative poverty, and no doubt that experience left its mark on him.
There would be seven children; Arthur, Margaret, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Edmund and Katherine.
Only three of them would reach what we today would consider adult age; at the time Arthur was considered an adult, if even a young adult.
Arthur died, not fully 15 years old, in Ludlow Castle, leaving the young widow Katherine of Aragon behind.
Margaret became queen of Scotland and paternal grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.
Henry, well, he became Henry VIII.
Elizabeth only reached the age of three.
Mary became queen of France, widowed at a young age and returned to England where she married the man who had been sent to bring her home, Henry VIII`s best friend Charles Brandon, an act for which they were forced to pay a fine. Together they became maternal grandparents of lady Jane Grey, the nine days’ queen.
Edmund, got to be only one. Eye witnesses told the story of how his death made his parents break down from grief.
Katherine only got eight days to make her mark on history, a mark which mostly depend on the fact that she brought her with her. Elizabeth died the day after her infant daugther, on 11 February 1503, on her 37th birthday.
Henry VII never remarried, even though it´s said that he for a while considered Katherine of Aragon for himself.
The Oxford history of Britain – Kenneth O. Morgan
Winter King – Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England – Thomas Penn
Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy – Alison Weir