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With Henry VII on the throne and married to Elizabeth of York the dynastic struggle between the branches of the Plantagenet family came to an end. Henry VII marked the start of his reign as being the day before defeating Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field. This enabled him to confiscate the lands of the nobles who fought for Richard III on the grounds of treason. He did spare the lives of some Plantagenet heirs, namely, John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln, and Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury niece of both Edward IV and Richard III. There were still skirmishes for the throne after Henry VII became king. The Earl of Lincoln was reconciled to Henry VII for a while. However, Lincoln was killed in the Yorkist Battle of Stoke Field on June 16, 1487 the last battle of the War od the Roses.

Although Henry secured himself on the throne succession issues would plague the House of Tudor and the repercussions would be felt in later generations. Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had 8 children, with only 4 of them living until adulthood. These four would play a role in the succession to the throne. The two surviving daughters, Margaret and Mary Tudor, both made dynastic marriages. Margaret first married James IV, King of Scots and they were the parents of James V, King of Scots. This gave the Scottish kings a good claim to the English throne as Margaret and James IV were both descendants of Edward III of England via the Beaufort line which had produced Henry VII’s claim to the English throne. James IV died in 1513 at the Battle of Flodden against the forces of his brother-in-law, Henry VIII. Margaret secondly married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Their daughter, Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox. They, in turn, had a son, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, who married his cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of James V, King of Scots. All of these family ties secured the claims of the House of Stewart (Stuart) to the English throne.

The next daughter, Mary Tudor, also married twice., Her first marriage was to the aged King Louis XII of France which did not last long. Louis died about a year after the marriage and there was no issue. Mary then married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Their eldest daughter, Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, married Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk and became the daughter of Lady Jane Grey a claimant to the English throne.

Arthur, the eldest son, was created Prince of Wales in 1489 when he was 3 years of age. When Arthur was 15 he married Infanta Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Fernando II-V of Aragon & Castile and Queen Isabel I of Castile, the two  monarchs that united Spain. Arthur died in 1502 ans left no issue. Fernando and Isabel wanted Catherine to return to Spain but Henry, not wanting to lose the Spanish dowry, kept her in England.

The next in line was Henry, Duke of York. Henry VII had plotted a career his second son as a priest in the Catholic Church. With the death of Arthur in 1502 Henry became heir to the throne and it became his father’s wish that he should marry, Catherine his brother’s widow. Henry, Duke of York was very reluctant to do so.

In 1509 Henry VII died at the age of 52 and left a sturdy crown and rich coffers to his son, Henry VIII of England. Nest week I will discuss the struggles for an hier and the many marriages of Henry VIII.

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