Monday, April 30, 2007

Question from Mike - Henry VII's claim to the throne

I'm sure you must have answered this question a million times, but I'll ask again since I'm new to this blog which I think is wonderful.

Exactly what was Henry VII claim to the throne of England?


Lara said...

I don't think that question has been addressed here yet, and it is actually a really good question!

There are sort of two parts to the answer. The legal reason Henry used was "right of conquest" since he defeated the reigning king in battle (or whatever the exact technical reason is that was used to say he 'conquered').

But, he was also descended from Edward III through his son John of Gaunt (where the Lancastrian side of the Wars of the Roses comes from). But, although they were later married, all the children that John of Gaunt had by Katherine Swynford were actually born before the couple married. That's the Beaufort line, which Henry VII's mother Margaret was descended from. They legitimacy of the Beaufort line is quite confusing, since they were declared legitimate by Henry IV (I think) but were barred from inheriting the throne.

By the time the Wars of the Roses had reached the reign of Richard III, most of the male Lancastrian heirs were gone except Henry Tudor, who ended up in exile in France for 14 years so Edward IV and Richard III couldn't get their hands on him!

If you're at all interested in this period and investigating the early Tudors, I would recommend "The Making of the Tudor Dynasty" by Ralph A. Griffiths and Roger S. Thomas.

Unknown said...

Marriage to Elizabeth of York helped too - after the deaths of her brothers, she was Edward IV's legal heiress, and thus Henry could also have claimed to be king by right of marriage. He downplayed this though.

Anonymous said...

He had Lancaster blood in his Veins he was 11 in line to the throne. so he faught Richard III and the people crowned him king.

Anonymous said...

Henry’s mother Margaret was a descendant of Edward III, which gave Henry a real claim to the throne.
His grandfather had married the widow of Henry V.
His claim was very weak.