The Tudors were the British monarchy from 1485-1603. They came to power when Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. Defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Then went on to establish one of the most successful dynasties in British history. Rolling over both the House of Lancaster and the House of York until. The House of Stuart took over in 1603 with Elizabeth I’s death. Throughout that time period, many significant events happened that shaped England as we know it today. Here are some things you might not have known about Tudors history.

The Tale Begins

The Tudors History began in 1485 when Henry VII usurped power from Richard III at Bosworth Field, killed him, and took control of England. The family became rulers of England and Wales after a short period known as The Wars of The Roses (1455-1487).

The war was fought between two houses, Lancaster, and York. The Lancastrians ruled from 1422-1461 (Henry VI) while the Yorkists ruled in 1461-1485 (Edward IV). Henry VII was descended from Edward IV, so after killing Richard III. He and his heirs had to be seen as legitimate rulers by both houses in order to gain support.

In 1485, Henry VII defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field and put an end to The Wars of The Roses. His son, Henry VIII, became King in 1509. He would have a profound impact on England and its history.

It began when Henry VIII declared himself head of both Church and State, effectively divorcing his wife, Katherine. Henry married several times and had 6 legitimate children, two future Queens (Mary I and Elizabeth I) as well as three other boys who died young.

However, he also had an affair with a woman named Anne Boleyn which resulted in a child (Elizabeth). At that point, she was beheaded for treason, thus becoming infamous in history.

The Beginning

The Tudors history began with Henry VII, who ruled from 1485 until 1509. Like many historical figures, his early years were wrought with a great deal of turmoil and uncertainty.

Despite these challenges, he navigated his way to becoming King of England, an act that eventually led to more than two decades of relative peace and prosperity under his rule.

After Henry VII’s death, his son, Henry VIII, took over. Considered one of England’s most influential monarchs, Henry is remembered for founding one of Britain’s largest and oldest universities in Oxford (known as King Henry VIII College).

He is also known for taking on six wives, with his relationships often ending in political power struggles and even death.

His most notable marriage to Catherine of Aragon was dissolved by Pope Clement VII after Henry claimed that he needed a divorce because his first wife had failed to produce a male heir.

Henry VII

After defeating Richard III in battle, Henry VII used Parliament to his advantage by allowing only Parliament to levy taxes on its citizens. The result was an increase in public support and a steady stream of income for his reign.

Some historians believe that Henry saved England from a recurrence of civil war. Turning it into a powerful political tool instead.

He and his family are also responsible for starting one of England’s most beloved national institutions, the royal court.

Henry VIII

Perhaps no king in history was more passionate than Henry VIII. His power came from his control over not only England but also Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and France. He claimed title to all four crowns.

Henry VIII wasn’t exactly well-liked by his subjects, but he did have one true passion: his love for Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn was only twenty-three years old when she first caught Henry’s eye. She was fresh and bright like a shiny new coin, with her dark eyes and black hair just to his liking. He had already been married twice before, but neither union produced an heir to inherit his throne.

Edward VI

Young Edward VI was crowned king on June 28, 1547, following his father’s death. The young king had been sicklied since birth and suffered through a series of seizures starting in 1552 that would ultimately end his life at age 15.

Upon his death, Mary I was named his successor by Parliament. She is best known for her persecution of Protestants during her reign as queen from 1553 to 1558.

Mary’s reign was short-lived and ended when she died from cancer. She was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I who ruled until her death in 1603. Elizabeth did not produce an heir, and thus had no designated successor upon her death.

Mary I

Queen Mary was Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. Her executions of Protestants caused her enemy to give her the sobriquet Bloody Mary.

The daughter of Henry VIII by Catherine of Aragon, she was born a princess, but her mother’s subsequent marriage to Thomas Seymour and her brother’s execution as a traitor resulted in Mary being declared illegitimate. Her will was set aside and Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen on October 13.

Lady Jane Gray was a rival claimant to Queen Mary, whom she hoped to depose with Protestant backing. She ascended to the throne but only ruled for nine days before Mary’s supporters recovered their hold on London and had her arrested. Jane was imprisoned in The Tower and executed in February 1554.

Elizabeth I

The Virgin Queen. Elizabeth I was one of England’s greatest monarchs, ruling over a flourishing realm during an age known as The Golden Age. She became Queen at only 25 years old and ruled until her death in 1603 at 64 years old. Her fifty-seven-year reign is still known as one of England’s best.

Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen because she was never married. Many historians think that her lack of a husband helped England during a time when Europe was being torn apart by religious and dynastic conflict.

She could remain independent from both France and Spain, two countries at war with each other for much of Elizabeth’s reign. Her unmarried status allowed her to guide England without compromise, making her one of England’s greatest monarchs and most popular historical figures ever.

What Happened to Them?

The Tudor history is one of England’s most famous periods. In fact, Henry VIII and his six wives are some of England’s most famous historical figures, but did you know that nearly everyone else in English history got their start during those tumultuous years?

The Tudors history is actually one hundred years long, beginning in 1485 and ending in 1603. There are a lot of complicated names to learn here, so let’s take a moment to look at just who is involved with these historic figures. Henry VIII was born in 1491 and was King from 1509 until his death in 1547.

Henry’s wives include Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. Henry VIII was succeeded by his son Edward VI who was born in 1537 and reigned until his death in 1553.

He was succeeded by Mary I who ruled from 1553 to 1558 until her death in 1558 when Elizabeth I took over as Queen. Elizabeth remained Queen until 1603 when she died.


Henry’s reign was followed by that of his son, Edward VI, whose brief six-year reign saw King Henry VIII’s union of England and Wales form a single kingdom. Under Edward VI, Protestantism became officially established in England.

The British monarch is also head of state for each of fifteen other Commonwealth countries which have monarchs either chosen or as direct descendants Jamaica, Barbados, etc. So that there are 60 nations with commonwealth status, and they recognize Elizabeth II as their sovereign. The Tudors history belongs to ancient Medieval History and all the characters mentioned above.


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