A Potted History of the Tudor Dynasty: the Royal Family


The Royal Family

Henry VII 1505 at the National Portrait Gallery.
Henry VII 1505 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Henry VII was the son of Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, and he died in 1509. He was raised largely by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, his mother having not been allowed to raise him. He won the English crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He killed Richard III in the battle and began the Tudor dynasty. He united the warring Houses of York and Lancaster by marrying Elizabeth of York, ending the Wars of the Roses.

Elizabeth of York c.1500.
Elizabeth of York c.1500.

Elizabeth of York was the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. There were rumours that she had indulged in an affair with her uncle, Richard III before his death. She died in childbed in 1503 and the child died. She had spent some of her childhood in sanctuary and many historians now believe that her brothers – the Princes in the Tower – were murdered. Continue reading “A Potted History of the Tudor Dynasty: the Royal Family”

‘The White Queen’ by Philippa Gregory – Discussion Questions


'The White Queen' by Philippa Gregory (2009).
‘The White Queen’ by Philippa Gregory (2009).

I’ve read Philippa Gregory’s ‘The White Queen’ recently to coincide with the television show. The book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I didn’t feel that it was as engaging as some of her Tudor novels. Below are the discussion questions from the back of the book. You also get lists of questions in historical books by Philippa Gregory and Emily Purdy to help you understand the story. I have posted my answers to the ones from ‘The White Queen’ below, and I hope you’ll post what you think, and whether you disagree with any of my answers.

1. Discuss Elizabeth’s first few encounters with Edward and her motives for seeking him out. Do they marry for love? Did you find it surprising that Edward defied his mentor Warwick and upheld his secret marriage to Elizabeth? Why or why not?

I genuinely think that Elizabeth and Edward were in love. I don’t think that they were as in love as they would become over the years, but I think they were in love at the start, as their passionate arguments demonstrate. You can’t be passionate with someone if you don’t respect them, and even love them. I know this from personal experience. I think Elizabeth’s motives for seeking Edward out were completely honourable – she wanted to reclaim her sons’ inheritance. However, Edward’s motives for returning to Elizabeth in person were not so honourable. I think he fell in love with her when she held his dagger to her throat rather than lose her respect for herself. It’s like if you can’t have something you just want it more (note Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn). I don’t think it was very surprising that Edward defied Warwick and insisted that his marriage to Elizabeth was legitimate. This is because Edward was growing up – he was no longer a child, and could form his own opinions. However, I do think that Edward should have informed Warwick sooner, so that the French alliance didn’t progress so far before being destroyed. Perhaps then Warwick wouldn’t have been quite so annoyed and angry at his loss of face over the matter. Continue reading “‘The White Queen’ by Philippa Gregory – Discussion Questions”

Spotlight: Elizabeth of York


Name: Elizabeth of York / Elizabeth Plantagenet

Title/s: Queen of England, Ireland and France, Princess of England.

Birth / Death: 11 February 1466 – 11 February 1503.

Spouse: Henry VII 1457 – 1509.

Children: Arthur Prince of Wales 1486 – 1502, Margaret Queen of Scotland 1489 – 1541, Henry VIII of England 1491 – 1547, Elizabeth Tudor 1492 – 1495, Mary Duchess of Suffolk 1496 – 1533, Edmund Duke of Somerset 1499 – 1500, Katherine Tudor 1503.

Parents: Edward IV 1442 – 1483 and Elizabeth Woodville 1437 – 1492.

Continue reading “Spotlight: Elizabeth of York”

Selection of Images from The White Queen


Selection of Images from The White Queen

'The White Queen' starring Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons on DVD.
‘The White Queen’ starring Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons on DVD.

I have posted a selection of images from The White Queen television series over on my Facebook page, so go take a look.

BEWARE: For those in America, the images I’ve uploaded do contain images from all 10 episodes, most of which have not been aired in the US yet. It’s up to you whether or not to look …

UPDATE: English Monarchs and When They Ruled


This post is an update on a previous post. Instead of just listing the monarchs and consorts and when they ruled I have also listed the legitimate children of each union and their title.

William I (1066 – 1087) … Consort – Matilda of Flanders

Children – Robert, Duke of Normandy d. 1134

Richard d. 1075

William II d. 1100

Henry I d. 1135

Adelaide d. 1113

Cecily d. 1127

Matilda d. 1086

Constance, Duchess of Brittany d. 1090 Continue reading “UPDATE: English Monarchs and When They Ruled”

The Basics of the Tudor Consorts


As promised following my post on basic facts about the Tudors monarchs, a post on the basics of the Tudor consorts, including the six wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York and Phillip II of Spain. Enjoy!

18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.
18th century copy of Elizabeth of York as queen; she holds the white rose of the House of York.

Elizabeth of York

Nicknames: None
Reigned: 18 January 1486 – 11 February 1503
Coronation: 25 November 1487
Born: 11 February 1466
Died: 11 February 1503
Parents: Edward IV of England d. 1483 & Elizabeth Woodville d. 1492
Married: Henry VII of England d. 1509
Children: Arthur d. 1502, Henry VIII of England d. 1547, Mary d. 1533 & Margaret
Importance of Marriage: Her marriage to Henry VII united the houses of York and Lancaster and ended the Wars of the Roses
Key Events: Marriage of Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, defeat of pretenders like Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel & the end of the Wars of the Roses Continue reading “The Basics of the Tudor Consorts”

English Monarchs and When They Ruled over England


This is a post which I compiled last year: it includes the dates and consorts of all English and British monarchs. I was intending to also list children but haven’t yet got around to it. I’ll update the post at a later time.

(Becomes Great Britain under the reign of Queen Anne 1702 – 1714)

(Becomes United Kingdom under the reign of George III 1760 – 1820)

William I (1066 – 1087) … Consort – Matilda of Flanders

William II (1087 – 1100) … Consort – None

Henry I (1100 – 1135) … Consort – Matilda of Scotland / Adeliza of Louvain

Stephen (1135 – 1141) … Consort – Matilda of Boulogne

Empress Matilda (1141) … Consort – Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor / Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou

Henry II (1154 – 1189) … Consort – Eleanor of Aquitaine Continue reading “English Monarchs and When They Ruled over England”

Meaning of Tudor Names


  • Anne

    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
    Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein 1539
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait
Anne Boleyn Hever Castle Portrait

Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves

French form of ‘Anna’. ‘Anna’ is a form of Channah used in Greek and Latin. In Hebrew it means ‘favour’ or ‘grace’. It was a popular name in the Byzantine Empire, and was later used to honour Saint Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary. In Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession, there was a pageant showing her as the mother of the Virgin Mary, but it boded ill, as Mary only gave birth to a girl, and not the son Anne Boleyn desperately wanted and needed to give Henry VIII. In the end, Anne only gave birth to a girl. Anne of Cleves was shown favour after she accepted the end of her marriage to Henry VIII – instead of execution as Anne Boleyn had, Anne of Cleves was accepted as the king’s sister, and outlived him. Partly this was because of her having a standing similar to that of Katherine of Aragon – she had powerful relatives who would probably have avenged her death.   Continue reading “Meaning of Tudor Names”