The Beginning of the Tudor Legacy

The Tudor Rose, family symbol. A mixture of a York and Lancaster Rose.

The Tudor family is most known for Henry VIII and his six wives. His two headstrong daughters, Mary and Elizabeth are also well known among the Tudors. In all, five Tudors ruled England and its kingdoms, the first one being Henry VII. Henry VII acquired the throne in battle, during the War of the Roses. The war of the Roses was a sort of civil war during which two branches of the Royal family, the York’s and the Lancaster’s, fought for the right to the throne. The war was named thus after the symbolic rose emblems for each family, red for Lancaster, white for York. Surprisingly, Henry Tudor, distant descendant of Edward III and an obscure member of the Lancaster’s, won the battle for the throne, effectively ending the war, and uniting the two families by marrying Elizabeth of York. Henry and Elizabeth had four children who survived infancy, Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary, in order of birth. Henry VII immediately wanted to make strong allies, and so, a marriage agreement between Catherine of Aragon, then three, and Arthur Tudor, then two, was made between Arthur and Catherine’s parents, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille. Catherine left Spain to be with her new husband in 1501, and they married in the same year, Arthur at fifteen, Catherine at sixteen. However, as they settled into their new home and titles of Prince and Princess of Wales, both fell seriously ill. Arthur did not survive the illness. The Spaniards desperate to keep the alliance, and the English desperate to keep the dowry which had only been half payed, started negotiations for another marriage: Catherine and Arthur’s younger brother, Henry, new heir to the throne. After much back and forth between Ferdinand II and Henry VII, the marriage terms were still not agreed to. However, the situation changed when Henry VII died of tuberculosis in 1509. Now new King of England and free of his father, young Henry proposed to Catherine, who accepted. They were married in the same year of Henry VII's death, and had a happy relationship which lasted for almost fifteen years, regardless of Henry's scarce mistresses, until one mistress in particular, Anne Boleyn, decided to take the relationship further, causing havoc between Henry and Catherine, whom had undergone many years and troubles before being married.

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