Government and Politics

The Tudors

How did the House of Tudor originate?

The name of a royal family that ruled England for well over a century, from 1485 to 1603, came from a Welshman, Owen Tudor, who sometime after 1422 married Catherine of Valois (1401–1437), the widow of Henry V, who ruled from 1413 to 1422. The family did not come to power until Henry VII ascended the throne. Ruling from 1485 until his death in 1509, Henry VII (1457–1509) ended the bitter, 30-year War of the Roses—during which two noble families, the houses of Lancaster and York, had struggled against each other for control of the throne. (The conflict earned its name since the badge of each house depicted a rose, one red and the other white.) In taking power, Henry VII became the head of the House of Lancaster, and in 1486 he married into the House of York, thus uniting the two former enemies and founding his own Tudor dynasty. (He’s known as Henry Tudor.)

Because of papal conflicts and England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church, the reign of Henry VIII is perhaps the most well-known Tudor monarchy. (Original painting by Hans Holbein II.)

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