I do not refer to the hideous filmed television series of the same name, designed more as pornography for sexually deprived viewers than students of England’s history. I refer to a family of minor Welsh gentry, smallholders in the North of that sad country, one of whose male members managed to marry a French girl, the widow of a Plantagenet king.
The King, Henry V, died young after winning the crucial battle against the French at Agincourt. He had defeated and routed the Dauphin, whose father Charles VI gave the victor his daughter Catherine of Valois in marriage. When she was widowed, this Catherine fell in with one Owen Tudor – and married him. He had his head cut off in 1461 but not before siring Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond. He in turn took as his second wife Margaret Beaufort. This is where the trouble started.
Before you could say knife a Tudor usurped the English throne from Richard (III) who had himself taken it from the son of his brother (one of the Princes in the Tower). The Tudor Dynasty began when Henry the 2nd Earl of Richmond and son of Margaret Beaufort (descended in the bastard line from Edward III), with a small army of mercenaries defeated Richard in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richmond became Henry VII. The Tudors reigned in horrified, terrified England from 1485 to 1603. Only Russia or perhaps Turkey could have given the world a more cruel and bloodthirsty royal gang, and yes I do realise that Good Queen Bess (Elizabeth I) was one of them. A great queen, you will say, but would you like to have served under her? She once asked a foolishly argumentative courtier if he would like her to shorten him by a head.
When Elizabeth died in 1603 there was no heir, and the English could breathe again as the Scotttish Stuarts (q.v.) commenced their dynasty.
The Tudor Dynasty:
1485-1509 Henry VII (famous for starting his reign from the day before the day on which Bosworth Field was fought, so that everybody who had fought for their rightful king could be accused of treason; seeking out all remaining members of the Yorkist dynasty and eliminating them, introducing the first Secret Intelligence Service, also famous for vastly improving the Treasury by exerting tremendous taxation on the citizenry (Morton’s Fork Method), and being the father of:
1509-47 Henry VIII (famous for the closing of the monasteries, creation of the Church of England, the Reformation, getting married six times, killing two of his wives and divorcing another two, playing royal tennis brilliantly when young, composing lovely music, suffering from gout, insisting on the Field of the Cloth Of Gold diplomatic meeting in France, so expensive the Treasury was in debt again, though his Papa had filled the coffers by excessive taxation.
1547-53 Edward VI (famous for being sickly and dying young, as a result of which Mary Tudor became queen).
1553-8 Mary I (famous for terrible headaches, burning Protestants, signing the execution warrant for little Jane Grey and her teenage husband Guildford, losing Calais, and dying in agony, which meant that the way was clear for Elizabeth her half-sister, daughter of the ghastly Henry and Anne Boleyn.
1558-1603 Elizabeth I (‘Gloriana’, famous for riding about on a white horse at Tilbury, financing piratical adventurers for goodly returns, knighting Francis Drake and keeping the King of Spain from adding England to his already swollen Empire; also famous for beautiful dancing, beheading both her lover and her queenly cousin Mary Queen of Scots & France, and greatly enriching the Salisbury family. With Sir Thomas Erpingham, she enlarged and improved the Secret intelligence Service.