Spotlight: Henry VII

Names: Henry Tudor / Henry VII

Titles: Earl of Richmond / King of England, Ireland and France

Dates: 28 January 1457 – 21 April 1509

Spouse: Elizabeth of York 1466-1503

Children: Arthur 1486-1502 / Margaret 1489-1541 / Henry VIII 1491-1547 / Elizabeth 1492-1495 / Mary 1495-1533 / Edmund 1499-1500 / Edward (unknown) / Katherine 1503

Parents: Edmund Tudor 1430-1456 & Margaret Beaufort 1443-1509

Noble Connections: Henry’s mother was an illegitimate descendent of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Henry’s half-brother was Henry VI, and Henry VI was very supportive of his Tudor half-brothers.

Events of their Lifetime: Battle of Bosworth Field 1485, death of the Princes in the Tower, death of Prince Arthur, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Woodville, rebellions by Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck.

Controversy: How strong was Henry VII’s claim to the English throne? Was the illegitimate line that the Tudors stem from really ever legitimate?

Works of Fiction:
Philippa Gregory, The Red Queen (2010)
Philippa Gregory, The White Princess (2013)
Karen Harper, The Queen’s Confidante (2012)
Jean Plaidy, Uneasy Lies the Head (1982)

Portrayals on Screen:
Peter Benson, Blackadder, 1983, 1 episode
Paul Hilton, Princes in the Tower, 2005, directed by Justin Hardy
Michael Marcus, The White Queen, 2013, 3 episodes
James Maxwell, The Shadow of the Tower, 1972, 13 episodes

Further Reading:
S. Anglo, ‘Ill of the Dead: Posthumous Reputation of Henry VII’, Renaissance Studies, 1 (1987)
S. Anglo, ‘The Court Festivals of Henry VII’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 43 (1960-1)
S. Anglo, ‘The Foundation of the Tudor Dynasty: the Coronation and Marriage of Henry VII’, Guildhall Miscellanea, 2 (1960)
Hilary M. Carey, ‘Henry VII’s Book of Astrology and the Tudor Renaissance’, Renaissance Quarterly, 65 (2012)
David R. Carlson, ‘Royal Tutors in the Reign of Henry VII’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 22 (1991)
S.B. Chrimes, Henry VII (1972)
S.B. Chrimes, Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII (1966)
J.P. Cooper, ‘Henry VII’s Last Years Reconsidered’, Historical Journal, 2 (1958)
Sean Cunningham, Henry VII (2007)
G.R. Elton, ‘Henry VII: a Restatement’, Historical Journal, 4 (1961)
G.R. Elton, ‘Henry VII: Rapacity and Remorse’, Historical Journal, 1 (1958)
A. Fox, Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII (1989)
Steven Gunn, ‘Henry VII in Context: Problems and Possibilities’, Historical Association, 92 (2007)
Steven Gunn, ‘The Courtiers of Henry VII’, English Historical Review, 108 (1993)
Joan MacAlpine, The Shadow of the Tower: Henry VII and his England (1971)
Thomas Penn, Winter King: the Dawn of Tudor England (2011)
David Rees, The Son of Prophecy: Henry Tudor’s Road to Bosworth (1985)
Chris Skidmore, Bosworth: the Birth of the Tudors (2013)
Neville Williams, The Life and Times of Henry VII (1973)


Arms of Henry VII as King of England
Arms of Henry VII as King of England


Henry VII 1505 at the National Portrait Gallery.
Henry VII 1505 at the National Portrait Gallery.
Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.
Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1505.
Groat of Henry VII
Groat of Henry VII
Henry VII c.1470-80
Henry VII c.1470-80
Henry VII late 16th century copy at NPG
Henry VII late 16th century copy at NPG

Author: Helene Harrison

I have an MA in History, with a thesis entitled 'The Many Faces of Anne Boleyn: Perceptions in History, Literature and Film'. I have an interest in the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses along with my love of reading and literature.

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